Wisconsin: a land of cheese, breweries, and the great outdoors, where the only thing you’d expect to go bump in the night is a rogue cow. But venture beyond the dairy and you’ll find a spine-chilling side to America’s Dairyland, riddled with haunted buildings, eerie roads, and spine-tingling specters.
So, grab your bravest friends, and buckle up for a ghostly tour of Wisconsin’s most terrifying haunts. Just remember, when the cheese curds start to fly, don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Let’s dive into the ten most haunted places in Wisconsin, where things might be a bit more ghoulish than they appear
1. Boy Scout Lane, Stevens Point
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.
2. 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 cemeteries 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 by 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 phenomenon which occurs when visitors sit on top of a mausoleum on the Southside 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.
3. 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!
4. 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 specter that is said to haunt it.
Local law enforcement denies 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!
5. 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.
A fire broke out in the hotel in 1985 and it closed down shortly afterward. 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.
6. Clark County Insane Asylum, Owen
The Clark County Insane Asylum, once an imposing institution for the mentally ill, has a dark history marred by inhumane treatment methods. Patients at the asylum were subjected to barbaric procedures, such as electroshock therapy, ice water submersion, and even bloodletting, all in the name of “curing” their ailments.
As a consequence of these brutal practices, many patients turned against the staff, resulting in violent altercations and even murder within the asylum’s walls. The suffering and anguish that unfolded at the Clark County Insane Asylum has left a lasting imprint on the location.
Today, the abandoned asylum is considered one of the most haunted buildings in Wisconsin. Visitors who dare to explore its crumbling halls have reported a range of chilling experiences.
Apparitions of former patients and staff are said to wander the building, while strange noises echo through the empty corridors. Disembodied voices, believed to be the cries of those who endured unbearable torment, can be heard in the eerie silence.
The haunting legacy of the Clark County Insane Asylum serves as a grim reminder of the inhumanity that once transpired within its walls. Those who venture inside are left with a palpable sense of the suffering that still lingers, making it an unforgettable destination for paranormal enthusiasts and historians alike.
7. 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 certainly one of the most haunted locations in Wisconsin and is not for the faint of heart.
8. 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.
9. Summerwind Mansion, 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 sometime 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.
Learn more about the ghosts of the haunted Summerwind Mansion
10. The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee
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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.
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Guests have reported hearing phantom footsteps inside their bedrooms in the dead of night.
This is a world-class hotel that carries a hefty price tag for overnight stays, but it is still one of the most haunted places in Wisconsin! [BOOK A STAY]
Read more about the ghosts of the haunted Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee, WI
11. Winnebago Mental Health Institute, Oshkosh
Nestled a few miles outside of Oshkosh in the unincorporated town of Winnebago lies the historic Winnebago Mental Health Institute.
Originally known as the Northern Asylum for the Insane and later renamed the Winnebago State Hospital, this institution has been in operation since 1883, serving as a witness to over a century of mental health care practices.
One of the most notorious residents of the institute was John Flammang Schrank, who attempted to assassinate Theodore Roosevelt on October 14th, 1912 in Milwaukee. Schrank’s confinement at the institution is just one of the many dark chapters in its history.
Over the years, the Winnebago Mental Health Institute has gained a reputation for being haunted. It is believed that the spirits of former patients continue to roam its halls long after their deaths. One such patient, Rufus, has been reported to make his presence known in Sherman Hall.
The second floor, where old medical instruments and mannequins are stored, is said to be a hotbed for paranormal activity. Some speculate that these relics of the past have attracted restless spirits, drawn to the energy and memories they hold.
Visitors to the Winnebago Mental Health Institute have reported unsettling experiences, such as disembodied voices, unexplained noises, and even full-bodied apparitions.
This chilling location has earned its spot among the top haunted places in Wisconsin, offering a glimpse into a shadowy past and a dark history of mental health in America.
12. Ambassador Hotel, Milwaukee
With its impressive Art Deco features and a resurgence in recent years, the hotel offers an air of opulence and comfort. However, beneath this grandeur lies a chilling connection to the infamous Jeffrey Dahmer, who committed his first Milwaukee murder in room 507.
This dark history has left an eerie imprint on the Ambassador Hotel, with many visitors experiencing unexplained paranormal activity.
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Guests in room 507, where Dahmer’s first Milwaukee victim, Steven Tuomi, met his gruesome end, have reported a heavy atmosphere and strange occurrences, such as waking up to find their partner in an awkward position reminiscent of Tuomi’s body.
Others have encountered mysteriously made or unmade beds and items disappearing only to reappear elsewhere.
The Ambassador Hotel’s haunted reputation extends beyond room 507, with tales of messages written on mirrors and other odd happenings throughout the property.
This unsettling combination of luxury and paranormal occurrences makes the Ambassador Hotel a compelling addition to any list of Wisconsin’s most haunted places. [BOOK A STAY]