I am trying to become more brave when it comes to the paranormal. I am so interested in it and really love all the exploration and contemplation of all the unknown things, but I am a total chicken. I have been reading my favorite Ghost Hunting Muscle Man Zak Bagan's book, Dark World, about his experiences as a paranormal investigator, and strangely enough, it's not keeping me up at night. Not because it isn't good! It's very good! I'm really enjoying it and find it interesting, but because unlike Zak's show, Ghost Adventures, it isn't scaring me to the point of tears sometimes (like, no joke.) I think it's because my mind doesn't have the creepy text font used to caption the EVPs nor does my brain have the fancying editing or the Travel Channel budget to relay Zak's experience I read on the page to look anything like they do on TV. So, thank God for my lack of imagination, I guess? Lack of scary imagination, I should say. I'm not picturing the ghost of say, an executed convict to look like some sort of Rainbow Bright character or anything like that, I am just making him a lot less scarier than he probably ever was in life or death. Ghost Adventures the TV show continues to frighten me to no end, since my husband and I finally watched the Linda Vista Hospital episode that had been sitting in the DVR for months the other night and I was afraid to get up and go the the bathroom.
So, in my attempt to force myself to be braver I decided to make, at best, a halfhearted effort to communicate with the resident spirit at my job, Party Papers, the party supply, Halloween and costume store. The building that houses Party Papers, which is called Main Street Square, has been standing in it's spot nestled between 1st and 2nd Ave on Main Street in Downtown Anoka, MN (the Halloween Capital of the World!) since around 1880. The buildings age really shows in the basement where our store and the other places of business in Main Street Square use for storage and backstock. The basement can be described as nothing but dank and deteriorating. This is the case for most basements in the buildings in Anoka, since I have had the (good, bad, or otherwise) fortune of working in another old Anoka building many years ago with an equally creepy and cruddy basement.
Here is a picture of the stairs to our front stockroom in the basement of Main Street Square:
Morris is the name we've given our resident ghost even though no confirmation on a name has been found. And the theory is Morris isn't the only ghost that haunts Party Papers and Main Street Square, a woman in clothing from that era has also been spotted, but we all know Morris personally.
Our building on Main Street has always been a store of some kind or another even in the late 1880's and we believe that Morris used to keep the shop that was there long before we moved into the building. At first, what we feel was attention getting measures, Morris would knock napkins off of displays and send them flying across the store. So much so he frightened costumers away. The owner of Party Papers, Mary, who lucky for Morris is an incredibly spiritual person with a wide-open mind decided to call in a medium to see if there was indeed someone there looking to be noticed. The medium immediately saw him. A bald, older man where clothing that would be common in the late 1880's, sweeping the store. She sensed that he was a benevolent man who meant no harm and was a kind person in life. This satisfied Mary, but it didn't stop Morris from wrecking displays. After a particularly active night, after the shop closed, Mary said to the spirit, "You and I are both shop owners, and I want to appeal to you on that level. When you ruin my displays or throw my merchandise around you make it hard for me to sell things and I could possibly lose customers and money. I am asking you, one merchant to another, please stop throwing my things around." After that Morris stopped. He may have stopped throwing napkins and paper plates, but he hasn't left us, by no means.
Our website manager came in one day and saw him, describing him to Mary just as the medium had. This man had no knowledge that our store had a resident ghost and it freaked him out quite a bit. Only a few short months ago another employee witnessed a statue that lifted up on it's own and was moved clear across the store. I personally have seen our sticker displays spin around on their own and there was an incident between Morris and I a few years ago where I was making price tags and setting them down and he would just go ahead and take them when I turned my back to them. One of my favorite stories happened just this past October when a Ghost of Anoka tour stopped by and the story of our ghost was being told, down came an entire end cap of plates and napkins, all for the tour goers to see.
Mary did do her homework too and went to the Historical Society. Sure enough, a picture from around 1890 was found of the building, and proudly standing in front of his shop was our Morris, holding a broom.
Last night I worked at Party Papers by myself, and I thought, what better time than try to face my fears and attempt to make contact with Morris than when I was alone! I knew Morris wasn't a bad guy and only wanted some attention. So, I started by just walking around the store (I just want to say, the four hours I was alone, we had approx. 3 customers come in, so I wasn't NOT working...) just seeing if I could "sense" anything. I did get a little queasy, but I think I was just psyching myself out. And I was quick to mistake the air conditioner kicking in as "cold spots" (so weird, these cold spots are all occurring right underneath an air vent!) Then, I attempted to just be still for a while, so I stood behind the cash register. No dice. And I found I cannot stand still because I was playing with my lanyard with all my keys on it the entire time I was "still." So then I set the lanyard on the counter next to the register. Nothing. And then it was time for me to close so I had to shut all the lights off and I got really scared and did the money as fast as I could and hit the road. I am the world's worst ghost hunter.
But! Personally, it's huge that I even maybe thought about attempting to make some sort of contact. I wanted to, but my chicken-ness just got the best of me. I'll get there! One day.