A Few Hauntings

Are these true or myths? Depends on if you believe in ghosts….

The NorShor Theatre
Built as the Orpheum vaudeville house and once host to Ethyl Barrymore, Groucho Marx, and Charlie Chaplin, the NorShor Theatre still contains the spirit of those days—or at least one spirit. According to witnesses (bartenders closing up late in the night) the ghost is a man in his mid-20s or 30s and decked out in black evening attire common in the 1920s. He appears disheveled and sinister and has been seen climbing the south staircase that leads to the mezzanine. One night an employee, alone after closing, looked up into the mirror behind the bar and saw the ghost standing behind him. Patrons seated at the bar have also felt someone behind them, and drinks have reportedly disappeared. Some employees have even heard laughter when they thought the building empty.

Fairlawn Mansion
Built in 1891 by lumber baron Martin Pattison, Fairlawn is a sprawling Victorian mansion that later served as an orphanage. The house is thought to be haunted by a former servent girl, allegedly killed by her husband. The ghost supposedly helps visitors find specific displays and then she simply vanishes, her presence noted by a chill in the air. It is believed that she has returned to Fairlawn Mansion because it was one of the only places that she knew happiness in her short life. It is also said that the ghosts of two children are seen and heard near the basement’s old swimming pool. While nothing indicates any children died in the house, some believe that they may have accidentally drowned while living at the orphanage. County records from that period have been sealed.

Glensheen Mansion
Some believe the ghosts of Elisabeth Congdon and Velma Pietila—brutally murdered in the mansion (see page 242)—now haunt the house. There have allegedly been reports of shadowy figures walking about the basement (though the murders occurred on the second floor), lights turning on and off, a report of a piece of candy rolling back and forth across a dresser, and an incident in which a bathtub, disconnected form the house’s plumbing, filled with rusty water. There is very little support for the validity of these incidents.


  • Dierckins, Tony and Kerry Elliott. True North: Alternative and Off-Beat Destinations in and Around Duluth, Superior, and the Shores of Lake Superior. Zenith City Press, Duluth, Minnesota: 2003.
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