Goetz, a Merrill, Wisconsin native started the establishment back in 1931. He
started by serving sausages, cheeses, bread and caviar but then around 1937 or
1938 added tables and chairs and began to serve beer and liquor as well. Fred
met Irma in 1920 and they fell in love. They later married and had two children;
Lucy and Ray. He later served in the military as a Quartermaster Sergeant in
World War I in Camp Grant but was a conscientious objector due to the fact that
he was of German decent and refused to fight against his native soil.
or about January 3rd or 4th, 1947 a car driven by Lucy ran
into a semi-truck and Irma was ejected from the vehicle and the truck crushed
her skull, killing her instantly. Lucy was seriously injured in the accident and
had to have a nurse take care of her for a while. They hired Bertha Ritter as
Lucy’s nurse and evidently Fred and Bertha married in 1948.
Ray became a Navy pilot and then later a lawyer.
kept the place until 1970 when he retired and then the nieces of Bertha, Jim and
Joanne Valentine, took it over. The
building was eventually purchased in 1976 by Dick and Betty Giesen and son,
Michael DuPre. A fire devastated a portion of the building in 2000 but it was
rebuilt and later a beer garden was added in 2009.
Auburn St., Rockford, IL 61103
& Betty Giesen and Michael DuPre
employees and the owners have had paranormal experiences in various parts of the
restaurant, but especially in the basement and first floor. The sounds of people
walking around are often heard on the first floor when everyone is in the
basement at the time. Napkins have been reported unfolding from the silverware
by waitresses after they have been placed on the tables. Shadows are seen in the
basement from time to time.
manager, Steve, claimed on at least one occasion in the basement to have walked
through an intensely cold area. It resembled walking into their deep freeze
unit! Owner, Mike, has his name called through the speakers which weren’t on
at the time. He quickly got his keys and left the building! Silverware has
fallen from silverware trays. When employees reached down for the utensils, they
were found underneath tables.
is a false wall in the basement discovered in the 1980s where Fred apparently
used to hide his liquor. Since this restaurant was opened up when Prohibition
was still around, it’s not hard to imagine establishments still serving
illegal alcohol to patrons.
The Ghost Research Society most recently investigated the Der Rathskeller on March 21, 2015 and the team members included: Dale Kaczmarek with help from psychics Paul Smith and Sara Bowker and Kathi Kresol of Haunted Rockford. This was a public event.
setup: Only hand-held equipment was
used; Ovilus X, Melmeter, digital camera, IR camcorder.
Experiments performed: The place was just too noisy for EVP sessions and those would have been contaminated. I shot still pictures, scanned for anomalous EMF readings but found none and used the Ovilus X, mostly in dictionary mode in the basement area near the secret storage area underneath the stairs and the downstairs dining room.
experiences: I personally did not feel anything unusual nor did the Melmeter
pick up any readings or temperature fluctuations at all, even with the proximity
probe. The creepiest area however seemed to be the downstairs dining room
especially underneath the stairwell. Even there, however, no readings were
encountered. I made a very fast but thorough sweep of the building in the time
Bowker: She says she saw small shadows in
the basement and glasses moving around. She also sensed it was a deli at one
time and encountered a woman who she described as elegant with short hair in
Smith: Paul picked up a gentleman and
prior to arriving had sketched what he believed was some kind of military patch.
Through comparison, it was discovered to be a Quartermasters Sergeant insignia
and he picked up the initials F.G.
also was in contact with a woman who was constantly asking, “Where are my
cabinets?” She also was very curt and concise when commenting, “That does
not belong here.” Also picked up
was her saying, “Meat and sausages.”
woman who he described as very kind and was called, Bertha, said, “Don’t
forget about me.” She apparently likes what they’ve done to with the
also picked up something that might have to be researched and documented. He
envisioned a scene from the mid-1940s of a building with literally “wall to
wall children” who were dying. It apparently has something to do with aircraft
flying over because he heard someone saying, “They’re spraying again.”
visiting the basement, Paul saw children playing with the old dumb waiter and
mothers crying for their kids.
Evidence collected: No actual evidence was recorded since I never bothered to switch on my digital recorder because of the background noise of the people in the building having dinner at the time and others from the event constantly roaming about. However, as soon as I turned on the Ovilus X in dictionary mode, the first word it said was, “Bar.” I found that to be interesting because of where I was at the time. Other names were also mentioned; “Jo” and even “Satan” came through.
was coming up the stairs, the Ovilus X said, “Leader” and then, “Lead.”
The other words spoken were apparently not relevant to the building, history or
questions I asked.
restaurant was quite small and crowded that evening making it impossible to
conduct a serious investigation of the site. The history and hauntings told by
both Michael and Kathi were interesting and this would definitely worth another
visit perhaps after the restaurant was closed for the evening with no patrons to
interfere with the investigation. There very well could be some valid and
interesting data that might be obtained under these circumstances.
I know I would like to try again, with my team sometime in the future, with the restaurant owner’s permission.
Ghost Research Society (www.ghostresearch.org)
© 2015 Dale Kaczmarek. All rights reserved.
Web site created by Dale Kaczmarek