Haunted AI

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.

Short memory.

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.

Benson's Hideaway UFO Daze

UFOs in the Kettle Moraine

Wisconsin is home to some of the strangest UFO encounters in the country, if not the world. And it’s not always a Christmas light show, such as the case that made international headlines this past December. (Watch my video about that right here.)

In Eagle River, aliens served pancakes right out of their flying saucer. In Mayville, a retiree drank his morning coffee as he watched crop circles appear in the field across the road. A UFO landed on the road in Mellen. In Elmwood, a police officer was “zapped” by a blast of light from a UFO while on patrol one night, and died of a mysterious illness months later. When we were kids, my cousins from rural South Central Wisconsin told me about a farmer they knew who had seen a flying saucer that roared and rumbled like a freight train as it cruised over the countryside. A couple years before she passed, my grandmother even told me she had witnessed several UFOs in the sky over Lake Michigan throughout her lifetime living in Milwaukee.

My personal favorite Wisconsin UFO hotspot, however, is the little town of Dundee in the heart of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, where some locals swear a massive hill (known as Dundee Mountain) that was formed by glacial deposits many millennia ago is the source of the strange phenomena that’s been happening in the area for decades, if not longer.

“Something’s under there,” Bill Benson was known to say. And up until recently, you could hear all about it at Bill’s UFO-themed bar on the shore of Long Lake, where people gathered annually for over 30 years to flaunt their elaborate tinfoil hat designs and watch the mysterious lights in the sky.

I’ve lived near Dundee my whole life. Rumors about Bill’s UFO Daze festival, where flying saucers were said to make an appearance every year, have always just been part of daily life. The strangeness of it – this small town in the Wisconsin woods where crop circles appeared in the lake reeds and extraterrestrials dropped by to catch Packers games – didn’t even occur to me until much later.

Local folklore, however dubious the stories may sometimes seem, are woven into the fabric of a place and become its story. People like Bill Benson, who kept an alien in a jar and a binder of UFO photos behind the bar, are legends in their own right.

When I finally had the opportunity to meet Bill Benson in 2021 (and, sadly, snap the photo that would be used in his obituary later that year) he told me about encounters locals have had over the years, as well as a few of his own. And, because I had to know, he told me what he believed was under Dundee Mountain.

I previously created a Long Lake travel poster (and sent one off to Benson’s, where it was tacked to the wall last time I was there), but for my first serious foray into 3D, I wanted to bring the scene to life as I often imagined it, with a UFO flying in low over the lake toward the bar.

It’s a work in progress, but here’s a look at it so far:

Benson's Hideaway 3D UFO wireframe

Benson's Hideaway

UFO over Long Lake

Benson's UFO Daze 3D scene

Benson's UFO Daze 3D scene

Benson's Hideaway UFO Daze

Benson's Hideaway UFO Daze

Benson's Hideaway UFO Daze

Wisconsin UFO bar

And here’s a look at it in motion:

Check out some of my other Wisconsin UFO designs in the Wisconsin Frights shop.

Want to see the latest nonsense I’m working on right in your email? I might start using Substack, so be sure to subscribe:

Bored Panda interview about Cult of Weird

UFOs, Wisconsin, & The Occult: My Bored Panda Interview

I should have mentioned this in my post-Halloween review, but it completely slipped my mind until now. Back in October, I answered some questions for a post on Bored Panda about Cult of Weird. Oddly, the post is focused on the Cult of Weird Twitter account where I rarely share unique content. I barely even used the account for years, and now I mostly just retweet stuff to support researchers and creators doing interesting work.

So really, this Bored Panda feature is about other people’s posts.

I guess it’s just nice to be recognized for…recognizing others…?

Anyway, it was a nice little boost in followers right before Elon Musk took over and turned Twitter into a dumpster fire. Also, when I get interview requests, it’s usually just to talk about Ed Gein. This time I got to share some of my personal perspectives on my work, for better or worse.

Cult of Weird featured on Bored Panda

I talk a bit about growing up in the heart of weird Wisconsin, the occult in the Kettle Moraine, Cthulhu power zones, my grandmother’s UFO stories, and what I think about Bigfoot throwing rocks at people in the woods.

Read the interview on Bored Panda right here.

NOTE: I had just watched this video about the evidence, however unexplainable, for the existence of life after death, so I was in a slightly less skeptical mood about the paranormal when I answered the questions.

Halloween review

The Late Post-Halloween Review

The general mood of spooky season for me this year was malaise and ennui. Each year it gets increasingly more difficult to get into the Halloween spirit when I spend the entire year knee deep in ghost stories and monster encounters while surrounded by real skulls and creepy antiques here in Mental Shed HQ.

