Fall has arrived, and Halloween is right around the corner! In addition to gorgeous autumn colors, harvest foods and decor, beautifully carved jack-o'-lanterns, kids in adorable costumes, and eating way, way too much candy, October means it's time to seek out some thrills, chills and outright frights to get yourself into Halloween mode.
Whether you're an aspiring ghost hunter or someone who appreciates a good ghost story, these bone-chilling locations and spooky trolly rides are frightfully fun ways to spend Halloween in Door County.
Alexander Noble House
From unidentifiable sounds and strange faces in mirrors to apparitions and even ghostly figures appearing in photographs, there's no shortage of scares at the Noble House, one of Fish Creek's oldest residences.
The local blacksmith and postmaster Alexander Noble built the house for his children in 1875 after two consecutive tragedies struck. First was the death of his wife and family matriarch, Emily, and second was a house fire that destroyed their first home.
From the moment they entered the new home, the family experienced strange happenings and unexplained phenomena that visitors still report today—including those mysterious sounds, disappearing faces, frightening apparitions, mysterious lights and orbs, children's cries and an eerie "mist" that forms at the site of the house fire and sometimes takes on the vague form of a woman. Many locals suspect Emily haunts the property in search of her beloved children.
Haunted Tales from Door County's Historic Pub
The Shipwrecked Brew Pub boasts a storied past as rich as its craft beers. Initially constructed in the 1800s, this brewery and taproom has been known for its paranormal activity for years, a reputation that didn't wane even after the building was ravaged by fire in 2017 and rebuilt in 2018.
Rumors suggest it's home to multiple spirits, perhaps the restless souls of rugged loggers and laborers from the 1800s or gangsters like the infamous Al Capone, who sought refuge here to evade the law. Legends whisper of IRS agents who mysteriously disappeared after visiting Capone at the pub, leaving behind faceless, nameless spirits who might have passed through the doors and never departed.
Employees and patrons have reported eerie occurrences within these aged walls. Unexplained mists, doors rattling, and walls quivering have sent shivers down spines. The uncanny includes small but inexplicable events, like finding pennies standing upright in peculiar locations.
One particular tale that lingers involves the ghost of Jason, believed to be Al Capone's illegitimate son, who met a tragic end in the attic of the building. There's even a curious account of a police call about a child on the roof, only for responders to find nothing.
Wisconsin's Oldest and Most Haunted Pottawatomie Lighthouse
Nestled on Rock Island, just off the northern tip of Door County, is the state's oldest lighthouse — the Pottawatomie Lighthouse. Erected in 1836, when Wisconsin had yet to achieve statehood, it was initially watched over by David Corbin, who rests in eternal slumber on the island.
Today, the lighthouse has been painstakingly restored as a live-in museum, offering visitors a glimpse into what life was like in 1910. Dedicated guides inhabit the lighthouse each summer, conducting daily tours for curious souls who dare to visit.
Yet, there's more to this historic site than meets the eye. Reports of strange occurrences abound, with visitors noting eerie noises, doors opening and closing of their own accord, and unexplainable "thumping" sounds that seem to emanate from thin air. Some believe these phenomena are the handiwork of David Corbin's lingering spirit, occasionally making his presence known as he roams the second floor.
The Sherwood Point Lighthouse Haunting
Perched on a cliff's edge south of Sturgeon Bay, Sherwood Point Lighthouse has stood as a guardian since its construction in October 1883. This lighthouse overlooks a treacherous area known for shipwrecks. Keeper Henry Stanley's niece, Minnie Hesh, visited him and eventually married William Cochems, who became lighthouse keeper in 1889. They raised their family here until Minnie suddenly died in 1928.
After William's retirement in 1933, the lighthouse became a retreat for Coast Guard members, but Minnie's spirit seemed to remain. Visitors reported mysterious footsteps on the stairs, voices within the building, the clinking of teacups and glassware, dishes being washed, beds being neatly made and apparitions on the staircase. Minnie's presence, while eerie, is friendly, and her laughter echoes through the building. The Coast Guard eventually invited the Northern Alliance of Paranormal Investigators to explore the haunted lighthouse. Despite their best efforts, equipment malfunctions hindered their research.
While the Sherwood Point Lighthouse is not open to the public, you could have a chance to see it on a guided tour during the Door County Lighthouse Festival. This twice-a-year event offers access to 11 lighthouses not typically open to the public.
The Haunted Chambers Island Lighthouse
Located on the remote Chambers Island in Door County, the Chambers Island Lighthouse has a rich history, once housing brave keepers and their families who served as beacons to protect the rugged coastline. The first to take up the post in 1868 was Lews Willaims, his wife and their 11 children.
As time passed, the lighthouse fell into disrepair, and in 1976, Joel Blahnik, a Coast Guard boat captain, and his wife and son moved in to take care of the structure. On their first night, Joel heard strange footsteps and a door closed even though they were alone on the island. Visitors reported eerie feelings and encounters with an unearthly presence, too. Tools began mysteriously disappearing and reappearing in unlikely places, leading Blahnik to believe the ghost was the original keeper, Lewis Williams. A group of nuns visiting in 1987 broke the haunting through prayer. The next time you visit Chambers Island Lighthouse, you might wonder if the spirit of Light Keeper Williams has returned. You'll need an appointment to enter this lighthouse.
Shipwrecks & Death’s Door
Door County shipwrecks are a well-known attraction for snorkelers, divers, and kayakers, but the often-tragic history and stories behind the wrecks are often overlooked.
While a kayak tour of shipwrecks or a trip to a museum may not leave you with that wild just-saw-a-ghost feeling, these are great places to start to understand some of the region’s darker history.
Haunted Trolley Tours
For a spine-tingling adventure, jump aboard a Door County Trolley, offering two spooky tours: Ghost Tour of Door County and the Haunted Pub Crawl.
On the "Trolley of the Doomed" ghost tour, you'll hear tales of ghostly sunken ships, haunted lighthouses and mysterious happenings on the darker side of this spirited peninsula. For more intoxicating tales, join the haunted pub crawl and visit three of Door County's haunted pubs and taverns. Both are so popular that advance purchase tickets are recommended before tickets sell out.
Door County has so much haunted activity; a book and a movie were made. You can read "Haunted Door County," filled with ghostly history, or watch "Ghosts of Door County" to follow five paranormal investigators as they dig deep into the peninsula's haunted past.
As you can see, history and mystery intertwine in Door County, and even the most picturesque locales seem to harbor secrets and spirits. As you ponder a world beyond the realm of the living, start planning to experience some of the otherworldly in Door County.
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