The flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin may not have the most ghosts, but it does have some of the most consistently active spirits in the country. You won’t find a frat house or residence hall with ghosts. You’ll find publicly open halls and administrative buildings (and a hill) that you can investigate to your little heart’s content.
Science Hall Ghosts
The most haunted building at UW-Madison is the Science Hall. Yes, the place of cold, hard logic and skepticism has the most active ghost.
Why is the Science Hall so haunted? It starts at the beginning. More than a few workers died during its building. It also started out as an anatomy classroom. That means a lot of bodies piled up in the basement. Those bodies were lifted up to the fifth floor labs by pulleys. Then, they were stored in the attic, which happens to be the most active part of the building.
There’s no identified ghost in the building. It appears to be a mass – and anonymous – haunting. You can hear knocks, bangs and whispers throughout the top floor. You routinely see objects move on their own.
The Ghosts of Memorial Library
Memorial Library is the most active library at any university. The library has 3 known ghosts roaming its stacks of books. The first is Helen White, a professor and novelist, who died in 1967. You may see her in a purple dress, walking along the rows and, occasionally, helping a student find a good book. Helen will pull it off the shelf and drop it right at your feet.
Sally Brown is the second ghost in Memorial Library. She’s a floating apparition. She’ll float right next to you and whisper in your ear. Sally is a peaceful ghost. She just wants you to follow proper library etiquette.
There’s another spirit that haunts the basement and its archives. There’s not much to say about this spirit. It tends to keep to itself and hides from most living humans. If you ever see a shadow person duck when you see it, you may have just seen this shy ghost.
Funny thing to note about Memorial Library, it should be the original library that’s haunted. It’s seen a lot of history. You may want to check it out and its beautiful reading room. The original library is now called the Wisconsin Historical Society Library and you can find it at 816 State Street in Madison.
The Ghosts of the Wisconsin Union Theater
Two people died at the theater and they still haunt it to this day. The first ghost is a construction worker, who died in 1939. There isn’t much information about his death. The second ghost is a former percussionist, who died during his section collapsed during a music performance.
How can you tell the ghosts are active? You can see mist-like apparitions walking down the theater’s aisles. The lights in the sound booth also turn on-and-off by themselves. Some people also report hearing whispers. They also experience a deep sadness or intense paranoia.
Bascom Hill Hauntings
There’s not one or two ghosts here: There are four ghosts. Bascom Hill is unique because it’s a sacred hill to Native Americans; it has a spirit attached to a monument; and, two people are buried on the hill.
Samuel Warren and W. Nelson died in the late 1830s. Warren was struck by lightning and killed. We’re not really sure how Warren died, but most suspect he died of an unknown illness. Both men are buried by the Lincoln monument. Witnesses have reported them walking along the paths on the hill and, sometimes, they appear in pictures taken of the Lincoln statue. These spirits tend to be active after dark and they are consistent. Many ghost hunters have captured evidence of their activity.
Bascom Hill is also a Native American burial ground. Now, no one has seen the ghosts of the tribe buried in the hill. But, some believe the burial ground ramps up the activity, especially in Bascom Hall. Witnesses report hearing construction activity and the chatter of construction workers. This sounds like a residual haunting to me and not an intelligent haunting.
As for the rumors of Abe Lincoln walking around, we say it’s an urban legend spurred on by the monument to him.
Image Sources: All from Wisc.edu, the official site of the University of Wisconsin – Madison.