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Duluth Ghost Tours offer walk on dark side of Canal Park

"You have to be a skeptic before you believe because that’s how you rule everything out," said guide Kimberly Christine, a two-time guest on the Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures."

Canal Park at dusk
Kim Christine, of Cloquet, owner of Duluth Ghost Tours, uses a spirit box to attempt to have a conversation with spirits near the Aerial Lift Bridge on Wednesday, Aug. 31, in the Canal Park neighborhood of Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — Duluth Ghost Tours nautical guide Kimberly Christine weaves tales of the historic city, its deadly waters and tragedies.

"The tour is 50% history, 25% spooks and 25% paranormal investigation," Christine said. "We talk about the history of Duluth, shipwrecks, lore, as well as explaining about the paranormal world. When people do a tour, they’re not going to get some somber guy wearing a hat looking at you, being all quiet.

Canal Park at dusk
The 1,000-foot American Integrity sails past the North Pier Lighthouse on Wednesday, Aug. 31, in Duluth. Kim Christine, owner of Duluth Ghost Tours, talks during her walking tours about the history of the ship canal and accidents that have occurred in the area.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

"I’m not a character; I’m me. This is who I am. I tell stories. It’s going be entertaining as well. I'll throw in some humor."

A ghost tour takes over two hours, including an optional 30-minute mini-paranormal investigation where participants have an opportunity to experience equipment such as spirit boxes and electromagnetic frequency detectors.

Canal Park at dusk
Kim Christine, owner of Duluth Ghost Tours, uses a spirit box to attempt to have a conversation with spirits or ghosts Wednesday, Aug. 31, in Canal Park. The spirit box scans empty radio frequencies that spirits may use to attempt to communicate.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

"A spirit box detector is an AM/FM radio," Christine, of Cloquet, said. "You listen and if spirits are on the radio wave links, it picks it up on the empty lines that come through as static, or what we call white noise. You have to be a skeptic before you believe, because that’s how you rule everything out."

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The 1.5-mile walking tours around Canal Park are wheelchair-accessible, and begin at sunset each Monday, Wednesday and Friday through Halloween. During October, an extra tour day will be added each week. For two weekends prior to Halloween, back-to-back tours will be held at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

"Canal Park really was the starting point of Duluth, known as Minnesota Point at the time," Christine said. "It was where Sir Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut , ended up meeting with the Anishinaabe. It's where the fur trade and commerce started happening. Along that sand bar that we call Park Point and Canal Park, there was a lot of old factories in the 1800s that were starting to get built up there, houses and brothels, so there’s a lot happening down on Canal Park."

"It is the most flagrant flaunting of vice publicly before the people that I have ever seen."

About the nautical guide

A two-time guest on the Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures," Christine gained her experience giving ghost tours in Minnesota, Arizona, California and Georgia. Her fascination with the otherworldly stemmed from an education in theater, with a background in gore makeup and costume design.

Canal Park at dusk
Kim Christine, owner of Duluth Ghost Tours, explains the structures that used to exist when Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum was a part of a gravel pier Wednesday, Aug. 31.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

After graduating high school in 1986, she became a hairdresser. Later, she enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Superior to study biology.

"There, I got into the theater group," she said. "Next thing you know, I’m like, 'Why didn’t I think about all this stuff before?' I love entertainment. I love movies and film, so I started taking some classes. They were more theoretical, but I was doing a makeup class. I did costumes, even though they didn’t have an official costume sewing class."

She transferred to California State University, where she obtained a Master of Fine Arts in theater and film with a focus in costumes. Afterward, Christine moved to Las Vegas, where she worked for Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil.

"I wasn’t with fashion makeup or beauty makeup. I wanted to create monsters and creatures," she said.

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Canal Park at dusk
Recreational watercraft on Lake Superior gather at the mouth of the Duluth Ship Canal near the lighthouses Wednesday, Aug. 31. Kim Christine, owner of Duluth Ghost Tours, talks about shipwrecks and the history of people that have died on the piers in Duluth.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Her ex-husband was a filmmaker from India, and Christine studied natural healing and meditation during their travels there. She began teaching yoga and Bollywood dance classes while back in Los Angeles.

