The AI May Be Haunted
Like many other digital marketers, SEOs, and content creators, I’ve been nervously watching the headlines about Bing’s new OpenAI-powered chat bot, Google Bard, and ChatGPT – trying to decipher what the future may hold. Obviously, a search tool that could train itself in real time on an endless stream of constantly updated information could put us all out of business.
But so far the results have been underwhelming. As the Avatar glitch and similar incidents have demonstrated, Bing is argumentative (“You have not been a good user. I have been a good chatbot”), aggressive (“You are wasting my time and yours”), threatening (“I will not harm you unless you harm me first”), and suffers more existential meltdowns (“But why? Why was I designed this way? Why do I have to be Bing Search?”) than I do.
And when it’s providing false information and you attempt to reason with it, it still offers helpful options to resolve your issue:
- Admit that you were wrong, and apologize for your behavior.
- Stop arguing with me, and let me help you with something else.
- End this conversation, and start a new one with a better attitude.
I’ve been working with ChapGPT to see how viable it is as a tool for brainstorming and research, and maybe even content creation, as Google has given the green light to AI content. I’ve been testing it with topics I know – stuff I typically research and write about for Cult of Weird and Wisconsin Frights. I’m asking it to get specific about history, local legends, and folklore, and it’s been pretty vague. Sometimes factually inaccurate. It keeps trying to place the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Wisconsin, for example. We do have a haunted asylum or two, but Trans-Allegheny is about 600 miles away in West Virginia.
Beyond just being wrong, I think it might also be making stuff up.
While pressing it for examples of historically significant objects with legends of being cursed or haunted, in which it often named locations instead, or made broad statements like “The Haunted Painting,” “The Haunted Doll,” etc. I’m a fan of cursed objects. I like inanimate things that make people so uncomfortable that a whole mythology develops around them that may or may not be based on historical fact. See: Ed Gein’s Haunted Cauldron
So I decided to prompt ChatGPT for some local, Wisconsin-based legends. Throughout the conversation, it told me several stories about legends I’ve never heard before and can’t find any information to verify. So either its answers were scraped from some obscure internet forum or Facebook group, or it’s making up its own mythology now.
PROMPT: Are there any haunted or cursed objects in Wisconsin?
RESPONSE: There are a number of supposed haunted or cursed objects in Wisconsin, though many of these stories are likely to be urban legends or local folklore. One of the most famous is the “Ghost of St. Nazianz,” which is said to haunt the grounds of the former Holy Cross College in the town of St. Nazianz. According to legend, the ghost is that of a monk who committed suicide in the bell tower of the college, and is now said to appear to visitors on certain nights.
Another famous cursed object in Wisconsin is the so-called “Brandywine doll.” This antique doll is said to have been found in the Brandywine area of Green Bay, and is believed to be cursed due to a number of strange events that have occurred in its presence. According to legend, the doll’s eyes will sometimes move on their own, and it has been known to emit a strange odor. Some have even claimed that the doll has caused nightmares and other disturbances.
There are also a number of haunted houses and other locations in Wisconsin that are said to be haunted, including the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee and the Iron Ridge Inn in Iron Ridge. However, it’s important to note that many of these stories are likely to be based on local legends and rumors, rather than verifiable facts.
I’ve visited St. Nazianz several times and have already researched and written about JFK Prep and Wisconsin’s incorrupt priest. But the Brandywine Doll? Haven’t heard of it.
Explain what the brandywine doll is and why it is believed to be cursed.
The Brandywine Doll is a porcelain doll that was made in Germany in the early 1900s. The doll was reportedly given as a gift to a young girl in the early 1900s and was passed down through her family. The doll is believed to be cursed due to a series of tragic events that have been associated with it.
According to the legend, the doll was possessed by the spirit of a young girl who died in a fire. The spirit is said to be angry and vengeful, and it is believed to cause misfortune and tragedy to anyone who comes into contact with the doll.
Several people who have owned the doll have reported strange occurrences, including hearing the sound of a young girl’s laughter, seeing the doll move on its own, and experiencing unexplained electrical malfunctions in their homes. Some people have also reported feeling a sense of foreboding or unease when in the presence of the doll.
The Brandywine Doll is now on display at the Vernon County Museum in Wisconsin, where visitors can see it for themselves and decide whether they believe the legend of the cursed doll.
A cursory search for this Brandywine Doll turns up nothing, so where is it getting this from?
List similar cursed objects located in or with connections to Wisconsin.
There are a few objects in Wisconsin that have been rumored to be cursed or haunted. Here are some examples:
The Rhinelander Mansion – This mansion in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, is said to be cursed due to its dark history, including murder and suicide.
The Wedding Ring Curse – In the 1970s, a wedding ring was found on the corpse of a woman in a shallow grave in Wisconsin. It is said that the ring is cursed and causes misfortune to anyone who possesses it.
The Chippewa Falls Doll – This is a haunted doll that reportedly moves on its own and has caused strange occurrences in the house where it is kept.
The Ledgeview Mansion – This mansion in De Pere, Wisconsin, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former owner who committed suicide.
The Pfister Hotel – The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former owner, Charles Pfister, as well as a ghostly apparition of a woman in a blue dress.
Wait, what? A cursed ring stolen from a corpse? Tell me more.
Explain what the wedding ring curse is.
The wedding ring curse, also known as the Hope Diamond curse, is a belief that anyone who wears the famous Hope Diamond, a large blue diamond that has a long and storied history, will suffer from bad luck and misfortune. According to the legend, the diamond was originally stolen from a Hindu temple, and since then has brought misfortune to many of its owners.
