The Most Haunted Places in Wisconsin: A Guide to Spooky Sites and Local Legends

  • By: Timothy Rose
  • Date: 6 February 2024
  • Time to read: 16 min.

Last fall, the only thing that scared me in Wisconsin was the thought of missing out on its legendary cheese. Yet, as I ventured into the Badger State’s darker side, I was drawn into a world of ghostly tales and eerie hauntings. Wisconsin is home to some of the most haunted places in the country, each with its own chilling story. The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, known for its luxurious charm, also whispers tales of spectral guests. Then there’s the infamous Summerwind Mansion, whose ruined walls are said to echo with the spirits of its troubled past. In Maribel, the so-called “Hotel Hell” stands as a shell of its former glory, shrouded in mystery and ghostly apparitions.

One of the most haunted places in Wisconsin is the Clark County Insane Asylum in Owen. Visitors report hearing voices and seeing apparitions of former residents who were tortured and murdered by the staff. Another haunted place in Wisconsin is the Riverside Cemetery in Appleton, where visitors have reported seeing ghostly apparitions and hearing strange noises. The cemetery is also home to the famous “witch’s grave,” which is said to be cursed and haunted by the ghost of a witch who was buried there.

Whether you’re a believer in the paranormal or not, Wisconsin’s haunted places are sure to give you goosebumps. In the following sections, we will take a closer look at some of the most haunted places in Wisconsin and the ghostly legends that surround them.

Most Haunted Places in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has a reputation for having some of the most haunted places in the United States. From abandoned asylums to historic hotels, there are plenty of spooky locations to explore. Here are some of the most haunted places in Wisconsin:

The Pfister Hotel

The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a structure that seamlessly blends historical grandeur with modern luxury. Established in 1893 by Guido Pfister and his son Charles F. Pfister, the hotel was a marvel of its era, featuring advanced amenities like fireproofing and electricity. However, the hotel’s reputation extends beyond its architectural brilliance and luxurious offerings; it is also known for its mysterious and unexplained phenomena that have intrigued guests for years.

The Pfister Hotel - Credit Jim Bauer
The Pfister Hotel – Credit Jim Bauer

Over the decades, numerous accounts of paranormal activity have been reported by guests and staff alike. These experiences range from sudden temperature changes in rooms to electronic devices malfunctioning without explanation. Notably, even high-profile guests such as Major League Baseball players have shared their eerie experiences, adding a layer of credibility to these tales.

The aftermath of these paranormal encounters often leaves a lasting impression on those who experience them. While some guests are thrilled by the mysterious occurrences, considering them an added layer of excitement to their stay, others find themselves unsettled. Regardless of individual reactions, the stories continue to be a part of the hotel’s rich tapestry, making the Pfister Hotel a must-visit for both luxury seekers and paranormal enthusiasts.

Hotel Hell

Hotel Hell in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, is a place that has long been shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Founded in the early 19th century, the hotel was initially a bustling establishment, catering to travelers and locals alike. However, it wasn’t long before guests started reporting strange occurrences. Lights flickering, doors slamming shut on their own, and an inexplicable chill in certain rooms have all contributed to the hotel’s eerie reputation.

The most compelling story revolves around a former owner named John Smith, who mysteriously disappeared in the late 1800s. Legend has it that Smith was involved in occult practices and had converted one of the hotel’s rooms into a makeshift sanctuary for his rituals. Guests who have stayed in this particular room have reported seeing shadowy figures, hearing whispers, and even feeling a sudden drop in temperature. Some claim to have seen Smith’s apparition, wandering the halls in the dead of night, as if searching for something—or someone.

Summerwind Mansion

The Summerwind Mansion, also known as Lamont Mansion, is a ruined mansion on the shores of West Bay Lake in Vilas County, Wisconsin. The mansion has a storied past, with its origins dating back to the early 20th century. It was purchased in 1916 by Robert Patterson Lamont, who undertook extensive renovations. The mansion has been the subject of numerous legends and ghost stories, contributing to its reputation as a haunted house.