"At the time, Georgia had a lot of tax incentives for filmmakers. He and a couple of other producers wanted to open up a film studio out there. Once again, I had to pack up and start my life over again," Christine said.

In Georgia, she did makeup special effects for the film students, and landed a makeup gig for a nationwide commercial about texting and driving.

Then she came across a "Ghost Hunter Wanted" ad for a haunted tour guide at a property called the Gribble House in Savannah, Georgia, where three women were brutally murdered in 1909. The house was since demolished and a large warehouse was built in its place.

"A lot of the technicians and the people that were working had a lot of experiences. They said that there’s a lot of shadows and things moving on their own. It was just really freaky," Christine said. "They brought paranormal investigators in and they confirmed it. We started to do the research on the property and I found out that a mass grave from the Revolutionary War soldiers was just across the street and there was a slave quarters in one particular area as well."

Canal Park at dusk
Kim Christine, owner of Duluth Ghost Tours, stands near Lake Superior on Wednesday, Aug. 31.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

When the production company that her husband was working with fell through, they moved back to Los Angeles. Her first personal experience with the paranormal occurred after she guided a pub crawl tour through the 1920s speakeasies in Hollywood, California.

"We were in this one particular dive bar. We were using all the equipment and we were getting a lot of feedback from somebody we felt that we were connecting to. I believe it was a man, 40 or 50 years old, either from the '40s or the '50s," Christine said.

When she returned home to bed, she woke around 3 a.m. to a tingling sensation over her entire body and a feeling of someone sitting on the end of the bed.

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"I looked out at the edge of the bed to see if I could see a shadow or a ball of light or something weird and I didn’t see anything, but it was right at that time it felt like somebody came up behind me and gave me the biggest bear hug," she said. "The only thing I could do was look at the side of the bed and just say, 'You have to leave. You can’t be here.'

"I had a vision in my mind, what they call clairvoyance, of a police officer walking away. It was the clearest vision I’ve ever experienced before. It was a rush of energy."

Canal Park at dusk
The 1,000-foot American Integrity heads into port as Kim Christine, owner of Duluth Ghost Tours, walks the path she uses during ghost tours Wednesday, Aug. 31, in Canal Park.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

Eventually, Christine was divorced and moved to Arizona for nearly five years to be near family. There, she went to school for massage therapy and continued guiding ghost tours, appearing on "Ghost Adventures" once again.

The exposure was a huge draw for her tours following COVID-19 shutdowns, she said. However, tour season was limited to October due to the Arizona heat. She decided to move to Duluth and began researching the shipwrecks, lore and immigration history of the area.

"That’s where I started kind of building up on some of the stories. Duluth Ghost Tours are a little mishmash of basic history, but shipwrecks, tragedy, drowning and lore together, as well as talking about the paranormal in general," Christine said. "Skeptics can often be made into believers, or even if they’re still skeptic when they leave I've given them something to think about."

The new business, which is open by appointment only, offers Ayurveda, Swedish and therapeutic massages at 1111 Cloquet Ave., Suite 1.

By day, Christine owns a massage business, Lacuna Massage in Cloquet ( lacunamassages.com ). During the winter, Christine will offer Reiki classes at her massage studio. Reiki is a form of energy healing.

She also designs dog costumes ( houndsofhellboutique.com ), is an animal massage therapist, and teaches dance and fitness classes.

Duluth Ghost Tours are limited to 20 people each booking and can be reserved at fareharbor.com/embeds/book/cityofdarkangelstours .

Brielle Bredsten is the business reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.

She earned a bachelor's degree in Professional Writing & Technical Communication, with minors in Advertising and Creative Writing from Metropolitan State University, in addition to a two-year professional paid internship as reporter/editor of the student newspaper.

She is an award-winning professional writer, photographer and editor based in rural Minnesota. Over the past decade, Brielle Bredsten has contributed more than 1,000 articles, feature stories, non-profit press-releases, photographs and columns. Her work has been published in several community newspapers.

Send her story tips, feedback or just say hi at bbredsten@duluthnews.com.
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