Wisconsin is known for its picturesque landscapes and friendly communities, but beneath its charming exterior lies a darker side. The state is home to a number of haunted places that are sure to give even the bravest of souls a chill down their spine. From haunted hotels and cemeteries to abandoned asylums and theaters, Wisconsin has a rich history of ghostly sightings and paranormal activity.
In this list, we will explore the top 10 most haunted places to visit in Wisconsin. Whether you’re a seasoned ghost hunter or just looking for a good scare, these locations are sure to provide a spine-tingling experience on your next travel adventure.
10 Chances Restaurant
Chances, a restaurant located on Main Street in the village of Rochester, is a unique dining experience. Rather than being known for its delicious food, this eatery is remembered for the ghostly encounters that take place within its walls. The building that houses Chances is an old one, dating back to 1843, and it is said to be haunted by spirits of the past. While the restaurant opened in the 1980s, the building has a history that precedes it. A visit to Chances is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience, not only for the food but also for the ghostly encounters that may happen during your visit.
Once known as The Union House, Chances holds a significant place in the history of Rochester. As the first brick structure to be built in the village, it has a rich and intriguing past. One aspect of its history is that it served as a stop on the Underground Railroad, aiding in the escape of enslaved people to freedom. Many people believe that the building is haunted by the spirits of the past, and its role in the Underground Railroad is thought to be the reason for its ghostly inhabitants.
The management of Chances restaurant is aware of the ghostly activity that occurs in the building. They have even included it in the menu by mentioning the presence of a ghostly lady in a green ball gown who is said to be waiting for her Civil War soldier to return.
9 Nelsen’s Hall
Nelsen’s Hall, located on Washington Island in Wisconsin, has a rich history dating back to the Prohibition era, making it the oldest legally operating tavern in the state. Throughout the years, the establishment has served multiple purposes, such as a movie theater, dentist office, ice cream parlor, and pharmacy. The tavern’s owner, Tom Nelsen, was known to drink a pint of bitters daily, and lived to the age of 90.
Some say that Nelsen’s spirit still lingers in the hall, with doors shutting on their own and footsteps heard on the stairs. Visitors to the tavern can try a shot of bitters to become a member of the “Bitter’s Club” and even receive a certificate as an official “Islander.” Some believe that taking enough shots of bitters may even lead to an encounter with Nelsen’s ghost.
8 Pfister Hotel
There are a number of stories about professional baseball players staying at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, experiencing strange and paranormal occurrences. Some players have reported strange noises, doors opening and closing on their own, and the feeling of being watched. Some players even claimed to have seen ghostly figures in their rooms. The Milwaukee Brewers, who play at Miller Park, are known to stay at the Pfister Hotel during home games. Many of the players have reported strange and unexplained experiences during their stay at the hotel.
One notable experience was reported by pitcher Kyle Lohse, who said he saw a ghostly figure in his room while staying at the Pfister. Another player, Ryan Braun, also reported strange occurrences in his room and refused to stay at the hotel again.
In addition, former manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, Craig Counsell, said he had a strange experience while staying at the hotel. He claimed that he woke up in the middle of the night to find that his room’s curtains had been opened, although he was sure he had closed them before going to bed.
7 High Cliff State Park
High Cliff State Park, located in the quaint town of Sherwood, Wisconsin, is a treasure trove of natural beauty, history, and a hint of the supernatural. Nestled amid lush greenery and natural rock formations, the park offers visitors a chance to reconnect with nature through its picturesque hiking trails and a well-maintained campground. But what sets this park apart is its ancient effigy mounds, which are not only a significant archaeological site but also known to be associated with paranormal activity.
Many visitors to High Cliff State Park have reported eerie occurrences around the ancient effigy mounds in the park. They have mentioned strange noises and an overwhelming feeling of being watched. The park’s lime kilns, which have a rich history, are also known for strange supernatural happenings. Visitors have reported sightings of spirits and hearing mysterious noises coming from the kilns, particularly at night. Some even claim to have felt a sudden drop in temperature, as if they were being observed.
High Cliff State Park is not just any ordinary park; it’s a place where visitors can immerse themselves in nature and potentially have a brush with the paranormal.
