home hotel pub menu history contact attractions happenings occasions  
palmer haunt

Interested in investigating The Palmer House Hotel?

View our Investigation Terms & Rules & submit your Investigation Questionaire before contacting The Palmer House Hotel. Prior approval is required. Please send an email to request permission, discuss the terms and rules, and discuss your completed Investeigation Questionaire.  NO ONE will be allowed to investigate without preauthorization.  Please, no phone calls for this type of information - email only!



SAUK CENTRE, Minn. (WCCO) – This Friday, little ghosts and goblins will ring your door bell looking for a trick or treat. But if it’s real scares you’re looking for, there’s one place in Minnesota that is the best. This isn’t the kind of place that will make you jump with fright, but it may make your skin crawl. This week, your votes took us to central Minnesota to find a real haunting at the Palmer House Hotel. Some places get under your skin in ways you can’t explain. For Kelley Freese, that’s what the Palmer House Hotel in Sauk Centre has done to her. Read the rest of the full story here!

By Natalie Nyhus






Read the Travel Channel's blog and comments about the filming at the Palmer House Hotel

View The Full Episode - Click The Video Below!



Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin head to the Great Lakes to explore the demonic activity overrunning the Palmer House Hotel in Sauk Centre, MN. The investigation gets personal when a dark spirit beckons Bagans and Goodwin, speaking their full names. Click the video below!


Zak, from Ghost Adventure's, learns that a man hung himself in the hotel bar. Click the video below! 


The guys document a strang energy in the basement of the Palmer House Hotel. Click the video below! 




Do you believe in the nearly departed? Paranormal Radio Host Dave Schrader does.



"MY GHOST STORY" EPISODE #15. Click to watch the full episode.

"Possession at the Palmer"- Bill and Chris Schneider visited the historic Palmer House Hotel in Sauk Centre, MN on a lark; little did they know what was in store. "I.C.U. Ghosts"- In South Pittsburgh, Tennessee, an old abandoned hospital is home to a terrifying seven feet tall shadow figure nicknamed Mr. Black. "Simon Says Die"- The site of a grizzly accident, the Bissman Building is haunted by the spirit of F.W. Simon, an employee whose head was severed by a freight elevator on his last day of work. "The Curse of the Irish"- When Seattle's first morgue was converted into a commercial building, some of the former clients apparently decided to stick around as spirits! "Uneasy Underground"- Michael Jones and Cyndi Hubb are tour guides at the haunted Underground Tunnel in Portland, OR. They report tourists frequently get nervous and scared on the tour and it's no wonder, considering these tunnels housed numerous atrocities in the 1880s. "Final Family Farewell"- Renee Oaks lost her parents in a tragic car crash on a fateful trip home from the airport. Many years later, Renee connected with Lisa Huston, who specializes in connecting loved ones with family members who have passed on.


The Most Convincing Haunted Places in Central Minnesota — Our Top 5. By: Abby Faulkner

Read the full story here!

Many people lack opinions on the supernatural – until faced with a situation they simply can’t explain.

Such is the case with Kelley Freese.

Freese has owned The Palmer House Hotel for about a decade, knows every room inside and out and has a treasure trove of fascinating and chill-inducing tales. Freese says she never really gave the concept of hauntings much thought until she took over Palmer House – and in chatting with Freese and her employees, it’s clear reports of the paranormal through the years are just too numerous to count.

A brief history snapshot for you – Palmer House was built as “Sauk Centre House” in 1863, gutted by fire just 40 years later and resurrected by an enterprising businessman named R.L. Palmer. To use a favorite expression of mine, Palmer decided to “go big or go home” when he developed the hotel, expanding the space to nearly 40 rooms complete with washrooms and electricity – not typical for a hotel of that time. This endeared the hotel to many, and because this was the era before apartment buildings, some people lived here full time. A few raised families. Many had hard lives, and yes, some even died here. Basically, the place has a very eclectic history. Is there any wonder that there would be lore swirling around each room?

Today, the Palmer House attracts curiosity seekers from all over, including myself. I experienced a few things during my 1.5 hour tour that I just don’t know how to explain away. Check out video highlights from the trek and tell me if I’m crazy. I’m not gonna lie – the Palmer House Hotel is sitting in the number one spot on this list for a very good reason.



The Palmer House, along with Bill and Chris Schneider, was featured on the Biography Channel! Watch it commercial free! The user of this video removed it from YouTube. We are working on relocating the video.



