Woo hoo! Not only did the kids (Quinn, 12 Nina, 10) love our first lesson in my Paranormal Workshop for Kids, I have caught them flipping through the book I created for them for the course when they are just hanging out! What did I tell you? Kids love ghosts!
We have had two, what I call, lessons so far. We did a little intro session. Asked and discussed what their motivations were behind wanting to participate in paranormal investigations and what they were hoping to get out of the workshop. We also went over the different types of haunting. Residual, intelligent, poltergeist, demonic, etc. Unfortunately, they both were chomping at the bit to encounter a demonic entity. I told them we were going to do our best to avoid this scenario AT ALL COSTS so don’t get your hopes up. What is wrong with kids?! I think a viewing of The Exorcist may be in order. Maybe on movie day. They also wanted to do a little investigating exercise. We took the one piece of investigation equipment I own, a digital recorder (that I use for interviews and what not for my writing) and did a little EVP session. In the middle of the day. Outside. Next to the river. The kids, especially Nina, were bummed that we didn’t capture any ghost voices, but I told her ghosts weren’t usually all that communicative in the middle of the sunny day when lots of ducks are around. When in doubt, blame the ducks.
On our first day of class at the park! Promise, Quinn is excited. It’s just his thing to not ever look too into anything ever since he turned 12.
This week I am hoping to tackle the lesson on historical research and the lesson on equipment. The equipment lesson is quite extensive since there is so much stuff one can use on an investigation, I really want to cover all my basis.
After that we are going to cover protection measures that can be used on a ghost hunt as well as the different techniques and approaches used when looking for spirits. I have also added some fun things like The Most Haunted Places in America and Your Ghost Hunt Wish List. So on and so forth.
I often times say I never paid attention in school, but it turns out I was paying attention. I was just paying attention to the wrong thing. Instead of focusing on what the teacher was trying to teach me, I focused on their toolkit for education. How they taught, not what they were teaching. No wonder I don’t know my multiplication tables. Ah, well. It’s coming in handy now.
I am at a loss for a few things, however. The kids want a name for our group. They’ve been throwing names out and neither one of them can agree. I can’t think of a good one either. So if you have a suggestion, hit me up here, on Twitter, on Facebook, email (email@example.com), whatever! We would love suggestion!
I’m also trying to create some sort of a lesson plan around an episode of Ghost Adventures that uses all aspects of the things we are learning about well. Research, equipment, examples of different kinds of hauntings, etc. However, I don’t want it to be too scary or involve a dead child at all. I know it’s a lot to ask and I may just have to bite the bullet and have them watch a something scary (what’s that? Not do it at all? Well, that’s just silly.) they can sleep a few nights with the lights on. It’ll be fine.
Also, when you are getting back to me on a name for our group, also let me know if you have a suggestion on where I can find some INEXPENSIVE (possibly used) paranormal investigation equipment. This digital recorder is going to loose its shine pretty soon.
My daughter Violet showing off our course book. She likes to look through it and say “Oh, hi my ghost!” Heh.
Holy cats, you guys. I have been lucky enough to write a few pieces for the UK paranormal magazine Haunted Digital Magazine this year. I wrote a piece for their latest issue (out just right now!) about my beloved Anoka, the Halloween Capital of the World. I could not be happier with how the piece turned out. The design alone is so brilliant (to use a British descriptor) and so happy that Kristi Carlson’s awesome Halloween Honey logo design was incorporated! I am beyond giddy! Well done, old chaps! Cheerio, chip, chip and all that! ….too British? I don’t even know. Quidditch! The new Superman is British, did you know that?
Anyway, you all should download the latest issue of Haunted Digital Magazine RIGHT NOW to see what I wrote. It comes out to be a little over four dollars American.
Here is a little sneak peek:
Also, how adorable is this year’s Halloween button design?
Thanks so much to Haunted Digital Magazine for taking such good care of my words, thoughts and ideas! You guys are amazing!
