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2009/11/28 - SS William A. Irvin, Duluth, MN

The MNPSG crew heads to the Twin Ports to invstigate the SS William A. Irvin, a Great Lakes freighter that is permanently docked in Canal Park.

Location: SS William A. Irvin, Duluth, Minnesota
Date: November 28, 2009 - Start: 8:45 PM End: 12:15 AM

Weather Conditions:

Partly Cloudy
Temperature: 40 F (OUTDOOR)
Humidity: NA
Pressure: Not Available 
Wind: CALM
Moon Phase: Quarter Moon
Investigators Present: Adam, Don, Michelle, Mickey, Todd, Matt R., Matt A., Kristin, Justin, Dave
Video Camera: 3 Sony Handycams MiniDV, 4 IR DVR Cameras, Sony Hi-8 with Nightshot
EVP: 3 Sony ICD-8600 Digital, misc digital recorder, rca digital recorder
TEMPERATURE: MEL Meter, 2 IR Thermometers
EMF: MEL Meter, K2, Cell Sensor





In 1947, it is said that there was a death in the boiler room of the SS William A. Irvin. A pipe exploded which killed one crewman and injured two others. The staff at the DECC do have the official letter that explains this death in their offices and stated on record about this. The boiler room is usually off limits to the tours and the incident is not discussed due to the wild rumors that have spun off past times that it has been told.

 At the time of this investigation, the victims names are not known.


There are rumors from Haunted Ship actors that a young girl named Emily roams the wheelhouse section of the ship. The MNPSG has no information on her at this time.





This was the most daunting investigation that the MNPSG had taken on. It was a 600 foot ore ship that was sitting in water!

The entire team was excited for this and as could be expected, everyone on the team's active roster turned out for it. This made for a team of ten investigators which allowed us to roll three teams at a time across this massive ship.

We understand and acknowledge that the ship had been investigated by a previous team but the lack of quality evidence left many wondering about the ship.

The team had made an agreement with the DECC that we would investigate from the hours of 7 PM until 1 AM, as they did not know who would be available to accompany us on the journey. We did not want to inconveinence anyone on the weekend after Thanksgiving and kindly obliged to this time schedule.



At 8:45 PM, the MNPSG started their investigation after set up. The team broke into three small teams which were:

Team 1

  • Matt Ashmore
  • Kristin Rice-Nori
  • Matt Rasmussen
  • Todd Rice

Team 2

  • Mickey Rice
  • Justin Holley
  • Dave Hagen

Team 3

  • Don Larsen
  • Michelle Zadra
  • Adam Nori

At 9:00 PM, team one investigated the wheelhouse and guest quarters. They reported nothing unusual other than walkie talkie malfunctions and noises from the nearby trains.

At the same time, team two investigated the engine room and boiler room. While in the boiler room, they noted that during the time investigating they asked for three loud knocks as a sign of a presence and received them. These knocks sounded like they came from the table in the crew dining quarters. When they rushed into the dining quarter, they found no one there and the sound of knocking on the table matched what they had heard.

Team three sat at command central and waited their turn to investigate.

At 10:30 PM, the teams met up at command central and switched positions. Team two would investigate the wheelhouse and guest dining quarters.  Team three would investigate the crew dining quarters and engine room. Team one would sit at command central.

While sitting in the crew dining quarters, team three reported seeing a shadow move across the mirror in the room. All three members saw it at the same time and reacted. Our cameras did not pick this up. The team separated and shared stories to see if they would be similar rather than try to lead one another.

After this, team three investigated the boiler room and engine room. While in the engine room, Don mentioned that he saw a shadow move across the door on the right hand side of the boiler room. This would have been the west side of the ship. Our DVR cameras did not pick this up. Interesting to note, while in the engine room later that night without knowing, Todd had reported seeing something similar.

The teams regrouped at command central around 11:30 PM. Team one would investigate the engine room and boiler room. Adam and Michelle joined team two in investigating the captain's quarters and guest living quarters.

Michelle and Mickey sat in the captain's quarters while Adam, Justin, and Dave investigated the guest living quarters. Michelle and Mickey reported seeing a shadow move past a port hole but had no solid confirmation on this via equipment. Adam, Justin and Dave did not report anything out of the ordinary in the guest living quarters.

At 12:15 AM, the team started their equipment breakdown of the location as to make good on our promise with the DECC to be off the ship by 1 AM.



The team ran into several problems during the investigation such as lack of power in the engine room after shutting down the breakers. Adam and Matt Ashmore had to run 250 feet of extension cord to command central to power our DVR unit in the engine room.


Observations and Conclusions

The only piece of evidence that our team walked away with comes off an ambient recorder that was placed in the engine room. At approximately 10:10 PM, a loud and violent shaking sound came across the recorder. This was about 5 minutes after team two had left the engine room after hearing the three strange knocks from the crew dining quarters.

Originally, we thought that this could be the sound of the railings in the engine rooms shaking, our DVR that was pointed at the brass railings did not show any type of movement.

While we do not know where this sound originated or what caused it, it is not enough for us to proclaim the ship haunted. Our team did have personal experiences onboard the ship during our time there but no solid objective evidence to support the claim of it being home to a haunting.

We hope to investigate the SS William A. Irvin at a future date as the team had a great time and now that we know what we are looking for, we may have better luck aboard the ship next time we venture to the Twin Ports.


Our Mission Statement

Since 2005, has been the home of the Minnesota Paranormal Study Group. We built this project upon three core beliefs: Investigate. Consult. Educate.

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