  • A successful Paranormal Conference!
    The first ever paranormal conference was held at The Palmer House January 18-20, 2008.  Hosts of the conference was Darkness On The Edge Of Town, www.darknessevents.com.  Seminars included 2 television celebrites, Chris Fleming and Patrick Burns and Darkness Radio host Dave  Schrader.  Many other professionals from the paranormal field were here as well to help answer the hard questions.  More information about personal experiences, evidence, video, evp's, and photos are coming soon.

  • January 20, 2008
    Paranormal - Ghosts- Chris Fleming/Patrick Burns Chris Fleming and Patrick Burns from Dead Famous and Haunting Evidence join us fresh off of the Palmer House trip to reveal evidence found there, talk about the Frank's box and their experiences with it, and delve deeper into paranormal theory.   
    Download Now Chris Fleming/Patrick Burns Hour 1 (MP3 - Right Click and choose Save Target As)
    Download Now Chris Fleming/Patrick Burns Hour 2 (MP3 - Right Click and choose Save Target As) 

  • From the Paranormal Conference, A personal experience written by Minnow Speidel

  • From the Paranormal Conference, A personal experience written by Jacob Kempfert

  • "We had started investigation 12:30am after all employees had gone home. There was only couple other guests staying in hotel. One of them had gone out for the night. We started setting up toys to bait sprits with and making sure all silverware was same directions on all tables in dinning room." [read more]

  • "The Palmer House Hotel is one of Minnesota's finest ghost experiences. Guests of the hotel report many strange occurrences such as a young boy bouncing a ball down a hallway, eerie feelings in the basement area, disembodied voices, and one entity throws glasses around the bar area." [read more]
  • "Before the Palmer House was constructed, the Sauk Centre House stood on the property and acted as a hotel, brothel, and saloon. The Sauk Centre House mysteriously burned down in 1900 and many living in the town at the time did not seem to mind, as most thought of the house as a place of "ill repute." [read more]

  • "The Hosts of Twin Cities-based Darkness on the Edge of Town Paranormal Radio Show, Dave Schrader and Tim Dennis, are taking their show on the road and bringing paranormal TV celebrities Patrick Burns from Court TV's Haunting Evidence and Chris Fleming, the psychic sensitive from Dead Famous on the Biography Channel, to explore the Haunted Palmer House Hotel in Sauk Centre, Minn." [read more]

  • "The Palmer House Hotel has been featured in two books about the paranormal and is a favorite destination for paranormal investigative groups. The hotel is known for having more than 10 possible spirits residing there." [read more]

  • "According to a few eyewitnesses a door to one of the "active guest rooms" slammed shut more than one time. According to Kelley and a lot of the paranormal experts, Saturday seemed to be the more "active night". [read more] (ksax.com)

    Click image for larger view.
    ghost picture

    What is wrong with this picture?

    Kelley, owner of The Palmer House Hotel, Restaurant and Pub, received this picture by e-mail from a guest. The guest reportedly walked around the Hotel and took photos of some of the Hotel's uniqueness and distinct features, not realizing she was capturing something much more. This photo was not altered in any way.


NEW! Shadow, Palmer House Pub, Video Evidence
MNPSG Southern Team

Jason Davis - On The Road Again, Channel 5 News & Dave Schrader, 2008

Paranormal Investigation w/Patrick Burns, Chris Flemming, and Dave Schrader, 2008

Twin Cities Paranormal: Palmer House Hotel Halloween Investigation 2008

Midnight Walkers Paranormal Research Society - The Palmer House Silverware Inspection



"My sister in law and I had some small experiences in room 17!  I kept hearing my name being called when I was the only one in the room and the entire floor!  The voice was a woman’s and was in the room with me.  My sister in law sat in the chair next to the tv and ended up moving from there after ten minutes.  She had this strong sadness come over her and she didn’t know why.  She was tearing up and everything.  Then when we went to bed she felt someone laying on top of her.  My sister and her friend stayed in room 22 and did not experience anything, but that was okay."
(Becky Ballard, 9-12-09, Hotel Guest in Room 17)

"Last night, my girls (Angie and Jenna) and I stayed at your hotel with my mother-in-law, Sandy.  The stay was a birthday present to me and girls from Sandy because she knows the three of us have an interest in ghosts.  (To believe or not to believe)  Well, we arrived with the expectation that nothing would happen but we would have bragging rights about spending the night at a ‘real’ haunted hotel." [Read More]
(Tracee Swanson, 10-11-09, Room Unkown, Adults/Teenagers)

"Lying in bed and waiting to fall asleep after investigating when I start hearing my name being called.  I tell them I’m trying to sleep now.  I’ve been trying to communicate with someone all night, now I’m trying to sleep and I find this a bit rude of you to come to me now.  But if you do have something to say and it’s something short, I would like to hear it. I hear the name Benjamin and then I got the name Lancaster.  I heard Lancaster a few times and then they put the names together as Benjamin Lancaster.  Then I hear the name Ellie.  Seemed like this Benjamin person was looking/searching for an Ellie."
(Michelle, 1-11-09, Room Uknown, Adult)

