In a town with as much history as Duluth, there are countless stories of ghosts and haunted houses. But most of those don’t make the newspaper.
One that did was the case of “mysterious rappings” at a home in the Lincoln Park/West End neighborhood, in December 1902. As you can read below, the News Tribune carried two stories about the strange events in a home described as “three doors east of Twenty-sixth Avenue West on Tenth Street”; no specific address was given. Is the house in question among those still standing along that block of 10th Street? It’s hard to say – but if you have anything to add to the story, please post a comment. And if you’d like to share your own Northland ghost story, please feel free to share those, too.
Here are the two stories about the mysterious spirit of West 10th Street, as they appeared in the News Tribune back in 1902:
December 5, 1902
GHOSTS INHABIT WEST END HOUSE
Mysterious rappings give concern to many timid persons
Duluth has a genuine haunted house, located just east of Twenty-sixth Avenue West on Tenth Street.
Besides the ghost, spirit or whatever it may be, there reside in the house Mrs. Lindberg and her three children.
The building was formerly owned by ex-Alderman Ambrose M. Cox, who was asphyxiated by gas last Saturday. At the time Mr. Cox owned the building a man named Joseph Wolf died of smallpox there.
To make the story more weird the appearance of the unearthly noises were heard shortly after Mr. Cox met with the fatal accident.
Startled by rappings
Monday the occupants were startled by rappings on the floor. An investigation of the cellar did not reveal anything, and the noises continuing through the night, the case was reported to the police. Two policemen called during the day. Shortly after their entrance, the noises began and continued at intervals. Neighbors of the family heard of the trouble and called, and one man has been wearing his pompadour ever since.
The spirit does not object to being interviewed, and will answer any question put to it.
Tuesday night a brother of Mrs. Lindberg remained at the house during the night. He commanded the spirit to answer by two raps for no and three for yes. Directly following the questions, given in an ordinary voice, the answers were given. When asked if it would like some music three solemn raps was the reply. Accompanying music on the mouth-organ, the clog of an expert jig dancer could be plainly heard on the floor. After a song by the same man, an encore by the unseen visitor followed. The rapping was either loud or soft according to the wishes of the audience, and any number of raps asked for was given. They emanate from different parts of the floor, according to the disposition of the rapper.
The spirit evidently sleeps between the hours of 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. for it refuses to be aroused during that time. It is also partial to small audiences and will not give a performance before a crowded house.
Many visit the house
Inquisitive persons from all parts of town have visited the place, most of them unbelievers in spiritualism, but all report themselves fully convinced.
When asked if it would like to talk with a certain woman an affirmative reply was given. The woman lives on a farm out of town, and the two oldest girls of the family were sent for her Thursday. She refused, however, to converse with the unearthly person, and says she will leave town. While the girls were in search of the friend of the spirit, no noises were heard, but as soon as they re-entered the house, an inquiring rap was immediately heard on the floor.
The occupants say they cannot put up with the disturbance much longer and the house will soon be for rent to some unsuperstitious person.
A dog was put in the cellar to keep the spirit company, but he was more particular about the company he kept, and was last seen going down Tenth Street as fast as his legs could carry him.
Here’s a short follow-up that ran in the paper two days later, on Dec. 7, 1902:
SPIRIT STILL KEEPS KNOCKING
Spiritualist tries to drive spook out but it refuses to quit house
Ghosts continue to hold daily carousals at the west end.
Those haunting the house three doors east of Twenty-sixth Avenue West on Tenth Street played before a crowded house last night.
A spiritualist called yesterday to commune with the spook and induce it to get out, but a deaf ear was turned to her request. To the question, “Are you to remain here?” it replied solemnly in the negative.
Different persons around the city have laughed at the stories of those who visited the house, and expressed a desire to investigate the nocturnal mystery. One who was particularly brave – before getting into the vicinity of the ghost – said he would show them how they were all being fooled.
He accompanied his friends to the house, and heard the gentle tap, tap, tap on the cellar floor. He then asked questions and was immediately answered by the invisible oracle. He tried Scandinavian, and was perfectly understood by the ghost. “Strike louder,” he exclaimed in a whisper. The dirt was shaken out of the cracks at his feet. His hat rose on his head, a break was made for the door and he fled.
That’s where the story seems to end in the News Tribune. If you know more about this haunted house, or any others in Duluth or the Northland, please post a comment.