This very haunted, privately owned,
mansion can be found at 476 Summit Avenue, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on
a street that showcases other "grand," old Victorian mansions,
built around 1883 or thereabouts.
The Griggs Mansion has the dubious
reputation of being the most haunted house in Saint Paul. This huge, 4
story, Victorian, well-kept sandstone mansion has 24 rooms, described
as "cavernous," because of their high ceilings. Each floor has
its landing, and a staircase leading up to the next floor. Dark, beautiful
woodwork can be found throughout the mansion. There is a large room, just
off the 4th floor landing, that has a beautiful, vast skylight, that was
installed in 1939, when the mansion was being used as an art school. Behind
the mansion there is a comfortable carriage house. Large trees around
the mansion provide shade, and a sandstone wall that surrounds the mansion
and its grounds provides privacy. It is privately owned by people who
don't want to be bothered with ghost hunters, so please respect their
In 1883, a wealthy wholesale grocery
businessman, Chauncey Griggs, built this lovely mansion, but lived in
it for only four years, before moving onto greener pastures on the West
coast, where he expanded his business interests to include the lumber
and transportation markets. Over its 100+ years, the mansion has been
a private residence, and at one time was divided into apartment units
as well. Many families/ individuals, who moved in, spent a lot of money
on upkeep, furnishings, servants, etc., but wound up leaving after only
a few years.
Also, as mentioned above, the mansion
became an art school in 1939, and stayed there for 25 years, until the
new Arts and Sciences Center was built. Many students and teachers were
glad that the new building was built, because now they didn't have to
share their school with seen and unseen presences.
While a lot of "supernatural
activity" seems to be centered around the 4th floor, many parts of
the house have been visited by entities as well. Six or seven entities
have been felt, heard, made their existence known by various means and
have actually been seen throughout the years. The mansion's spiritual
occupants are a young maid, a gardener, a child apparition, a thin man
in a black suit, a teenager, Amy, and a Civil War general, perhaps Chauncey
Griggs himself. The 7th sighting could've been any of the male apparitions,
because only the head of an unclear, male apparition appeared.
1) One of the most strongly felt presences
is that of a young maid, who in 1915, hung herself off the 4th floor landing,
suffering from depression over an ended romance. Earlier in the 20th century,
she appeared to a young servant and a butler in the 4th floor hallway.
Her presence has been felt strongly by many people throughout the years.
She perhaps is one of the entities that climbs the stairs to the fourth
floor, to her unseen rope on the landing there. While climbing this staircase,
and standing in the hall as well, people during the day have felt a "sense
of foreboding," anxiety, and feelings of distress, that could be
quite strong, as three newsmen found out one night, when they came to
gather information for a series on ghosts. After setting up camp in the
big room on the top floor, and armed with two cameras; one regular and
one with infra-red aimed at the well-lighted, top of the stairs and 4th
floor hall, and a tape recorder, the men each went out to the hall, but
scooted back to the room when they were filled with an overwhelming sense
of fear. They heard heavy footsteps coming up those stairs. One brave
newsman went though the hall to the stairway, and though he saw nothing,
he felt a strong presence on the stairs. They left in a hurried manner
together down the stairs, feeling nothing was worth staying a night there.
2) The gardener - Charles Wade, who
was an intense, fanatical worker, took great pride in keeping the gardens
in magnificent shape, and would often use books in the mansion's well-stacked
library to help him in his work. Various people have heard an unseen presence
frantically, flipping through the books. Perhaps this distressed entity
died before he was finished with his latest gardening project, and feels
he has unfinished business.
3) The thin man, dressed in a black
suit and top hat - This apparition visited people in many rooms of the
mansion, but two eye-witness accounts are given below.
A) A Dr. Delmar Kolb in the early 1950's,
joined the art school's teaching staff, and moved into the front basement
apartment in the mansion. He awoke one night by the pressure of two
dead, cold fingers on his forehead, and found himself in a cold sweat.
After turning on the light, he saw a blue flash that disappeared. Two
nights later, he was again awakened to find an clear, detailed apparition
of a man dressed in a black suit and top hat, who was standing at the
foot of his bed. At first, the alarmed Dr. Kolb thought it was a prowler
dressed in costume, but realized it was a ghost when the apparition
dissolved into the brick wall.
B) In 1964, a Mr.Weschke bought
the mansion with the idea of using the place as both an office and his
home. He published books on the occult. In 1967, Mr. Weschke was working
at the desk in the library. When he stopped to take a break, he saw
visually in the doorway of the library, a thin, long-faced man with
white hair, dressed in a black suit, who was studying him. The apparition
faded away after about 30 seconds.
4) A Child apparition. - In 1959,
two college students moved into the front basement apartment. One night,
something woke up one student, who usually was a sound sleeper. H e looked
up and saw the head of a child floating above his bed.
5) A teenager, Amy, and a Civil War
general, perhaps Chauncey Griggs. When a St. Paul spiritualist/medium.
By the name of Roma Harris came to visit the mansion, He felt the "shadowy
presence" of a teenage girl, who calls herself Amy. She had had many
happy moments playing the mansion's piano. She died young, and perhaps
hangs around the mansion where she was happy making music. Perhaps she
lived during the art school days of the mansion. Roma also "saw"
a Civil war officer, dressed in a general's blue uniform, with the gold
trim. As the original owner, Chauncey Griggs, was a Civil War officer,
it is theorized that this entity is Chauncey, who likes to keep an eye
on his mansion. It also could be another earlier, former owner, who didn't
want to leave his mansion.
6) Many unexplained, but typical incidents
common in haunted houses have been reported, though no specific entity
has been found to be responsible for the noises, annoying behavior that
makes the living uncomfortable or befuddled. Windows that had been firmly
closed, even nailed shut, have been found open in the morning. Footfalls
have been heard traveling up and down the staircases. Shadowy presences
have been seen. Unsuspecting students who rented the apartments, have
been shaken awake, to find an undistinguished apparition head floating
above their beds. Doors open and close by themselves. "Rasping coughs"
have been heard coming from empty rooms. Light bulbs suddenly shatter,
paper bags have been known to jump off the shelves, and jump across the
floor. People in the mansion have felt presences walk by them. Some of
the presences happen to appreciate art. While working in the art studio
room, with the skylight on the top floor, students had felt presences
peering over their shoulder to get a good look at their drawings in progress,
perhaps studying with interest the student's efforts.
Just ask the St. Paul Pioneer
Press. When investigating this widely known haunted house, they got first
hand confirmation when they themselves came in contact with ghostly manifestations.