THE SECRET OF THE SEVENTH FLOOR
The year is 1996 and at the time, I was attending college in the small northern Wisconsin town of La Crosse. For some strange reason, these events chillingly occurred around Halloween. La Crosse is a strange town, kind of like the twin peaks of Wisconsin. There's a lot of stories and strange occurrences over there.
I lived in a co-ed dorm with six floors, 3 floors female, 3 floors male. One morning I went down for a cigarette and one of my friends was outside. He asked me if I knew about the seventh floor. I told him I didn't know that our college had 7 floors. He told me that legend had it that they did have one, but it was closed down due to one of the girls that stayed up there, sometime ago, committed suicide. We decided to go check it out that morning. The elevator went up to the sixth floor but to get to the seventh floor, you had to exit at the sixth, open a door across the elevator and proceed up a small flight of stairs. Once you were up there, there was another door, which opened into a tiny little hallway, with two doors on the left and one on the right. One of the rooms had been gutted out to fit the heating equipment for the school. When we went up there that morning, nothing happened. So, we decided to come back later that evening. That's when the fun began.... After classes that day, I ended talking to some other friends about the seventh floor. One of the girls I was talking to, told me she heard about it too and that the janitors hated to go up there because their equipment would malfunction and they constantly had the feeling of being watched while they did their work. Being the bright subject I am, I proposed that all five of us go after dinner. It was two girls, one guy, my friend from earlier that morning and myself. Now one of my friends was a wiccan and knew quite a bit about spiritualism. As proceeded up there, I happened to feel one of the walls, which was freezing cold. That was odd because as I mentioned, the heating unit was up there and two of the other walls were warm. Well after sitting down, and feeling the energy, my wiccan friend decided to channel the spirit. All of the sudden the other girl that was with us fell against the door and cracked it open. She grew scared and went running down the stairs. As soon as she left, my wiccan friend started having visions on the other side of the room. She described a girl around our age, who was depressed, sitting in her room ripping posters off the wall and tearing them in half. At once, we started to hear sounds coming from INSIDE the locked room, that sounded like duct tape and paper being ripped. I tried to communicate with the ghost, telling her I understood her pain. Next thing I knew, a gust of wind ripped through the room and a pair of icy fingers touched my back. It felt as if I had decided to go skinny-dipping in lake Michigan at midnight in the middle of January. I started to hyperventilate and my friend from that morning quickly helped me downstairs and outside, where I could get some fresh air. My two other friends came down a few minutes later, just feeling sad about what was up there. Well the story spread around and soon another group of people decided to go upstairs that night. A different friend of mine went up there too, wanting to see this for herself. Well see she did, and she said when she went up there a glowing spectre of light walked out from inside the room, up to her, brushed her shoulder, and walked back into the room. Seeing as how we were both too scared to spend the night by ourselves, my friend that saw the spirit and I ended up spending the night in her room.....of course she was staying on the sixth floor. Now all the floors have a long straight hallway, and apparently we riled up some dormant spirit that still wanted attention. For the rest of the night, all you heard were footsteps walking up and down the hallway, rattling the locked door handle as if trying to get in. Later on that morning one of the other girls on the floor asked my friend who the jerk was walking up and down the hall at two in the morning. Every time she opened the door, there was no one in the hall.
On another note....before I end this, one night I had a friend over that lived on the other side of town. I was telling him about the seventh floor and he didn't believe me and wanted to go check it out for himself. He went up the stairs touched the door handle, turned around and walked right back downstairs. He wouldn't talk about what he felt for quite a few hours, but after a while finally gave in and told me. He said he would say this one time as he didn't like talking about it but when he touched the door handle to the seventh floor, he felt death just like he had felt when he walked into his house at a younger age to find his dad dead in a chair. All in all, I wish I could go back and help that spirit. She didn't appear to be evil or anything, just sad, lonely, and confused. It just goes to show that suicide is only a coward's option and that you might not even find happiness in death. I just pray to god that when I die, I know my time is up and that all my debts are taken care of.
My mother and I moved from Florida to Wisconsin where she met the man that is now my loving Stepfather. They bought a new house in a new subdivision right before the birth of my middle sister. The way the house was set up was my bedroom and the bedroom of my younger sister was on one end, with a bathroom across the way. To get to the master bedroom you had to cross through the living room or the kitchen (they ran parallel) and inside the master bedroom was a door to another bathroom. We also had a dog but when we first moved in we decided it would be best to keep the dog at my grandparent's house until we were settled in. When I went to bed the first few nights, I had this strange feeling of being watched. It only happened at night when I was alone and on the other side of the house. It got to the point where I was scared to open my eyes. One night though I think I might have seen what I had been feeling was watching me. I saw the shadow of a man....but at the time, thought it may have been my mind playing tricks on me. I think that knowing where the "eyes" were coming from was a little more comforting than not knowing. I had told my mom over and over that there was someone watching me, but she just said it was my imagination. I wasn't sure if this was something real or in my head; but I figured that whatever it was, my dog could protect me. So I started to beg for them to bring our dog to the house and once they did, the feeling stopped. However there is more to this story. I was still pretty young at the time this happened and never knew about other family members encountering things too...until a good seven years later. What I found out was...at night my parents said they would hear footsteps coming through the living room. (I'm getting the jitters just thinking about it). They thought it was me. The steps came from the other end of the house where my bedroom was located and they could almost pinpoint where the steps were as it walked across the carpet. It ended right at their door. Fully expecting me to be on the other side, my mom eventually got up and opened it after a few moments of hearing nothing...the only thing was I was still in my room asleep and there wasn't a thing visible on the other side of the door. A night or so later it happened again, only this time it didn't stop at the door. This time it came into the room (the door never opened) and stopped at the foot of their bed. Both my stepdad and my mom looked expecting to see me standing there; but again, I was still in bed. Needless to say it slightly creeped them out but they chose to ignore it and went back to sleep. A few nights later, the footsteps started again. Like the time before...it didn't stop at the door...and....it didn't stop at their bed either. This time the steps went a little further and into their bathroom and turned on the shower. At this point my stepdad was irrated and jokingly yelled out "This is our house you don't belong here...go away". The shower turned off and they never heard the steps again.
