Posted by: Marie | January 24, 2011

(498) Best Friends Forever – Part 3 of 3

Post #498
[Private journal entry written on Tuesday, September 7, 2010 – continued from previous post]

The curator walked us through the third floor, which contained more jail cells in the rotary part of the building, and some rooms with showers for cells for women, families and children in the front portion of the building. (If the children of people being jailed had no one to take care of them, they had to live at the jail in a locked cell with one of their parents – although sometimes they were allowed out to go to school during the day.)

Then, he took us up onto the fourth floor, which held the more private rooms (a living room and bedrooms) for the jailer’s family. The pivot for the squirrel cage was located on this floor and could be viewed and maintained via a closet door in the middle of the family’s collection of rooms. This floor had the heaviest energy – I think mostly because the ceilings were sloped and the hallways narrow. It felt much like a finished attic.

Inside the jail

The curator then took us into the first floor of the front portion of the building, into what was first a parlor and then became an administrative office for the jail. That office had a private bathroom and private access to the solitary confinement cell. The solitary confinement cell could also be accessed from the main part (the rotary part) of the jail. This cell was just big enough for a smaller man to stand up in . . . I wondered if the doors could even be closed with me in there . . . I may have not fit. I can’t imagine being shut in there, not eating, probably limited water, having to go to the bathroom in your pants . . . I just can’t imagine that. The curator said it was used to break the spirit of the more rebellious men – a day or so in there usually brought their behavior into compliance.

At that point, we asked if we could walk around the first and second floors (the part the public has access to) and take some pictures and also play around with the ghost finder application. (Again, what the heck?) Melodie had, since our time in the railroad museum, figured out the ghost finder also had an electronic voice phenomena (EVP) analyzer. The analyzer would “listen” to EVP’s and translate them into audible words. It would then speak those words and display them on the screen.

Inside of cell

As we were taking pictures of the solitary confinement cell, the EVP analyzer started repeating the name “William” over and over while, at the same time, the radar was showing the presence of a ghost in the area of the confinement cell. We didn’t know what to think of it . . . surely many “William’s” passed through this place . . . and maybe it was just an electronic fluke . . .

As we were preparing to leave the museum, we asked the curator if there was any significant history pertaining to a man named “William”. He said, “It’s funny that you ask that . . . that name has come up over and over during paranormal investigations . . . and one of the earliest jailers was named William . . . ”

That evening, we did some more research and found out one of the inventors of the squirrel cage configuration was also named William.

I’m just saying . . . you have to wonder . . .

Anyway . . . that evening, we returned to the cabin and had a relaxing evening . . . and, the next morning (Sunday), we took off early for De Smet, South Dakota . . . a nearly four-hour drive away . . .

Bathroom facilities in cell

De Smet is the town near which the Ingalls family (of Laura Ingalls Wilder and “Little House on the Prairie” books fame) homesteaded in 1880. They were one of the first pioneer families in the area and they played a vital role in the founding of the town of De Smet. The original homestead has been restored and made into an interactive, open-air museum.

A replica of the original homestead house has been built on the same foundation, and examples of the sod house and the dug-out home the family occupied in other locations around the country have been created on the property. Replica barns have been build, crops have been planted and are harvested in the same manner as the family would have done so. An original one-room schoolhouse in which the Ingalls girls attended school was moved from an adjacent property.

Both Melodie and I have been lifelong fans of the “Little House on the Prairie” books, so it was such a treat to be able to go to this historical site. We had a tremendous time there.

On the way back to the cabin, we stopped to tour the beautiful St. Mary’s Catholic Church in the tiny town of Salem, South Dakota. Construction on the church was built in 1898. The paintings on the ceiling, the huge pipe organ and the breathtaking stained glass windows made the stop very worthwhile.

I have since found a video tour of the inside of the church’s bell tower . . . the video lasts about five minutes and shows the interior construction of the tower and the bell mechanism, which are well over 100 years old. It is super interesting! (And, no, Melodie and I didn’t climb the tower, LOL!)

And that brought our wild adventures to a close. We got one more great night of sleep and then we each headed homeward first thing Monday morning. We traveled in a two-car caravan from Decatur to the Interstate Highway, then we waved sadly as she headed east and I headed west. We both later confessed via a phone conversation that we were both bawling our eyes out as we parted ways . . . for good reason . . . she is my soul sister! I love her!

So now . . I’m home and unpacking . . . and getting back to real life. I miss my friend already.

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