Rose Speirs says she’s been spoken to by a spirit.
Each October since 2012, the communications director for the historic Adams House in Deadwood has helped give paranormal tours of the Queen Anne-style home for guests looking to experience something supernatural.
One evening while giving a tour, Speirs left the second floor master bedroom and heard a question directed her way as she walked into the hallway.
“I heard an older lady ask, ‘Where’s Rose going?’” said Speirs. “Everyone on the tour heard it too, and no one had asked the question. I’m a believer that there’s energy in that house.”
Built in 1892 by Harris and Anna Franklin, the Adams House has a turbulent history involving two prominent Deadwood families.
In 1903 Anna died and lay in state in the home’s parlor. Harris then sold the house to his son Nathan for $1, who raised his family among the modern 19th century amenities and oak interiors. By 1920 Nathan decided to sell the house to his adversary in the Deadwood mayoral race, W.E. Adams. Adams lived in the home until 1934 when he suffered a stroke and died on the property.
Though the Adams House may have been witness to its fair share of death, Speirs believes the energy present in the home comes from the Franklins’ and Adams’ love of life and people, not the tragedies that befell them later.
“Those families were entertainers,” said Speirs. “The Franklins even had an orchestra play sometimes. There were always so many people in that house, and an energy is left behind from those lives.”
That energy, as Speirs calls it, has been documented by Black Hills Paranormal Investigations, a team of half skeptics, half believers who volunteer with the Adams House paranormal tours.
“On their equipment they’ve recorded someone yelling ‘fire’ in the smoking room, where there was actually a fire on Anna and Harris’ 25th anniversary,” said Speirs. “They’ve picked up child-sized shadows peeking around corners in the library, footsteps going up and down the stairs, perfume and cigar smells in the smoking room.”
For three weekends in October, Speirs, the Adams House team, and members of Black Hills Paranormal Investigations take groups of 30 people on evening tours of the house. One group explores the first floor, while the other is taken to the second. Two paranormal investigators join each tour group.
The paranormal teams hand out equipment to tour-goers, and guests get to use the equipment and report on what they’re experiencing.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” said Speirs. “Sometimes nothing happens, but our guests love using the equipment—smelling the smells, hearing the voices—it gives them something to base their belief on or decide if it’s not real.”
Speirs says she’s seen people who are skeptics completely change while on an Adams House paranormal tour, and guests who already consider themselves believers become fascinated with the house and its history.
“I’ve only had four people leave because they were really scared in the six years I’ve been doing this,” said Speirs. “The first time I went on a tour in 2010, I was terrified. As we started to do it more I became more comfortable and began to really enjoy the experience.”
The paranormal tours are now Speirs’ favorite tours of the year.
“People are just so excited,” she said. “Even people who are fearful have a blast, too. The energy is just fantastic.”
Speirs has had visitors from all over the country come out to see what’s really going on in the perfectly preserved house, but though the tours have earned national recognition, for Speirs the experience comes back to Deadwood and its colorful history.
“It’s about unraveling the whole story of this house,” said Speirs. “The tours are fun and entertaining, but people also come back to see how beautiful the house is. What a win for Deadwood history.”
For more information on the Adams House and their paranormal tours, visit deadwoodhistory.com.
Equipment used by
Black Hills Investigations
Digital audio recorder
picks up any unusual words or sounds
multicolored lights go off when an abnormal presence gets close
flash or go out when movement is detected
Electro-magnetic field meter
gives a reading of electric current changes
Digital video camera
record any movement, images, or shadows