When 6’7” Marquis moved to Grand Forks from Missouri about a month ago, he didn’t expect a 5’2” elderly man and 4’ young boy as house guests.
“I had this instinct when I walked in the house,” explains Marquis. “The rental felt warm and cozy with its stained-glass windows and old-time charm. I had a gut feeling it would be comfortable.”
The first night in his new home quietly revealed the first hint as to why it was so “cozy.”
Cozy or Creepy?
“I was exhausted from moving in and fell asleep on the couch,” shares Marquis. “When I woke up, I noticed something strange in the kitchen.” A laundry basket, which held neatly folded bedding the night before, was now a mess of blankets. “They were just wadded up in a bundle in front of the fridge. I thought it was weird, but I was also very tired. Maybe I did it and forgot?”
Yet the strangeness didn’t end there.
Two weeks later, Marquis was relaxing in his room and fell asleep. Moments later, he was jolted wide awake. He sat up in bed and peered in to the living room, where a shorter old man stood.
“He wasn’t looking at me directly,” shares Marquis. “I saw his side profile. He was wearing a shirt and brown overalls, like he was from the olden days.”
The man disappeared as quickly as he appeared, and Marquis again questioned if he was just seeing things. He was still tired from the cross-country move, after all.
November 16 Connection
A few days later, on November 16, Marquis dozed off while watching TV. At 3:47 a.m., he was again jolted awake. This time, a new house guest appeared.
“It was a little boy. And he wasn’t transparent. He was black and white, like he stepped out of an old television. He stood there for about seven seconds with his hands by his side, his head tilted, and his eyes looking into the other room. There was so much detail—a buzz cut, a wool gray suit and vest, and a puffy tie that looked like it was straight from the 1950s.”
Marquis reached out to grab his phone, and by the time he looked up, the boy was gone.
By now, Marquis was certain he wasn’t imagining things. After a night of restless sleep, he called Grand Forks Public_ to dig into the past. Marquis got connected with an information services librarian and explained his home situation.
Information Services Librarian Leif Fritzell found that the home was originally built in 1904. The husband and wife lived there for many, many years. She died in 1965, most likely inside the home. On November 16.
The couple also lost their firstborn son in his middle age. Cause of death: undetermined.
“The boy was looking for someone,” explains Marquis. “The pieces are starting to make sense.”
Leif explains, “The Grand Forks Public Library is unique in that we are in physical possession of local history resources that make this sort of question answerable definitively. First, we check the reverse listing in the Grand Forks City Directories, which are locked in the Grand Forks Room inside the library, for the names of past residents of a particular building. Using their name, we then use the North Dakota State Death Index to determine the date and county of death. Once we confirm this information, we search the Grand Forks Herald microfilm reels the old-fashioned way for details about the person and the circumstances of death. In other words, you can’t Google this stuff.”
Leif continues, “Marquis’s story is a refreshing query from a reference standpoint. As with any reference query, you’re simply listening very carefully to the patron, trying to tease out pertinent details.”
The strange occurrences continue today. One recent Sunday, the home was a toasty 75 degrees after Marquis cooked dinner, and suddenly it dropped to 60 degrees with a gust of cold air. Another time, Marquis was playing a video game and heard a weird sound on the porch. He paused the game, opened the front door, and heard a strange “Zoomzoomzoom” whispering sound. It wasn’t the last time he heard voices on the front porch when no one was there.
“I probably sound crazy, but my friends have heard it, too,” Marquis laughs.
So what’s next for Marquis? He knows the history. He’s curious but not fearful. He knows the former residents attended church around the corner, and he has his own cross on the wall.
“I don’t want to make them mad. We relate on a spiritual level. We’re going to have a conversation about living here together in peace,” he explains. “It’s their place.”
Did you know? Microfilm and other local history research requests are now available free of charge and available via Curbside Pickup. The Grand Forks Room located inside Grand Forks Public_ is filled with local treasures that may aid in your quest for family history. Submit your genealogy request.