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Highlights Archives

Ghostly Gatherings in Wisconsin

A ghostly image taken from a photo album of "prophecies" of imaginary futures in the lives of a group of 1905 Menomonie High School students
WHI 54765

In honor of Halloween, here are a handful of ghost stories that are reported in historic documents about Wisconsin. First, there is the tale of the Ridgeway ghost down in the Lead Region — perhaps the most famous ghost story in the state. Tales about it were still being told in the 1930s, when Works Progress Administration fieldworkers heard these stories about it.

Other Gruesome Wisconsin Ghost Stories

  • There's also the horrible case of Monsieur Nadeau, who was hounded to death in 1830 by the ghost of the woman he had murdered (unless it was his conscience).
  • Poor Martin Rowney was thought to have been spirited away by ghosts near Portage in 1838. His clothes were found on a sandbar, but his body had vanished without a trace.
  • One of the best-known reports of Wisconsin ghosts comes from Nashotah Theological Seminary. At the reburial of its founder, the religious ceremony was reportedly surrounded by ghosts, some whom were caught on camera.
  • Most towns had an abandoned home or two that residents thought was haunted, like this one in Juneau.

Friendly Ghosts

So keep your eyes open and your wits about you on this Halloween. Your forebears might be floating around.

:: Posted October 31, 2011

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