Milwaukee, a city woven with historical richness and cultural diversity, offers an alluring tapestry of tales that extend far beyond the boundaries of the everyday. Where the architectural grandeur of the past mingles with the vibrant rhythm of the present, the city hides countless enigmas in its heart, waiting to be unraveled.
The mystique that Milwaukee holds is not confined to its renowned breweries or iconic sports teams but permeates into something far more spectral—its haunted hotels.
From the historic Pfister Hotel, a luxury landmark with a resident ghost, to the ethereal presence at the Ambassador Hotel, these spectral stories will captivate you. Step into the world of the supernatural as we embark on this journey through Milwaukee’s haunted hotels, each with its own chilling tale to tell.
1. Ambassador Hotel
The Ambassador Hotel was built in 1928 as an affluent fixture on the Milwaukee scene, although much of the information about the hotel’s history has come down from word of mouth and pictures from people’s private collections. As a social stop in the city, famous people commonly flocked to its rooms and lobby during its heyday.
Unfortunately, no matter the glitz, glamour, and comfort that the hotel offers, you will find that the hotel can’t get past its most famous association, that with Jeffrey Dahmer. The hotel was the scene of Dahmer’s first Milwaukee murder, who he killed in his room before spiriting the body out of his room in a suitcase. Book now: Booking.com
2. Hilton Garden Inn, Milwaukee
In 1883, the Newhall Hotel suffered a horrible tragedy when a fire took the lives of over 70 people. Today, the Hilton Garden Inn dwells within the former Loyalty Building, which took the place of the destroyed Newhall Hotel in 1886. The building remains an impressive architectural creation as well as providing idyllic accommodations for its guests.
The Hilton Garden Inn is also considered to be among the most haunted hotels in Milwaukee. Many of the unexplained activity could be caused by the souls that lost their lives more than a century ago. Unusual activity people have encountered includes unusual and eerie sounds originating from unknown sources and locations.
At least one of the restless spirits that remains attached to the hotel likes to pull the hair of people who are in their hotel rooms, or other locations in the hotel, unaccompanied. Bathroom doors are known to open and close when no one is anywhere near them. A large percentage of manifestations take place in rooms 201 and 326 but unusual activity is experienced throughout the old building. BOOK A STAY AT HILTON GARDEN
3. Brumder Mansion Bed & Breakfast, Milwaukee
George Brumder, a newspaper baron, made the decision to build a beautiful private brick home for his son back in 1910. The Brumder Mansion served well as a private residence before it was ultimately transformed into the modern, yet historical, bed and breakfast getaway it is today.
Throughout the years, countless people called the Brumder Mansion their permanent residence. Other people were only fortunate enough to stay in the glorious building while traveling from one destination to the next.
Over the years many guests of the Brumder Mansion, as well as former owners, claim that there is something unusual about the place. In fact, there are some people who claim that the Brumder Mansion Bed & Breakfast is actually among the most haunted hotels in Milwaukee.
There are accounts of one of the former housekeepers lingering in the mansion. According to the stories Suzanne’s ghost simply cannot part from the home in which she once worked.
Objects of all sorts that were securely fastened to the walls have been known to drop off without anything touching them. Fortunately, nothing ever breaks when it falls.
Other reported paranormal activity includes doors opening then slamming shut at random hours during the night as well as doorbells that malfunction playing songs not programmed. For many guests, former employees and owners there is no doubt something remains attached to the mansion.
4. The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee
In 1893 when the decision was made to build a new hotel in Milwaukee, the budget was a staggering $1 million. The Pfister Hotel was meant to be a luxury hotel and it fit the bill perfectly. Guests from around the globe were treated to top-notch service and accommodations.
There was a period from the fifties and sixties where the hotel slipped by way of its well-known standards. The idea of the new owner, Ben Marcus was to revamp the hotel and make it once again an elite hotel with unparalleled services. Those goals were achieved.