Go here now! www.haunteddigitalmagazine.com and see what I have to say! Pretty proud to bring Anoka’s spooky history across the pond.
As many of you know, beside my Halloween Honeyin’ I am a stay-at-home. Yes, a stay-at-home-mom, but also a stay-at-home-stepmom, stay-at-home-auntie and stay-at-home caregiver. I don’t add the “mom” part usually because I am technically only a mother to one of the children I stay at home with, and I refuse to call myself a “housewife” because I’m not married to a goddamn house.
Even though I am a stay-at-home, my husband and I are not millionaires, so I work how I can. I take in other children as well as my part-time job at the ol’ haunted costume shop and my occasional writing gig here and there. Usually I only just have my little niece over who is two-years-old, same as my daughter, but in the summer the game changes. My stepson, who is twelve, is out of school and since he lives with my husband and I, he’s home every day, but I am now watching another school-aged child this summer, my friend Christy’s daughter Nina, who is ten.
Quinn and Nina. If my life were the Disney Channel Quinn and Nina would be a show. Oil and water being forced to tolerate each other with hilarious results! Well, real life is not so funny. Even though this go-round (thus far) has been leaps and bound better than the first summer we watched Nina two years ago, since they have both matured and press each other’s buttons a lot less, they are still going to mutually murder each other one of these days when my back is turned. Then, this afternoon at like, 3pm, a light bulb switched on over my head. The only thing these two truly have a common interest in is the paranormal. No joke. Quinn likes all this spooky stuff because that’s what I’m in to, and if you are an avid reader of my blog, you know all about my beloved Christy. And, what kid doesn’t love ghosts? Ghosts are the best.
Now, I am no educator, but I can teach something that doesn’t live in black and white. Paranormal investigation is a fluid concentration, that’s why they don’t teach it in school. I know enough on the topic to share my knowledge with these kids in a super fun way. I am also way too chicken shit to investigate on my own, but how does the saying go? “Those who can’t do, teach.” I decided to create a workshop for Quinn and Nina over this summer, I am calling it The Halloween Honey Presents: Paranormal Investigating for Kids. I am going to create a little textbook for them to read about all the broad, important topics that go with paranormal investigations, such as different types of hauntings, why historical research is important, all the equipment that is used to investigate and its purpose, why most ghosts aren’t scary (and some are), the importance of being respectful to the departed and so on. I am also going to include worksheets such as List the Top Five Haunted Locations You Would Want to Investigate and Why Do You Want To Ghost Hunt? It’s going to be like Ghost School! I cannot wait to get started.
Like any good teacher I am also thinking of “lesson plans” I can work in around movies and TV shows. “Hey, kids, let’s watch this episode of Ghost Adventures and discuss it when it’s over.” And “How great is Ghostbusters, amirite?!” All my favorite teachers in school had at least a few “movie days” a year.
Field trips are also going to be a big part of my workshop. Mostly local, and mostly when I have another person to watch the little ones. My hope is to have our End of Summer field trip to The Palmer House….we shall see how this plays out however.
I am currently looking to get my hand on some inexpensive paranormal investigation equipment since kids are going to be using this, novice kids, and I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on this stuff when we are basically using it as a learning tool.
Guest speakers is also something I am kicking around, but the only thing I would be able to offer these people for their time is copious amounts of mac and cheese, so my ambition may be getting the best of me on this one.
My goal is to have our first lesson on Friday, so I better get to work. I was just so excited to share my little idea with all of you! I shall keep you all posted on how my little adventure goes!
My summer crew
I will official turn 30 years old on June 20, 2013. No, I’m not having any sort of feelings about it. None, none at all.
My neurosis about exiting my 20′s is neither here nor there. Let’s talk about the awesome party I had on Saturday night!
As some of you may know I stayed at The Palmer House in delightful Sauk Centre, MN last July to mixed, scary results. Feel free to read all about the adventure here. This time, things went much smoother! No middle-of-the-night run-for-it!
