Houston County reveals haunted landscape

By Diana Hammell &
Emily Bialkowski
Caledonia Argus

This town, like any other, has stories of the unexplainable, the intangible and the hard to believe. We attribute bumps in the night and footsteps in the attic to the wind and squirrels on the roof. Sometimes we just have to admit that it is what it is. One Caledonia family moved from the house they loved because their four-year-old son was petrified of the man who would walk in the upstairs hallways. None of the other family members ever saw him. A business lady often finds tools of her trade rearranged in the morning. A Caledonia resident always thought the running upstairs were her cats. After the cats were gone she heard the running again and no one else was upstairs.

What follows is the story of one house in the Caledonia area as told by the current resident, who wishes to remain anonymous.


Old men,  neck pinches and opened doors

“It was December of 1978 when Steve and I moved into our home.   Shortly after we moved in Steve was upstairs in the hallway unpacking some of our belongings and he felt something behind him. He turned around to see a figure of a tall, skinny old man watching him. Steve said “leave me alone” and the man disappeared.

“On another occasion he was watching TV and he saw what he thinks was a woman dressed in a white gown walking in an adjoining room. He got up off the couch to look and see who it was – thinking it was me,  but I was asleep in the bedroom.

“My brother Casey used to live with us awhile later for a brief period of time and he also encountered some experiences. The one that really sticks in my mind is while he was sleeping upstairs in his bedroom one night he said something pinched him in the neck and woke him up and then the door slammed shut. He didn’t see anything. He wouldn’t go upstairs after that and shortly moved out.

“My experiences in our house were upstairs. I liked to keep the bedroom doors closed. I would close them and the next time I would go upstairs the doors would all be open. I guess I thought my husband was opening them, but he didn’t like going upstairs any more than he had to, so it was not him.  One of the doors upstairs was off a little when we would shut it so after playing around with that trying to keep it shut we decided to put a hooked lock on it. After we locked the door shut we pushed hard about five times to see if the door would open and it did not.  The next day my sister and myself planned on going mushroom hunting so the next morning when she came to pick me up she asked if I checked that door. I forgot, so I ran back to the house and started up the stairs and saw the sun was shining down the hall from the east side. When I saw the sun rays down the hall I knew the door was open again and the hair on the back of my neck felt like it was standing straight up.  The lock was not broken; it was just unhooked.”


House built in 1896

This house was built in 1896 by J.A. Schulte and he lived there with his wife Hannah and three or four sons. Johannes, who called himself John after coming to the U.S., and Johannah Joanella Colsch Schulte were married in Germany before venturing to this country. They had an uncle here to help them make the transition.

In the early 1900s Hannah called the boys in for dinner and one of the boys, Louis, didn’t come in. He was found dead hanging from ropes in one of the farm buildings. The current residents of the house have relatives with connections to a medium. The medium said that Hannah and Louis, age 10, are still in the house.

“She is very content there; loves the gardens and visits them,” the medium said. “She won’t allow Louis to go out of the house. She stands in the upstairs windows a lot of the time, watching who is coming and going and activities around the farm. Louis loves it when people are upstairs; he plays with them – childish things like closing or opening a door, checking on them, watching what they’re doing, but he and Hannah retreat to the attic periodically to stay out of the way.

“Hannah wants everyone to know that no one is to blame for Louis’ death.” Hannah told the medium that the accidental hanging occurred in a small building near the well. She said that Louis called out for help, but Andrew thought he was joking and did not go to him. Louis was not found immediately. She wants to be sure no one is blaming anyone, or that no one feels responsible; it was a bad accident is all.

“Hannah is not interested in crossing over; this house is all she knows and she loves it there,” the medium reported. The medium said she never met a soul not interested in crossing over before and that she will remain open to Hannah visiting her and will try to tell her she needs to take Louis and cross over. She is also going to try to call J.A. and tell him to get Hannah and Louis. “Oh!” the medium said, “Louis has a puppy with him.”

“Hannah is grateful for our interest and concern of her. She is waiting for J.A. to come get her and Louis and he hasn’t.” She told the medium she was waiting for him to come get her from the hospital too, but he did not come get her there either. She said she wanted to go home from the hospital and had to be restrained. She said that J.A. blamed her for her illness and she blamed him for never coming to get her, so things were left unsettled between them. They both felt abandoned by each other. After Hannah’s death, J.A. married a woman 15 years his junior.

From all they’ve learned about their visitors, Hannah and Louis mean no harm whatsoever. They just love the place and the activity there and know of nothing else.


A flash in the sky

Spooky experiences aren’t limited to things that go bump in the night. Sometimes they flash in the sky, as was evident this summer when Jim Gardner spent a spell stargazing July 9.

The 15-year-old lives in rural Spring Grove with family over the summer and enjoys viewing the midnight crystal skies a rural landscape offers. On that particular hot July night Gardner swears he saw more than stars.

“I saw a bright light and looked at it. It got brighter and it accelerated, and it got faster and dimmed. I saw small green lights on the bottom of it. And then it disappeared,” Gardner said.

That same night he saw it three separate times, in three different parts of the sky, about 45 minutes apart. “That thing accelerated,” Gardner said, emphasizing that it wasn’t a meteor, space shuttle or satellite.

Gardner was so convinced he saw something other worldly he filed a report with the National UFO Reporting Center.

A simple online search using the phrase “report a UFO” directed Gardner to this center – www.nuforc.org – which posts a hotline, 206-722-3000.

He called the number and got an answering machine and left a message. A gentleman called him the next day suggesting he contact media and file a report on the website. By using media to let the public know about his experience, Gardner hopes other people will make reports.

He admitted that walking into a newspaper with such a story was a bit nerve-racking at the thought of people making fun of him. But something he saw in that night sky was convincing enough to take the risk.

Gardner attends Jefferson High School in the Twin Cities during the school year.