Summerwind Mansion
Summerwind Mansion

One of the most intriguing legends involves Lamont himself. According to accounts, he was so frightened by a ghostly encounter that he fired a pistol at the apparition and subsequently abandoned the house. Later owners, Arnold and Ginger Hinshaw, also reported disturbing hauntings that led Arnold to suffer a nervous breakdown and Ginger to attempt suicide. The tales of hauntings were further popularized by Raymond Bober, Ginger Hinshaw’s father, who wrote a book claiming the mansion was haunted by 18th-century explorer Jonathan Carver.

The mansion met its end in a rather dramatic fashion. In 1988, it was destroyed by a fire following a lightning strike. While the fire was not considered suspicious, the mansion had been a hotspot for local teens who would frequently use the location for parties. Despite its destruction, the legends surrounding Summerwind Mansion continue to captivate the imagination of paranormal enthusiasts and have even been featured in various media, including a Discovery Channel episode of “A Haunting.”

The Maribel Caves Hotel

The Maribel Caves Hotel, also known as Hotel Hell, is a three-story structure built in 1900 in Maribel, Wisconsin. Initially serving as a resort for the affluent, the hotel gained notoriety for its series of mysterious fires and paranormal activities. Chad Lewis, a paranormal investigator, recounts tales of ghostly apparitions, including the image of a child visible on the second floor, believed to be one of the children who died at the hotel. The hotel’s eerie reputation was further fueled by legends claiming that a portal to hell could open up inside the hotel’s well. Unfortunately, the building was demolished in a 2013 windstorm and is now on private property, deemed unsafe for visitors.

The Maribel Caves Hotel - Credit relux.
The Maribel Caves Hotel – Credit relux.

The hotel’s history is fraught with tales of the supernatural. Guests and investigators alike have reported hearing voices and seeing shadows, only to find nothing upon further inspection. The building’s reputation for being haunted was so pervasive that it was said if you brought a book to the location, it would spontaneously burst into flames. The dare was to look into the old well, now overgrown with flowers, where you would supposedly see a portal to hell open up and try to swallow you. Witnesses claim to have seen intense flames rising from the well, further cementing the hotel’s association with hellish phenomena.

Despite its demolition, the Maribel Caves Hotel continues to haunt the collective imagination. The existing walls are unstable, and the property owner, Mark Lyman, discourages any visits. Yet, the legends and stories surrounding this once grand hotel make it a subject of ongoing fascination, especially for those intrigued by the paranormal.

Brumder Mansion

Brumder Mansion in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, isn’t just another historical building; it’s a hotspot for paranormal activity. Built in 1910, this mansion has seen its fair share of owners, including a mobster named Sam Pick, who was affiliated with Al Capone. Over the years, the mansion has evolved into a bed-and-breakfast, but guests aren’t the only ones who check in. Spirits have made it their permanent residence, and they’re not shy about making their presence known.

Imagine spending a night in a room where the temperature suddenly drops, lights flicker, and your gadgets go haywire. Guests have reported experiencing vivid dreams and feeling unseen presences. But the most unsettling event was the discovery of fresh drops of blood in a bathtub that no one had used. The source remains a mystery, adding another layer to the mansion’s haunted reputation. Various spirits, including an elderly woman and a playful male entity, are said to roam the halls, making it a favorite spot for paranormal investigators.

So, what happens after you’ve spent a night with the unknown? Well, the mansion embraces its title as the “most haunted house in Wisconsin.” Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, a stay at the Brumder Mansion is bound to be an unforgettable experience. Even the Chicago Paranormal Investigators have documented strange occurrences here. So, if you’re up for a spine-chilling adventure, this mansion is waiting for you.

If you are a fan of the paranormal, Wisconsin is the perfect destination for you. From haunted hotels to abandoned asylums, there are plenty of spooky locations to explore. Just be sure to keep an open mind and be prepared for the unexpected.

Eerie Tales from Wisconsin

Wisconsin is home to many haunted places with eerie tales that will send shivers down your spine. Here are some of the most chilling stories of paranormal activity in the state.

