Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sketching the Paranormal in Pipestone, Minnesota

In yesterday's post, Roberta and I travelled to Pipestone on Thursday from Minneapolis via a westbound Jefferson Lines bus . We sketched at the Pipestone National Monument Friday morning and then sketched the buildings along Main Street and Hiawatha Avenue in the center of Pipestone in the bright, clear, October sunshine. The Golden Hour faded and the ruddy stones of Pipestone's landmark buildings, that only minutes before blazed in the amber beams of the setting sun, now took on a palette of darker and more somber hues – Pipestone's Paranormal Weekend was about to begin.

We prepared for our first night of paranormal activities by fortifying ourselves with dinner at Lange's Cafe (click on sketches to make them bigger):

My sketch of Lange's Cafe.
Lange's has good, classic, American family restaurant fare, but their specialty is pies. The sour cream raisin pie is incredibly awesome (top shelf):

Roberta's sketch of the pie case in Lange's Cafe.
After stuffing ourselves with pie at Lange's we took in a play at the Pipestone Performing Arts Center. The Calumet Players performed a medley of macabre tales in a production titled "Nightfall with Edgar Allan Poe". The local thespians did a good job of dramatizing "The Fall of the House of Usher", "The Pit and the Pendulum", and "The Raven" and the actors succeeded in giving me the frights. The set design was especially awesome. I did a sketch of a scene from the play from memory during intermission:

I rarely use yellow-green. It's a good color for ectoplasm.
After the play, we walked back to the Calumet Inn to meet some of the participants in the weekend's paranormal activities and listen to their eerie experiences with ghosts by electric candlelight. Some of the ghost hunters had some hi-tech gear designed to track down ethereal wraiths in our midst. We searched high and low. But the closest we came to bagging an apparition was when we sat in a dark,  un-renovated room on the third floor rumored to be haunted by a ghost named Charlie who once walked among the living until a fateful fire on Valentines Day 1944 in the Calumet Inn transported him into the realm of the supernatural:

My journal entries document the search for elusive phantoms.
I briefly thought I felt the presence of a being from the great beyond, but I decided the sensation was more likely the effect of a surfeit of sugar in my bloodstream boosted by the awesome sour cream raisin pie I ate back at Lange's Cafe. Roberta and I turned in early so we'd be refreshed for Saturday's schedule of phantasmagoric activities.

Saturday morning, Roberta and I joined our fellow seekers of the paranormal at the Pipestone County Museum from which I biked to a local cemetery for a tour conducted by a local historian:

Journal sketches of some interesting monuments.
Roberta skipped the cemetery tour to finish her sketch of the Calumet Inn. After the tour of the cemetery, Roberta and I met at the old Masonic Lodge on Main Street. No longer in use, the lodge had some interesting murals and artifacts:

Artifacts in the Masonic Lodge.

After the Masonic Lodge tour, we filed into the Performing Arts Center for a "gallery reading" by psychic medium Susie Otto though which the dearly departed sent messages to loved ones in the audience:

My sketch of the medium.
After the gallery reading,  I walked a few blocks south to do a quick sketch of the Pipestone County Courthouse. The courthouse is an impressive, majestic building and I hope I can return someday and do a more detailed sketch:

My sketch of the Pipestone County Courthouse (and tank).
Roberta and I had dinner and I rushed to sketch another landmark, the old water tower:

The old water tower in the amber glow of sunset.

As the curtain of night descended on the city of Pipestone, we joined a "Ghost Walk" – three actors in period costumes led us on an exploration of Pipestone's alleys and byways while relating tales of spirits that haunted various buildings. I'm not very good at sketching in the dark, but Roberta did some nice sketches of our guides by lamplight:

Roberta's sketches of the two ghost-guides with ethereal emanations.
Another sketch by Roberta of a ghost-guide.
After the tour of Pipestone, we were foot-sore and weary, but we partook in one more ghost-hunt at the County Museum, but we failed to glimpse any apparitions. We slunk back to the Inn fell into a deep slumber.

The next day, as we were packing up our Bromptons, Roberta noticed her bike-light was facing backwards. Since neither of us had turned the light around and our door was locked, we concluded it was one of Pipestone's many playful poltergeists that pulled the prank on us. We had our paranormal experience!

My journal account of our encounter with a poltergeist.
We enjoyed our sketching trip to Pipestone and look forward to returning someday. Pipestone is very sketchable and we recommend taking a trip there to all our sketching friends. Pipestone is also a great place to bike. You can rent a bike for 5 dollars a day at the Ewart Community Center (info here). I enjoyed bicycling on the Casey Jones State Trail that begins on the edge of town near the big grain elevator. The trail runs straight and level through the cornfields:

I could have used a ruler to sketch the Case Jones Trail.

We look forward to traveling on Jefferson Lines to more locations in Minnesota. Stay tuned!


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