Haunted houses

Marquette is one of the Milwaukee area's haunted hot spots, according to paranormal researchers at the Unexplained Paranormal Conference held Sunday.

Hotels, clubs, theaters and graveyards in the metro area are also said to be haunted by ghosts and other supernatural beings.

Chad Lewis, a paranormal investigator, said Marquette has its share of ghost lore — but that doesn't mean it's unique.

"It does seem like every university in Wisconsin has their own ghost story, and it usually involved the death or suicide of a student," he said.

Lewis said residence halls tend to be the most supposedly-haunted spots on campus because students, who are fond of urban legend and superstition, live there.

Straz Tower and Humphrey Hall are the sites Lewis said he hears the most about being haunted at Marquette.

Lewis said he has received reports of students living in Humphrey, which is rumored to have been a children's hospital before being a residence hall, hearing children laughing or crying.

Although he doesn't discredit these reports, Lewis still has his reservations.

"In a dorm, it'd be easy to hear someone laughing or crying and think it's ghosts when it's someone down the hall," he said.

Lewis has also heard that Straz Tower is haunted by the ghost of a little boy who drowned in the Rec Plex's pool.

Christy Bergen, residence hall director for Straz Tower, said she has never had any experience with a ghost or had any reported to her. College of Communication sophomore Emily Schumacher, a lifeguard for the Rex Plex pool, said she has never had any ghostly experiences.

Lewis and his co-researchers have been in both buildings, but have not had time to thoroughly inspect them.

He says he has received about 15 e-mails concerning the alleged Marquette hauntings in his 10 years as a paranormal researcher.

Some businesses around Marquette are also purportedly haunted, Lewis said.

Phantom dogs are said to run up and down the halls of The Pfister Hotel, 424 E. Wisconsin Ave., and the Ambassador Hotel, 2308 W. Wisconsin Ave., is allegedly plagued by mysterious occurrences, supposedly committed by the ghost of an early victim of Jeffrey Dahmer who, Lewis said, was murdered there.

Lewis also said workers at The Rave, 2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., have reported seeing groups of ghost children while cleaning up after-hours. Patrons of the club have also reported being assaulted in the bathrooms by unseen assailants.

Representatives from the businesses deny any supernatural events, however.

"I've never heard or seen anything," said Jodie Thomann, executive secretary for the Pfister. "Nothing's happened."

"You hear pipes banging and that's it," said a staff member at The Ambassador who asked not to be named.

Many of Milwaukee's parks are also said to be haunted by ghostly lights or disembodied voices. Metro area graveyards are also allegedly sites for the supernatural, including LaBelle Cemtery in Oconomowoc, where the statue of a young girl who drowned is said to cry tears of blood and walk toward Fowler Lake, where she drowned.

Other supernatural beings in Wisconsin discussed at the conference included a werewolf-type creature near Elkhorn, a vampire in Mineral Point, extraterrestrials in Bloomer and the skeleton of a dragon buried somewhere beneath Elk Mound.

The conference, arranged by four self-described paranormal researchers, was held at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center, 790 N. Van Buren St.

This article appeared in The Marquette Tribune on Mar. 10 2005.