6 The Brumder Mansion
The Brumder Mansion, a historic building constructed in 1910, has a long and storied history. Throughout the years, the mansion has been home to many people, and many of them have reported strange and unexplained occurrences. Some have had vivid, strange dreams and reported feeling the presence of unseen entities. The most disturbing incident was when blood was found in a bathtub, even though no one had used it. The origin of the blood remains a mystery, and the incident has become the stuff of legend.
After the Brumder family sold the property, the mansion was owned by a mobster named Sam Pick, who was affiliated with notorious crime lord Al Capone. It’s impossible to know what sorts of illegal activities, or perhaps even darker things, may have taken place within the walls of the mansion during this time. The mansion is said to be home to several distinct spirits, including an elderly woman, a male spirit, and a playful spirit. The mansion is a mysterious and intriguing place that leaves many questions unanswered.
5 La Crosse
La Crosse, a river town from the past, holds a plethora of secrets and a shadowy past. In 1932, a cemetery attendant made a gruesome discovery of Perry Brinstad’s empty grave and a burlap bag containing body parts. The town’s history also includes a story of a killer who was punished by being thrown into a deep pit lined with sharp rocks as a means of execution, as at that time, there was no jail.
These real-life stories, uncovered by the library’s director and archivists, now form the basis of “Dark La Crosse” tours and radio podcasts, which are popular among visitors. Despite the investigations, the mystery of the bag of body parts remains unsolved, and ghost hunters who visited the cemetery years later reported hearing someone say, “They cut me up,” through their monitoring equipment.
4 The Sheboygan Asylum
The Sheboygan Asylum, also known as the Sheboygan County Insane Asylum, was a mental health facility that operated from 1888 to 1979. During its operation, the asylum was known for its inhumane treatment of patients, and many reports of abuse and neglect have surfaced over the years.
It was locked and abandoned for 20 years before being reopened for ghost tours.
Today, the site is said to be haunted by the spirits of former patients who suffered abuse and neglect while they were alive. Visitors to the site have reported strange noises, ghostly figures, and an eerie feeling of being watched. Some have even claimed to have seen ghostly apparitions of patients wandering the grounds, still trapped in the confines of the asylum.
Given the history of the Sheboygan Asylum, it is not surprising that it is considered to be one of the most haunted places in the state of Wisconsin.
3 Glenbeulah School
The Glenbeulah School was established in 1849 as a primary schoolhouse for younger and older children.
During the early 1900s, however, many rural schools in Wisconsin underwent a transformation from single-room schoolhouses to large educational institutions that catered to various ages and grades. Glenbeulah was one of these schools and merged with another school into a new building. The old school was closed and abandoned in 1995 and remained that way for 27 years.
Eventually, Melissa Clevenger and Craig Nehring purchased the property, intending to turn it into an event space. However, they quickly realized they were not alone in the building. Visitors to the location also reported experiencing strange occurrences such as slamming doors, unexplained footsteps, and shadowy figures. Motion detectors often picked up movement and people that were not physically present. The most common reports were of voices, including laughter, screams, and full conversations in rooms that were found to be empty. On one occasion, Melissa and Craig even received a response when they called out “hello” in a vacant stairway.
2 Andersen Library at the University of Whitewater
According to local legend, the Andersen Library on the University of Whitewater campus is haunted by an evil book that has caused four people to take their own lives and driven countless others insane. This ominous book is believed to be connected to the Witches of Whitewater and is so dangerous that the library had to lock it away in the basement.
The book, a large antique hymnal written in Latin, was donated to the library after an area church was closed. It is available for viewing, but only upon request and with extreme caution.
1 The Union Hotel
The Union Hotel in DePere, Wisconsin, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former employee named Hannah. According to local legend, Hannah was a young woman who worked at the hotel in the late 1800s and was tragically killed in a fire that broke out in the kitchen.
Guests of the Union Hotel have reported strange occurrences, such as the feeling of being watched and unexplained noises coming from the kitchen area. Some have even claimed to have seen the ghostly figure of Hannah wandering the hotel.
One of the most chilling stories associated with the Union Hotel is that of a guest who was staying in a room on the top floor. They reported waking up in the middle of the night to find Hannah standing at the foot of their bed, staring at them with a sad expression on her face.