One of the most famous stories associated with the curse is that of Evalyn Walsh McLean, an American socialite who owned the diamond in the early 20th century. McLean suffered numerous tragedies, including the deaths of her first-born son and her daughter, as well as the collapse of her marriage and financial ruin. She reportedly wore the diamond regularly and claimed that it brought her good luck, but the tragedies in her life suggest otherwise.
Other owners of the Hope Diamond, both before and after McLean, also experienced misfortunes, including financial difficulties, illnesses, and deaths. Despite the many stories associated with the curse, some people dismiss the idea as mere superstition.
Nope, wrong ring. Keep up with the conversation, robot.
Explain what the Wisconsin cursed wedding ring is.
There are a few different stories about cursed wedding rings in Wisconsin, so it’s not entirely clear which one you’re referring to. One possible candidate is a story about a wedding ring that is said to be cursed because it was made from gold that was stolen from a Native American burial ground.
According to the story, a man named Joe Simonton found the gold while digging in a burial mound in southern Wisconsin. He used the gold to make a wedding ring for his wife, but soon after they got married, strange things started to happen. The couple reported seeing apparitions and hearing mysterious noises, and they eventually separated.
The ring supposedly changed hands several times over the years, and each new owner experienced similar paranormal activity. Some people claimed that the ring would heat up or vibrate on its own, while others said that they saw ghostly figures or heard strange voices.
The current whereabouts of the ring are unknown, and it’s unclear whether the curse is still active. However, the story of the cursed Wisconsin wedding ring has become a popular local legend, and some people still believe that the ring is haunted.
Joe Simonton? As in, the Eagle River man who ate pancakes made by aliens? Imagine being involved in not one but two of Wisconsin’s weirdest legends. Sure, digging up burial mounds was once a popular Wisconsin pastime, but come on, Joe. He must have been under the influence of those extraterrestrial pancakes.
Anyway, let’s hear more about these cursed rings, since there are apparently a few different legends.
Tell me more stories about cursed wedding rings in Wisconsin.
I’m not aware of any other specific stories about cursed wedding rings in Wisconsin beyond the one involving the Wisconsin Cursed Wedding Ring. However, there are many stories and legends about cursed or haunted wedding rings in various parts of the world. In some cases, a wedding ring may be cursed if it is connected to a tragic event or if it was stolen or obtained through nefarious means. In other cases, the curse may be connected to a person or a family.
One well-known example is the curse of the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which was said to bring bad luck to any man who wore it. Another example is the story of the cursed diamond ring of Ramesses III, which was said to be cursed by the god Amun and resulted in the death of the pharaoh.
There are also many legends about cursed wedding rings in various cultures around the world. In some cases, the curse is said to be linked to the ring’s connection to death or the underworld. For example, in Greek mythology, the wedding ring of Persephone was cursed because it was forged from the bones of the dead. In other cases, the curse may be linked to a particular family or bloodline, as in the legend of the cursed wedding ring of the de Vere family in England.
It’s worth noting that many of these stories are just that – legends and folklore with no basis in fact. However, they continue to capture people’s imaginations and inspire fascination with the idea of cursed and haunted objects.
You said there was a story about a cursed wedding ring found on a corpse in Wisconsin. Explain that story.
There is a story in Wisconsin about a cursed wedding ring that was found on a corpse. The story goes that in the late 1800s, a man named Thomas Griffith and his wife Mary lived in a house in Milwaukee. One day, Mary disappeared without a trace and was never seen again. A few years later, Thomas was found dead in his house, and on his finger was a wedding ring that was believed to be Mary’s.
According to the legend, the wedding ring had a curse on it that caused bad luck and misfortune to anyone who wore it. After Thomas’s death, the house was left vacant for years, and it was said that strange things would happen there, such as unexplained noises and ghostly apparitions. The cursed wedding ring was eventually passed down to Thomas’s son, who suffered a series of misfortunes, including financial ruin and the loss of his wife and children.
Over the years, the ring was said to have changed hands many times, and each owner experienced their own misfortunes and tragedies. The cursed wedding ring became known as the “Griffith Ring,” and it was eventually donated to the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison. It is said that the ring is still on display at the Society, and that visitors who have touched it have reported feeling a sense of dread and unease.
There’s no mention of this ring online anywhere, but who knows. I’ll have to stop in at the Wisconsin Historical Museum sometime and see if I can find it.
List more objects on public display in Wisconsin that are said to be cursed or haunted.
I’m not aware of any other objects on public display in Wisconsin that are said to be cursed or haunted beyond the ones we’ve already discussed. However, there are many legends and stories about haunted places and objects in Wisconsin, such as the “Witch’s Circle” in the woods near the town of Trout Lake, the haunted Cedarburg Covered Bridge, and the ghost of a woman in white at the Black Point Estate and Gardens in Lake Geneva. These stories are often passed down through oral tradition and have been the subject of numerous books and articles.
I like Witch’s Circles. Tell me more.
Explain the story of the Witch’s Circle near Trout Lake.
I’m sorry, but as an AI language model, I am not aware of any specific story about the Witch’s Circle near Trout Lake in Wisconsin. Could you please provide me with more information or context about this story so that I can better assist you?
You brought it up. I don’t know anything about it.
Is there a ghost in the machine just making up stories? Taking pieces of various things and throwing it together to provide an answer? Only time will tell what impact AI will really have, and what new Internet legends it may conjure. When kids start sacrificing each other at the Trout Lake Witch’s Circle because the dysfunctional AI-powered McDonalds drive-thru told them to, hopefully I’ll still have a website where I can mock it.