We all know that Anoka is the Halloween capital of Minnesota and, in some claims, the world, but there are other scary places in the state and I have narrowed it down to my five favorites.


  • 1

    Wabasha Street Caves

    Wabasha Street Caves are sandstone underground caves available for tours. They are decorated with brick walls, stucco ceilings and carpet or tile floors. Apparitions seen here include a man in a panama hat, another man who meets a woman in the bar area around 3AM, a man who sits in the audience of the theater, a woman who appears to be searching for something, and various gangsters who are said to be fond of children. One time, a little boy was found and photographed sitting happily at a table with several apparitions sitting around him.

    Minnesota Historical Society
  • 2

    St. James Hotel

    The hotel was built in 1875, and several spirits are believed to haunt it. The first is a hostile entity that haunts all floors of the building, and which has been known to attack guests and to slam doors. The second is a lady in a white dress who has been seen in the rooms of guests late at night. The third is a workman in overalls, who is believed to have fallen to his death during the construction of the building. He has been seen by guests and staff sitting on the grand staircase, but when approached, he fades away. Other faces have been known to frequent the basement of the hotel, which stare at people present until they leave the lowest floor of the building. Cold spots, ghostly whispering voices and the sounds of babies crying when there is no one around have also been reported in the historic hotel.

    Minnesota Historical Society..St. James hotel behind the Red Wing Bldg.
  • 3

    Anoka State Hospital

    The Anoka State Hospital has had many names in its past, including First State Asylum for the Insane, Anoka State Asylum, Anoka State Hospital and, most recently Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center. It opened in 1900 and is said to be haunted by spirits of those who have died here over the years. Like many old mental health facilities, rumors abound of neglect and abuse, but add to that stories of underground tunnels through which patients tried to escape. Witnesses say they have heard phantom footsteps, noises, whispers and laughter and felt cold spots within the building and the tunnels, which reportedly have been closed to all but maintenance workers and security guards.

    Minnesota Historical Society
  • 4

    West Hills-Owatonna

    Ghosts of orphaned children are rumored to linger in this former orphanage, laughing audibly. Witnesses also have seen the floor move and warp and smelled phantom cigar smoke. Books also have moved, the temperature has been known to change drastically, and phone calls have been made to the police department from the empty building. The third floor is said to be especially haunted.

    Bonus item. Reports of some hauntings at It's 5 O'clock somewhere in Owatonna.

    Minnesota Historical Society
  • 5

    Milford Mine Disaster-Crosby

    On Feb. 5, 1924, Milford Mine, a manganese mine, was flooded when Foley Lake rose, killing 41 miners. The site is rumored to be haunted by the spirits of the miners who were killed or who witnessed the tragedy.

    Bonus item: It's rumored that the 40 Club Hotel in nearby Aitkin is haunted as well.

    Minnesota Historical Society