At the corner of 4th Street and Bremer in downtown Rush City stands a three story hotel that may be home to lots of paranormal activity. Over the years, there have been many reports of such activity so an investigation was held last weekend to see what the fuss was about.

Those interested in the paranormal and fans of the TV show Ghost Hunters International on the SyFy Channel, which features investigations in various places around the world, converged in Rush City last Saturday evening to see what ghostly goings-on they would discover.

Todd Johnston, owner of the Grant House for the past three years, said in a written statement to all of the investigators: “[I] have had many different experiences happen to me, my staff and customers that have stayed with us… I know there are many people that believe in these activities and also many that do not.”

He provided a list of nearly 30 incidents ranging from orbs in photos taken around the facility to a spatula flying up through the air off of a stove.

Pine City High School Class of 1997 graduates Ami (Cummings) Pumper and Natalie Johnson were two of the investigators who purchased tickets to participate in the event, which ran from 6 p.m. last Saturday until 2 a.m. last Sunday morning. They showed up ready for a wild night, ready to meet cast members from one of their favorite TV shows.

“The reason Ami and I decided to go was because for the last three years, almost every Wednesday, we call each other and watch Ghost Hunters,” explained Johnson. “So when we heard they were coming nearby, we jumped at the chance to investigate a location with them, especially since we both knew the location well.

“We got to use several pieces of equipment during our investigation that we were only familiar with through the TV show, such as the EMF, electrical magnetic field detector,” said Johnson.

She said they also used a ghost box, something they hadn’t heard of. She said, “It scans AM radio waves very fast and you can ask it questions and it answers.”

She explained that the box said its location was the “Grant House,” and it said it was a seven year-old boy named “Peter.” Simultaneously, a nearby flashlight was turning on and off.

“We asked the box if it was the ghost turning off and on the light and it said ‘yes’,” described Johnson. “When asked to turn it off and on several times, it cooperated with the questioning but only if we said ‘please’ when asking.”

According to the event organizers, this was not being shot for the television show. However, a group called Reporter Chicks ( came to film a show during the hunt. Their show airs each Thursday at 8 p.m. and the Grant House investigation is scheduled to be featured sometime this June.

The original Grant House hotel was built in 1880 by Colonel Russell H. Grant, second-cousin to Ulysses S. Grant. A majestic structure of its time, it stood until 1895 when a fire destroyed it and was rebuilt by Grant in 1896.

Four months after the new hotel was built, A.M. Challeen bought it and operated it for eight years at which time he sold it to a Mr. Shepard. During these years, many travelers and businesspeople came by rail (or in later years by Greyhound) from the Twin Cities and Duluth for lodging or to dine. The Grant House Hotel is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

(1) comment

Julian Weld

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