Ghosts might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about things to do in Wisconsin Dells, but the “Waterpark Capital of the World” does have some downright dark and chilling options if waterslides, go karts, and roller coasters aren’t your thing. The Dells is full of both haunted history and haunted attractions. And it wouldn’t be Wisconsin without some combination of the two.
We’re not talking about Tommy Bartlett, Mt. Olympus, or the Kalahari. Not even Wizard Quest. If you’re looking for a Wisconsin Dells getaway that takes you into the nightmarish and paranormal, the kind that involves cemeteries, severed heads, and boat rides into the dark, claustrophobic canyons of the Wisconsin River, then these thrills and chills are the best the Dells has to offer until someone finally agrees to finance my idea for a haunted lazy river.
1. Wisconsin Dells Haunted History Tour
Hop on the Wisconsin Dells trolley service for a ride into the dark side. The Haunted History Tour takes you a trip through the past to hear the stories and learn about the spirits that still haunt the Dells today. This ghost walk on wheels will take you to a number of haunted places, including Spring Hill Cemetery, Brat House Bar & Brille, and the Showboat Saloon.
2. Haunted Mansion
A staple of downtown Wisconsin Dells, the Haunted Mansion is an immersive walk-through haunted house experience with detailed rooms, startling animatronics, and spooky tech. In the tight, twisting passages of the mansion you’ll come face to face with ghosts and ghouls. There’s even an undead Elvis, and while he may not be able to officiate your marriage at the Dells Bells Wedding Chapel, it’s good to know the zombie King of Rock and Roll is shambling around nearby.
3. Museum of Historic Torture Devices
From Roman crucifixion to the Spanish Inquisition, people throughout history have invented creative new ways to torture and execute other people. Part horrific history, part true crime, the graphic displays at the Museum of Historic Torture Devices expose the insidious devices used to inflict pain, such as The Rack, the Ducking Stool, the Iron Maiden, thumbscrews, and the Chinese Death Cage.
4. Ghost Boat
Climb aboard the Ghost Boat at dusk for a journey into the horrific legend of the haunted Cold Water Canyon. This experience is basically a haunted house, boat ride, and spooky hike rolled into one, with live actors lurking in the dark canyon passages.
5. Haunted Pub Crawl
If you like to have some spirits with your spirits, the Wisconsin Dells Haunted Pub Crawl is the perfect mix of booze and boos. Hop on the trolley for a 21+ only tour into the paranormal with stops at the most haunted places in the Dells: Brat House, Showboat Saloon, and the Old Baraboo Inn.
6. Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
There is only one place in the entire world where you can come face to face with the actual severed head of Peter Kurten, a sadistic serial killer from Germany whose unlikely final resting place is spinning around inside a guillotine-shaped case in Wisconsin’s family vacation destination. Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Wisconsin Dells is home to that particularly disturbing anatomical oddity, and workers say Kurten haunts the building.
Have you had any spooky experiences in Wisconsin Dells? Tell us about it in the comments below!