The best haunts in Appleton

Reid Stratton

This Halloween, many of you will be out partying, trick-or-treating, and maybe even going to haunted houses. But for those dedicated few who want the real thing – a chance to see a real ghost or spirit – you’re in the right place.
On Oct. 15 Chad Lewis spoke on haunted areas around Appleton in an annual conference called, simply, the Unexplained Conference. Wisconsin is, according to the Lewis, the most haunted state in the union because there are more reports of paranormal activity (e.g. apparitions, alien sightings, etc.) here than in any other state. Naturally, Appleton is host to some of these spirits, a few of which are explained below.
Many spirits and other apparitions are seen in cemeteries, says Lewis, and there are many reasons for this. The first is that in older times cemeteries were seen as areas especially suited to allow the spirits leaving the living world enter the spirit world. The catch is that spirits could enter the living world, too. Therefore, many spirits will find cemeteries to be the first place they encounter on this earth.
The first cemetery story is that of Kate Blood, who died in the 19th century and is buried in Riverside Cemetery, not so very far from campus. It is said that Mrs. Blood murdered her husband and children, and as a result was buried away from the rest of the graves, tucked away in a little corner near the river. In fact, it’s unlikely you would ever find Kate Blood’s grave unless you were looking for it. Supposedly, if you go to her grave at night it’s possible that you will see blood oozing from her gravestone, though if you touch the blood you’ll find that it is dry like chalk.
The reality of the story is that Kate Blood certainly did not kill her husband. A glance at her own grave shows that she died many years before her husband did. As for children, records from her lifetime are spotty at best, and it is unclear whether or not she even had children.
At St. Joseph Cemetery there is yet another story of paranormal activity. Many apparitions have been spotted throughout the cemetery, as well as the occurrence of glowing green stones. These are attributed to the fact that many satanic rituals were supposed to have occurred within the cemetery. There are a host of small grottos perfect for concealing oneself when performing these unholy ceremonies, and it is thought that the apparitions one finds at St. Joseph Cemetery are those raised by the satanic rituals.
At another Riverside Cemetery, this one in Oshkosh, you are likely to see a young girl walking around the grounds in the evening. Haunted Appleton presenter Chad Lewis told the audience that he brought a psychic to this cemetery about a year ago to check the validity of these reports, and upon entering the cemetery the psychic found that she sensed the spirits of many children around her. Before long, however, the psychic decided she needed to leave immediately. She explained that everywhere she turned she could see these “shadow-people” who intended to inflict harm on her and her companions.
A little closer to home is the apparition of a young woman near the SECURA Insurance offices in Appleton. There is a small lake behind the offices where it is said that a young woman and her son drowned in the 1800s. The story goes that you can see the woman walking the riverbanks, wailing over the loss of her son.
In reality, the supposedly haunted lake was constructed in the 1980s, thereby all but disproving the legend. As Lewis points out, however, we don’t know if there was a pond or stream where this mother and son may have drowned 200 years ago.
The one thing that marked Lewis’ presentation more than any other is the willingness to believe these stories. Time after time Lewis admitted that he did not see any paranormal activities at an of these sites, and yet he persisted in explaining that just because he didn’t see any ghosts himself, doesn’t mean they’re not there. He suggests that you, too, take this approach and, if you decide to visit one of these haunted places, go in with an open mind and decide whether or not the story is fiction or fact.