Wisconsin is known as America’s Dairyland which conjures up a fairly innocent picture. When we think of Wisconsin we think of cheese, breweries and outdoor pursuits. However, there is also a darker side to Wisconsin. The state is filled with dark and foreboding places, abandoned buildings, creepy roads and a variety of terrifying spectres.
Let’s take a look at some of the most haunted places in Wisconsin:
Don’t let the name fool you, Boy Scout Lane sounds pleasant enough, but it is actually one of the most haunted places in Wisconsin. The dead end road was named in honor of some Boy Scouts who died there during a camping trip many years ago, but records are sketchy with regard to how they actually died. As you might imagine this means that there are a number of versions of the tale floating around. Some say that the boys were murdered by their bus driver while others believe they simply went missing in the woods and were never found. Yet more stories suggest that one scout dropped a kerosene lantern accidentally and started a fire that killed the rest of his troop. Whatever the true story is, visitors agree that if you visit Boy Scout Lane at night you are likely to see the light of a solitary lantern bobbing through the trees. It is said that this is either someone searching for the lost scouts or perhaps the spirit of the one who started the fire.
9. Dartford Cemetery, Green Lake
Dartford Cemetery looks very much like a garden, but appearances can be deceiving and this is one of the most haunted places in Wisconsin. Perhaps the most well known ghost that hangs out here is that of Chief Highknocker who apparently drowned in 1911 when he attempted to swim across a river while making his way to Green Lake, which was considered to be a sacred location be the Native Americans. Another common sighting is soldiers from the Civil War era marching through the cemetery. There have also been reports of a variety of other paranormal activity including shadow figures, unexplained sounds, orbs of light and one particular phenomena which occurs when visitors sit on top of a mausoleum on the South side of the cemetery. Anyone who sits on top of this particular mausoleum is said to be pushed off of it by the ghost of a child who is buried there.
8. The Grand Opera House, Oshkosh
It is said that The Grand Opera House, which was built in 1883, is haunted by Percy Keene who was the stage manager there for several decades. The paranormal activity seems to be focused on the balcony which is where Percy is most often spotted. There are also reports of a phantom dog, unexplained footsteps and a strange orange tinted mist that hovers on the stage!
7. Bloody Bride Bridge, Stevens Point
There is a certain stretch of County Highway 66 that is known informally as Bloody Bride Bridge thanks to the spectre that is said to haunt it. Local law enforcement deny that the accident described in the local legend actually occurred, but residents in the area will tell you otherwise. The story suggests that several years ago a bride and groom were driving home from their wedding when the car spun out of control as they crossed the bridge that carries Highway 66 over the Plover River. Several years after the fatal accident, a police officer is said to have struck a woman in a wedding gown while driving across the bridge, but when he got out to investigate there was nothing there. On turning back to his vehicle he found the woman, splattered with blood, sitting in the backseat! Many people since then have seen the bloody bride standing on the bridge on rainy nights and local urban legends say that if you stop on the bridge at midnight, both the bride and her groom will manifest in your back seat!
6. Hotel Hell, Maribel
The Maribel Caves Hotel has come to be known as Hotel Hell thanks to some of the strange things that have been going on there throughout the years. There was originally a health spa on the site which was in operation in the late 1800s, but the hotel was built there in 1900. It was constructed from Limestone blocks giving it an unusual fort like appearance. Thousands of visitors passed through the hotel every year attracted by the opportunity to drink the Maribel Spring water. A fire broke out in the hotel in 1985 and it closed down shortly afterwards. Since then, the tales of the paranormal surrounding the hotel have continued to grow. As well as tales of floating objects, apparitions, unsettling feelings and people being touched by invisible hands, there are also much darker tales. It is said that a coven of dark witches used the empty building and that they even managed to open a portal to hell allowing the dark entities that now haunt the building to come through. It seems like Hotel Hell really lives up to its name and it remains one of the most haunted places in Wisconsin.
5. The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee
Another Wisconsin hotel which has a reputation for being haunted is the extravagant Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. It opened back in 1893 and contains the largest collection of Victorian artwork in any hotel in the world. It is said to be haunted by the ghost of its namesake, Charles Pfister. Guests have reported hearing phantom footsteps inside their bedrooms in the dead of night. This is a world class hotel which carries a hefty price tag for overnight stays, but it is still one of the most haunted places in Wisconsin!
4. Witch Road, Ripon
Callan Road in Ripon, Wisconsin is better known as Witch Road, largely because it is said to be haunted by the spirit of a witch that inhabits the woods surrounding the road. Those driving the road at night describe how the gnarled branches of the trees cast gruesome shadows in their headlights before taking on the form of a twisted old crone – the witch. Some have seen strange flashing lights in the woods close to where the remains of an old house believed to have belonged to the witch is located. This is one of the most haunted places in Wisconsin and is not for the faint of heart.
3. St Joseph's Hospital, Marshfield
Hospitals are always a good choice when you are seeking out a haunted building and St Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield certainly fits the bill. The paranormal activity here seems to be more or less restricted to the West Wing of the hospital. One of the most commonly reported apparitions is a man in a black robe who has been seen by staff and patients alike wandering the halls and coming in and out of patients’ rooms. Nobody has managed to determine who he is or why he is haunting the hospital.
2. Summerwind, Land O'Lakes
Summerwind was once a summer home for Robert P Lamont who was the Secretary of Commerce under the Hoover Administration. The property was built in 1916 and if the stories are to be believed it was plagued by ghosts from the outset! When Lamont died the property passed through a number of owners before the Hinshaw Family bought it some time in the 1970s. They soon began to experience the paranormal activity that Lamont did – shadow figures and strange unexplained noises. Arnold Hinshaw claimed that he found human remains behind a secret door in the closet, but there is no record of him ever officially reporting it. The next owner was Raymond Bober who reported seeing a ghost that he believed was an 18th century explorer named Jonathon Carver. The manor was eventually abandoned in the 1980s and a lightning strike burned it to the ground. The remains of Summerwind still can be found hidden away in the woods and many people also claim that they have seen the ghosts and heard disembodied voices in the area.
1. Wood County Insane Asylum, Wood County
In the early 1900s there were some pretty terrible practices that were going on in mental institutions across the country. Wood County Insane Asylum was one of them. Some of the barbaric treatment methods included electroshock therapy, ice water submersion and even bloodletting. Many of the patients that were subjected to these torments turned on the staff and even murdered some of them. These days the old asylum is said to be one of the most haunted places in Wisconsin with those who visit reporting apparitions, strange noises, and disembodied voices.