"Room 9, the name of “Chapman” comes to them. Room 11, an 18 year old having a baby. Cramden”-suicide in the early 50’s. Leisel."
(Total stranger walking in to The Palmer House, 9-1-07)

"Yesterday I was coming down the stairs then I heard a thump, thump, thump, WUMP.  Then a twisted broken shape of an old man with a snapped cane looked at me then evaporated.  Just like snap!  Not like gone, like having the skin floating off.  Fast, until nothing was left!  Maybe because the palmer house was built on top of a destroyed one, the spirits of the perished might be here.  But nobody knows what the true reason is."
(Greg & Laurel, 12-30-06, 10 years old)

"When we were going to bed, the thermostat got cooler!  And nobody had turned it down!  And when we went to bed I heard a ball tap up stairs.  We heard a knock at the door at 1:30AM.  A book was open and when we returned to the rooms it was closed. This is a cool Hotel."
(Atreya, 10-22-06, Room 11, Child Age Unknown)

"While sleeping I was awoke by something slapping my bare leg that hung out of the covers.  As my eyes fluttered open I saw something scoot by my face.  Needless to say, I had a hard time staying asleep after that.  Also, a really cold pocket of air was by my face for a short while, and the bathroom floor kept getting mysteriously wet for no reason."
(Jessica Rose & Daryl, 10-08-06, Room 2-3, Adult)

"I was sitting in the bar having a pizza when suddenly a shadow flew on the wall in front of me and I felt wind all around me. When I looked behind me, though, there was nothing there.  Okay, that was only my first night, so tonight I’ll write more.  Wow, our sound machine turned itself off last night.  I woke up to go to the bathroom about 3:00 and it was off."
(Paul Landiero, 8-25-06, Room 9, Adult)

"I was in the bathroom around noon and I went to wash my hands when the water, which I had put on cold, all of a sudden was burning and steaming hot.  Then I went to tell my family and wrote it right here."
(Parker Hill, 8-06-06, Adult stopped for lunch)

"We were staying to show our horses at the Arabian show.  Sunday morning we were up early at 6AM.  About 6:45, we heard a knock on the door-very clearly!  I went immediately to the door and there was no one there, not a soul in sight up or down the entire hallway.  And apparently the ghost in this hotel lies to read westerns, as a paperback copy of “Streets of Laredo” disappeared from our room as well!"
(Leesa Schofield, 9-06-03, Room 19, Adult)

"We came in here one night because I read in Minnesota Ghost Stories about this place.  I wanted to come here just to see if anything happened.  My friend and I were sitting down at the bar and we met these group of kids around our age.  They had a video camera and asked if we wanted to go in the basement with them.  We went down there and started to look around and the girl w/the camera asked me if I wanted to video tape.  She told me to go in the little dark room.  I had the light on the camera so I could see.  I walked in and I hate the dark to begin with, but it felt extra spooky in there.  I had the camera on the wall and there was a door leaning on the wall.  As I had the camera in that direction, the door fell down right in front me me and made this huge bang.  Everyone screamed and ran out of there and I was frozen in place.  There was definitely something strange about that basement.  I never got those people’s numbers but we do have that on video tape.  That was definitely an experience I will never forget!"
(Elise Rodgers 10-29-?, Room 12, Adult)

"The weekend of August 6-7, 2005, we were staying for the Arabian horse show.  On the first night of our stay in room 13 at The Palmer House, Betsy’s cell phone rang around 1:46AM.  The phone displayed the letter “P” and said no contacts as that name.  In the morning, she double checked her phone under recent calls and it showed up as unavailable.  On the second day, we were unable to find both our keys.  Emma had come up to the room and used one of the keys to let herself in and the rest of us had used the other one.  Betsy then left with her purse and had not taken a key with her.  We were looking all over for one of the keys when Betsy returned and said she had on of the keys in her purse, even though it was not there before."
(Betsy, Carol, Emma, Mary, Kelsey, 9-6-05, Room 13, Adults/Kids)

"I arrived at The Palmer House on Saturday, June 10, at approximately 3:00pm.  My mother and I were traveling together and we were meeting my brother and his wife for a two night stay." [Read More]
(Becky and family, 6-10-06, Rooms 17, 18 and 19, Adults)

