"Darkness Dave" knows the difference between cheap scares and real phantoms.
Dave Schrader is an expert in all things paranormal, as his nickname "Darkness Dave" attests. As co-host of "Darkness Radio" on KTLK, 100.3 FM (10:30 p.m. Sun.), Schrader is a veteran ghost hunter and a fan of haunted houses. Last month, he published "The Other Side: A Teen's Guide to Ghost Hunting and the Paranormal." He recently talked about what scares him and dished on the Twin Cities' real haunted houses.
Q How old were you when you became interested in the paranormal?
A I started having experiences as a child when my grandmother came and visited me after her death.
Q Why do people pay to be scared?
A It's that adrenaline rush. What amazes me, even with the economy down, haunted houses and scary movies are still the ones that are doing really well. It's fun escapism.
Q What type of scares make for a good haunted house?
A If it's just a guy running out with a chainsaw, that doesn't do it for me. Blood and guts don't do anything for me. It's the subtle spooks that get me.
Q Any real haunted houses in the Twin Cities?
A Oh, sure. The courthouses in both Minneapolis and St. Paul are haunted. In Minneapolis, there was a man who was hanged there when they actually had the gallows. He's known to haunt it. Judges and attorneys have seen or heard things during court sessions. One of my favorite haunted spots in Minnesota is the Palmer House Hotel in Sauk Centre. They have a lot of freaky stuff. They told me about this room where there is a woman and she doesn't like men. So, of course, they gave me that room to sleep in for the night. I went in, put my bags down and the door slammed behind me.
Q What's the scariest place in the Twin Cities?
A "Scare" is hard for me. I've seen a lot and I've been out on hundreds and hundreds of investigations. What scares a lot of people is just the unknown. But just because something makes a noise it doesn't freak me out. Whereas, it can set everybody else off.