The Spooktator: An Introduction

Investigating the ghosts of Eau Claire

Thomas DeLapp

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Eau Claire reportedly has plenty of ghosts, but what’s scarier, the paranormal or midterms?

October is upon us, dear reader, and with October comes my traditional onslaught of fall activities, including pumpkin spice lattes (they’re delicious, what can I say), vibe-y walks through leaves, sweaters, and piling on the indie-folk music. 

But for many others, October means only one thing: Halloween.

I have to confess, I’m not a Halloween person.  I’m not that into dressing up. I do not like scary movies. Actual spooky things? Yeah, no. Ghosts? No, thank you, partner.

I’m skeptical about ghosts though. I’m not sure that I believe in them.  I usually believe that the “ghosts” we see are just tricks of light, our own brains making us think we saw something when we didn’t — you know the argument.

When it comes to ghosts, I always defer to this phrase: “Ghosts are like chiropractors. If you want them to be real, they are.” I meet ghosts with the same skepticism that I carry towards chiropractors.  I don’t really think they work, but if it works for you, great!   

Maybe though, that can change. When I moved into my new house in town, there was an ominous note left on the hallway chalkboard reading: “Watch out for Geoff the ghost!” accompanied by a drawing of a ghost with a smiley face.

In the months my roommates and I have dwelt in our home, there hasn’t been any outright appearance by Geoff, except for the stray door blown open every once in a while (which I attribute to the wind and bad hinges). 

Although I doubt Geoff’s existence, I’d be thrilled to meet them. I have many questions: how did you die? How do you feel about living with a bunch of college kids? What about the controversy around the spelling of your name (Jeff versus Geoff, highly contentious in some circles)?

So, it has become a habit of mine to ask people if they’ve ever seen a ghost (partly inspired by comedian John Mulaney) — it gets good stories, and usually doesn’t disappoint. Maybe they’ll even convince me ghosts are real. 

Turns out, there are bunches of good ghost stories, many of them located right here in Eau Claire. During October, I will boldly investigate these spooks, and talk to the people that encounter them about their experiences.

There has already been some research and ghost-hunting done in Eau Claire — check out this blog post by Visit Eau Claire from last year.  It has a short list of supposedly haunted locations around town, some of them recognizable spots that you may have visited.

So, dear reader, that is how this column came into being. Are the ghosts of Eau Claire real? Where do they reside, and why might they be there? What should curious Blugolds (or Boo-Golds) know or do about the ghosts they might share space with?

Follow along with me as I dive deep into the world of the dead this October. Optimistically, I will meet a ghost or two and get them to give me a good scoop — who knows what ghosts have to say? 

This might get scary along the way — hopefully not too bad, because I’m already an easily frightened person. But this is journalism, and I will go the distance to get this story. Strap in, and welcome to The Spooktator.

DeLapp can be reached at [email protected].