Over time, the mausoleum generated its share of supernatural rumors. Caretaker Terry Miller, who has been on the cemetery grounds daily for decades, routinely dismisses those rumors as the product of fanciful imaginations.
What’s more, there’s no historical evidence to support the notion that Dr. Follmann or his wife, Catherine, suffered any unusual tragic events that might produce an anguished spirit with unfinished business.
From the newspaper accounts available, Dr. Peter Follmann was a successful German / Belgian immigrant, beloved husband and a pillar of the Mankato community.
According to a Mankato newspaper clipping, Dr. Follmann (the newspaper consistently printed his name with a single “n”) was born at Echternach in Luxemburg. He studied medicine at Ecole de Medicine, Paris and graduated there on August 1, 1860. While he was at school, he married Miss Catherine Schweitzer (February 2, 1859).
According to an article on May 17, 1911:
He came to America May 20, 1861, and after traveling extensively, settled in St. Louis, Mo., in 1863, where he practiced his profession until 1867, when he again returned to Europe and entered the University of Paris for further studies.
Revolutionary times were brewing, and the doctor again embarked for the new world. After looking for a suitable location in the east and middle west, he finally settled at Mankato in August, 1869. He has resided in this city continuously, with the exception of a short time spent in Mapleton, and up to about ten years ago he has practiced his profession.
The doctor also owned a drug store and was retired for some years when he died on May 17, 1911. He was about 75 years old when he died. His wife survived him.
Dr. Follmann’s funeral took place on May 20, 1911 at Saints Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church where a high mass was celebrated. The pallbearers were: J.A. Lulsdorff, J.H. Hohmann, J.J. Lamm, F.G. Hoerr, Edward Cousandier, T.R. Coughlan and J.C. Thro.
Dr. Follmann’s remains were buried at Calvary Cemetery that same day, but several years later were exhumed and placed in the mausoleum.
From all accounts now available, Peter Follmann was a very successful business man and doctor, well-liked, and who lived a long and productive life. At this point, with few available sources of information, we can only assume that he was much loved by his wife, who most likely ordered the construction of the very expensive mausoleum after his death.
All that said, future visitors to the mausoleum who may hear a noise should probably think of “squirrel” before “spirit.”