For those in the Twin Cities art scene, The Soap Factory is the innovative and supportive independent art gallery along the river in Minneapolis. In the arts community, The Soap Factory is the place to go to be discovered, take a chance and be nurtured as an independent artist. The Soap Factory’s seemingly crumbling exterior hide the expansive and lovingly cared for interior used for art instillations and exhibits. To visit The Soap Factory is an intellectual exercise in creativity.
Unless it’s October.
Those not in the Twin Cities art scene, the mention of The Soap Factory sends a chill down the spine of the thousands that brave The Soap Factory’s Haunted Basement each Halloween season. Minnesotans come out in droves to The Soap Factory in the crisp October evenings to get the wits scared out of them in what is one of the scariest Halloween haunts in the nation.
The basement of The Soap Factory is transformed into a dizzying maze of horrors, changing each year to fit the chosen theme. Filled with live actors, terrifying props and sights, smells and sounds usually reserved for nightmares-the tons who seek out thrills in the Twin Cities gladly adorn an industrial jump suit and goggles, sign the waiver and eagerly wait in line to descend the dark staircase into The Soap Factory’s Haunted Basement.
What most of the art scensters and thrill seekers don’t realizes is that it need not be Halloween for The Soap Factory to be haunted. The Soap Factory was best known as The National Purity Soap Company, established in 1924. The building itself however was first built is 1882. It became its current incarnation in 1995 after years of abandonment.
The Twin Cities Paranormal Society was granted an investigation into The Soap Factory after a member of the group had an exhibit on display and heard many stories about strange goings-on in the building from staff. The group investigated the building in September of 2008, leaving with much evidence to conclude that The Soap Factory was indeed haunted.
One such piece of evidence was an EVP-Electronic Voice Phenomena-captured by a digital recorder of a woman near the boiler in the basement screaming. It sounded like she was what can only be described as being tortured. Other screams, whispers and names being said by unseen forces were also captured during the investigation.
The dangerous nature of soap production can easily be to blame for the accidental injuries and possible deaths that occurred at The Soap Factory while National Purity was still housed in the building. The 48,000 square feet, and the years the building remained empty also made it an easy spot for criminal activity that surely have left a psychic scar on this location.
The Soap Factory is worth visiting all year long-but you will see the biggest crowds gathered outside in October.