Ghost brides, Civil War soldiers, and an Indigenous American chief are just some of the restless spirits who haunt the Badger State. In fact, no matter where you are in Wisconsin, there's a ghost just around the corner. So if you're looking for a chill when you're traveling the highways and byways of America's heartland, you'll find them at the most haunted places in Wisconsin.
The Pfister Hotel
The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee was the project of Guido Pfister and his son, Charles. The "Grand Hotel of the West" opened in 1893 and touted as a luxurious meeting place. Today, the hotel maintains its status, but guests say it's haunted. Staff and guests frequently spot Charles Pfister roaming the hotel, and phantom footfalls follow guests. In their rooms, guests experience loud knocking sounds on the headboard, scratching sounds in the walls, and apparitions. In fact, just ask any of the nine baseball players who've come forward with stories of a ghost appearing in their rooms. Misty apparitions hover over the bed and clothes are strewn on the floor and bench. Lights and TVs turn on and off, and radios and iPods turn on to play music by themselves.
Bodega Brew Pub
Bodega Brew Pub in La Crosse has always been the favorite downtown hangout. Pool hall owner Paul Malin died in the pub in 1901. He still haunts the pub by making all kinds of strange noises. He'll tap you on the shoulder just so you turn around. Of course, you can't see him when you do. Apparitions float through the bar, and customers complain of unusual cold spots. Like so many haunted places, the basement is the creepiest part of the building. The phantom sound of high heels click over the floor in a nervous pacing. But the freakiest happening is the strange way supplies in the basement stack themselves.
The Riverside Cemetery in Appleton was established in 1850. The most famous spirit is Kate Blood. Accused of witchcraft, adultery, and murder, she's seen in the cemetery wearing a hooded robe. She runs through the cemetery and vanishes in front of eyewitnesses. Her tombstone oozes blood, making the tale creepier.
High Cliff State Park
High Cliff State Park in Sherwood is located among the effigy mounds (animal shaped earthen Indigenous American burial mounds). The Park is part of the Niagara Escarpment. It's a hotspot for paranormal activity. Lime kilns in the park attract ghostly shapes and shadow people. All these features seem to be like a magnet for spirits. Campers see apparitions and hear strange noises at night. Sudden cold spots are usually accompanied by the eerie feeling of being watched.
Karsten Nest Hotel
The Karsten Nest Hotel in Kewaunee has many resident ghosts. Kewaunee is located on Lake Michigan in a picturesque landscape. The original hotel was built in 1836 but burned down in 1912 a year after mayor William Karsten purchased it. He rebuilt an even grander hotel. The spirit of the mayor is still on the premises. The spirit of his five-year-old grandson, Billy, loves to run up and down the halls and play with guest children. You'll immediately know when the spirit of Agatha, the housekeeper, is around by the perfumed floral scent. She appears to staff and guests alike. She apparently wants to make sure the cleaning is done correctly. One worker was cleaning a mirror when he saw her reflection standing behind him. Phantom knocking and strange sounds travel through the hotel.
Bloody Bride Bridge
If you take a ride on Highway 66 in Steven's Point, be sure to stop at the Bloody Bride Bridge. You may see the ghost of the bride who supposedly wrecked on the bridge on the way to her wedding. She and the groom suddenly appear in the backseat of unsuspecting drivers. The ghost couple disappear as quickly as they appear.
In 1865, the Boscobel Hotel in Boscobel was built, and its claim to fame is the meeting held there to find the Gideons International Society, known for placing Bible in hotel rooms. There are many ghosts moving about the hotel. The spirit of a young girl who perished in the snow is happy to be safe in the hotel. Adam Bobel, former owner of the hotel, still keeps an eye on his property.
Dartford Cemetery is near Green Lake and declared one of the most haunted places in Wisconsin. Civil War soldiers march across the cemetery at dusk and during the night. Chief Highknocker (1820-1911) roams the cemetery. He earned the nickname because of the stovepipe hat he loved to wear in life and still wears after death. A mausoleum has a spirit that will shove you off a mausoleum if you dare to sit on it. It might be the spirit of the young child entombed there, but no one has seen the actual spirit doing all the pushing.
The Grand Oshkosh
The Grand Oshkosh, formerly known as The Grand Opera House, in Oshkosh was built in 1883 by the C.D. Hess Opera House Company. The first restoration took four years and was completed in 1986. The second restoration began in 2009 and was completed a year later. So, what makes this landmark so creepy? It has a lot of paranormal activity. Phantom footsteps travel about the entire opera house. The spirit of the former stage manager, Percy Keene, is still backstage, overseeing the productions. He's often called the phantom of the opera. There's also the spirit of a dog that is so real, actors have cried out for someone to get the dog off the stage. If you happen to sit near the stage, you might get a glimpse of the orange mist that travels across it.
This historic Victorian Brumder B&B Mansion in Milwaukee features authentic antiques in many of the guest rooms. The four-storied 8,000 square foot mansion has a long history starting with the original owner George Brumder, Sr., owner of a German language publishing company. Today, the B&B hosts theatre productions in its 55-seat subterranean theatre. The mansion was sold to brothers, who worked secretly for Al Capone and turned the house into a speakeasy with both aristocratic and gangster patrons. Folks were shot and killed on the premises during this era and their ghosts, along with gangsters and servants, seem to still be hanging around.
You won't be disappointed in the paranormal activity happening in this mansion. Phantom footsteps and disembodied voices move about the house. Objects move on their own, and lights turn on and off. Strange breezes move through the mansion and flutter draperies in their wake. One couple was locked out of their room when the deadbolt inside mysteriously locked on its own. Timmy, a three-year-old boy, likes to play in the mansion. The spirit of a former house manager, Suzanne, still shows up for work. There's the spirit of a doctor still making house calls. The spirit Doug, the maintenance man, looks after the building, while the housekeeper and cook make all kinds of noises in the kitchen. The spirit of an Italian gambler caught cheating in a card game and shot dead still hangs out waiting to play that fated hand. These are just the ghosts that have been identified. The rest remain nameless, but still make their presence known.
Spooky Haunted Places in Wisconsin
There are many spooky haunted places in Wisconsin to visit. Just make sure you really want to have a ghost encounter before setting out for them.