HAUNTED HALLOWEEN AT THE KARSTEN INN
Certified to be haunted by Wisconsin Ghost investigators. The Karsten Inn is much more than a haunted hotel some where in Wisconsin. It is a living museum located in a town that does not appear to have changed a lot in a hundred years. Kewaunee is a charming community, a port town still rich in history with most of it’s down town and port buildings still in original character.
The Karsten Inn, located near the port, stands noble like the crown jewel of Kewaunee. Once inside one realizes that it is truly a rare treasure. Vintage and antique furniture, wall coverings, wood working, lighting, and floor coverings have either been restored or replaced with reproductions to reflect the elegance of the 1900’s. Even having seen photographs when you step inside the lobby of the hotel you are awed. Not just by the beautiful surroundings so painstakingly orchestrated to the period, but there is a good spirit about the place the instant you enter. A feeling of haven, as if one is home and belongs. The homey feeling is more than the place, there are the people. The staff directly receives you as if they have known you all of your life, as well do the locals treat you as an old friend. I don’t ever recall feeling so relaxed and accepted in a strange place among strangers. The Karsten Inn does indeed give a whole new meaning to the words hospitality industry. We all have heard inns and lodging being referred to as hospitality, at The Karsten Inn it’s a reality. You feel it the instant you walk through the doors.
Upon entering the lobby our stay at The Karsten Inn; on October 31, 2003, began with that feeling. We were received by the staff as if they knew us. As well, the D.J. who was setting up for the evening entertainment, the chef, bartender, other guests, and locals who were there for the festivities. Every one we encountered greeted us as if we were old friends. I felt completely familiar and comfortable as if I had been there a long time. That spirit must warm all who enter because all present seemed to share in it. Perhaps that is part of the haunting experience of The Karsten Inn.
The evening festivities would began shortly. We needed to locate our room and dress in our costumes which a friend and I had designed and made with miscellaneous materials and research of the period. Ascending the grand staircase there was a damp chill on the first flight of the stairs which disappeared immediately upon the approach of the second flight of stairs. It was a odd chill. I thought, it was not like that of a winter storm, but rather a snow shower on a damp and still winter day. The air was still, but very cold and wet. I rationalized that it is an old building so probably common. Then I thought the first level of stairs is open to the lobby and heat rises. Perhaps it was updraft from the lobby doors opening, perhaps. With no more thought than to remember the feeling for future reference and locate our room we continued on. We walked directly to our room. There are no displays at the end of halls stating the direction of room numbers, and the halls and stairs seem to go in many directions at one time, but some how we just knew exactly where our room was. Room 208.
Room 208 is a beautiful room, a very large room with restored hard wood floors that creek when walked upon. It is a light and airy room with large, tall windows, with thick casing and frames over looking the harbor. Viewing the historic quality of the harbor buildings is an experience in itself. The furniture in the room is replica, but beautiful and of the period. The walls, as are the walls through out the hotel, in colors and patterns one would expect to see for the 1900’s. On the very large bed was a hand stitched quilt. It was obvious that it was hand stitched by the varied length top stitching. Around the corner of the room stands a pedestal sink, then a tall door to the bath area with the old time ventilation section at the top of the door. The casing and moldings where they could not be restored were replicated to the thick wood work and block corners. There was, of course, a modern stool, and a Jacuzzi tub, which were about the only modern amenities we used in the room. There was cable T.V., telephone, hair dryer, iron and board, internet capabilities, all of the amenities. We had no use for them, but they are there.
Having dressed we were ready to present our selves. While descending the grand stair case in our grandeur we were very willing to receive the attention we were offered in response to our costumes. Proud we were. We did earn first place in the costume judging, second as well, but we insisted that since we were together we should only win one time. Any thing else seemed unfair to those fine people.
The evening had started with a costume party for the children of the locals and hotel guests. There were trays and trays of cookies and punch. The good kind of cookies. The bakery kind, big, chewy, and full of good stuff. There were other things that I was not paying a lot of attention to such as candy and prizes for the children’s costumes. What was noticeable was that homey feeling. The lights were dimmed while the children gathered around the master of ceremonies for the telling of haunted stories of The Karsten Inn of past and present. The children were mesmerized. You could have heard a pin drop as the speaker who volunteered his time to share history, legend, and haunting with the children spoke. A eloquent speaker he was. He managed to maintain my interest and a few laughs as well. The story telling even included a visit from the resident ghost Agetha (one of the staff in costume). Some how, I believe that Agetha and a few other ghosts were enjoying the festivities.
We did capture several orbs on film. More photos are located in the Haunted Photos section of this site under The Karsten Inn photo album.
I can’t say enough good about The Karsten Inn. The hotel is most beautiful, the food excellent, the staff warm and friendly, the community receiving and kindly to strangers, even the residence ghosts were nothing but good in spirit! It is a wonderful place that we look forward to returning to soon.
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