In March of 2014, Johnsdale Paranormal Group traveled to Walker, MN to investigate claims of paranormal activity at the Historic Chase Hotel. The hotel was opened on June 8th, 1922 by long time Walker residents, Lewis Woodruff (Bert) and Louisa Chase, and was heavily touted as one of the most luxurious and up to date hotels in the state of Minnesota at that time. Bert and Louisa had been in the hotel business for over 20 years, and had planned to turn the new hotel over to their only son, Loren, upon their retirement. However, just one week prior to the grand opening of the hotel, Loren passed away after battling a bad case of pneumonia. What was supposed to be a happy and celebratory grand opening for the Chase family, was replaced by sadness and mourning.
The Chase family and the current location of the hotel also played an interesting role in The Battle of Sugar Point, which turned out to be the last Indian uprising against the United States Army in October of 1898. Bert and Louisa arrived in Walker in February of that year, after hearing about the growing economic opportunities in the town at that time. They actually lived in a tent for their first year in Walker- close to the current location of the Chase Hotel. In early October, approximately 80 U.S. Army soldiers from the 13th Regiment were dispatched from Fort Snelling in order to help arrest a group of men from the Pillager Band of Ojibwe located on Bear Island on the eastern side of Leech Lake. The soldiers were stationed in Walker, and it is said that they stayed with the Chase family, and that Louisa Chase helped cook meals for them prior to leaving for Sugar Point. The battle lasted one day, and ended with 7 soldiers dead and 16 wounded- no Ojibwe casualties were verified. It is quite possible that the dead and wounded soldiers were brought back to the Chase family's land to be cared for after the battle.
The claims of paranormal activity at the hotel are many, and have been experienced by a number of the hotel's staff and patrons. Disembodied voices, sounds of footsteps, doors opening and closing on their own, and other generally odd occurrences seem to happen throughout the hotel. Front desk staff have received phone calls from hotel guests saying that other guests staying in the rooms above or beside them were making too much noise. Come to find out, the rooms in question were actually unoccupied during those occasions. There are also many claims of activity centered around the bowling ally and banquet room areas on the lower floor of the hotel. It is claimed that hotel guests captured a picture of a female apparition while in the bowling ally. There are also claims of noises, footsteps, voices, and shadow figures moving around in both of those areas. Could these be members of the Chase family, or possibly soldiers who died during the Battle of Sugar Point? Or could these be Native American spirits who used to reside in the Leech Lake area?
During our investigation, we spent time in unoccupied rooms throughout the hotel, trying to document any odd activity. Unfortunately, nothing out of the ordinary happened during our time in those particular rooms. We then shifted our focus to the lower level of the hotel, near the bowling ally and banquet room. After setting stationary cameras in the bowling ally, banquet room, and service hallway, we decided to conduct an EVP session in the lobby area directly outside the banquet room. While conducting the EVP session, Brian started getting hits on the K2 meter- seemingly in direct response to questions being asked. After a few minutes of K2 activity, we decided to place our GeoPhone touch sensor next to the K2 meter in an attempt to verify the responses. Upon command, the touch sensor would also go off! After a few more minutes or direct response, we noticed that one of the area lights on the wall located outside the Men's restroom started to flicker. Justin decided to approach the light to try and determine if it was an electrical or light bulb issue. As he was reaching out to touch the light, something made physical contact by jabbing him in the side. He explained that it felt like someone poked him in the side with one or two fingers- hard enough to jostle some spare batteries located in his jacket pocket. Unfortunately, no video footage of this occurrence was captured and the activity seemed to dissipate after this happened. Upon reviewing the footage from our stationary cameras, we did notice a few odd noises and possible voices from the bowling ally and banquet room areas. All of the evidence, as well as some additional historical information can be viewed below.
Investigation / Research / Documentation
Johnsdale Paranormal Group