It’s an odd experience when you encounter something that you can’t explain.
Over the years, my brother and I have gotten ourselves into some pretty unexplainable situations.
Three years ago, it was Maggie who made her presence felt after we locked ourselves in her room at the Jameson Hotel and demanded that she make us believe in her.
And she did.
Two years ago, we sat defeated on the stage area in the upstairs banquet hall of the Wallace Elks, when out of the darkness, footsteps wandered across the dance floor not even 20 feet from where we were sitting.
Last year, we heard odd stories of the props being moved, stages being rearranged and odd feelings of freezing temperatures inside rooms that were otherwise well heated inside Wallace’s Sixth Street Theatre.
Around Halloween, as the world embraces the darker nature of things, the barrier between this world and everything else becomes so thin that we can get a glimpse if we try hard enough.
This year, we took our (self-given) talents to Mullan, where we went after one of the community’s most popular buildings — the 50-year old Mullan Pavilion.
Over the years, the building has had multiple reports of strange sounds, sightings, and feelings from its operators, local coaches, and even an actual paranormal investigator.
Four years ago, Keka Morelan with the Spokane Paranormal Investigation Group and Coeur d’Alene “medium” Jennifer Von Behren, came as close as anyone has to alleged spirits and recanted their tale to the Coeur d’Alene Press.
Morelan’s story told of her seeing a spectral pair of legs run directly into a wall.
Van Behren felt fingers running along the back of her neck while exploring the girls locker room, and then she too saw the ghostly pair of legs.
Former Coeur d’Alene Press photographer Shawn Gust spoke of lights flickering on and off in the same room despite their being motion sensor lights that, when triggered, were not the lights that were flickering.
In that story, Gust was quoted as saying, “There was a very real, creepy energy that I felt at the threshold of the boys shower room. Just seconds after feeling this energy, Jennifer stopped in her tracks and said she saw a ghost in that very room.”
This is where mine and Caleb’s story begins.
As my brother and I arrived at the Pavilion, midday on Sunday, we had our usual mix of excitement and forceful skepticism.
Each time we do this, we want to be made believers.
For example, when we didn’t have the encounter that we expected inside the Wallace Theatre the year before, we were still able to find that spooky vibe that has made us continue to pursue these potential hauntings.
As we made our way downstairs in the pavilion, toward the pool office and maze of shower rooms, locker rooms, offices and boiler rooms, we passed a fun birthday party inside the pool area. We spoke to the folks running the pool, everything was as normal as it could possibly be.
We then entered the first section of the boys dressing area, clothes from pool goers strewn about on the benches. We then went into the empty shower area, where swimmers rinse off before jumping into the refreshing indoor pool.
The one constant was that there was a muggy warmth throughout the first two rooms that was unmistakable.
At the back of that room is one of two entrances to the Mullan boys’ locker room.
Caleb went in first as I surveyed the room from a distance, but as soon as I stepped through he looked at me and said, “do you feel that?”
Almost instantly there was a feeling that we were being watched, as well as a drop in temperature that was enough to make me put my jacket (that I had just taken off due to the humidity) right back on.
We stepped cautiously as we made our way through the room, past the two offices where coaches have stored football gear and other sports equipment, which remained dark despite the lights being on and made the experience even more uncomfortable.
Through that room is a hallway that leads to an exit on one end and the stairs up to the gymnasium on the other.
Almost instantly as we walked through the door into the hallway, we were met with a feeling of warmth and quick relief.
As we looked around, we determined that the hallway was nothing to be excited about, but with that realization came the secondary realization that the only way we were getting back to the pool office was to go back into the boys locker room.
As if clockwork, we stepped through the door, felt the chill of cold on our skin and the feeling of being watched was intensified, almost as though whatever was watching us was happy to see us leave.
From there we ventured into the building’s boiler room…
Regarded as one of the most haunted places inside the building, the dungeon-like boiler room has multiple entries that lead to wildly different areas in the Pavilion and is also one of the rooms that has stood the test of time.
Essentially unchanged for more than 50 years, the room has an eerie feel to it and is highlighted by sporadic dripping of water.
During our investigation, the room yielded nothing more than an uncomfortable feeling that didn’t go away until we left, much like the boys locker room.
Those uncomfortable feelings tend to be the norm for those who regularly are inside the building, like for employee Kami Rasmussen, who spends a lot of time alone in the building.
“I’ve been here by myself a ton and there have been times when I’m downstairs in the office, I will hear giggling and little kids voices coming from the locker room,” Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen’s mom, Dawn McKinnon, who has managed the pool for more than two decades, has also heard the voices — but she told the News-Press that she has never heard or thought of the ghosts as anything threatening.
But, threatening or not, the building has a certain haunting feeling in it.
Could the building be on the site of some forgotten tragedy or is the Pavilion the place that the spirits of Mullan’s deceased return to because it was always such a positive place for them in their youth?
If you spend a little time in the boys locker room, you may just get the opportunity to ask them.
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Old quotes courtesy of Coeur d’Alene Press story “Investigators: Ghosts Haunt Mullan Pavilion” published Oct. 17, 2014.