For this post, I did a lot of (mostly fruitless) research. I had no idea what the store was called, and only knew where it was because mum remembered. After a great deal of searching online, we found it, but it turns out that in 2012 they started a huge remodel and added a whole bunch of new stores. I don't know if the main general store is still there (I can't afford the long-distance call to find out). I couldn't find any interior photographs from before the remodel and after the 1900s, so I need to go purely from memory. As an added pain in the ass, it's nearly impossible to find any useful or in-depth information about it. Almost all the helpful-looking links 404'd on me-- seriously, try Googling it.
My mum's dad's side of the family owns a house by a lake just outside of Garrison, MN (close to Lake Milacs), and they're kind enough to let the family use it. We usually visit for one week every summer.
A couple years ago, mum had picked up a local publication that listed historic sights all over Minnesota, and found one we could visit on our way home: in Aitkin Minnesota, there was an old general store called Butlers that had been around since the 1900s. It had a display that showed what stores back then looked like, and mum thought it sounded very cool, so on the way home we took a detour to visit it.
It looked really weird: brick walls, beat-up floor. It had a really strange atmosphere, too. I can't really remember everything they sold, but I can remember Nana (my mum's mum) looking at pillow cases that had blue printed patterns on them that you're supposed to embroider over. Bored out of my mind, I decided to check out the basement.
(and you know that can't end well)
For the sake of clarity, I've made a crappy Microsoft Paint map of the basement. Please keep in mind that this event was almost 10 years ago, so it's hardly exact.
On the wall at the top of the stairs was a sculpture of sorts-- someone had turned leather and fur into an Eskimo face. That face came straight from the depths of Uncanny Valley, and made me wonder what kind of weirdo would make it, let alone put it in their house.
In the basement, they sold fabric. There was one lady at the desk to cut fabric and write out slips, but other than that it was just us. Fabric doesn't interest me in the slightest, though, so while the others looked I went into the side room.
The Display was at the far end of the room. The walk felt very long, and for the first time in my life (and the last so far) I got the very strong feeling that I was being watched. My instincts were screaming at me to leave, but I kept going. I could pinpoint where the thing watching me was standing (see the X on the map), and in my mind I saw an image of a faceless woman in an old-fashioned blue dress with a white apron and black hair in a bun-- though at the same time I got the impression of some shadowy demonic figure, as if it were trying to project the image of the woman but failed to do so.
I did look at the display, but not for long. Finally, I listened to my instincts and hurried back upstairs.
When I asked my siblings about it, they had both gotten the impression that the empty room was very crowded, as well as feeling that they were being watched.
Now that they're remodeling, I wonder if the construction has agitated whatever was down there?