I decided I wanted to celebrate this milestone birthday with a little flare. Since I obviously am a fan of spooky and historical places, I thought what better than to force all my friends and family to drive two hours to this sleeping little rural community in Stearns County? Sauk Centre holds a special place in my familial heart. My mother’s family is from the area, mainly New Munich and Melrose, but Sauk Centre is where the came to work, get married, so on. My grandma actually worked at The Palmer House in the 1950′s and was married at the church just down the street. So, for us to celebrate at this location is a double-header of awesome.
I mentioned this to a few people yesterday but I will say it here. You really don’t know how truly loved you are until you ask people to drive a long way, spend a lot of money and run the risk of being messed with by unseen spirits for your birthday….and a bunch of people actually show up. The only way I can describe this feeling is having a full heart. I felt truly loved yesterday. I really want to thank all the people who came. I hope I soon get the chance to return the joy you made me feel back to each and every one of you very, very soon. *Sniff, Sniff*
Speaking of the ghosts….it seemed everyone had a pretty uneventful (ghost-wise) evening. Oh, there were spirits alright, if you know what I mean WINK WINK and so on. But, aside from the booze, no funny business to speak of. I may have had a little incident this morning, but it’s hard to say.
We called it a night around 1am and everyone made their way to their respective rooms. I crashed pretty quickly and woke up at 4am. I didn’t fall back asleep despite my best efforts. Around 6am I decided to get out of bed, get dressed and seek out some coffee. Well, as I was getting dressed I took a little break at the small writing desk that sits in the entryway of the room. This was perfect since my husband was still asleep and there was a wall separating the areas so I could play on my phone and turn the lights on without disturbing him. As I sat in the chair tweeting up a storm I felt what I can only describe as a hand gently touching the top of my head. I shook it away, and felt the top of my head to make sure it wasn’t a spider or something equally living and horrifying. Nothing there. I looked up to see if I was sitting underneath an air vent and I wasn’t. At this point I was now wide awake and no longer all that scared so I didn’t really give it much thought.
As before, the staff at The Palmer House was AMAZING! Especially the lady who helped me/gave me shit all morning this morning. One of the reasons I woke up so early was because I realized I had left one of my birthday gifts, a coffee mug with my logo on it, in the pub when I went up to bed last night and I was eager to get it back. I was sitting in the lobby reading this newspaper for old people (it was honestly, a newspaper for old people. Checking email! What’s next?! Flying cars?!) by 6:30am in breezed this employee. She was an older lady whom I had never seen before and she looks at me and says, “What are you doing up so early?!” I smile sheepishly and mumble something about needing coffee before I ask her to search for my mug. She opens the joint up and I pony up to the counter in the restaurant for a cup of coffee….then beg her to help me find my mug. She even allows me to look in the still closed (and dark) pub myself to see if I could find it. No dice. She can’t find it either but assures me she will continue to look. Well, after a while my mom and her boyfriend Rick joined me in the restaurant for breakfast when the employee told me she was still looking for it. I was starting to get a little devastated. Why would have someone stole something so personalized? Well, it turns out my negative attitude was unnecessary! The gals working in the pub last night noticed I had left it and gave it to some friends of mine who still remained in the lobby area after I had gone to bed. Hooray! Of course, once I had it back the lady working there gave me endless grief about it, but she was awesome. She asked me and some of our friends where we were headed, Anoka and Blaine, respectively. ”Oh, I should come with you. I want to go to Joanne Fabric.”
Did you know this darling woman drives all the way to Maple Grove to go to Joanne Fabric? For those of you who know the logistics, that is one hell of a cruise for textiles.
Oh, I have some pictures!
*SORRY THE PICTURE FORMATTING IS ALL AKIMBO. WORDPRESS HAS BEEN A BIT OF A WANG LATELY IN THE PHOTO DEPT.*
My awesome cake of awesomeness!
Me and the woman who bore me 30 years ago this month. Ya know, Mom
Hanging with some of my girls!
