YANKTON, S.D. (KELO) – Yankton has over 35 unofficial haunted locations and this weekend, the Mead Museum will be highlighting five of them for their annual Haunted History Tours.
The tours will be Friday and Saturday October 20-21 from 6-8:30 p.m. and features the Yankton Community Library, Mount Marty University, the Victorian Cramer-Kenyon Heritage Home, Dakota Theater and the Kanner building, which was once home to the Dakota Hospital for the Insane. Narrators will be at each of the sites to present the building history and its haunting lore.
“When they started the Haunted History Tour, they wanted it to be a secret way to educate people about the fun things in town,” Rob Marlow, the program coordinator at Mead Museum, said. “We trick them into coming for the ghost story and then they’re learning the history of Yankton.”
Tickets for the Haunted History Tour are $25 for non-members and $15 for museum members. Your ticket will determine what location to start the tour, where you will spend 30 minutes at each haunted site.
Marlow said the museum chooses the haunted locations for the year based on anecdotes from the community. People will often approach him with a spooky story and if he can corroborate the experience with others, the location can be added to the haunted history list.
The Cramer-Kenyon Heritage Home has been on the haunted tour before, but Marlow said the live-in curator has noticed some additional spooky things and paranormal activity they will highlight this year.
“The house is a great glimpse into Victorian era Yankton,” Marlow said. “It all has its original furniture, original crown molding. It’s a great little place to see different styles of Victorian dress and furniture.”
Marlow said the Yankton Community Library made the list, not because of the library itself, but the land it sits on. Marlow said residents in the community have noted that a few houses formerly located on the property were haunted.
The Kanner building was once home to the Dakota Hospital for the Insane. The tour will cover the history of the building, stories from community members about paranormal activity and also the old Restview Cemetery where hospital patients were buried.
Mount Marty University has multiple haunted locations including residence halls Whitby and Corbey.
“One of them who has to do with an employee, somebody who was building the building, fell off the scaffolding and lost their lives and they still haunt the building nowadays,” Marlow said.
The Dakota Theater has a long, haunted history. The theater board’s president, Michael Schumacher, said employees and cast members alike have noticed at least three spirits throughout the years.
The first, and most well known spirit, is ‘Carmen,’ s a young vaudeville performer at the theater in the 1920s. Rumors passed down through theater staff say she fell from the top balcony in the auditorium and passed away.
The second is a man people call ‘Mr. Bricks’ who haunts the projector room. The final spirit, who is unnamed, is what people describe as an ominous figure who lurks around the basement prop room.
Schumacher said that multiple people over the decades have grown to believe in the three spirits after they’ve experienced unexplainable sounds, things being misplaced and an uncomfortable presence even when they’re alone.
“Obviously, you can always say ‘Well, that could easily be somebody forgetting or somebody just moving it, but it happens enough and to skeptics even,” Schumacher said.
A few years ago, the theater brought in a paranormal group who used their equipment to find any unnatural presence in the building. They are bringing in another paranormal team in November to further investigate the spirits.
“With their equipment, we could see there was a definitive or that was floating,” he said. “There was nothing, then all of a sudden, this thing just appeared floating again. They would do it with the lights off, so this orb shouldn’t be absorbing light from anywhere else.”
During the tours this weekend, Schumacher will take guests into the auditorium, turn the lights off and tell them the ghost stories others have experienced.
“Hopefully, with it being a dark presence, somebody will be able to experience something while they’re here. We’re holding out that hope,” Schumacher said. ‘Carmen’s mischievous, so maybe she knows people are wanting to see her.”