Still, it wasn’t a total loss.

After years of trying to convince others to host/narrate Youtube content for Cult of Weird and Wisconsin Frights, I decided the only way to get it done was to ruin the mediocre media empire I’ve built over the last 20+ years by becoming the voice and face of my own brands.

One of my favorite pastimes is luring unsuspecting passengers into my car and taking them on strange trips into the wild weird yonder of Wisconsin. I’m surrounded by boundless Wisconsin weirdness, so why not start creating some travel videos in which I virtually whisk my unwitting audience away into the dark corners of history and legend?

I planned to kick off Halloween with a drive into Houdini country (Appleton, Wisconsin, where Erik Weisz lived—and nearly died—as a child) to visit a notorious bleeding grave and other curious historical landmarks. However, I ended up celebrating the beginning of fall in a more traditionally horrific sort of way: Kidney stones.

After a pain-filled, sleepless week of wishing for a quick death, I was feeling a bit better and opted to shoot something closer to home. So I grabbed my kids and took an impromptu drive to one of my favorite local haunts: Glenbeulah Cemetery.

Most haunted place in Wisconsin

We did eventually film the Appleton trip, which included stops at a historic asylum cemetery and the site of a senator’s exorcism. But the brakes went out on my car—while my daughter was driving—and I had to drive two hours home on the dark back roads with no brakes.

So I had the brakes fixed just so I could drive it to a dealership and trade it in out of spite.

When we returned to Appleton later for the mall, I had no idea until afterwards when I was researching Appleton content on Tiktok that we were in the presence of a notorious Bath & Body Works which has become a pilgrimage site for Wisconsinites.

Bring Me the Horizon live

Two weeks later we took a trip to Chicago to see Bring Me the Horizon (with openers Grandson—my son’s favorite—Knocked Loose, and Siiickbrain) and spent the next day being tourists in the Windy City. We visited the Bean, and then my daughter asked if we could go find the Gallagher house from the TV series Shameless. That took us into a curious neighborhood of fascinating architecture and an abandoned, overgrown overpass now being used for farming.

Chicago neighborhood near the Gallagher House from Shameless

Neighborhood near the Gallagher House full of Chicago greystones

The Bean in Chicago

The Bean

Under the Bean

The view directly under the bean, which purportedly makes a lot of people sick

On the way home, we stopped in Kenosha to find the grave of the last man executed in Wisconsin.

The grave of John McCaffary, last man executed in Wisconsin

We also made it out to another nearby location known as Holy Hill, a basilica on a hill overlooking the mysterious Kettle Moraine where miracles have been said to take place since the mid-1850s when a monk sought refuge there after murdering his former lover in a jealous rage.

Miracles at Holy Hill

Visitors leave behind crutches, eyeglasses, and…other things…as a testament to the healing miracles at Holy Hill

It’s also the home of an exact replica of the Shroud of Turin, for some reason.

On the way home home we stopped nearby to visit the annual Holy Hill Skeletons display:

October Accomplishments

What I read

I haven’t had much time to read for pleasure lately, it’s usually just research. BUT I did pick up the new Miss Peregrine book by Ransom Riggs. I spent years reading and re-reading those books to my kids, but now that they’re too old for bedtime stories, I still can’t resist.

I also enjoyed the new Mrs. Friedly story by Cullen Bunn. I’ve been a fan of his work ever since I discovered Countless Haints—now Harrow County—by chance on his website a few years back (while researching haint blue folklore for Cult of Weird) and Mrs. Friedly has become a Halloween staple for my son and I.

Screenwriter Ian A. Stuart, who wrote The Pit (filmed in Wisconsin) said, “The traditional structure of a horror story isn’t the novel, it’s the short story that begins very realistically, introduces an element of the fantastic, and then has to wrap up relatively quickly. But the wrap-up is in the last phrase, the last sentence, even the last word, where the story really gives you a jolt.”

Cullen’s Mrs. Friedly stories are particularly great at that, but the jolt in this year’s story was so simple and expertly crafted that the true horror of it’s final moments sneek up and give you that jolt a beat or two after you’ve read the last line.

What I watched

Halloween Ends

Halloween Ends

This film didn’t remotely make sense as a sequel to the previous installment. Everything was off. But I didn’t hate it. Felt like a genuine 80s slasher sequel that goes off the rails into WTF territory. Oh, and that opening scene with the kid and the babysitter…holy shit.