Here is something of possibly paranormal note. Same girls, same pose, same moments in time, different cell phone camera. Hmmmm….
Here is my mug I had lost! Don’t ever leave me, mug. My sassy employee friend made me drink a cup of coffee out of it this morning once I found it. It was my fourth cup of coffee…
The OG Palmer House Crew from last summer. Myself, Christy and my sister Cori. Note the crutches. Even with a broken foot she still makes it!
Cori couldn’t stand up to take a picture with my but Christy could! #TeamNotBrokenFo
I was kicking it in Room 22 this time.
The lobby I had all to myself this morning. It was quite nice.
This morning with my husband.
Ghost Adventures filmed an episode at The Palmer House last year so in every public space this flyer was hung. Including the bathroom stalls! Unsettling!
“Haha! I tricked all these suckers into coming here!”
It was a grand time! Even though we didn’t have any ghostly ghost times, we had lively living times! I can’t wait to go back!
Today is the day! This afternoon my husband and I, along with lots and lots of friends and family, are making the two hour trek to Sauk Centre to spend the evening at The Palmer House! It’s not just any trip to a haunted hotel, it is my 30th Birthday Party! Woot! Granted, my actual birthday isn’t until June 20th (something my sister pointed out when she told me, “I’m not giving you your present on Saturday. Saturday isn’t your birthday!” Older siblings, you guys….) but this weekend was the only weekend in June The Palmer House wasn’t hosting a wedding reception or some other event. Popular place! So, I am having a birthday month, I have decided. Starting today. My toast is Birthday Toast, my coffee, Birthday Coffee…and so on.
Am I nervous to stay at The Palmer House after what happened last time? Not particularity. I think the dynamic will be a little different. The majority of the rooms at The Palmer House will be filled with people I know….as well as the rooms down the road at the AmericInn and Guest House….so I’ve got my bases covered. Plus, as cheesy as it sounds, my husband will be with me this time, and I have no problem delegating all ghost responsibilities to him. As well as forcing him to wake up with me and accompany me to the bathroom whenever I have to pee in the middle of the night.
Also, copious amounts of wine should help.
You know I will be blogging about this on Sunday. Maybe Monday, depends on how hungover I am. Wish me luck!
Here I am outside of The Palmer House last year before it all went to hell. Literally.
Here is something I’ve never experienced before: Listening to the new Nine Inch Nails single while an annoyed two-year-old yells “Mama! What are you doing?!” I am interrupting her Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, you see.
The last Nine Inch Nails album was released 2008. I downloaded this nugget for free because Trent Reznor made is so. The last NIN album I purchased was in April of 2007. The same month and year I was married. In fact, on our way back from our honeymoon in Stillwater I made my new husband stop at a Best Buy so I could buy it. My high school years were spent falling asleep to The Fragile (my personal favorite NIN album. I don’t care that it’s two discs and mostly about water) and exploring the NIN albums that came out before I was old enough to be listening to NIN.
What I am trying to say is I am a fan. I have waxed poetic about Trent Reznor before, mainly here and here. So I will go into a long explanation of my boundless love for him. Just trust me, you guys.
To have my daughter and NIN mix together is kind of a profound moment for me. Something I spent so much of my formative years on and something I am dedicating the rest of my life to, coming together. It’s surreal. Maybe I am just feeling so many feels recently because I am going to be turning 30 this month and my own mortality is settling in. Either way. EMOTIONS!
Anyways, today Nine Inch Nails released their first single in years, Come Back Haunted (it’s a sign since I am going to The Palmer House this weekend. I better not come back haunted) and it sounds like good ‘ol NIN. Love it.
In celebration of this, Trent Reznor is your Halloween Hottie of the Day!
I’m going to go back to feeling things, now. Have a Henry Hugglemonster day.
