These famous Wisconsinites from the darker corners of the state are known for their work in horror, film, or the stains their crimes left on history.
Robert Bloch grew up in Milwaukee, where he corresponded with HP Lovecraft in his youth. He was living in Weyauwega when murderer and grave robber Ed Gein was arrested, which inspired him to write Psycho.
World famous illusionist and escape artist Harry Houdini lived in Appleton until he was 13. During his time there he nearly drowned in the Fox River, which some say inspired his famous Chinese Water Torture Cell escape trick.
Charles J. Guiteau
For five years of his childhood Charles J. Guiteau lived in the ghost town Ulao. Guiteau shot President James A. Garfield in 1881, but the president didn’t die until two months later from infection. The house where Guiteau lived still stands near Grafton.
Horror writer Peter Straub, author of Ghost Story, grew up in Milwaukee.
Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax grew up in Lake Geneva, where he spent his childhood wandering through the eerie corridors of the abandoned Oakwood Sanitarium that inspired his dungeon crawler game.
Writer & Publisher
August Derleth was a writer and friend of H.P. Lovecraft. He coined the term "Cthulu mythos" and founded Arkham House in Sauk City in 1939 to publish Lovecraft’s work.
Mark Borchardt was the subject of the 1999 film American Movie documenting his struggle to produce his short horror film Coven. His most recent work The Dundee Project focuses on the annual UFO Daze festival at Benson’s Hide-a-Way.
Born in Kenosha in 1915, Orson Welles is known for his 1938 radio drama adaptation of The War of the Worlds, as well as the film Citizen Kane which he co-wrote, produced, directed and starred in.
As a child, horror master Stephen King spent some time living with family in De Pere.
Murderer, Grave Robber
Ed Gein murdered two women and dug up the corpses of many more the cemeteries around his farm in Plainfield. His crimes inspired the movies Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Silence of the Lambs and many more.