Visit Some of Wisconsin’s Most Haunted Places
The home of cheeseheads is also home to some of the most haunted places in the country, with plenty of tales of ghostly spirits haunting the state’s restaurants, hotels, and creepy caves. Wisconsin is riddled with enough reports of paranormal activity to rival spooky havens like Pennsylvania and Texas. Let’s explore a few of the top haunts for local spirits, starting with a grand hotel gone wrong.
Pfister Hotel - Milwaukee
Businessman Guido Pfister and his son, Charles, opened The Pfister Hotel in 1893, and it was billed as the “Grand Hotel of the West.” A welcoming and luxurious meeting place for those traveling from the east coast, it seems Charles didn’t want to leave the premise even after his passing in 1927. He is rumored to still wander the halls, causing mischief for guests looking to enjoy the beautiful property. No one is too important to scare, which is why there have been so many reports of ghostly hijinks from visiting sports players who have the misfortune of staying within the Pfister’s haunted halls.
One such story comes from Carlos Gomez, a baseball player for the Minnesota Twins who experienced something paranormal a day before his big game in 2008. He heard disembodied voices then saw his iPod switch on by itself. The iPod began vibrating wildly and almost fell to the floor. He put the iPod back on the table when it started doing the same thing again. He was later interviewed and asked about his stay, stating: “Everything's scary. Everything in the hotel, the paintings and pictures, it's a lot of old, crazy stuff. No good, man. No good."
Clark County Insane Asylum - Owen
Commissioned by the State Board to be built in 1920, the Clark County Insane Asylum was made specifically for housing the insane. At first, the construction of the building and its intended use was highly anticipated by the public. The new asylum was established “under a protective and custodial concept of providing humane care and kind treatment” to long-term patients. There were even arguments regarding where in Wisconsin the asylum should be built to serve the maximum population possible. Ultimately, 1,065 acres of land in Owen were purchased at a cost of $103,600 (the equivalent of $1.3 million today) on January 2, 1920. Construction started shortly thereafter. By 1936, Clark County Asylum housed 316 patients who were deemed as having little hope to return to society.
Unfortunately, the ‘humane care and kind treatment’ quickly fell away. Many of the patients that lived at the asylum were subjected to terrible experimental treatments. Some of the barbaric treatment methods included electroshock therapy, ice water submersion, and even bloodletting. At one point, after years of torture, a group of patients supposedly turned on the staff and murdered some of them during a patient outbreak.
With so much injustice and violence committed within the asylum walls, it’s no surprise that it’s said to be one of the most haunted buildings in Wisconsin. Visitors who make it out alive report witnessing apparitions, strange noises, and disembodied voices throughout the asylum halls.
Big Al Capone’s - Pipe
Big Al Capone's, the former Furhman's Hotel built in 1846, was recently recognized as the third Oldest Bar in Wisconsin still in operation and is a State Historical Landmark. The hotel was originally a stagecoach stop and rumor has it that notorious gangster Al Capone stayed here frequently in the 1920s. Capone kept a low profile by hiding out in hotels and restaurants like this one when the streets were too hot and he needed to travel with discretion on his way up north.
Locals say that the restaurant’s namesake isn’t the only spirit lingering at Big Al Capone’s. There are also one or two female ghosts who reportedly died on the third floor at this hotel-turned-bar. It’s widely believed that an unknown woman jumped from the third story window to her death while another woman perished in a fire.
There have been reports of lights flickering on and off, pizza pans flying on their own, bathroom doors opening randomly, and smells of women’s perfume emanating from the bar at unexpected times.
Hotel Hell - Maribel
The Maribel Caves Hotel is located in Maribel, WI. More commonly known to locals as "Hotel Hell," the property was built by Austrian immigrant Charles Steinbrecker in 1900 and was originally named after the nearby Maribel limestone caves. Since its construction, Hotel Hell has had a rough run.
The hotel has been engulfed in flames a total of three times, each time on the exact same date in June. Because of these fires, the building had to be rebuilt twice. The first fire was in the 1920s and the cause remains unknown. The last fire occurred in 1930 and tragically, no one escaped the burning building. Skeletal remains of some of the victims can still be found on the third floor and in the basement.
The most recent incident that rocked the hotel and surrounding area took place years ago. One of the hotel guests had a mental breakdown and killed everybody in the hotel during a mass-murder frenzy which culminated in his suicide.
Though the building was hobbled by a tornado in 2003, those who visit the ruins have reported apparitions, strange noises, and even voices calling out from where the rooms once stood. It’s said that a group of witches even descended upon the ruins to open a portal to Hell through an old fountain in the front of the hotel.
It appears that the witches' curse hasn't impacted the median home value of the surrounding Manitowoc County. In fact, the median home value is $142,000, a 23.4% year-over-year increase. Even so, we wouldn't recommend having your clients visit any of these haunted sites after dark.
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