"Death is no more than passing from one room into another." – HELEN KELLER

Deep South Paranormal Reviewed

This review will be short and sweet. It took all of ten minutes to develop a complete viewer evaluation. To sum it up, Deep South Paranormal is Duck Dynasty meets paranormal investigation. I don't think I need to elaborate any further on the subject. 

As much as I am a proud Southerner, I was hoping from a new Southern paranormal show a little more science and logic and a little less "frog's breath wards off evil spirits". Maybe someday....

Reader Submission - Truly Bizarre: Haunting at Minnesota State University

Truly Bizarre: Haunting at Minnesota State University

It’s not unheard of for college dorms and campuses to sometimes gain auspicious reputations for paranormal happenings. As so many young minds and imaginations filter through the same halls over decades, it’s reasonable to assume that each class may twist local tales to create deeply seeded urban legends. After all, who doesn't love a good ghost story – especially one that’s possibly fabricated to bamboozle genuinely curious investigators?

At the crux of such cases, one must ask: How can we tell the difference between an urban legend and a true story? What lies at the root(s)?

In the case of Minnesota State University (MNSU) in Mankato, MN, one ghostly legend has long-persisted to catch the attention of local media, ghost investigators and students alike. Could it be more than a tall tale, some ask? Only some digging might reveal the truth.

McElroy Hall’s Most Unconventional Haunt

The MNSU co-ed dorm, McElroy Hall, is fabled to house multiple spirits (by some accounts), one of which – a panty-snatching specter – is most well-known.

No, you really heard that right...(Ghosts in your underwear drawer? Hard to believe, indeed!)

With a ghostly panty-bandit on the loose, the story seems to have all the markings of a co-ed urban legend. Yet some accounts may paint a different picture.

Accounts from On-Site

We turn to Robb Murray of the Mankato Free Press, who beat the pavement in 2006 to find out exactly what’s going on at McElroy Hall.

After several failed attempts to glean evidence for the existence of the spirit from multiple people, Murray writes: “[The ghost] is in at least three books, listed on at least one Web site. Could it be that it’s simply a recycled tale that makes for good copy? Helps sell books? Really, who can resist retelling the story of a ghost that goes on panty raids?”

While in the end no definitive explanation from Murray’s investigation broke free of “rumor” or “legend”, he was able to establish that according to one interviewee – residence hall maintenance worker, Rich Wheeler – a resident once died in “Mac” (McElroy Hall). While he could not say exactly how or when, this adds interesting credence to the story.

Pealing Back the Layers

With the possible culprit in sight, additional examination might reveal whether correlation is actually causation; or if the unfortunate and untimely death of a student decades ago was simply a convenient hook-line-and-sinker for baiting curiosity even today.

One reference in particular echoes the same cautious-curiosity reflected in Murray’s prose. The Shasta Supernatural Investigators on list the phenomenon at MNSU as “Unknown..[sic] possibly Visiting Spirits… possibly pranks by students…” Though perhaps even more tellingly, the following line reads, “Crawford Dorm, the main storeroom, and Crawford-McElroy Complex all claim genuine hauntings. No evidence of pranksters has been detected.” [For a map of land, which illustrates the connection of the Crawford Residence Community and McElroy Residence Community, see this MNSU map.]

If it’s not pranks, then what is it, really? Perhaps only time will tell – or maybe a more thorough investigation should be sought to definitively put this case to rest.

Whether witnesses are pealing back the veil in McElroy Hall or having the wool pulled over their eyes is up for debate. But one thing is for certain – McElroy Hall has amassed a strange reputation in regional paranormal circles and one that perhaps warrants a closer look.

Emmitt House

In the mid to late 1800s, Waverly, Ohio's way of life was heavily influenced by one man named James E. Emmitt. He was the town's main entrepreneur and self described first millionaire, earning his wealthy from hauling grain, operating a mill, making whiskey and "Emmitt's Discovery". He "discovered" his snake oil cure-all after a mule kicked a can of fuel in to a vat of spirits. Why he would want to drink it much less sell it is beyond anyone's understand.

Using his influence, the county seat moved from Piketon to Waverly. The Ohio and Erie Canal route was changed as well. If he didn't already have his hands full, Emmitt decided to build a restaurant/hotel on the site of a former hotel owned by one of his former business partners. The original wooden hotel was built in 1850.  A fire killed 3 people and destroyed much of the structure. In 1861, Emmitt rebuilt the hotel using bricks, hiring a man named Madison Hemings to do the construction. Hemings is believed to have been the illegitimate son of Thomas Jefferson by a slave woman named Sally Hemings. Whether this is true or not, it is uncertain. The hotel became popular among the salesmen, travelers and workmen. James Emmitt died in 1893 at the age 87 after losing much of his fortune. His hotel continued operating after his death in one form or another. It is also believed former visitors and owner have never left.

Stories about the hotel dictate it may have been a stop on the Underground Railroad. The discovery of bricked over hidden rooms and maze-like features of the basement support this rumor to be actually fact. Is it possible the spirits employees and guests encounter in that part of the hotel be that of slaves who died en route to freedom? There are also rumors it may have operated as a gentleman's club at some point.

James E. Emmitt has been seen but smelled mostly. Witnesses have reported smelling cigar smoke so often cigars are routinely left for him. Some have seen an elderly female spirit wearing an old-fashioned apron, cleaning things. Two children believed to be members of the Harper family roam the building. The family stayed at Emmitt House and was nearly wiped out by smallpox, the disease that killed many people in the town including two of Emmitt's children.  Other paranormal reports include voices, shadows and lights from unknown sources.

It is not certain if these are the only spirits allegedly haunting Emmitt House. The current owners are in the process of restoring the building again (It was fully restored once before in 1989). Maybe the activity will stir up more lingering spirits.


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