If you’re looking for some spooky Halloween events to do in Wisconsin this year, these haunted history experiences are sure to put a chill in your bones.
But first, a brief history of haunted history.
The death-obsessed Victorian era came to an end over 100 years ago, but it left its indelible mark on world.
Especially here in Wisconsin.
In 1848, sisters Maggie and Kate Fox began communicating with the spirit of a man who said he had been murdered and buried beneath their home in Hydesville, New York. The phenomenon, however dubious it may seem today, became the foundation of an entirely new religious practice called “spiritualism.”
Loved ones, they believed, were never really gone. They just passed through the veil into Spirit-Life, a place we could tap into to speak with them again.
As New Yorkers moved west, they brought spiritualism with them.
Wisconsin became an important hotspot for spiritualists, with several important spiritualism center such as Whitewater, Lake Mills, and Omro. Some of them, like the Wonewoc Spiritualist Camp and the Morris Pratt school of spiritualism, still exist today. Numerous renowned spirit mediums were Wisconsinites, and we even had a governor who talked to the dead.
With that in mind, here are some spooky Halloween activities that will have you mingling with the spirits of Wisconsin past.
1. Spirits of Forest Home Cemetery – Milwaukee
History comes to life from six feet under as you tour the vast burial grounds of Milwaukee‘s Forest Home Cemetery. Actors dressed as dearly departed figures from Wisconsin’s past tell you their stories. Beer barons, Frank Lloyd Wright’s troublesome second wife, and even The Man They Could Not Hang crawl from their graves to deal with their unfinished business.
2. Victorian Spiritualism at Black Point Estate – Lake Geneva
Explore the historic Black Point Estate in Lake Geneva after dark, where the ghosts of the lake’s drowned victims are said to reside, to learn about the mysterious history of spiritualism and its Wisconsin connections.
3. Spirit Photography at H.H. Bennett Studio – Wisconsin Dells
It wasn’t long after people learned how to talk to spirits that photographers invented tricks to photograph them. One of the most famous was William H. Mumler, who captured a shot of Mary Todd Lincoln with her deceased husband Abraham. Visit the historic H.H. Bennett Studio in Wisconsin Dells to learn the history of spirit photography and get your own old timey ghost photo!
4. Spiritualism at Villa Louis – Prairie du Chien
Hear tales of the Fox sisters, Morris Pratt, and other spooky history, at the 1871 home of the Dousman family in Prairie du Chien. You’ll even get to see some of Mrs. Dousman’s personal spiritualism objects that aren’t usually on display!
5. Halloween Legends & Lore at Old World Wisconsin – Eagle
Immerse yourself in haunted history at this annual Halloween favorite! Step into the past and wander around the historic village of Old World Wisconsin to hear ghost stories, eerie legends from around the world, campfire tales of Wisconsin monsters, commune with the spirits at a Victorian seance, and attend an authentic 19th-century funeral.
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