Haunted Places in Wisconsin
Who doesn't love a good ghost story? Even better is a real haunted house. These three are some of the most well known and documented haunted places in Wisconsin. These are open to the public so if you are so inclined do your own investigation into the Midwestern paranormal.
The Kewaunee Inn
Our first haunted place in Wisconsin is the Kewaunee Inn. Certified haunted by the Wisconsin Ghost Investigations team in 2002, the Kewaunee Inn was built in 1858 by Charles Brandes and was called The Steamboat House. The hotel was then sold twice and ended up in the hands of William Karsten in 1911. In February of 1912 the hotel burned down and Karsten rebuilt a luxurious three story brick hotel and renamed it The Hotel Karsten. The hotel stayed a family business until Karsten's son William Jr. died in 1964. The hotel closed and the building stood vacant for two years until in 1966 Charles and John Schmitt bought the aging hotel and renovated the building. Again changing hands several times it closed in June of 2007 only to reopen in May of 2008 as the Kewaunee Inn.
The Wisconsin Ghost Investigations Team reported orbs, cold and hot spots, strange odors, strange sounds including a child running, a flute being played, furniture being moved, and sounds of a woman crying. They have even claimed to capture apparitions in photos.
Three spirits in particular have made their presences known to the living. Agatha, a former hotel housekeeper, William Karsten Sr., and young Billy Karsten III who died at the age of 5 of complications from an upper respiratory illness. Of the three most report that Agatha is the most active of the ghosts at the Kewaunee. Her apparition has been seen many times most usually sweeping the halls over and over. Agatha's former room, 310, has an unexplainable cold spot and one guest claimed to have seen a misty form float through the room and into the wall.
The Kewaunee In is still open for business and rooms can be rented here. It is located at 122 Ellis Street in Kewaunee, WI.
The American Club
Next on our list of Wisconsin's haunted places is The American Club. Today a luxury five diamond hotel, The American Club was originally built in 1918 to house imigrant laborers who worked at the nearby Kohler Co. It has been listed on the National Register of Historical Places and is a member of Historic Hotels of America.
The hotel was renovated in 1981 but the oldest section of the hotel is the east wing and that is the area of the hotel that has been reported as haunted. Some guests report seeing a man in a flannel shirt that when reported to security he cannot be seen on the hotel's security camera. Some say the ghost of a woman who hanged herself in room 209 haunts the hotel. The story goes that she killed herself after learning of the death of her betrothed in an industrial accident at the Kohler plant across the street. Still other witnesses report that they see a man walking away from room 315 where many years ago a woman was murdered.
The American Club is located at 444 Highland Drive in Kohler, WI.
The Bar Next Door
Built in 1929 by Chicago Irish mob figure Roger "The terrible" Touhy, it was originally called the Wonder Bar and was meant to be not only a legitimate tavern, but a distribution center for illegal alcohol and slot machines for the Madison, WI area and area farther to the north. A notorious gangster hangout from the prohibition days the bar survived at least one shoot out from a rival gang. Although the bar survived not all of the members of the gang did. Legend says that there is a body buried behind the fireplace in the upstairs banquet room. Whose bones they are, if they do in fact exist, is still a topic of debate. Some say they are the bones of Roger's brother Eddie who ran both the legit and illegal businesses in the bar. Others say that they are the remains of someone who crossed the Touhy brothers and that the bones were hidden to cover up the murder.
Employees and patrons of the bar alike report many strange experiences such as hearing bottles being rattled and footsteps after close, strange smells with no logical source, portraits lifting themselves off the wall and falling to the ground, cigar boxes being moved, and chairs being moved in the night as if someone was having a gathering or discussion of some sort. Physical manifestations of shadow people have been reported by both staff and patrons, and employees have said that after close they have seen a couple dressed in 1930s style clothing.
The Bar Next Door is still open for business and is located at 222 E. Olin Avenue in Madison, Wisconsin.
Have a favorite haunted hot spot in Wisconsin? I'd love to hear about it. Send me a message or leave a comment so I can check out the places that you like to get your favorite scares.