GALENA, Kan. — After dabbling with the likes of Jesse James and Billy Cook in a highly successful series of historical lectures and movies, Lisa Martin and her Paranormal Science Lab group are back doing what they do best — exploring historical, occasionally spooky, buildings.
Two historical walking tours are scheduled this weekend in the Sunflower state. The first is set for 4 p.m. today at the Galena bordello in Galena, Kansas — lasting until 10 p.m. The second, also set from 4 to 10 p.m., will take place Saturday at Graham’s Castle in Pittsburg, Kansas.
What started out as a one-time event years ago — as a way to raise funds for the continued upkeep of Carthage Kendrick House — quickly grew popular among the public, surprising even Martin.
“We did not anticipate the amount of growth in these events over the years,” she said, which in the past has included the Webb City Public Library, the Greenfield Opera House, Hollister’s Ye Olde English Inn and the Coleman Theatre in Miami, Oklahoma. “But we are excited to continue to work with (these) historic sites.”
The Galena bordello, 206 N. Main, which most recently served as an antique shop for an English couple, once served as a bordello for the railroad and mining companies during the 1880s and 1890s when 30,000 transient miners lived in the Galena area.
“The house has had paranormal activity for a long time, including voices caught on audio indicating violence,” Martin said. “People also report seeing a woman standing in upstairs windows.”
Graham’s Castle, 601 Grandview Heights Terrace, was built during the 1930s by A. Staneart Graham, a self-taught architect who was interested in building a sustainable, environmentally friendly home that was decades ahead of today’s green movement. The structure also incorporates many aspects of Frank Lloyd Wright’s theories and designs. It was later owned by Pittsburg State University professor and librarian Gene DeGruson and is still owned by the family today.
While there are no hauntings associated with this building, there is plenty of unique history, Martin said.
“PSL works with the owners of Graham’s Castle to preserve the history of the home,” she said. Graham’s Castle “has its local lore but has not been accessible to the public in decades. It is a unique example of architecture not found anywhere in the area.”
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids younger than 14. Cash or credit cards are accepted at the door.
“History is as much our passion as the paranormal, (and) I think there is a natural interest in the mysterious, as well as dark history,” Martin said.