I’m sitting in my loft catching up on my DVR’d Ghost Adventures episode and something that I’ve noticed once before has again caught my attention. On this particular episode, an old bar in the south is haunted by a tragic, possibly murdered redheaded woman. Well, that a familiar story. I think I’ve heard the tale of another ghost in an entirely different location halfway across the country haunting away with her beautiful red locks. In fact, one of the ghosts in my Spooky Little Town is that of a tragic, possibly murdered redheaded woman.
What’s up with all these ginger broads being murdered?
I am not an official redhead. I have redhead roots. My dad is a redhead, my aunt Beth is a redhead, my cousins Olivia, Charlotte and Meri are all beautiful redheads. Due to this redheaded lineage my sister and I make for a couple of believable bottle redheads. We are both freckle-faces that burst into flames whenever we step into the sun so our manufactured red hair looks hella good. I feel a kinship with redheads, I feel that they are my family. Ron Weasly was my favorite character in Harry Potter. I love Ron Howard movies. I’m still rooting for Linsay Lohan. Prince Harry is my favorite royal. Reba Mcentire is one of the few country music singers I can stand. I love Lucy. And so on!
I have also noticed something when it comes to nerdy men and red hair. Nerds love redheads. My husband (huge nerd) get sad when I occasionally decide to go back to my natural brunette. He thinks I should be rocking some Strawberry Shortcake locks at all time, the redder the better. My sister’s husband (also a huge nerd) gets the same way when my sis goes a little blonder. I once worked with a guy who was a elementary school teacher and LARPer, he was quite possibly the biggest nerd who ever nerded, who refused to date someone who wasn’t a redhead (beggars can’t be choosers, amirite?) In fact, he asked me out back when I was a single redhead. I politely declined. I was even too cool for him, which is saying something. Do other men feel this way about the redheaded female? Like, cool football players….or cool dudes who play….fantasy football? I don’t know. What do cool guys do? Do they have hobbies that don’t revolve around football, make-believe or otherwise?
Anyways, I digress. Are these ginger females that are said to haunt these places only singled out because their hair makes them noticeable? Or do people just pull the hair shade out of the air, red being the most visually noticeable? Did redheaded women of yore just get murdered more often? Hard to say. Below I am going to share with you the story of the RedHeaded Woman who is said to haunt the location in my Spooky Little Down in an excerpt from the book I am working on about the hauntings in Anoka
The Jackson Hotel, Anoka’s very own Grand Hotel was used by the Anoka Halloween Committee in the later 1920’s into the 30’s and 40’s for congratulatory banquets. The banquets were quite the spectacle for a job well done to the committee after the busy Halloween season. Here the Anoka Halloween Committee members could rub shoulders with prominent citizens and out-of-town guests that were lucky enough to snag an invitation to the event held in the hotel’s elegant dining room.
The Jackson Hotel was built by Charles G. Jackson in 1870. The hotel was originally known as The Anoka House, changing its official name to The Jackson Hotel around 1880. The fire of 1884 destroyed large pieces of this building, causing extensive rebuilding in 1885. 1885 was also a significant year for The Jackson Hotel for another dark reason. That year, Anoka’s first murder occurred directly in front of The Jackson Hotel.
Local man, Peter Gross, was has having a seemingly innocent conversation with a friend of his, W.F. Mirick. Little did Gross know, Mirick had spent the day drinking and at some point in the day went home to retrieve his gun between drinks. Before Gross knew it, Mirick pulled his gun on him and began shooting. Peter Gross turned to run but didn’t get too far before her was unfortunately shot in the back by Mirick. Gross was brought inside of The Jackson Hotel by bystanders on the street only to die 20 hours later from his injuries in an 2nd floor hotel room.
This incident did not keep The Jackson Hotel from being the destination it was at the turn of the century. Many people who called the city of Minneapolis home in the 1890’s would spend their Sundays taking the 20 mile carriage ride into Anoka to have an impressive dinner at The Jackson Hotel and return to their homes following the river by carriage back to Minneapolis afterward.
The Jackson Hotel enjoyed its reputation of a Minnesota destination well into the 20th century. When prohibition hit in 1920, the same year as Anoka’s first Halloween celebration, The Jackson Hotel became a bootlegger’s haven.
