Albert Lea, Minnesota

This house, which is a private residence near Albert Lea, Minnesota, has had more than its share of problems over the years, starting the year that it was built. It was constructed by James Jensen in 1893 and right away, he noticed that he sensed a peculiar presence in an upstairs southwest bedroom of the house. The sensation of someone following him and looking over his shoulder persisted every time that he was in the room. And he was not the only one to notice it... his family was so terrified that all of them refused to sleep in the room and it remained empty for the entire 53 years they resided there.

The rambling farmhouse sits on top of a high hill outside of Albert Lea and rests on the site of an old log cabin that had been there since the land Was homesteader in 1862. Who pas the spirit haunting this house? Some believe that it was James Jensen's grandmother, who died in the house... or could it be the spirit of a former homesteader, still tied to the location by events that happened years before the house itself was built?

No one knows for sure... but one thing they do know, the place is haunted.

The Jensen family moved out of the house in 1946 and during the next 18 years, the place had a rapid succession of fourteen different owners. Not surprisingly, the neighbors began to wonder if something was ovrong with the house.

In 1964, the Dick and Anita Borland, and their family, moved into the house, finding it in pretty poor condition. The place had stood empty from 1960 to 1963 and peeling paint and broken windows were the least of their worries. The Borlands brought with them their nine children and soon the family mas started on restoring and renovating the old place.

But before they could even move in, they had already encountered one of the ghosts. Several of them were in the front yard, cleaning things up when one of the women saw a lady standing on an upstairs porch.... outside the southwest bedroom. They hurried into the house and found that the place was empty, there was no one there! Seven months after moving in, daughter Rebecca Borland, and her brother Richard, met a woman one morning in the upstairs hallway. She mas tall and thin and wore a flowered dress and an apron. She seemed to be searching for something and cried out to them in a chilling voice, "Help me! Please help me!". Needless to say, the children were frightened and ran downstairs to tell their mother, who first believed they were imagining things. But soon, she also had a close encounter with the woman, who returned and hovered near a closet in the southwest bedroom. A number of the family encountered her there and felt her presence, sometimes seeing her enter the closet and then vanish.

This ghostly woman was never seen downstairs, but another phantom figure was. This ghost, which was of a much older woman, was first encountered standing near the place where the pantry was once located. She slowly faded away and Anita Borland believed that it was the same spirit who had been seen on the upstairs porch before they moved into the house. During the next 18 months, Anita saw the ghost several more times.

She spoke to a relative of the original Jensen family, who recalled Grandma Jensen, a loving woman who matched the general description of the older woman's ghost. Anita Borland believes that this is her spirit but no one has any idea who the ghostly woman upstairs might be.... and if she is the same presence felt by James Jensen when the house was built.

The Old Jensen house is located on s hill outside of Albert Lea, Minnesota, which is on the far south-central part of the state and just across the Iowa border. This is a private residence and not open to the public.

Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor

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