first heard of the Von Minden's ghost while sitting in the comfort
of the Schulenburg Library, a place with a ghost of it's own.
Our visit to the Hotel Lobby at 3:00 in the afternoon found the lobby
empty, the day's mail on the desk clerk's counter and a 1961 hotel
directory tucked into a holder. We followed the script, calling "Hello"
several times and receiving no answer. There was also no guest register
or we would've checked for familiar names. Clyde Barrow. Ma Barker.
Casper? Except for the 1961 directory and a 1947 set of encyclopedias,
this was a thirties type of place. Built in 1927, the date appears
on a stone in front, but not the corner one.
We climbed the stairs slowly; half hoping someone would stop us. Dark
paneled walls and small metal numerals on the doors; there was nothing
in sight except a maid's cart left unattended on the second floor.
A window met us at the third floor and we gazed down, wondering if
the altitude would be fatal to a jumper. We had seen enough, and turned,
making mental notes and finding room 33 open and vacant. Wasn't that
door closed when we walked to the window? As a matter of fact it was.
The spartan room just sat there and we had a vision in our mind's
eye of Frank Sinatra in Some Came Running, wearing his khakis, and
unpacking his "duffle" from his duffle bag. We descended to the lobby
and nothing had changed. We left.
Minden Hotel lobby
Photo courtesy Larry Bob Raymond
returned at 6 PM to Momma's Pizza, which is located at the rear of
the Hotel and Theater. We spoke with Uncle Garrett and Nephew Warren
who were both busy, but answered questions readily. We were fed sandwiches
of pizza ingredients and soft drinks in a size we didn't know existed.
When asked about the ghost, Garrett asked, "which one?" "The suicide,"
we replied. It was then we learned that there were at least two.
Room 23 was a Railroad worker who went to bed sick and woke up dead
and they had to have a co-worker (a very small co-worker) climb through
the transom to open the locked door. Room 37 was a returning WWII
veteran who found his girl had married someone else. As the old joke
goes, the ground would've broken his fall, but sadly in this case
his neck encountered the clothesline.
Garrett lives on the hotel's forth floor and has encountered Ms. X
several times. His description is quite detailed. A polka-dot dress
and a broad-brimmed straw hat, white gloves, about 20 years old and
carrying a cardboard suitcase, Ms. X depends on the kindness of strangers
"They're always simple directions to give," said Garrett, "but after
you turn to point or gesture, when you turn back around she's gone."
Nephew Warren told us of seven (count them) SEVEN! teenagers who vandalized
the City Cemetery. They were all found hanging from a rafter in an
old barn near the graveyard. This story has great currency among young
Schulenburgers and the next day we found the City Cemetery to be nearly
devoid of vandalism. Our hats go off to the inventor of this fabrication;
it's cleverly solved a problem many small towns have.
Garrett apologized for the untidiness of the hotel, and explained
that the maid had quit. "Had she seen the ghost?" we asked . "No",
replied Garrett, "She found a better-paying job."
*Elvis Presley's hit song was indeed
inspired by a newspaper clipping of a jilted lover's suicide in a
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