The Pfister, like many other hotels, lacks a 13th floor.This may be hard for some Milwaukee residents to grasp, but many believe the city to be haunted. Chances are you are no more than a fifteen minute drive to one of Milwaukee’s supposedly haunted places.
Chad Lewis, Eau Claire native and paranormal investigator, spoke to a packed audience at Whitefish Bay’s Public Library Tuesday night about his experiences with the paranormal in Wisconsin and the Milwaukee area.
Lewis received his Master of Science degree in Applied Psychology from UW-Stout and since has made his living on researching the paranormal throughout the world.
As a paranormal researcher, Lewis has been vampire-hunting across Europe and on expeditions in South America looking for the fabled chupacabra, a supposed bear-like creature that feeds on the blood of goats.
Lewis says that although he has traveled the world around for the occult, he never needed to leave home to encounter the supernatural. Stories of ghosts and haunting are abundant in Wisconsin through legends and word-of-mouth.
“We live in one of the most haunted places in the world here in Wisconsin,” Lewis said.
A haunting in Wisconsin
Lewis says that Wisconsin has a rich history in hauntings and ghosts. The stories of these haunted places have been passed down from generation to generation and are believed to be true by the superstitious.
One of the stories Lewis told revolves around the Maribell Caves and Hotel in Maribell, Wis., about half an hour Southeast of Green Bay. The Maribell Hotel, also known as “Motel Hell” by some of the natives, is an abandoned hotel once owned by Al Capone that burned down in the 1920s. It is now believed to be haunted by demons.
Lewis said speculators say that if you shine a flashlight into the second story windows of the hotel at night, a light will shine directly back into your own eyes. Others believe the hotel to be a portal to hell. An old well behind the building is said to be that portal and that if you look into the well, you will feel an unbearable heat radiating from the well and see flames reach for you.
Another one of the supposed haunted places Lewis discussed is Dartford Cemetary in Greenford, Wis. About 45 minutes west of Fond du Lac, the Dartford Cemetary is said to be haunted by Civil War soldiers and Native Americans.
Common supernatural phenomena witnessed include strange moaning voices and shadowy figures lurking the graveyard. It is also believed that if you sit on top of one of the burial tombs in the cemetery, you will be pushed off violently by an invisible source.
There are many other ghost stories involving Wisconsin, but the paranormal in our state doesn’t stop with just ghosts and haunting.
Wisconsin: equal opportunities for the occult
Wisconsin is also home to paranormal cases aside from ghost stories and hauntings. Dwarves and even vampire stories have also surfaced.
The Facebook group “Wisconsin Death Trip” wrote about a story of a vampire in Mineral Point, Wis. A vampire was sighted by some of the population there. The sightings occurred in March of 1981. The creature was described as being very tall, over 6’6” and having an inhumanly pale complexion. Many say that the “vampire” would frequent the local cemetery and pursue teens who tried to enter the cemetery at night.
According to Lewis, Police Officer John Pepper believed the man to be some kind of mentally ill person who perhaps escaped from a sanitarium. He saw the figure lurking in the cemetery one night and chased it to the cemetery’s perimeter, where the creature leapt over a six-foot-high barbed-wire fence with no problems. The vampire was not sighted after Pepper’s pursuit until many years later in 2007.
But vampires aren’t the only creatures making Wisconsin their haunt. Milwaukee, like the rest of the state, has a dense number of paranormal reports itself.
Ghost stories in the Milwaukee area are a dime a dozen, with stories ranging from a single sighting to entire organizations avoiding parts of town because of haunting rumors.
Whitefish Bay is home to the Dominican High School. Many believe the theater to be haunted. Stories tell of a nun that was killed in a fire and her spirit now haunts the theater. Her spirit is supposedly very active during performances.
Downtown Milwaukee contains a number of places rumored to be haunted. The Pfister Hotel is one of the most infamous places involving ghosts in Milwaukee. So much, in fact, that many professional basketball and baseball teams avoid it or request special amenities to sleep there.
The hotel’s founder, Charles Pfister, purportedly still resides in the hotel’s lobby to oversee operations over 80 years after his own death. Guests have claimed to see moving lights, have heard strange noises and experienced strange drops in temperature while in their rooms.
The Rave’s basement is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young man who died there. The Rave/Eagle’s Club was originally built as an athletic club and among its features was a swimming pool. Rumor says that a 17-year-old male was swimming and either drowned or had a heart attack and passed away. Concert attendees claim to see the ghost of the young man in the basement of the building from time to time.
The Shorecrest Hotel, located at 1962 N Prospect Ave. by McKinley Park, is rumored to be haunted by a piano-playing poltergeist. The story goes that if you wait until bar close, a baby grand piano located in the bar of the hotel will start playing all by itself.
Closer to home
Freshmen staying in the dorms may recall hearing about the supposed poltergeists in Sandburg Hall. The though stories vary, the epicenter of the supernatural seems to be the North Tower. Others have experienced strange activity in other buildings on campus.
Maybe the question is not whether or not these places are haunted but whether or not you have experienced these incidents yourself. Perhaps this Halloween, truly creative souls will stray from the same old costume dress up and find out on their own if Wisconsin is truly haunted.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Posted by Savage Nugget at 7:19 PM