Thursday, April 12, 2012 7:00 PM
MENOMINEE - Ghost stories are usually told at Halloween or around a campfire. But recently there have been numerous reports of paranormal activity in Menominee, all taking place in the 500 block of 1st Street.
Special to the EagleHerald
An unidentified man standing in the doorway of this business at the turn of the 20th century is believed by some to be the ghost currently haunting buildings in downtown Menominee.
We begin at the Table Six Italian restaurant. Owners Vince and Wendy Baron along with some of their employees have noticed unexplained phenomenon. Full-body apparitions, silverware that moves by itself, disembodied voices and more.
"I'm thinking we may have two ghosts," said Wendy. The first appeared Oct. 16, 2010, about a month after the restaurant opened. A waitress was bringing something to an upstairs office when she saw something that startled her.
"She opened the door and saw a little girl sitting in my chair at the computer desk," recalled Wendy. "She freaked out, flew out the door and ripped her sweater, went flying downstairs and said she was never going back up there by herself."
The employee described the girl as being 7 to 10 years old and having blonde hair. Exactly one year later a new employee started to go upstairs and came running back into the restaurant. She too claimed to have seen the little girl.
"She didn't know anything about what had happened a year ago," said Wendy. "We never really talked about it." Both descriptions matched exactly.
This past Christmas, Wendy received a call about 10:30 p.m. She picked up the phone and heard a young girl say, "hello." Then she heard one of her employees ask the girl if she could to speak to her mommy. The employee thought the child was Wendy's daughter. It wasn't. Wendy's daughter was sound asleep in another room. The little girl responded, "hold on." Neither Wendy nor the employee ever figured out who the voice belonged to but speculated it may have been the ghost child from the restaurant.
There have been other things in the restaurant too. A butter knife that was set to the right of a plate kept mysteriously moving into position above the plate. No one would claim responsibility for doing it so Wendy checked the video from the security camera.
"Towards the end (of the tape) it went to static or blacked out for a couple seconds at a time and then the knife had changed positions."
And there's more. Plenty more, including an incident that took place about two weeks ago. Wendy walked in on a Wednesday morning to find a mop bucket and several dirty dishes in the kitchen.
The cook came in the next day and apologized for leaving the mess but said he had a good reason - he saw a ghost. Wendy said he told her, 'I don't believe in ghosts, I don't buy into this. My mom watches all these shows, I think it's ridiculous.'"
Ridiculous or not, the cook described the woman as having auburn hair, wearing a gown of some sort. When the figure moved into the dining room, the cook dropped the mop bucket and ran out the door, stopping just long enough to lock it behind him.
After hearing the story, Vince started teasing the cook. From out of nowhere a Styrofoam container hit Vince in the head. There have also been reports of a baby crying and men having conversations but no babies or men were present.
One of the creepiest things to happen took place about three weeks ago. The desktop photo on Wendy's computer went from being a photo of her family to a plain blue background with the word "HELP" in soft, white letters. She swears no one has her password.
"I asked Vince, 'are you messing with me? Did you do something?'" Vince swears he never touched the computer.
Owner Marjorie Giese can talk all day long about the strange happenings at her shop, including the full body apparition of a man.
"We've seen him, we've heard him," she said. "There really hasn't been anybody who works here that hasn't had some encounter."
The first inkling something strange might be taking place was when they were still moving in. Marjorie's husband Jay was working on the furnace in the basement and heard someone walking upstairs in the shop. When he got there, no one was there. It happened a couple different times. That was just the beginning.
"We've had mirrors break, we've had stuff come off shelves, we've had stuff lined up," said Giese. "We've had lights go on and off, we've had the radio turn on and off by itself."
Giese said she has seen the ghost twice and believes it's a man who appeared in a photo of the building from the turn of the 20th century. She first saw him when they were moving in.
"I went to turn around because I thought someone was there, and there's a gentleman standing behind me with a black hat, a black mustache, dark, dark hair and a long black jacket." Giese said it made her gasp. "It just startled me because I didn't expect anyone to be there."
The male figure has also been seen in the pedicure room. "He likes to play tricks on us," she said. "We've had chairs moved literally across the room and there's no way. You can feel it when you come in here."
Giese said none of her employees want to go in the basement because of the feelings they get. One employee said they felt someone pat them on the back but no one was there.
"The more you talk about it, the more intense it gets because he knows you're talking about him," said Giese. "It's these three buildings. There's definitely some chemistry here that's for sure."
The third building is the former Northwoods Wildlife Gallery. It's currently LeMay's Graphics and owners Rob and Julie LeMay say they have not experienced anything supernatural.
However, former gallery owned Marsha Bunting has had a run in or two.
Like the Giese's, they would hear people walking around in the shop while they were in the basement. And when they got upstairs, no one was there.
"It wasn't just me, it was the other girls who worked here too," said Bunting.
Even her dog Molly reacted strangely in the shop. "She would lay in the back room and look up and stare at something on top of the file cabinet," said Bunting. The dog would then make strange sounds and eventually calm down.
The only spirit Bunting ever claim to see was one that matched the description of the Giese ghost. It was in one of the apartments on the second floor.
"It was a man, that's all I know," she said. "It was coming down the hallway and I just got a glimpse of it."
To the best of anyone's knowledge, none of the buildings has been the scene of a major crime or tragic accident. At least one owner is open to the idea of having their business investigated by a professional ghost hunter.