An old beer
freezer at The House of Rock, 422 Water St.,
adds to the ambiance of the an old
bartender's murder site.
Elk Lake Dam
is host to the death of a hitchhiker going
from Minneapolis to Chicago. A local used to
say the girl's ghost frequently was seen in
the area, Chad Lewis said.
This year, 16 of the
23 editorial Spectator staff members took it upon
themselves to investigate the allegedly haunted areas
in Eau Claire. Local unexplained expert Chad Lewis
said the following locations are some of the best in
In each location, a group of three or four staffers
took flashlights, recorders and flour to find the
ghosts that haunt them (Ouija boards were optional).
Each group was required to test for electronic tape
phenomena. The following locations were left out of
the investigation as permission or time came into
play: Banbury Place, Stones Throw, The Mousetrap,
Luther Midelfort Hospital, Chippewa River and
Firehouse No. 10.
After each visit, the group designated a rating called
"First-hand Freaky Factor" from one to 10, based on
the scariness of the location.
The following events described are real and can be
investigated on your own, provided permission has been
granted to do so.
To hear the "ghost interviews," visit
www.spectatornews.com for the audio recordings.
The House of Rock
If we were ghosts, we would haunt a bar, and The House
of Rock, 422 Water St., isn't a bad choice for that.
That's why our group has an undying respect (no pun
intended) for Al, the former bartender who just can't
get it through his head that for him, bar close was
Regulars and employees at the bar say Al worked at the
establishment back when it was the Ore House in the
early '80s. Apparently, Al booted a regular customer
out of happy hour and suffered repercussions later
when the patron returned with a gun and shot him at
the bottom of the building's basement stairs.
After hearing various accounts of encounters with Al,
we saw physical proof of unexplainable occurrences.
Scratches on the floor, as if someone was dragging
sheetrock, stretched up onto a dead-end back stairway.
A former manager of the establishment was present at
the time the scratches appeared and attested the back
stairway was covered with a dense network of spider
webs, none of which were disturbed by whoever - or
whatever - made those lines.
After hearing different stories and touring the
locations of sightings, we decided to contact Al on
As we stood in the dark basement, asking Al to make an
appearance, our true colors showed.
"Stop yelling! You're freaking me out," Brian
At one point, we saw a ghost-like image, but realized
it was just smoke from the cigarette Reisinger puffed
feverishly in one drag.
Deciding we had to show a little gumption, we walked
through the basement, over the spot where Al took the
bullet and to the considerably creepier-looking other
side with only a weak flashlight as our guide.
Amidst cobwebs, cardboard boxes and old sound
equipment, our group had a revelation.. We stumbled
onto House of Rock's liquor storage. After seeing five
cases of Jaegermeister, we realized this isn't scary.
Al declined to comment, even after repeated appeals:
"Al? We're not here to hurt you. We just want to drink
Earl S. Kjer Theatre
First used in 1952 and known as "The Little Theater,"
the facility Kjer helped build was renamed in his
honor in 1965, according to the Special Collections
section of McIntyre Library's Web site.
It has been rumored that after his death, Kjer
couldn't bear to leave his beloved theater and still
haunts it to this very day.
Apparently, Kjer has been seen sitting in his favorite
seat and has been known to tamper with lights, props
and curtains, Lewis said.
He said Kjer tends to make his presence known on or
near opening nights; hence, we went around 9 p.m.,
after the campus premiere of "Everyman."
James Smith, a custodian who works in the Campus
School, unlocked the door, revealing an empty, dark
gathering room and a door that led to the
believed-to-be-haunted theater itself.
We explained we were hoping to gather information
about Earl Kjer, and his face brightened.
"Earl!" Smith said. "He's famous here!"
He said when a projector or another item is missing,
people say Earl did it. When a door rattles, Earl did
it. For effect, Smith shook the door handle.
But he said though he has worked in the building for
five years, he hasn't had any such personal
"The pipes make noises," he said. "I don't believe in
such a thing (as ghosts)."
We entered the theater, whose floor was dimly lit,
tape recorders and cameras in hands. We asked Earl to
state his name, because we had been pronouncing it
"ka-jer" all afternoon. We also asked him a few other
questions to no avail.
As the custodian didn't know which chair was Earl's
favorite, the end of the experiment had been reached.
Obviously, Earl declined the numerous requests for an
interview, and who among those in attendance was going
to argue with the ghost of a professor?
We were scared after walking through the oldest part
of Lakeview Cemetery for about an hour. But most of
the frightening moments didn't come from ghosts or
ghouls bumping in the night - they came from the other
weirdos wandering through the cemetery.
Lewis said the Lakeview, which is located on the west
side of Eau Claire, is home to some paranormal
activity. Lewis has said that knocking can be heard
coming from some gravesites.
We gathered at the cemetery at about 8 p.m. and headed
out. While there, we encountered a man riding through
the cemetery on a bicycle and a van that circled the
area we were in about five times.
At one point, we stopped along one of the small
roadways, turned off our flashlight and listened to
see if we could hear the knocking. Most of what we
heard seemed to be coming from a small wooded area and
sounded more like animals scurrying around than
Just before leaving the spot, we heard one audible
'boom' noise, but we couldn't determine if it came
from any of the graves; the noise could have come from
a nearby car or house.
There were small lanterns dangling over a few of the
gravestones that glowed in shades of blue or orange.
During the trip, we took a number of photographs to
try to capture an image of a ghost, if they were
there. After coming back, we found a strange
photograph of swirly green and orange blobs floating
in the air. While we thought the photo could be
showing these lanterns, we also wondered if these
creepy streaks of color were images of spirits in the
Based on what we experienced, the cemetery doesn't
seem to be full of spirits - just a few strange
hopefuls who are very much alive.
Elk Lake Dam
If there is one thing that we learned on our
investigation of the Elk Lake Dam ghost, it is that
nothing scares a bunch of city kids like being out in
the sticks surrounded by nothing but dark woods,
vacant fields and looming farm houses. Regardless of
what happened once at the lake, the trip through Dunn
County was enough for everybody involved to calculate
which of us would die first in a horror flick.
So after a few problems locating the lake, including a
close call with a possum and a fatal encounter with a
cat, we parked our van and debated whether we really
wanted to walk the 100 yards through waist-high weeds
in the pitch black with one flashlight and two cell
phones to guide us.
The back story behind the haunting of the dam is true,
Lewis said. Mary K. Schlais's body was found stabbed
and dumped on the road about a half a mile from the
dam. She was believed to have been hitchhiking. There
are many different reports of Schlais appearing on and
around the dam.
We observed little that could be considered paranormal
activity. After finally getting the courage to get out
of the car and walk to the edge of the lake, we
shivered in the cold while setting up the camera. A
few deep breaths later, we began trying to contact and
question the ghost of Schlais. There was no response
that we could hear.
As we stood around joking about how funny we had been
earlier by acting scared, we started to hear a noise
in the woods to our right. Laughing it off for the
first couple minutes, we started to pay more attention
as the sound started to get closer. With the four of
us silently huddled together, we listened intently to
the crunch of leaves and movement of brush as
something approached us. While watching the woods, we
saw a flash of white fog about head high. It looked
like when you're driving through fog with your lights
on. Now, both the sound and the foggy light could be
explained in a rational sense. Maybe it was an animal
and a light of a house we could not see. However, it
would have had to be a larger animal, and there was no
fog that night.
Either way, after the horrible ride out there and
knowing we had to walk past the woods to get to the
car, we decided it was time to leave. Once in the car,
we again laughed about being scared earlier, but we
all know we will not be walking back to that lake
anytime soon. We didn't record any electronic tape