Legendary Minnesota gangster Tommy Banks liked to use The Jackson Hotel for all manner of business. Rumor was Tommy Banks was not only running rum out of The Jackson Hotel, but also a booming brothel business. In fact, it is said one of the ghosts to haunt this location today was one of Tommy’s girls who met an unfortunate end at the hand of Tommy and his gang. Simply known as The Redheaded Woman, this spirit of an alleged murdered prostitute likes to make her presence known to those who come into modern day Jackson Hotel, now known as Billy’s Bar and Grill. The story of The Redheaded Woman begins in Minneapolis. Her, along with a few other working girls were brought into Anoka by taxi cab at Tommy Banks request for the evening. Allegedly, The Redheaded Woman caught the attention of the cab driver, who did quite a few of these runs for Tommy Banks. He had driver her into town before and always brought her back to Minneapolis when the night was over. He noticed her again, her red hair making an impression, and fully expected to take her along with the other woman in the cab with her back to Minneapolis at the end of the night.
The night went by, the cab driver returned to The Jackson Hotel at the end of the night to bring the women back to Minneapolis, but no re headed woman this time. Apparently, the other women looked shaken and her absence was not discussed, among the women or to the cab driver. He never saw her again.
Tommy Banks had reputation and pull during the prohibition era. A body has never been discovered in The Jackson Hotel during its many renovations, but it seems the spirit of this tragic woman remains.
Using the lower level of the establishment as her domain, The Redheaded Woman is known to be playful with mostly the staff. In the basement of Billy’s Bar and Grill is a cement room that can only be accessed from one door. This room is used for liquor storage and is kept under lock and key until it needs to be accessed by a staff member. A Billy’s bartender was in the basement needed to re-stock the bar. As he went to open the heavy door he couldn’t. After getting other staff members to help him push the door opened it seemed that cases of beer had been stacked up against the door from the inside. If a staff member were to do that as a prank there would be no way for the employee to then re-gain access outside the door. No one was in the room.
Also, the basement is where the ice machine is kept. A shiny steel surface makes up the outside of this machine and is used by staff only. Several staff members have caught a glimpse the reflection of a beautiful redheaded woman seemingly standing behind them.
The office of Billy’s Bar and Grill is also kept in the basement. Each server at Billy’s wears a beeper on their waist so they can be alerted when an order for one of their tables is ready. The beepers not in use are kept in the office on the manager’s desk. During one shift, a manager was doing paperwork at the desk when all of the pagers went off at the same time, without having been activated. It seems The Redheaded Woman doesn’t like to be ignored.
Unexplained knocks on walls and movements in a storage closet in the basement, as well as cold spots and negative and heaving feelings are also a sign The Redheaded Woman is nearby in the basement.
She doesn’t strictly stay in the basement. The Redheaded Woman is also blamed for the reason not a single picture adorning the walls of the dining room of Billy’s Bar and Grill remains straight. Every photo in the dining area, which are photos of Anoka’s past, is crooked. At this point, the staff has thrown up their hands and no longer bothers to straighten them.
However, it seems The Red Headed Woman has some company in the after-life at The Jackson Hotel, another woman who seems more content helping the staff rather than hindering them….
Oooo….yeah, I’m not putting the rest of what I have written about the other ghost that is said to haunt Billy’s. Too good of a story
This was just something that gave me pause as I caught up on my favorite he-men ghost hunters. Redheads are equally awesome and maddening, so I can see why some may find themselves in a sticky, murder-y situation.
*I was totally going to add photos of my lovely redheaded family members but WordPress is being a wang*
On this Memorial Day 2013 I want to thank all the men and women who have died serving this wonderful country of ours. I have been blessed in my life to know many great military personnel and also blessed enough to not have lost any of them in the course of battle.
Today I want to tell you the story of a fallen solider I have gotten to know over the past few months if only through newspaper clippings and historical records. This is the story of Harold Blair. Harold died serving in World War II at the age of 18.
