July 29, 2006: Local paranormal group investigates the William A. Irvin

On this day in Duluth in 2006, a local paranormal group conducted an investigation aboard the museum ship William A. Irvin, a retired ore boat that offers tours, including an annual “Haunted Ship” tour every late October. According to Duluth paranormal researcher Mike Flaherty, the group “experienced several ghostly encounters including an electronic camera that unplugged itself and an orb of light that was captured on video. The group also captured audio recordings of a female voice saying ‘medical misuse’ and several unexplained growling sounds. During the investigation, one door did slam shut and then open itself again. The investigators were unable to explain this because the door had a latch which would always lock when the door was shut.” Since that time there have been at least three other investigations by the Minnesota Paranormal Group in November 2009, Midwest Paranormal Files in June 2011, and Duluth Paranormal in October 2012. The Midwest Paranormal Files crew recorded video and audio which can be viewed on their website, and some audio clips supposedly of Irvin paranormal events are available on Youtube. Many suspect that the spirit haunting the ship is the victim of a 1964 accident aboard the ship, as described by the Duluth News Tribune at the time: “An International Falls seaman was scalded to death and two others were injured Saturday night in a boiler room accident aboard the steamer William A. Irvin as it was en route to Duluth for an iron ore cargo. Dead is William Wuori, 59. In fair condition at a Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, hospital are Leon Shuffitt Jr., Bensonville, Illinois, and Stanley Pennell, 43, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.… Wuori, Shuffitt, and Pennell were on watch in the fireroom when a boiler tube broke. Water from the tube sprayed on the boiler and exploded into steam which scalded the men.”

The ore boat William A. Irvin shown navigating the Duluth Canal in a lithographic postcard made between 1925 and 1939. (Image: Zenith City Press)