Ah, Wisconsin. Our beloved state is known for being the Dairyland of the United States. As well as cheese that’s second to none, our beer and lumber industry makes it a quintessentially midwestern state. But outside of its cheerful image, Wisconsin is home to some of the most haunted places in the country.
Undoubtedly, you’ll have heard about some of the more unsavory characters from Wisconsin in true crime documentaries, but what about the rest of the state’s haunted history? Join us as we go a little deeper to uncover some of the eeriest places in Milwaukee and beyond.
If you’re a spooky soul, why not celebrate Halloween early with our terror-loving team at City Tours MKE? Our Milwaukee Haunted History City Tour is suitable for all ages! In our two-hour ride, we squeeze in all of our hometown’s spooks and urban legends on board our eco-friendly electric vehicles.
If you’d prefer some spirits with your… spirits, our 21+ Milwaukee Haunted History Pub Crawl Tour is perfect for folks needing liquid courage to encounter the city’s creepy past. Want to check the fear factor on any of our tours? Get in touch with our ghoulish guides who are happy to answer any questions.
Visit Milwaukee’s Most Haunted Hotel – The Pfister
Notorious for being one of Milwaukee’s most-haunted hotspots, you can visit the Pfister Hotel at 424 E Wisconsin Ave if you dare! The Pfister is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been around for 130 years. It’s also been the site of some celebrity ghost activity.
The hotel’s reputation for being haunted resurfaced when the Arizona Cardinals stayed over in 2018. Pitcher Carlos Martínez reportedly was unable to sleep alone because of a ghost sharing his room! Singer and rapper Megan Thee Stallion also had a ghostly encounter during her 2021 stay.
So, if you’re brave enough to rent a room, keep your wits about you. Local historians have suggested the ghostly apparitions could be Charles Pfister himself checking in on his guests. That’ll teach you to think twice before writing a negative Google review!
Take a Trip to the Haunted Wood County Insane Asylum
Located in Marshfield, northwest of Milwaukee, the Wood County Insane Asylum was built in 1909 on a 640-acre site. Only one building remains from the original structure, on land now owned by The Marshfield Scrap Company.
Locals from this small Wisconsin town say it’s one of the most haunted buildings in the state. There have been reports of spirits and paranormal sightings across the former Asylum, especially in a still-extant tunnel that once linked the main building to a farm where the patients worked.
The tunnel is said to be haunted by a maintenance worker who died there, alongside two patients and a young girl with dark hair. Keen ghost hunters can read more about the history of the asylum on the company’s website.
Peer into the Mysterious Octagon House
Featured as one of Wisconsin’s most-haunted houses on the History Channel’s “Hidden Passages”, Octagon House is an architectural labyrinth we’d hate to get lost in. It has nine secret passageways and spaces, plus an underground tunnel between the house and the woodshed.
In the otherwise pleasant Fond du Lac, the house at 276 Linden Street is said to be home to cold spots, the ghost of a young boy, echoing footsteps, and a poltergeist. While the house no longer operates as a museum, seeing its strange architecture from the street gave us shivers!
Dare to Visit the Haunted Morris Pratt Institute
The Morris Pratt Institute was the world’s first school of spiritualism, built in Milwaukee in 1901. After the Civil War, spiritualism became a popular pursuit for those trying to contact their lost loved ones. People flocked from across the US to study spiritualism in its imposing halls.
Located at 11811 W Watertown Plank Rd, the Institute was locally known as “Spook Temple” and supposedly had a completely white seance room. Only the mediums were allowed to enter, also clothed in white, to create a calm atmosphere in which to contact the dead.
The Institute still exists today; it is an adult education school and is a center for religious spiritualism. Due to Pratt’s influence across the state’s capital, Whitewater is known as the “second Salem” of the US.
Grab a Drink at the Haunted Washington Bar – Nelsen’s Hall
While you may think the scariest thing to happen in a bar is running out of beer, Nelsen’s Hall on Washington Island has something a bit harder to stomach. And we’re not just talking about the local delicacy of Angostura bitters shots that are 45% alcohol!
Tom Nelsen, a Danish immigrant, opened the joint in 1899 in a Prohibition loophole. He successfully applied for a pharmacist license to dispense bitters as a “stomach tonic for medicinal purposes.” Smart, right?
Apparently, the old barkeep hasn’t left. Women especially have claimed to feel a chill across their necks and reported seeing him near the restroom. Bar staff has also heard footsteps from the room he died in and say the radio stations change randomly.
Walk Around Dartford Cemetery’s Haunted Graves
This cemetery, located at 431 North St, Green Lake, might not be the most unsurprising site for a haunting. Nevertheless, spectral sightings abound in this resting place of the early pioneers. An episode of the Discovery Channel’s “A Haunting” was dedicated to exploring the graves; this episode may be worth watching before you dare to visit…
Many claimed to have seen the ghost of Chief Highknocker (grave pictured) wandering between the gravestones in full Native American dress. He was the last Winnebago chief in the area who reportedly drowned in the nearby Green Lake – a revered place for Native Americans.
Another supernatural story surrounds the Jackson Walker crypt. A group of teens were hanging out near the 19th-century proprietor’s grave and felt a force pushing them away from it! A crack in the roof appeared shortly after… Spooky.
We hope this list doesn’t have you shaking in your boots too much! At City Tours MKE, our local guides love sharing the best our spooky city has to offer. But if banshees aren’t your bag, check out our diverse selection of Milwaukee Tours to find something that suits you.
All our tours can be tailored to the sights you want to see. If you have any questions, just get in touch! We’re here to help you have an unforgettable experience and to show you exactly what makes Wisconsin wonderful.