Harold played an integral part to Anoka, Minnesota becoming known as The Halloween Capital of the World at the young age of 12. Below is how Harold Blair Anoka the official Halloween Capital of the World from my book I am currently working on about the history of Halloween in Anoka:
In 1936 The Minneapolis Journal decided to pump up sales for the year by offering their paperboys an incentive. Out of all the paperboys, the two hundred boys who sold the most issues of the daily Minneapolis Journal would be sent by train for a six day trip to Washington DC for a tour of the nation’s capital. An Anoka boy, 12-year-old Harold Blair, was one of the two hundred to win the trip. Harold’s victory did not go unnoticed by the powers-that-be in Anoka, and after the grasp for their Halloween title crown by Minneapolis, the city leaders weren’t going to let Harold travel to DC empty-handed.
Harold was to travel by train to Washington DC in February of 1937. The Commercial Club of Anoka wasted no time getting to work on a few things for Harold to take with him. Drug store owner Bernard Witte decided to take the reins when it came to Harold’s trip. He commissioned local artist Alyce Vick, who years prior created the design of the Witch Medallions that peppered the street of downtown Anoka, one of which rested directly outside of Witte’s store, to create something for Harold to wear. Alyce came up with a patch for Harold to affix to a sweater, colored with Halloween vibrant oranges, greens, yellow and black, a witch flying over the full moon, the words “Halloween Capital” floating in the sky adjacent to the moon, a fence and open gate, and the words “The Gateway to the Great Northwest” taking up the rest of the space on the bottom of the patch.
Alyce’s artwork couldn’t be sewn on any ‘ol sweater of Harold’s. A 12-year-old boy during the depression didn’t exactly have clothes fit to meet the nation’s leaders. Graydon Colburn, owner of the popular downtown Anoka clothing store Colburn-Hilliard and Commercial Club, member gave Harold one of his finest yellow sweaters to wear and made sure the patch was attached properly by local tailor Mr. Moberg.
After Harold’s outward appearance was taken care of the Commercial Club got to work on the single paragraph that would make the city of Anoka officially The Halloween Capital of the World.
Monday night, February 22nd, Harold and 199 other boys boarded a private train to Washington DC. After a brief respite in Chicago on Tuesday, the train arrived in DC on Wednesday morning. While in DC, the boys were lucky enough to attend a luncheon in the House of Representatives restaurant with Minnesota Representative Millard Rice. At this luncheon, Harold approached the Congressman and delivered the proclamation the Commercial Club had drafted. This brief exchange between a winsome local boy and a politician in Washington DC was all it took for Anoka, Minnesota to be proclaimed The Halloween Capital of the World by Congress.
A local man, Marty Higgins, was quoted in the Anoka Herald in 1937 upon Harold’s arrival back home, “He carried a smile so wide he could whisper in his own ear.”
Harold Blair went on to be a true America hero. He joined the Navy in 1943 at the age of 18. Harold Blair was killed the next year while aboard the U.S.S Indianapolis during the Okinawa invasion of World War II.
Thank you, Harold! Without your charm, wit and pride, Anoka may not be able to hold on to the title of The Halloween Capital of the World. A title the city holds so very dear.
I so wish I could find a photo of Harold online to share with you. He was an adorable kid with cute ears that stuck out
I know, I know, I write about spooky things. I like to write about haunting, ghosts all sorts of paranormal goodness on The Halloween Honey, but the truth is, in fact, I myself have never really had a true “paranormal” experience. Well, I guess that isn’t entirely true. I have experienced things that I know are completely unexplainable that have been the work of unforeseen forces. The best example of this I can think of is when my grandfather Roman passed away. He had been sick with a brain tumor for about a year when he was transferred to his final nursing home in St. Paul (run by nuns!) he passed away on a Wednesday morning. Even though he was my mother and aunt’s father, both my dad’s alarm clock and my uncle’s alarm clock did not go off the morning he died. They both started their respective jobs hours earlier than their wives (Roman’s daughters) and have been getting up thanks to their alarm clocks all week, expect for Wednesday morning. I know in my heart of hearts that was my Grandpa’s handiwork. So yes, things like that I have experienced. I guess what I should say is I’ve never ever seen a ghost, util this last Thursday night. No joke.
