Wisconsin Haunted Destinations

Throughout the state of Wisconsin, there are many urban legends and mysteries that have been told and retold for many years. Below are a few of the many stories from Wisconsin’s past that continue haunting us today.
Rhinelander Hodag
In 1893, northern Wisconsin newspapers reported on the discovery of a mysterious creature, the Hodag, in Rhinelander, in the north central part of the state. This creature was said to have the head of a frog, face of an elephant, thick short legs with claws, back of a dinosaur and a long tail with spears. The group that reported the Hodag said it was so powerful that they had to use dynamite to kill the beast. The idea of the Hodag frightened the public, but it is now a symbol of Rhinelander and the official mascot of the local high school.
Beast of Bray Road
In 1999, Doristine Gipson was driving home from work along Bray Road in Elkhorn, in southeastern Wisconsin, and felt her front tire lift up. She got out and saw nothing near her tire, only to look up and see a large, hairy beast standing in front of her. Shortly after, it allegedly charged at her. After the encounter went public, many others came forward with their own similar experiences of the werewolf-like figure in that area.
Highway 12 Hitchhiker
For years individuals have reported seeing a phantom hitchhiker appear and reappear along Highway 12 in Baraboo, near the Wisconsin Dells. People say the phantom is a man dressed in 1960s time-appropriate clothing. While responding to calls, police have seen him trying to catch a ride at one point on the road, then again a mile down the road after passing.
Antigo Alien
In 1974 a local bar owner recalled seeing a “funny-looking little man” enter her business, speak with her and disappear in a flash. She also noted seeing strange lights in the sky days prior to the encounter. Throughout that year, there were numerous UFO sightings in Antigo, in north central Wisconsin, possibly linked to what the bar owner saw that night.
Lake Winnebago Water Monster
The Winnebago tribe used to tell stories of large fish that lived in Lake Winnebago that ate deer, elk and moose. Many believed that the monster was a large sturgeon eventually killed by a larger animal. Many still believe the creature is still swimming around the lake.
Boy Scout Lane
In the 1950s on a road in central Stevens Point, Wisconsin, a troop of Boy Scouts were allegedly killed. There were stories about how exactly the murders happened, many were believing that the troop leader was responsible. Some believe they died from a fire due to a lantern. People who visit the area today report feeling as if they are being watched and seeing light and handprints of children on vehicles.
Paradise Road
In the woods of rural southeastern Wisconsin, people tell stories of seeing ghosts, having radio fuzziness and even car troubles while driving along Paradise Road near Jefferson, Wisconsin. There are several theories of why the road is haunted, some relating to a local murder, another about three sisters accused and hung for witchcraft.
Mauston Birdman
In the late 1970s, an old woman reported seeing a “birdman” outside her window near the bluffs in western Mauston, Wisconsin. She described the birdman as being 6-foot-bird, with man-like figures, a beak and yellow feathers. There have been more sightings since that time.
Ladies of Old Baraboo Inn
The Old Baraboo Inn was a tavern and brothel in the past, but it was renovated and reopened in 2002. Since then, employees report seeing doors open on their own, as well as kitchenware flying off the shelves. According to reports, three prostitutes and two former owners of the tavern died in the building, which is who people believe are haunting the inn to this day.
Showboat Saloon Haunting
Showboat Saloon was a once-popular brothel and bar in the Wisconsin Dells. A ghost of a woman named Molly is said to be haunting the saloon to this day. Bartenders report their names being called or shoulders being tapped while closing late, only to be alone in the bar.
Morgan Baker

Morgan Baker

Morgan is a marketing representative and senior studying strategic communication with a certificate in digital studies, she researched haunted destinations across the state for this piece. You can find her planning trips to visit new countries or catching an evening yoga class.

Bailey Schneider

Bailey Schneider

Bailey, production associate, is a senior majoring in strategic communications with certificates in graphic design and printmaking. Upon graduation, she hopes to truly go with the flow. She created this story's illustrations.