Frazee man tends bar at ghostly hot-spot
SAUK CENTRE -- The Palmer House Hotel in Sauk Centre has seen a few guests leave abruptly in the middle of the night, never to return. Something scared them.
Hotel employees have also had their share of scares.
Bryan Bellefeuille grew up in Frazee and was a 1978 graduate of FHS, but now works for Woltes Kluwers Financial Services in St. Cloud. He is a part time bartender at The Palmer House and has witnessed some things first-hand.
"I don't believe in ghosts, but I call them 'unexplainable events,'" Bellefeuille said.
The first happened two to three years ago after he closed the pub and was cleaning up.
After locking all the doors and making sure no one was in the building, he was walking through the kitchen and heard his name "Bryan!" called out behind him.
"I just kind of blew it off and kept walking," Bellefeuille said. "I just was more aware of it if it was going to happen again."
"I thought someone was pranking me, so I looked around and no one was around," he said.
Two days later, after a busy night bartending, Bellefeuille was having a drink with some of the staff and owner Kelley Freese after closing time.
Kelley was telling a story of hearing her name being called, not once, but twice, and no one being there.
"I never told Kelley what happened to me just two days earlier, either," Bellefeuille said.
Just last October, Bellefeuille was again closing up for the evening.
He started walking back through a hallway connected to the pub area when he saw a shadow on the wall, walking just ahead of him.
"The shadow just stayed ahead of me, and there wasn't any possibility of light coming through that hallway to cast my own shadow," he said.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Bellefeuille was walking through that same hallway's entryway, when something dropped from the ceiling.
He didn't think anything of it, but when it happened two more times, he checked the ceiling to see if there was a leak.
There wasn't, and there wasn't any puddles or dampness on the floor where the drop was falling in front of him.
"I told our cook about it a couple days later and she just looked at me and said the same thing happened to her," Bellefeuille said. "It was a quick fall, not like dust or a bug or anything like that. It's happened like five or six times to me and every time, there isn't anything on the floor."
In another occurrence, Bellefeuille said a good friend was visiting Sauk Centre and he wanted to reserve a table at The Palmer House for dinner with his family.
"He had no preconceptions of the hotel, either," Bellefeuille said. "The first thing which happened, was their six-year-old daughter asked her mom if she could go play with the little boy sitting on the steps going up to the second and third floors."
The couple waved off their daughter's request. A little later, the mother asked if she could read one of the ghost story books, which were on display in the lobby.
She opened up the book to the chapter on the Palmer House and was astounded to read about the little boy who haunted the hallways on the second and third floors.
"She asked her daughter to describe what the boy looked like and the (daughter) described him to a tee as to what was described in the book," Bellefeuille said.
Later that day, a photo was taken of a mirror on the second floor, and it showed a reflection of a little girl looking through the outside window directly across from the mirror.
Some of the rooms have permanent guests, who end up sharing with the hotel's short-term living ones.
Lucy lives in Room No. 17, and she sometimes lowers the temperature of the room at the request of visitors.
Two weeks ago, a paranormal investigative group from New York called Dark Forest Paranormal (made up of Ashlee Scott, Jason Hoffman and Terrie Scott) were able to record temperatures starting from the base temp of 65 degrees to 1-below zero -- all in about a 20-minute time span.
Guests from California to Minneapolis have seen Lucy sitting in one of the two chairs in the room, smoking a cigarette.
It's not a pretty sight: The left side of her face is beat up, and the right side of her head is hanging off, like her scalp is overhanging her skull.
"She doesn't like people sitting in both chairs, so it's a good idea to leave one open for her," Kelley said.
A black maid has been seen wandering into room No. 12, an entity Kelley has named Jaclyn.
In Room 4, EVP's have captured someone asking for Thomas.
Room No. 11 belongs to Annie, who scared a recent guest by rubbing his leg while he was sleeping.
The basement, frequented by many entities, is a large, dark and dank area. At one time dogs were kenneled there, cared for by the Palmers' son.
Many investigators have had paranormal experiences there, including hearing dogs bark.
Kelley said there could be hundreds of entities residing in The Palmer House, which may act like a vortex of some kind, attracting them to its hallways.
"We have a residual (a haunting that isn't intelligent, just something repeating history) here walking around in one room, who drops one shoe and finishes getting ready for bed," Kelley said.
Despite all the activity, there has not been any injuries or harm done to anyone at The Palmer House.
Kelley said that the hotel has become an important part of her life and has changed it for the good.
"I am a Christian and I am incredibly spiritual and it's not because I'm sitting in the front pew of church every Sunday," she said. "If anything, this place has made me more spiritual."
The Palmer House has been described as a "big bed and breakfast," a cozy place for the living, and perhaps others.
But whether you are a believer or skeptic about the paranormal, the historic Palmer House can tell you things about the unknown -- that is, if you are willing to listen.
(This is the second of several installments of "The Palmer House" investigation, which is a part of the "Paranormal Files" series, which started last April.
Fargo-Moorhead Paranormal and Detroit Lakes Newspaper reporter Brian Wierima conducted an investigation of The Palmer House Sunday, Feb. 14.)