I am not one to make things up. Yes, I have a great deal of interest in the paranormal but I am not a….maker-upper. When we went to The Palmer House, one of the most haunted locations in the United States, I got nothing. I saw nothing, I felt nothing, I only left in the middle of the night because my co-horts were scared (I am going back in two weeks though, so we will see what happens then). So, for me to say “I saw a ghost,” please know that I’m not full of supernatural shit. This is why it has taken me two days to mull this over in my mind to make sure I saw what I think I saw before I wrote about it.
I was working on Thursday night at my beloved Party Papers and Costumes, very much a haunted location. When I am at work I often times don’t even think about the ghosts. We work, we help customers, we are busy bees at work. We only stop to think about the ghosts when they want some attention. A flying hat, flickering lights, a pile of plates sailing to the floor, that sort of thing. Thursday night I was in the basement of the Main Street Square building, where Party Papers resides in our basement stockroom. Our stockroom is made up of a long and narrow room within the basement, so there is a separate door to open once you are actually in the basement. I opened the door and put back the product I had in my hand, which went right inside the room. I didn’t even really have to step in the room to put it away; I was standing in the doorway.
Right outside the doorway we have a long rod that we hang a few overstock costumes on, as well as long Halloween decorations. On the rod on Thursday night was a singular Halloween decoration, a pumpkin-head spooky ghost thing. I’ve seen him a million times. He’s been down there since November and won’t come back up until August or so. I looked directly at him as I opened our stockroom door and fully expected to see him as I turned to shut the door and walk back into the basement proper. I turned to shut the door and standing right in front of me was not the Halloween decoration, it was a person. At first blush, I thought it was the shop’s owner Mary. Mary is a small woman with short black hair and happened to be wearing a white collared shirt that day. You know those split seconds it takes your brain to process things….my brain processed, “Hey, that’s not Mary.” This thing was decidedly male, had the same short black hair and white collared shirt on, but he was young. Ten or so, I’d say, and seemed to be wearing what I can only describe as a dinner jacket over his shirt. I physically turned my head away, after all those wires connected in my brain and I realized I was looking at something that shouldn’t be there. By the time I turned my head back, he was gone. There hung my little pumpkin-head Halloween decoration. I stood for a split second then moved into action. Those doors locked, the light switched flipped and I ran up those creaky old stairs faster than I have in a long time. My heart was nearly beating out of my chest when I got back to the shop. There stood Mary along with my co-worker Jess. I told them what happened. “Oh, how lovely! And it wasn’t me. I’ve been up here.” “They were probably just saying ‘hello.’” Jess offered.
These words of encouragement, while well intended, didn’t exactly calm me down. We’ve always assumed the ghosts in our shop were a male and a female, both older. So to see something that was defiantly a child was incredibly unsettling, just as unsettling as seeing, ya know, a damn ghost.
Since this happened early in my shift, I eventually calmed down and went about my business again (I did not go back into the basement, however) and gave it some thought, but didn’t dedicate my evening to it. When I got home I told my husband about it. He laughed at me (with me?) and as I retold it, I felt not the initial fear I felt, I was sort of okay with it. Not that I want to see the ghost on a regular basis, but I now knew it wasn’t really anything to be afraid of.
So, there you have it. I saw a ghost. I saw what I can only describe as a ghost, for the first time ever. Do I want to see more? Uh…..lemme get back to you on that one.
As you all know, I have gone on and on and on about the importance of the Anoka State Hospital in my beloved hometown of Anoka. But today, I take my yakking out of The Halloween Honey and in the Minn Post. Click the pic below to check it out.