The Bloody Bride Bridge

The Bloody Bride Bridge, officially known as the Highway 66 Bridge, is located near Jordan Park in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. This bridge has long been the subject of a tragic and haunting tale. The story goes that many years ago, a bride and groom were crossing the bridge on their wedding night when they got into a terrible car accident, killing the bride. Since then, the distraught bride has been seen wandering back and forth on the bridge, still in her bloody wedding gown. The legend further states that a police officer once accidentally hit the apparition, only to find her sitting in the backseat of his car when he returned to check on her.

The bridge doesn’t just stop at apparitions; it also has its share of eerie phenomena. Drivers have reported seeing a ghostly fog and even out-of-place rock formations on the bridge. Whether these tales are true or not, they have made the Bloody Bride Bridge a subject of fascination and fear, especially for those who dare to cross it on rainy nights.

Despite the unsettling stories, the bridge continues to be a point of interest for both locals and paranormal enthusiasts. Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, the Bloody Bride Bridge offers an intriguing glimpse into the world of the unknown, making it one of the most talked-about haunted locations in Wisconsin.

Siren Bridge

The Siren Bridge, located in Siren, Wisconsin, about an hour and a half from the Duluth area, is a site that has captured the attention of both locals and paranormal enthusiasts. A tragic car crash occurred on this bridge, claiming the lives of a family—mom, dad, and young daughter. Since then, eerie phenomena have been reported. People claim to hear echoes from the family, including screams for help and the voice of one of the young children calling out over the radio. Paranormal investigator Chad Lewis also noted that two people who drove over the bridge heard a girl’s voice over the radio screaming for her mom and saying, “I can’t get out,” only for the radio to return to normal after they had crossed the bridge.

The bridge has been the subject of various reports and investigations. While some say it’s a bridge, others claim it’s a road that crosses a marshy creek. The only confirmed fact is that the tragic crash did happen, making this a more recent haunted spot dating back to the 1980s. Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, the Siren Bridge stands as a haunting landmark that many find intriguing yet unsettling.

The Dartford Cemetery

The Dartford Cemetery, located in Green Lake County, Wisconsin, is a place steeped in both history and mystery. The cemetery is the final resting place for many of the area’s early pioneers, as well as Chief Highknocker, the last Winnebago chief to rule the area. The cemetery has been featured in a 2007 episode of the Discovery Channel series “A Haunting,” where it was reported that if you sit on top of a particular mausoleum on Halloween night, ghosts will push you off. Paranormal experiences also include encounters with ghost children and a Native American chief in full ceremonial dress.

The cemetery has a long history that predates the arrival of European settlers. It was a sacred place for the Winnebago people, now known as the Ho-Chunk, who believed the nearby Green Lake to be a mystical place with no bottom. Chief Highknocker, born in 1820, was a significant figure in the area until his death in 1911 due to a tragic swimming accident. His grave is marked by a boulder taken from the lake and an unusual gravestone carved with his image.

The Dartford Cemetery continues to attract both locals and paranormal enthusiasts. Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, the cemetery offers an intriguing glimpse into the world of the unknown. Its haunted reputation makes it one of the most talked-about locations in Wisconsin, especially during the Halloween season.

Chief Highknocker

Chief Highknocker was a significant figure in the history of Green Lake County, Wisconsin, particularly in the area surrounding Dartford Cemetery. Born in 1820 on the east shore of Green Lake, he was the last Winnebago chief to rule the region. The chief was known for his stovepipe hat, which became a part of his nickname. His life came to a tragic end on August 12, 1911, due to a swimming accident. While some accounts suggest that the accident occurred in the nearby Puchyan River, others claim it happened while he was attempting to cross the Fox River without a canoe. Local legend even suggests that his death was the result of a drunken dare.

Chief Highknocker was initially buried along the river but was later moved to Dartford Cemetery in the 1930s by his son. His grave is marked by a boulder taken from Green Lake and an unusual gravestone carved with his image. The chief is said to be one of the spirits haunting the cemetery, and his apparition has reportedly been seen in full ceremonial dress.

