MENOMONIE — As a volunteer tour guide at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, Jana Reeg-Steidinger heard many ghost stories of unusual happenings at the community building.
She began to keep track of them and found when she was typing the stories into her computer, files would corrupt repeatedly.
“This wasn’t happening with any other files,” she said. “I was having no other problems with my computer.”
She would try to attach part of a story to an email, and attachments would disappear. Reeg-Steidinger also has heard a radio playing when no one else is around in the Mabel Tainter.
At one time, she was putting on makeup to dress up as Elizabeth Pinkepank, a librarian who worked for years at the Mabel Tainter, when the door to the dressing room locked mysteriously.
“I thought I would wait five minutes and call the box office to help me get out,” Reeg-Steidinger said. “I heard the lock click open exactly after five minutes had expired.”
She believes the spirit of Rev. Henry Doty Maxson was just having fun with her during the incidents. Maxon, a Unitarian pastor, encouraged the idea of building the theater in memory of Mabel Tainter, the daughter of lumber baron Andrew Tainter.
This past Friday and Saturday members of the Johnsdale Paranormal Group of Onamia, Minn., brought equipment to investigate reports of paranormal activities at the Mabel Tainter.
Their findings will be revealed Saturday, Oct. 15, at “Ghosts of Dunn County,” an event at the Dunn County Historical Society’s Russell J. Rassbach Heritage Museum.
The paranormal group started in 2009. It also researched Wilson Place Mansion in Menomonie.
“There are just so many stories about the Mabel Tainter,” said Justin Miner of the Johnsdale Paranormal Group.
The history of the 1890s community theater is rich, Miner said, and it was exciting to be allowed to investigate.
Using thermal cameras, infrared cameras, full spectrum light cameras and digital audio equipment, the company focused on areas where paranormal activity had been reported, Minor said.
“We really want to catch something on audio or video we can present to the public and debate,” Miner said, noting the paranormal group focuses on scientific research.
There have been reports of a “Lady in White” spotted in the Mabel Tainter near a woman’s lower-level bathroom and a “Lady in Gray” on a marble staircase, Miner said.
Dustyn Dubuque, education programming events coordinator at the Dunn County Historical Society, said many people have a story or know someone who has a story of paranormal activity at the Mabel Tainter.
Johnsdale Paranormal Group members, when they make a presentation on Oct. 15, will talk about the history of the Mabel Tainter, the importance it has with the community as well as their findings from the paranormal investigation.
As part of “Ghosts of Dunn County,” ghost stories from around the county will be shared during a tour of the historical museum.
What: Third annual “Ghosts of Dunn County.”
When: 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15. At 5 and 8 p.m. there will be a presentation by members of the Johnsdale Paranormal Group on their research at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts in Menomonie.
Where: Russell J. Rassbach Heritage Museum, 1820 Wakanda St., Menomonie.
Cost: $5 for adults or $1 for children 12 and younger. Tickets are available at the museum.
Information: 715-232-8685 or dunnhistory.org or Dunn County Historical Society on Facebook.
Contact: 715-556-9018, email@example.com, @MenomonieBureau on Twitter