It may be the Waterpark Capital of the World, but at its heart Wisconsin Dells it is a weird and kitschy get-away that defies explanation (and reality) with uniquely strange attractions like the upside White House called Top Secret, the Museum of Historic Torture Devices, Alligator Alley, the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory (formerly Robot World), Wizard Quest, and, of course, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Sadly, some of our favorite places, like the quirky Wonder Spot, or the beloved Fort Dells (which is now a Walgreens and McDonalds) have eventually ended up on the wrong side of the dirt over the years. Below are three classic haunted houses in Wisconsin Dells that may have given you nightmares during childhood family vacations, but have since given up the ghost.
Some of them even had real ghosts.
Castle of Terror
Part of the Extreme World park, the Castle of Terror was a huge castle façade with menacing skulls and gargoyles. But the only terror to be found inside, if the reviews on TripAdvisor are to be believed, was the fact that you just laid down your hard-earned cash to get into the “WORST haunted house in the Dells.”
The reviews go on to explain that the Castle of Terror was little more than a five-minute walk through a “black maze with small little scene rooms with puppets that don’t even move. The scary part of this awful haunted house is your guide running ahead of you and screaming at you as you turn the corner.”
Castle of Terror sat abandoned for several years after it closed, but it has since been torn down.
Dungeon of Horrors
Bill Nehring, owner of the Lost Temple, opened the Dungeon of Horrors in 1981. It was his first walk-through haunted house. But when employees began noticing mysterious cold spots in the building, hearing strange noises, and even being followed by the apparition of a man in glasses, it became clear not all the ghosts were fake.
According to Nehring, the building used to be a mechanic’s shop with a mortuary next door. According to legend, the owner committed suicide with a shotgun in the garage.
“For a while, at different times, we had trouble keeping employees inside,” Nehring said in a 2007 interview. “It was scaring out the employees. We had one summer where everyone there was pretty convinced something extra was going on. There were so many employees and customers affected by it. I mean we weren’t doing anything to scare them in some spots and they came out terrified.”
The claims have been researched numerous times by paranormal investigators, most of whom were skeptical, believing it was a marketing ploy, until they spoke with the employees who actually experienced things.
Nehring eventually changed the name of Dungeon of Horrors to the Haunted Crypt, but the legend of the haunted building persisted. Today the building sits beside a Subway and is used for paintball. There doesn’t seem to be any recent accounts of paranormal activity.
Is there another Wisconsin Dells haunted attraction from the days of yore that should be included here? Share it in the comments below!