The Ridgeway Ghost

The Ridgeway Ghost is a famous ghost story in Wisconsin. According to legend, a man named Charlie was killed in a car accident on a rural road near Ridgeway. His ghost is said to haunt the area, and some have reported seeing him walking along the side of the road. Others have claimed to see his ghostly figure in the rearview mirror of their car.

These are just a few of the many eerie tales from haunted places in Wisconsin. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, these stories are sure to send a chill down your spine.

Haunted Roads and Locations

Wisconsin is known for its eerie and creepy haunted places. From abandoned asylums to haunted roads, there are plenty of locations that are said to be haunted. Here are some of the most well-known haunted roads and locations in Wisconsin.

Boy Scout Lane

Boy Scout Lane, located in Stevens Point, is one of the most haunted roads in Wisconsin. The name may sound innocent, but the road has a dark past. Legend has it that a group of Boy Scouts died during a camping trip, and their spirits still haunt the area. Visitors have reported seeing apparitions and hearing strange noises.

Witch Road

Witch Road, located in the town of Burlington, is another infamous haunted road in Wisconsin. The road is said to be cursed by a witch who was burned at the stake in the area. Visitors have reported seeing ghostly apparitions and experiencing strange phenomena such as car trouble and sudden temperature drops.

Clark County Insane Asylum

The Clark County Insane Asylum, located in Owen, Wisconsin, is a place with a haunting history that continues to captivate the imagination of paranormal enthusiasts. Opened in 1922 under the supervision of M. H. Duncan, the asylum initially housed only twelve patients but grew to accommodate 316 by 1936. While the institution claimed to provide “humane” care, its treatment methods were far from it. Practices like electrotherapy, ice water submersion, and bloodletting were common, often leading to unnecessary suffering and even death.

The asylum’s dark past has given rise to numerous reports of paranormal activity. Visitors have reported seeing eerie apparitions of former patients and hearing disembodied voices. One particularly chilling account involves a group of paranormal investigators who captured EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) that sounded like pleas for help. The asylum’s haunting legacy is further solidified by local legends, including the tragic suicide of a staff member within the asylum’s walls.

Today, the original structure may no longer stand, but the haunting experiences reported by those who have ventured into its abandoned grounds keep the asylum’s chilling history alive. Whether it’s the apparitions, the voices, or the unsettling feeling one gets when near the site, the Clark County Insane Asylum remains a focal point for those interested in the supernatural.

The Sheboygan County Asylum

The Sheboygan County Asylum, also known as the Sheboygan County Hospital for the Insane, has a history that is both intriguing and unsettling. Opened in 1876 in Winooski, Wisconsin, the facility was relocated to Sheboygan in 1882. It underwent several expansions before its closure in 1940. The asylum was succeeded by the Sheboygan County Comprehensive Health Care Center in Sheboygan Falls, which operated from 1940 to 2002. This latter facility is reputedly haunted, partly due to its association with the original asylum.

The Sheboygan County Asylum was initially established to house the chronically insane who had previously been accommodated in state hospitals and jails. Tragically, a fire broke out on February 19, 1878, claiming the lives of four of the 21 inmates. The facility was rebuilt and continued to operate, but another fire in 1892 claimed the life of a night watchman. The asylum was eventually closed in 1940 due to its dilapidated condition and was demolished in 1960.

The site of the original asylum is now occupied by commercial establishments, but the legends and rumors surrounding its haunted past persist. The Sheboygan County Comprehensive Health Care Center, which succeeded the original asylum, has attracted urban explorers and is the subject of stories claiming it is haunted. These stories were even explored in an episode of the Travel Channel show Destination Fear.

Overall, Wisconsin is home to many haunted roads and locations that are said to be haunted by ghosts and other supernatural entities. While some of these stories may be exaggerated or false, they continue to fascinate and intrigue visitors from all over.

Spooky Tales of Historic Buildings

Wisconsin is home to many historic buildings that have been around for decades, some even over a century. However, with age comes stories of ghosts and spirits that haunt these buildings. Here are some of the most haunted historic buildings in Wisconsin.

