Local Businesses Bank on Haunted Histories
by Arianne Nellessen City- Times Staff
While Stevens Point is known nationally for Tree City, USA status, spacious parks and refreshing beer, the town also harbors darker attractions- the paranormal kind.
On July 10th, the well-known paranormal group, “Paranormal Mafia” preformed an investigation of Kristin’s Riverwalk Food & Spirits in Downtown Stevens Point. The group also gave a small crowd in the bar’s dining room a presentation on their paranormal findings and adventures.
Chris Conlon, the group’s “demonologist”, stated that the establishment was “very active,” and claimed a flashlight was thrown across the room during their investigation. Russ Stiver, the group’s medium, told the audience of how he was slammed up against a wall on the second story of the building.
Kristin’s Riverwalk has been a hotspot for paranormal activity ever since Kristin purchased the building in 2002. While the building’s history remains somewhat spotty, information is available of it’s history since 1925, having served as a hotel, automotive shop and shoe store. Some customers even claim the building was a brothel at one time.
While local historical documents do not provide evidence surrounding any deaths at the location, many people who frequent the establishment believe spirits still wander the building’s halls.
“You’re shaking dice, and you will actually tie with a person for over an hour. Everyone is a tie,” says Kristin about a popular bar game. “It’s everyday things [like dice games] that happen. You smell cigar smoke in different locations. It’s like someone is sitting right next to you smoking a cigar.”
She also shared a more frightening event:
“We saw a little boy in the kitchen. We thought he was lost; he was by the back door. He was screaming ‘Help! Help!’, and then he went down in the basement and disappeared. We figured he was around seven. It looked like a living person. A lot of staff members were here for that.”
Jamie Koehler, a customer and longtime friend of Kristin, shared her own ghostly story about chairs in the upstairs quarters. The staff had stacked and organized the chairs in a room a few months earlier, but when Koehler looked into the room, the chairs were arranged in a very strange manner. They were found stacked and balanced upside down, on top of one another, and the stacks were tall enough to reach the ceiling.
The two investigators from the Paranormal Mafia, with over fifteen years experience between them, also did a quick investigation at The Cottage (formerly known as The Old Sherman Hotel). Stevens Point City-Times reporters followed up a week later.
The Cottage was built between 1850 and 1852, and it originally functioned as a house of worship. Throughout its lifetime, it’s had many other incarnations as well, including a family residence, hotel, restaurant and rumored brothel.
Owners Chris Scharrer and her sister Lisa Bishop purchased the property in March of 2012, after a five year love affair with the building, which was abandoned by previous owners and has been sitting empty for a decade. The sisters say they were warned of the building’s spooky history before purchasing it.
One realtor only promised to show them the building if they left before dark.
The sisters are a part of an all- female paranormal group called Stevens Point Paranormal Investigators, which carries the curious slogan “Seeking Sound in Silence.”They’ve been investigating the paranormal together for 25 years and have investigated the likes of the Queen Mary and Eastern State Penitentiary. The women are currently renovating The Cottage as a cafe and have many paranormal stories to share.
Scharrer told a story of a cold winter night when she accompanied her mother and sister into the building to turn the furnace off. “We stand there. We look at each other. There is someone in there whistling a tune,” she said.
“We call him the ‘look-out ghost’,” added Lisa.
The sisters divulged to the SPCT that they believe there are two main ghosts residing in The Cottage. One is a little Native American girl who appears to be about four-years-old. A local psychic told the sisters that the girl’s name is White Star. To comfort the little spirit, the sisters have placed dolls and toys in the cafe for her.
The second most frequent spirit is that of a little blonde girl that some call Helen. She wears a blue dress and is said to be very pretty, although she does appear to be sad. The story surrounding this apparition involves the death of her baby brother, back when the building was used as a private residence. Her mother’s spirit is said to lurk in the building as well, keeping Helen’s spirit from crossing over.
Scientific methods used in paranormal investigations may not legitimize it for some folks, but stories from The Cottage and Kristin’s are only two popular local While there is often little proof to completely legitimize the paranormal, groups like The Paranormal Mafia and the women at Kristin’s Riverwalk and The Cottage, will keep the excitement and scares alive.
To learn more:
1140 Clark Street Stevens Point, WI 54481
2900 Post Rd, Plover, WI 54467
SPPI’S-Stevens Point Paranormal Investigators