Wisconsin is known for its famous breweries and award-winning cheese, but the Badger State also has plenty to offer those seeking spooky sights and extraordinary feats of nature.
From haunted bridges to a picturesque nature preserve that’s said to be watched over by gnomes and fairies, Wisconsin is home to a slew of mysterious and mystical places. Keep reading to discover Wisconsin’s top chill-inducing haunted hotspots and awe-inspiring natural wonders.
424 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee
A luxury hotel that regularly hosts celebrities and other famous faces might seem out of place on a list of spine-tingling spots, but among the Pfister Hotel’s grand chandeliers and Victorian art, a ghost is rumored to wander.
In addition to hosting celebrities and politicians, The Pfister is usually the hotel of choice for baseball teams when they come to town to play the Milwaukee Brewers. Many players have experienced paranormal events during their stays, including then-Cardinals players Carlos Martínez and Marcell Ozuna, who both claim to have been so spooked by a ghost in their room that they slept in another teammate’s room. Rapper Megan Thee Stallion may also have had a run-in with a ghost at the hotel in 2021.
Ghost sightings and the sounds of disembodied voices are among the most commonly reported paranormal happenings at the 1893 hotel. Don’t get too frightened though—it’s widely believed that the ghost is Charles Pfister, the hotel’s founder, simply trying to keep an eye on his business and ensure his hometown baseball team is victorious.
Journey across Siren Bridge and you might hear a chill-inducing message from someone who met their demise there decades ago. In March 1985, Richard and Rose Kringle and their young daughter JoDee hit a patch of black ice while driving across Siren Bridge. All three family members drowned when their car went through the guardrail and landed upside down in the swampy water below. Since the crash, many locals who drive over the bridge say their radio will cut out and they’ll hear a young girl yell, “Help me, mommy, I can’t get out!”
While some stories we highlight in this post are strictly urban legends, this fatal accident did in fact happen, and the Kringle family is buried just a few minutes’ drive from the bridge.
Bloody Bride Bridge
After reading through this post, you might be inclined to avoid bridges at all costs—and we wouldn’t blame you. Our next creepy tale also takes place on a bridge. The story of Bloody Bride Bridge—officially named Highway 66 Bridge—involves a young woman who was killed in a car accident on the bridge on her wedding night. Following the deadly accident, people have reported seeing a woman in a bloody wedding dress standing on the bridge or sitting in the backseat of passing cars. The late newlywed tends to make her appearances at night, especially during the winter months.
As chilling as this tale is, there isn’t any evidence to confirm it’s more than just an urban legend. The Stevens Point Police Department has no record of the accident.
Boy Scout Lane
Boy Scout Lane—an isolated dead end road that runs through the woods in Stevens Point—is said to be named after a troop of Boy Scouts that were murdered there while on a camping trip in the 1960s. Some say the boys were killed by their troop master, others blame the bus driver. In another popular version of the tale, the boys vanished one by one throughout the night. Another spin on the story is that the children perished in a fire that started when someone accidentally dropped a lantern.
There’s no historical record of the murders, but that doesn’t stop spooky stories from surfacing. Visitors claim the road is haunted by the late Boy Scouts—there have been reports of childlike handprints appearing on cars, sounds of branches breaking beneath invisible footsteps, and flickers of the boys’ lanterns seen through the trees.
You’ve probably heard of the Bermuda Triangle, but did you know Lake Michigan has its own version of this mysterious spot? The area in Lake Michigan—bound by Benton Harbor in Michigan, Manitowoc in Wisconsin, and Ludington in Michigan—is the site of countless shipwrecks, plane crashes, and mysterious disappearances.
In 1891, sailors aboard the Thomas Hume started their journey from Muskegon, Michigan, but never reached their destination. Search efforts produced nothing until more than a century later in 2006, when the ship was discovered at the bottom of the lake in near-perfect condition.
In 1912, the Rouse Simmons, a vessel transporting Christmas trees from Michigan to Chicago, set sail from a port in Thompson but never arrived in the Windy City. Christmas trees started washing up on shore about a year after the accident, but the ship wasn’t found until decades later. Lake Michigan isn’t known for having rough waters and is generally easy to navigate, which adds to the mystery surrounding these occurrences.
Then there’s Northwest Flight 2501, which disappeared en route to Seattle from New York in June 1950. The plane’s radar went dark somewhere over Lake Michigan, and the captain and crew were never heard from again. Remains of those aboard washed ashore in South Haven, Michigan, but the plane was never found.
410th St., Menomonie
Devil’s Punchbowl Preserve is a natural wonder brimming with beauty. This geologic gem features a rock formation that’s more than 500 million years old. Devil’s Punchbowl is a result of glaciers that retreated out of the area, forming a wide-open space surrounded by 30-foot cliffs, a waterfall, an underground spring, and a creek.
The preserve is also rumored to be the home of trolls, gnomes, and fairies that look down on visitors as they descend the staircase to explore the riverbed.
2975 Cave of the Mounds Road, Blue Mounds
The Brigham family had been living on the land above the Cave of the Mounds for more than a century before the cave was discovered. Now a National Natural Landmark, the natural limestone cave is full of awe-inspiring geological formations and crystals, from stalactites and stalagmites to gemstones and geodes. This subterranean spectacle is surely a sight to see, and thanks to daily tours offered, it’s now easy to explore.
1202 Northport Drive, Madison
Lake View Sanatorium, a former tuberculosis treatment center, might have shut down in the 1960s, but tales of spooky happenings are still surfacing decades later. Located on property that is now Lake Hill View Park, people say the building, the hill it’s situated on (known as Sanatorium Hill), and the surrounding woods are all hotbeds for paranormal activity. Ghost sightings, hot and cold spots, and strange lights have been reported.
As word of the otherworldly happenings spread, the site became popular among paranormal investigators, including YouTuber Gregor Wilke who shared a video titled “Ghost Caught on Tape at Sanatorium Hill Madison, WI,” in which you can see a ghostlike figure.
McClintock County Park
14251 County Road I, Athelstane
A young couple was murdered while camping in McClintock County Park in 1976, and they’ve apparently been haunting the site ever since. The couple’s killer was finally caught in 2019, but the paranormal happenings continue. Campers have reported an eerie feeling of being watched during their stay in the park as well as hearing strange noises and seeing mysterious light orbs. While the chill-inducing reports are unverifiable, the murders did indeed happen, and the decades-long search for justice has been well-documented.
Land O’ Lakes
Tales of strange happenings at Summerwind Mansion date all the way back to its construction, with workers sharing stories of cars starting on their own or inexplicably catching fire. The property has changed ownership many times since it was built in 1914, with each new family experiencing its own set of scares. Many reported seeing apparitions and hearing disembodied voices, while others witnessed lights flickering on and off and windows opening and closing on their own.
Once a grand mansion, the property is now mostly in ruins thanks to a fire believed to have started when the building was struck by lightning.
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