"I was reading my fav book on the steps and all of the sudden I heard my cousins name and my name.  Then I heard a snap sound.  Then I saw a figure.  It looked like it was a mother and her boy.  It looked like the boy was bouncing his ball and I heard a big groan.  I just heard a lil girl and it must have been a goast. The toilet flushed once and no one was in there.  I was just sitting outside of room 16 and I heard something in the hall.  I looked up and down the when I heard footsteps and no one was there."
(Briannah, 7-29, 30, 31-06, Rooms 16 and 13, Child)

"Gost’s come here.  Do some werd things. This Place is HANTED"
(Kantrovich, 5-03-05, Room 21, Child)

"My friend and I came from Fargo looking for a good scare, and we did see a few things.  Upon arriving, I immediately felt drawn to a specific chair in the front entryway…then, after we checked in, I felt drawn down the hallway to my right at the top of the stairs on the 2nd floor, but we were staying in room 17 (on the 3rd floor), so we went all the way up and dropped our things.  Shortly after being in the room, we found that many of our batteries were dead (we’d brought some equipment to catch/record something) and so we left again to go buy some." [Read More]
(KEJ, 10-22-06, Room 17, Adult)

"Ever since I directed a play in a haunted theatre in Cheyenne, Wyoming, I’ve been curious about ghosts and haunted places, and when I travel, I try to go and see peculiar places with eerie stories associated with them.  A couple of years ago, in France, I stopped in a supposedly haunted castle, on the edge of a creepy forest.  In that castle, there had once been a witch trial, and the place even had its resident black cat!" [Read More]
(Paula Egan Wright, 7-13-03, Room 13, Adult)

"We stayed at The Palmer House for the 1st time to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.  When we told our friends that we were going to be staying there, the common response that we got was “That place is haunted.”  I didn’t mind that too much since I grew up in a home that we considered “haunted” also.  Some strange unexplained happenings were experienced there too." [Read More]
(Joel & Brenda Wollem, 10-28-06, Room 1, Adults)

"As with any new job, I wanted to be sure that I made a good first impression. I vacuumed the dining room and made sure that all of the tables were set with placemats and silverware. I was slightly disgusted that, on several tables, the silverware seemed to have been thrown on haphazardly. But I straightened it all out and went to check the bathrooms. A few hours later, I went to double-check that everything was clean. When I checked the dining room, many of the sets of silverware had been moved!" [Read More]
(Night Clerk, June-August 2002)

"A young boy died while staying at the hotel, and he can be seen and heard bouncing his ball down the hallways. A man haunts many of the rooms of the hotel and is believed to throw glasses in the bar. Mysterious knocks have been heard from several of the rooms in the hotel. Is the hotel is haunted by Sinclair Lewis. There are bodies and bones buried beneath the hotel in the basement." [Read More]
(Excerpts from “The Minnesota Road Guide to Haunted Locations” - By Chad Lewis & Terry Fisk - Ghost Lore)

Stories told to current owner, Kelley:

"An older couple came in to have lunch one day.  She informed me that her grandfather, Clarence Grindy (sp?) had fallen down the first flight of stairs, leading up to the hotel, and died."
(As told to the owner Kelley by lunch guests, 1-31-08)

Previous Owners:
Had an electric knife turn on in the kitchen and vibrate across the table.
Would hear children in the hallways and there were none (owners live here)
Heard “voices” join in with a group of singing musicians.  They heard it, too!

Regularly “rearrange” the rolled silverware settings in the dining room.
Water turning on and off in various sinks while no one is around.
Hanging stemware shooting out of their racks across several feet.
Candle holders sliding across a table in the pub when no one was near.
Floor lamps in the lobby turning on and off.
TV in the pub turning on VERY loudly and  only night clerk in the lobby.
Glasses not simply falling off of shelves, but seemingly “thrown” down.
Temperature dropping late at night in the lobby for 20 minutes or so.
Hearing people up in the hotel at night when we didn’t have any guests.
Following a “guest” upstairs to only have them simply NOT be there.
Children asking me who that little boy is sitting on the steps.  I don’t see him.

A row of books simply falling off of a shelf and all landing upright & in order.
Complaining about children playing in the hallway at night & no kids are here.
Complaining about noise of us rearranging furniture during the night.  We don’t.
TV’s turning on late at night in unoccupied rooms and then turning off again.
Sudden dramatic drop in temperature for short periods of time.
Complaining about noisy guests above them and they’re already on the top floor.

Palmer House Hotel & Restaurant - 500 Sinclair Lewis Avenue - Sauk Centre, MN 56378 - Phone: 320 351 9100 - Toll Free: 866 834 9100
Palmer House Hotel & Restaurant is a member of Minnesota Hotel & Lodging Association and National Restaurant Association
Corporate Discounts Available. AAA Approved. National & State Historic Registrar.