The Nearly Departed: Minnesota Ghost Stories & Legends

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Minnesota Historical Society, 2009 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 289 pages
Everyone loves a good ghost story.

Phantoms of the Paramount, Shadows on Third Avenue, the Legend of Ann Lake, Boy in the Red Cap. Veteran ghost hunter J. Michael Norman has uncovered almost three dozen stories of legitimate Minnesota eeriness to thrill readers. Norman, author of five nationally popular collections of ghost tales, interviewed local storytellers and combed newspapers to document legends involving supernatural and strange occurrences. Following old and fresh leads, he gathered stories from all over the state.

Ghost stories have existed as long as humans have been telling tales. Perhaps it's our curiosity of what happens to us and our loved ones after death, perhaps they explain phenomena that we do not understand, or maybe, just maybe, the dead do walk the earth. Norman does not attempt to prove or disprove the existence of ghosts but instead allows readers to make up their own minds. His tales feature people's strange and paranormal experiences in quite ordinary places, including homes, theaters, B and Bs, and restaurants. Many of the engaging and hair-raising accounts involve strange and frightening incidents of the last fifty years; some document very recent unexplainable or spectral events. The book includes a map and a public site appendix targeting the hauntings' locations--from Taylors Falls and Pipestone to Northfield and Nobles County--for Minnesotans who may want to "pass through" the sites.

Beware: these stories do not have conclusive endings since they remain a mystery to this day. But perhaps that's best. An ending would just take the fun out of it.
 

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Contents

PeekaBoo
3
Shadows on Third Avenue
17
Heiny Hanson
24
A Final Parting
33
No Escape
37
Forget Us Not
44
What Tunis Parkin Saw
52
The Lydia Mystery
57
A Cosmic Resort
150
Lost in Time
164
Dust tO Dust
171
Phantoms of the Paramount
175
Getting Billed
183
The Lovelorn Farmer
191
The Watchers
200
Doorway to the Other Side
214

The Caretakers
70
The Legend of Ann Lake
78
Frozen John
85
The Late Mrs Randall
90
Incident on Highway 11
95
Mistress Molly
98
Bullets Cant Kill Them
108
Night Clerk
118
Unfortunate Herman
132
is Something Stirs
136
The Lutefisk Ghost
143
The Nanny
224
Was It Mrs Moriarity?
231
Sally Coffee
234
Old Earl
239
The Mad Priest
249
The Boy in the Red Cap
256
Another Fifteen Frights
271
Acknowledgments
283
Selected Bibliography
285
Index to Place Names
288
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Michael Norman is a retired associate professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls. He has assembled and co-written five collections of American ghost stories.

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