Monday, October 7, 2013

Dining with Ghosts


Here is a piece that I recently did for a trade publication called Food Service News. It was one of the more interesting experiences I have had the opportunity encounter.

When you are finished reading this, and feel so inclined......Klecko would be interested in knowing what you think.

Is there such a thing as ghost?

Have you experienced paranormal activity?

Alright, lets get to it in 3-2-1..................................


Today’s story starts off with yours truly eating Mac & Cheese at the Highland Grill while eavesdropping on other peoples conversations.

In the booth next to me were two women sharing lunch off the same plate, swapping opinions about haunted spaces in the Twin Cities.

I didn’t want to be one of those guys that jumps into other peoples conversation without an invitation, but I couldn’t resist.

“Excuse me ladies, do you believe that Forepaughs restaurant is haunted?”

The woman vulturing the remaining French fries didn’t have a clue what I was talking about, but her companion perked up and filled us in with the back story.

“I think it was the 1800’s when Joseph Forepaugh was in power. This was the time when he and the Ramsey’s and Faribault’s were dividing state boundaries. Forepaugh had a mansion where the restaurant is now, and the story is that he had amorous feelings towards a servant named Molly.

Forepaugh’s wife Mary found out and tried to separate the two, but the young servant was already pregnant. Eventually when Joseph called the whole thing off, Molly was so despondent that she tied a rope around her neck and jumped out a third story window.

When Joseph was sent word, he went to his favorite meditation spot and placed a pistol to his head, forfeiting his life.”

I asked the woman if she believed the legend, and she said she did, and in fact she had witnessed some strange occurrences there herself.

When it comes to ghost stuff, I think I’d be classified as skeptical, but as I drove across town I remembered a woman named Annie Wilder.

Several years ago our paths crossed frequently while both of us were schlepping books. I was pimping dog biscuit recipes, while she was telling the world how to communicate with ghosts.

It’s well documented that there’s a lot of quacks out there trying to promote themselves through the paranormal, but Annie Wilder’s simply not one of them.

This woman’s reputation is pristine.

For thirteen years Annie was the copy writer for Llewellyn Press which is the oldest and largest publisher of metaphysical books in the world.

So basically, if you were trying to launch a project focused on Spirits, Bigfoot or UFO’s, Annie would be the first person in the pipeline to determine if your concept had merit.

Truth be told, it wasn’t even her credentials that made her credible in my eyes. It had more to do with her personality. Every time I was in her presence, I felt unusually calm, and that never happens.

I’ll just come out and say it….

I trust Annie Wilder.

So now I’m weaving through traffic while calling this publications editor on the phone.

“Hey Weingartner, if I can get one of America’s top ghost whisper’s to go ghost hunting at Forepaughs, would you come with me as a witness. I’ll do a piece on it for your October edition.”

First there was silence, then there was a giggle, Nancy was in, and before you knew it, my editor and I were sitting at our destinations entryway bar, waiting for our paranormal ambassador to arrive.

When Annie walked in, the three of us reported to our host who marched us upstairs to the second floor. We were placed at a table set to accommodate four. After doing some quick math, our host started to remove one of the plates, and that’s when Annie went to work.

“Excuse me; we’ll need this setting tonight.”

The host looked confused, and I informed her that’s where ghosts would be sitting.

The host smiled, I think she’d been to this rodeo before.

To contact ghosts, we learned it was a good idea to be a bit of a historian. Annie told us while Joseph Forepaugh was still in his mortal coil; there was a General Le Duc that lived in Hastings which is the same area that Wilder resides in a haunted house. On more than one occasion she has had contact with him.

So now Annie pulls out a picture of the General and places it on and empty chair and invited him to join us.

The first form of communication we experimented with was flashing. This is an exercise were the communicator places a pen flashlight on the table and the guests are allowed to ask questions. Amazingly enough, each ghost flashed their own signature beam.

Whenever General Le Duc responded the beam was strong and rapid, but when we asked Molly questions, the beam ran slow and faint.

At one point when Annie went to powder her nose, Nancy and I acted like school kids and hastily examined the flashlight.

But when I turned it on, no light projected. I shook it like a Yahtzee cup and still, nothing, I handed it to Nancy who had the same results before replacing it on the table.

When Annie returned, I asked her to contact the General, and when she did, a light shot out that blinded me. Nancy and I looked at each other engulfed in heebie-jeebies.

Next Annie offered to show us how technology has advanced in ghost communication.

“I’m not sure what I think of this.” She said as she produced her I-Phone “A lot of people are using spirit apps, let’s give it a try.”

The screen had one of those radar grids that were sectioned in quadrants. A blue dot popped up in the section Wilder and Weingartner were sitting in. Blue dots denote good spirits.

Time passed, and as I was eating some lemon candied shrimp, a red dot went off in my quadrant.

“Spirit manifest and make yourself known.” I demanded, but I could tell from the look on Annie’s face, I had overstepped my boundaries.

“Nothing to joke about Danny, the red dots are the bad guys. Trust me; you never want to invite them into your life.”

The evening concluded with the three of us standing next to the window Molly jumped from. I wish I could describe what came over us, but words would fall short. In fact, Nancy grew weak and had to go home. It took 24 hours before she regained her strength.

As I mentioned before, when it comes to ghosts, I might classify myself as a skeptic, but when you get a chance to talk to them with Annie Wilder, its hard not to be a believer.




  1. Of course there are ghosts. You don't think our loved ones leave us permanently? You can call their name and they are there; in your thoughts and in your dreams. You just KNOW they are there.

  2. I do believe in ghosts and I wholeheartedly agree with anonymous! Our loved ones are always there watching over us!

    1. Not to be a wise guy, but do you think people who didn't love us (or hated us) have the power to see us and interact with us from across the beyond?

  3. When I was visiting the battle site in Culloden/Scotland, the place had a deeply sad atmosphere. I can imagine that in places where very strong emotions were experienced, some of those feelings remain.