West Hills

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Ghosts of orphaned children are rumored to linger in this former orphanage, laughing audibly. Witnesses also have seen the floor move and warp and smelled phantom cigar smoke. Books also have moved, temperature has been known to change drastically, and phone calls have been made to the police department from the empty building. The third floor is said to be especially haunted.

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Geographic Information

540 West Hills Circle
Owatonna, MN
United States

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44.089454990469264, -93.23843320622098
Steele County, Minnesota
Nearest Towns:
Owatonna, MN (0.7 mi.)
Medford, MN (5.9 mi.)
Claremont, MN (12.3 mi.)
Waseca, MN (13.4 mi.)
Warsaw, MN (13.5 mi.)
Morristown, MN (14.0 mi.)
Faribault, MN (14.3 mi.)
Ellendale, MN (15.3 mi.)
West Concord, MN (17.4 mi.)
Kenyon, MN (17.8 mi.)


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Comments (5)

  1. I used to work in the building behind the main building, and next to cottage 11. It is now SEMCAC Preschool. I have seen a dark shadow figure walk past the kitchen into the back offices, but could find no one and no way out. In the basement, I heard bare feet on the concrete floor, and kids laughing/talking. I also felt a small hand grasp my pinky. The closer you get to those tunnels, the creepier things get. We also had to do head count to make sure the kids that were supposed to be there were there and one day 3 teachers counted 20 kids when we were only supposed to have 19. We went through all the names on our list and still had an extra. When we realized who was our extra, one teacher went to get our extra child, but they stepped into the coat room and dissappeared. Other teachers have told me stories. One told me about a child that was drawing on the chalk board. Thinking it was a staffs child, she went looking for the childs mother. Finding no one, she walked back into the room and the child was gone, but her drawing was still there.

  2. This is the central iowa paranormal investigators me and my Co owner cory Morrison have been trying to find a good place to investigate until this one that I am looking at just need to know if it cost anything to investigate and the best way to get a hold of me is email or text me at 6412207011

  3. I’m not a pro investigator or anything. My sister used to live in one of the buildings changed to apartments. Nothing eventful happened at my stays. But children getting beat with hammers for getting up at night for a glass of water and other brutal happenings were normal occurrences. In the main buildings it’s freezing cold and just feels negative. The locker rooms are pretty creepy I have no idea what they used to be.. They also have a ladder to an attic upstairs I noticed. Lots of locked rooms, I know there has to be more. It sure would be fun to get a real view of the whole West Hills area. Books have also been written by those who occupied the buildings if you’re interested. Since my mom worked in the hospice and talked to many of them, I’ve heard my own terror of stories.

    • My gram lived at the orphanage until 18 yrs old. She said lots of times they were locked in the basement for days.We still have her orphan chair.

  4. I haven’t seen anything myself, but having grown up in the area I can tell you that West Hills creeps me out! I’ve been in some of the buildings a couple of times and always feel like there’s someone behind me or that I’m being watched, but there is never anyone behind me. I vividly remember one time when I was there that I just had a thought of “I have to get out of here quickly.” Went through the state school museum years later and had the same thought pop in my head. I always feel uneasy there, even just passing by.

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. HauntedPlaces.org makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.