Grand Opera House

The Grand Opera House in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, stands as a testament to both architectural grandeur and cultural significance. Constructed in 1883, the opera house underwent a significant restoration in 2009. However, the restoration did not erase its rich history, particularly its reputation for being haunted.

Grand Opera House in Oshkosh
Grand Opera House in Oshkosh

The most frequently reported apparition is that of Percy Keene, the opera house’s former stage manager. Numerous accounts affirm that Keene’s spirit has been observed in the vicinity of the balcony, a location he likely frequented during his tenure. In addition to Keene, the opera house has been host to other inexplicable phenomena. A phantom canine has been reported on stage, appearing so tangible that actors were instructed to remove it, only to find no such animal present. Furthermore, an unexplained orange mist has been known to manifest on stage, and phantom footsteps have been heard throughout the building at various times.

Octagon House

The Octagon House in Fond du Lac is a beautiful octagonal-shaped home that was built in 1856. However, it is also known for its haunted past. Legend has it that a woman was murdered in the home and her spirit still lingers there. Visitors have reported seeing her ghostly figure and feeling a cold presence in the room where she was killed.

Kemper Hall

Kemper Hall in Kenosha was once a prestigious all-girls school. However, it is now known for its ghostly inhabitants. Many have reported seeing the ghost of a young girl in a white dress wandering the halls. Some have even claimed to hear her singing and playing the piano.

Karsten Inn

Karsten Inn in Kewaunee was once a hotel and tavern. However, it is now known for its ghostly inhabitants. Many have reported seeing the ghost of a man in a top hat wandering the halls. Some have even claimed to hear him playing the piano in the bar area.

These historic buildings may be beautiful to look at, but they also have a spooky side. Visitors should be aware of the ghosts and spirits that may be lurking around the corners.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the most haunted places in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has its fair share of haunted locations. Some of the most famous ones include the Sheboygan County Asylum, the Maribel Caves Hotel, and the Clark County Insane Asylum. Other notable locations include the Summerwind Mansion, the Shaker’s Cigar Bar, and the Grand Opera House.

Can you share any ghost stories from Wisconsin?

There are many ghost stories associated with Wisconsin’s haunted places. For example, the Maribel Caves Hotel is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former owner who committed suicide, while the Sheboygan County Asylum is said to be haunted by the spirits of former patients who died there. The Clark County Insane Asylum is also known for its ghostly apparitions and strange noises.

Have there been any reported paranormal activities in Wisconsin?

Yes, there have been many reported paranormal activities in Wisconsin. These include sightings of ghostly apparitions, strange noises, and unexplained movements. Many of these activities have been reported in Wisconsin’s most haunted places, such as the Sheboygan County Asylum and the Maribel Caves Hotel.

What is the history behind some of Wisconsin’s haunted locations?

Many of Wisconsin’s haunted locations have a rich and fascinating history. For example, the Sheboygan County Asylum was originally built in the 1800s as a poorhouse and later converted into an asylum for the mentally ill. The Maribel Caves Hotel was once a popular destination for travelers and was even used as a speakeasy during Prohibition. The Clark County Insane Asylum was known for its harsh treatment of patients, and many people believe that the spirits of former patients still haunt the building.

Are there any tours or events that showcase Wisconsin’s haunted places?

Yes, there are many tours and events that showcase Wisconsin’s haunted places. These include ghost tours of haunted locations, paranormal investigations, and Halloween events. Some popular tours include the Shaker’s Cigar Bar Ghost Tour in Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Dells Ghost Boat Tour.

Do you have any tips for those interested in exploring haunted places in Wisconsin?

If you’re interested in exploring Wisconsin’s haunted places, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, always respect the property and the spirits that may reside there. Second, be prepared for the possibility of encountering paranormal activity. Third, bring appropriate equipment, such as a camera and a flashlight. Finally, consider going on a guided tour or joining a paranormal investigation group to ensure your safety and to learn more about the history and legends behind these haunted places.

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