My Best Friend’s Exorcism

My Best Friend's Exorcism

Grady Hendrix popped up on my radar with the release of Paperbacks From Hell, and he has since become my favorite author of novels I haven’t even read yet. I include his latest releases on the Fall Reading List each year. So I was excited for the Amazon adaptation of My Best Friend’s Exorcism and it did not disappoint. As someone who was traumatized by Satanic panic as a child (and is still being bombarded almost daily with my mother’s QAnon obsession in recent years) I feel a certain catharsis in the way Hendrix handles the subject matter.

The Midnight Club

The Midnight Club

I love Mike Flanagan’s work (Midnight Mass, holy hell) but I went into this expecting some YA Nickelodeon horror. It was NOT that. Turns out it was an incredible series filled with horror, despair and mystery. At first, I was put off that so much focus was placed on the kids’ fictional stories. One of my biggest pet peeves is watching things that aren’t really happening in the world of the story, like dream sequences, or all those episodes of Star Trek when everything is wrapped up neatly and none of it actually happened or had consequence by the time the credits roll. Real stakes or GTFO. That’s just bad storytelling.

As The Midnight Club unfolded, however, those stories became increasingly more important, as they were telling us so much about what the kids had gone through and what they were feeling in the face of their irreversible death sentences. Brilliant.

Cabinet of Curiosities

Cabinet of Curiosities

I love short horror stories. They have the freedom to be weird and experimental, and explore absurd ideas in ways that the novel cannot. That love extends to horror anthologies, as it’s essentially the same format but on film. Often, a story is better off short, as drawing it out takes away the bite. That’s probably why the second season of American Horror Stories is surprisingly watchable compared to most of what came before it.

Naturally, a Guillermo Del Toro-produced anthology series is bound to be great.

What really makes this series stand out to me is that each episode felt literary in that the stories retained that experimental absurdity to some extent. Even the weakest episodes were great for that. No complaints here. With one minor exception, I suppose, in that I was expecting a particular gut punch twist at the end of the final episode, The Murmuring, which admittedly would have ruined the unexpectedly tender, heartfelt ending…but would have been a glorious moment of grim horror.

I have a file where I’ve been jotting down bits of fiction ideas for the last 10 years, making notes, slowly fleshing stories out. I have an entry for murmuration, because I felt an inherent mystery and horror in it, but hadn’t figured out exactly what it was yet. Now I know.

Ironically, the episodes of Cabinet of Curiosities based on works by H.P. Lovecraft felt the least Lovecraftian of all the episodes.

The Munsters

The Munsters film by Rob Zombie

It’s hard to find things to say about this one. I liked the bad makeup and rubber masks. The cinematography and color grading are good, I guess, if you can look past the obnoxious digital noise applied over the top of every scene to give it a faux film look. Didn’t look great on my 65-inch 4K TV.

Wisconsin cemetery covered in snow in early October

Snow in early October

In other news, I also managed to get in approximately one hour of video games in October, which consisted of fumbling through Luigi’s Mansion 3 and Bioshock 2 because it’s been so long since I had time to play them. By the time I remembered the controls and what was happening in the plot, I was bored and wandered off to do other things.

I always feel a particular emptiness when Halloween is over, even when I wasn’t really feeling it that season, but then, toward the end of November, the doom and gloom of Wisconsin winter begins to settle in and my head fills with gothic horror. Even when I was young, scrawling (probably terrible) stories across innumerable piles of notebooks, I was always consumed with the urge to write gloomy gothic horror tales of rotting castles and cursed tomes around Thanksgiving when the land turns brown and dead.

Most haunted place in Wisconsin

VIDEO: Most Haunted Place in Wisconsin

My favorite pastime is luring unwitting passengers into my car and taking them on drives into the strange history and bizarre legends of the weird Wisconsin countryside. Unfortunately, I only have a limited number of seats, and trunk space is tight. So instead, I’ve decided to take you with me virtually for a new Wisconsin Frights Youtube series.

When I initially launched Wisconsin Frights years ago, I asked followers what they believed the most haunted place in Wisconsin was. This can be a great way to learn about new places and hear about people’s personal experiences, but if I’m being honest, this question was mostly to stir up some social media engagement. I was expecting to hear a lot about the Summerwind Mansion, Wisconsin’s most notorious haunted house, or the mausoleum in Dartford Cemetery where visitors claim to get pushed by ghosts. Both are well known haunted locations, mostly due to their exposure on paranormal TV shows.

Unexpectedly, many of the responses to my question cited a place I wasn’t even aware of at the time: A small, secluded cemetery in the village of Glenbeulah.