The famous Pfister Hotel is not only a luxurious hotel for world travelers but also a home away from home for actors, musicians, dignitaries and local sports celebrities.
Based on the stories from some of these big name celebrities, ordinary guests and staff, the Pfister Hotel is one of the most haunted sites in Wisconsin. Some might say, it’s one of the most haunted hotels in the world.
Visitors to the hotel can expect to either have a calm and uneventful stay or they can anticipate dealing with a considerable amount of paranormal activity. One guest recounted his shocking ghostly encounters after his first stay at the Pfister Hotel.
During his first night in the hotel he experienced a wide array of activity. The man stated he had problems with the phone when he called room service. There was static and the phone kept getting disconnected. He heard a knocking at his door, which he assumed was his room service, but in fact, there was no one there.
As it turns out there were no children and only three other people staying on that floor. Things got progressively stranger. His toiletry bag in the bathroom was emptied and items scattered all over the floor. Clothes the guest had set out for the next day were thrown at him in the dead of night. The guest saw a shadow figure at the end of his bed. The figure proceeded to push him down and laugh. When the guest was finally able to leave, he was given another room where nothing unusual occurred.
Professional baseball players that have stayed in the hotel recount their own bizarre and frightening experiences. One of the gentlemen experienced someone knocking on the hallway walls as well as his hotel room door. The air conditioner as well as the TV seemed to be possessed as they switched off and on at will. The other baseball player heard disembodied voices and witnessed his iPod not only switch on without his assistance but it almost fell off the table because of how violently it was shaking.
Many guests recount similar experiences of electronics malfunctioning, ghostly apparitions and shadow people appearing. Some people have even reported to have seen the ghost of Charles Pfister walking around the hotel that he founded. [BOOK NOW]
5. Hilton Milwaukee City Centre
Delving into the enigmatic tale of the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, one might stumble upon an intriguing narrative woven through both its illustrious past and its undeniable allure as an embodiment of the paranormal.
Once known as the Hotel Schroeder, this esteemed establishment has been shrouded in mystery since it first opened its doors in 1928. This towering Art Deco masterpiece, once the largest hotel in Wisconsin, was the crowning achievement of Walter Schroeder’s hospitality empire.
However, the hotel’s reputation surpasses its remarkable architectural splendor and historic significance. A recent narrative circulated on Trip Advisor presents the hotel in a chilling, yet equally fascinating, light. A guest who stayed at the Hilton with her mother in December 2019 reported an array of uncanny occurrences.
During their stay, the guest reported feeling a disconcerting energy in the hotel. Despite the beautifully preserved classic elegance of the building, she described never feeling alone in the hallways, even when there was no one else around.
She experienced eerie laptop malfunctions and a constant, unnerving sense that there was “something else there.” Disturbed by the strange ambiance, her mother appealed to the unseen presence to depart their room, only to have her Siri retort from across the room, “Well that’s not very nice.”
The peculiar happenings didn’t cease when they relocated to another room. In this new setting, the mother observed drawers opening and closing by themselves, the bathroom light flickering on and off, and objects mysteriously shifting places.
Despite these strange experiences, the guests acknowledged the beauty and history of the hotel and noted that the spirits, if they were indeed former guests, were not malevolent.
The intrigue surrounding the Hilton Milwaukee City Center deepens when considering the hotel’s historical narrative. Walter Schroeder, the original owner of the hotel, has been reported to haunt other buildings in the Milwaukee area.
Although Historic Hotels of America mentioned that the Hilton itself was devoid of ghostly presence, could it be possible that Schroeder’s spirit has found a home in his most celebrated creation?
The staff at the Hilton, either unaware or choosing not to disclose information about the paranormal activity, remain silent on the matter. Yet, the stories persist, casting a beguiling aura around this historic hotel.
Whether these accounts are just products of overactive imaginations or evidence of the spectral guests of the past, one thing is certain—the Hilton Milwaukee City Center offers an unforgettable stay to its visitors. [BOOK NOW]