by Alicia Lebens



With Halloween drawing closer, tales of ghosts and ghouls become popular once more. Stories of paranormal activity around Stillwater are the subject of belief or skepticism, but are there ghosts at one of the oldest buildings in town?

“I’m not a believer in ghosts,” said Sean Pallas, Warden’s House Museum site manager. “Not just here at the house, but anywhere else.”

But not everyone agrees.

The Warden’s House Museum was built in 1853 as the residence of the Minnesota Territorial Prison warden and is one of the only remaining buildings left from territorial Minnesota. Over time, 13 wardens lived in the house, until 1914 when the prison moved to its present site in Bayport. The last warden living in the home was Henry Wolfer.

According to some paranormal believers, the ghost of Wolfer’s daughter, Gertrude (Trudy) Wolfer, still walks the halls after dying in the home shortly after giving birth to her son.

In 2012, Pallas invited the Johnsdale Paranormal Group to come to the home a do an investigation into the stories.

“We have had interest over the years to have people come in and do readings,” Pallas said. “I decided to let the Johnsdale group come in because of their professionalism.”

While Pallas said he doesn’t believe they have found anything that would convince him of ghostly apparitions, he said it is a fun thing to do around Halloween.

“When we invited them back in 2013, we had them do a presentation for the public,” Pallas said. “With two showings, we had people lined up out the door and down to Main Street.”

Well over a hundred people come to the first Johnsdale presentation last year, so Pallas said invited them back again this year — now with a third showing.

“The group has visuals and recordings, and last year not everyone had the chance to see,” Pallas said.

Johnsdale Paranormal Group has gone across the country to investigate other paranormal activity, and will include stories from other sites in the presentation.

“They do a really good job just presenting information and pictures of just weird stuff and letting you come up with your own conclusions,” Pallas said. “The even have some reports from private homes that they don’t include on their website, so our visitors will get some exclusive stuff.”

The presentation, “Paranormal Investigations: Techniques and Theories,” has three showings on Saturday, Oct. 25, at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Call 651-439-5956 or email for more information.


Contact Alicia Lebens at


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