Winona’s Most Haunted: As Told By Someone Who Heard the Stories as a Child

As the title suggests, I am not a ghost expert. Like most girls my age, I had an occult phase when I was 13 and bought about three books about hauntings in Minnesota. These books have long since been lost to time, so my information may not be 100% correct, but it is a good story.


1. Lourdes Hall, Winona State University

I lived in Lourdes for my freshman and sophomore years. During my freshman year, however, the fourth floor was closed. Now, my room was not the “haunted room.” But since the haunted room was unoccupied, I think Ruthie simply got bored and headed towards the nearest occupied room for a little human connection. I didn’t have any of the normal reasons for the things that happened—there wasn’t any draft in the room, the room was relatively stable, and there wasn’t an occupant on my other side messing with the wall. Ruthie and I got along pretty well. Her story was that she and a priest had ~relations~ that resulted in a child. He pretty much lost it, pushed Ruthie down the stairs, tossed the infant down what is now the elevator shaft and then hung himself in the chapel, which is now the pool. What a fun family. However, this doesn’t seem to have a historical basis. I’m no ghost expert, but apparently things like this can be “created” via a large group of people’s beliefs. So yes, WSU invented a ghost, who later became my roommate.


2. Heffron Hall, St. Mary’s University

Why are these priests causing so many problems? Anyways, in Heffron Hall, Father Louis Lesches apparently attempted to murder Bishop Patrick Heffron, who the hall is now named after, and may have been responsible—in ghostly form, obviously— for the mysterious fire that killed Rev. Edward Lynch. These events are said to have inspired the creation of Ruthie, my aforementioned Ghost Roommate.


3. Pieces of the Past, Downtown Winona

This antique store (across from Acoustic Cafe ) has its own little ghost tale. Apparently, during Winona’s early days, the building hosted a brothel. A woman was shot in the staircase and is said to haunt the building, appearing as orbs of light and in the window of the building. If you head over there now, you can see an artistic rendering of the woman in an upstairs boarded up window, overlooking the street with a lantern in hand.


4. Performing Arts Center, Winona State University

The ghost of a student from 1973 is said to haunt the PAC. Christopher seems to just like hanging around the theater and fiddling with lights, although it is also stated that he may be protecting the theater from harm, which is supplemented with the lack of water damage in certain areas of the stage. If you have a show there, be sure to leave him a little treat on opening night!


5. Richards Hall, Winona State University

Also said to be haunted by a student from the 70s, Richards Hall seems to have some strange ghostly activity. Students have reported a strange man walking to and from the shower room and have heard scratching noises on doors and walls. An associate from my freshman year also encountered an odd student wandering around an unnamed building in the Quad during his security shift, although our elusive Shower Cowboy seems to have no part in the haunting. Unless…


6. Phelps Hall, Winona State University

Phelps is said to be haunted by schoolchildren who died in the fire of 1922; however, records state that there was no loss of life in that fire. For the custodian who heard children’s screams while locking up, he may have simply experienced what ghost hunters call an “impression.” This would just simply be a ghostly phenomenon caused by the children’s fun times in the hall and is simply a “psychic imprint” in the hall.


As for the truth of any of these, it depends on what you believe. Some people believe that paranormal activity can be triggered simply on the belief that it exists.


I prefer a little bit of historical truth behind my myths, but to each their own.


Have a safe Halloween, Warriors!


XOXO, Scaredy Cat