Saint Paul has a long history and some of it… lives on. While this isn’t a full list of all the ghost stories you’ll hear around this city of sinners and saints, here are some of our creepiest sites.
In the 1870s, Joseph Forepaugh ran a successful dry goods business and built a three-story mansion for his family near downtown Saint Paul. He and his wife hired several servants for the mansion and Joseph began an affair with one of the maids, Molly. When Joseph’s wife found out about the affair, he ended the relationship and moved with his family to Europe. Molly, who discovered she was pregnant around the same time, hung herself on the third floor of the mansion. Joseph eventually returned to Saint Paul and bought a mansion on Summit, but ended up shooting himself in a park in the 1890s.
Now closed to outside visitors, the mansion was in operation as a romantic French restaurant from 1976-2019. Joseph and Molly sightings have been reported inside the mansion and both ghosts are said to be quite sociable.
The Griggs Mansion, located on Summit Avenue, might be the most haunted house in the state. The 24-room Romanesque house was built by Civil War veteran and grocery king Chauncey Griggs, but he and his family would often spend time in California. In his absence, a young maid hung herself on the fourth floor and she is one of seven entities often seen in the house. The other common apparitions to visit are the former gardener and a young child.
The mansion was converted into an art school and apartments over the years, but is now privately owned. Although the house was valued at $1.8 million when it went up for sale in 2012, the severity of the hauntings knocked the selling price down to $1.1 million.
Today the Landmark Center serves as a cultural center for the community, but it was originally the federal courthouse and post office for the region. In the 1930s, Jack, the owner of the speakeasy Hollyhocks—Jack Pfeiffer, was held here after running into trouble with the law. Fearing jail time, he killed himself in his cell. Today, Jack goes to weddings and other parties in the Landmark Center and enjoys hanging around the women’s bathroom on the third floor.
The Dayton Bluff neighborhood’s 1920s theater was one of Saint Paul’s first to show talkie movies. It’s also an establishment haunted by a little girl, a man and a former usher. The theater sat dormant for 37 years and the ghosts didn’t leave after the theater reopened in 2001. The theater offers night tours on Fridays and Saturdays in October.
Hamline doesn’t shy away from the fact that it’s haunted—the University’s "About Us" section even has a page dedicated to the campus’ most haunted halls. Although the best way to experience the paranormal at Hamline is to be a student living in Manor Hall, the campus’ most haunted residence, you can also visit Bridgman Hall in the Old Main Building where the portrait of the school’s founder follows you with his eyes and comes to life at night.
Wabasha Street Caves
When it comes to haunted spaces in Minnesota, it’s impossible to leave the Wabasha Street Caves off the list. During Prohibition, the former mining caves were transformed into a speakeasy, and it became a hotspot for gangsters (yes—even John Dillinger). Go on the Wabasha Street Caves tour and you’ll see the bullet holes in the façade of the fireplace. Although Saint Paul Police records show that nothing ever happened there, we’ve heard a few stories and seen a few ghastly faces that suggest otherwise.