Local legends and oral histories are the true lingering spirits of places like this, and visiting them may be the closest we actually get to experiencing ghosts of the past. So, since Glenbeulah was less than a hour drive, I soon found myself walking among the crumbling gravestones of early Wisconsin pioneers in Walnut Grove Cemetery.

Most notable was the grave of Grace Baumann, an infant who passed away at just five days old in 1943. Visitors had been leaving offerings of toys and teddy bears at her grave. Some had clearly been there for years, and were slowly moldering into the ground.

I have returned to Glenbeulah Cemetery frequently since that first trip, usually at least once a year to snap some photos and see how horrific the toys at Grace’s grave have become in my absence (they never seem to disappoint, by the way). When I finally decided to embark on the perilous journey of creating Wisconsin Frights content for Youtube, this seemed like the obvious first destination – somewhere that many consider to be the most haunted place in Wisconsin.

Watch that video on Youtube right here.

Most haunted place in Wisconsin

Be sure to WATCH, LIKE and SUBSCRIBE for more. Help me pay for gas and get some better gear!

There are a lot of places and people whose stories I hope to have the opportunity to tell. And I’m already editing the next trip, which involves an INSANE ASYLUM, a SENATOR’S EXORCISM, and a BLEEDING GRAVESTONE.

If you know of a place I should check out, tell me about it!

Weird and haunted Wisconsin book

Haunted Wisconsin Book

I was in the crowd when Rob Zombie took the stage at the Dane County Coliseum in Madison, Wisconsin on April 5th, 1999 (performing with Korn on the “Rock is Dead” tour) and announced that it was “great to be back in the land of serial killers and cannibals.”

I was 18 years old, and I believe that moment may have been the first time I realized that in Wisconsin, we grew up surrounded by a uniquely high concentration of weird and deranged that has become inextricably entwined with our DNA, and we don’t even realize it’s not normal until it’s far too late to turn back.

To be honest, I was proud of it. Wisconsin, it turned out, was more than just beer, football and the reckless use of the word “ope.”

Sure, we make headlines for things like having 12 of the country’s top 20 drunkest cities. We (well, not me) wear bright yellow foam cheese heads to sporting events. The world gapes in horror at the customary “cannibal sandwich” which often necessitates warnings from health department officials about the dangers of consuming raw meat. We’re known for supper clubs and Old Fashions, not to mention garnering worldwide attention for some of the dumbest headlines north of the Florida border.

But there is a rich layer of folklore, strange history, oddities, curiosities and mystery lurking just beneath the surface, from spiritualism to UFOs to bizarre creatures possibly conjured from the very depths of Hell.

Not to mention, we have no shortage of eccentric weirdos and, until recent years, one of the most brutal and prolific underground metal scenes in the world. (You haven’t lived until you’ve attended a drunken metal show deep in the Wisconsin woods or a field somewhere.)

Wisconsin should should be one of the top travel destinations for curiosity seekers and dark tourists, which is why I started this website about weird and haunted Wisconsin places.

But there are so many bizarre stories to tell, and I have plenty of my own unique research and experience to share that you won’t find in other weird Wisconsin books. So I’ve decided to compile all my work into a new book dripping with all the shock and schlock of the yellowed paperbacks I grew up reading about the Bermuda Triangle, ghost stories, the crystal skull of doom, and innumerable unexplained Fortean mysteries.

In keeping with the style of a small 8-page pamphlet I printed as a handout at the Cult of Weird table for the inaugural Milwaukee Paranormal Conference in 2015, I’m calling it Tales from the Weird Backroads of Wisconsin. And I’ve already designed the cover as an incentive to finish this project no matter what other creative endeavor may distract me:

Haunted Wisconsin book coming soon

The goal is to have this on shelves and in trick-or-treat bags by the Halloween season, but is that realistic? Between running multiple websites, trying to get a few Youtube channels going, writing an album, attempting to write a novel (or at least complete one short story) and doing dad stuff, probably not. I always seem to be the most unreasonably ambitious in July, for some reason. But let’s check back here in October and see, shall we?

The haunted Galloway House in Fond du Lac

Haunted Fond du Lac

Photos from the dark corners of haunted Fond du Lac documenting places like the Octagon House and Hotel Retlaw where history still roams the halls.

Never Seen Again

In memory of Shawn Christians

Ed Kemper reads Flowers in the Attic

One Long and Perfect Summer Day

Serial killer and necrophile Ed Kemper reads Flowers in the Attic.

Heart of Darkness art exhibition at Windigo Fest

Heart of Darkness

Charlie Hintz brings Wisconsin legend and lore to the Windigo Fest dark art show this October.