You can't shake the feeling - that chill
that runs up and down the spine and
makes hair on the arms stand up. We're
not talking tiptoeing through haunted
houses or crawling through corn mazes.
How about roaming round graveyards,
climbing darkened balconies or just
having a cup of coffee next to … a
ghost? Apparently, it's not so
far-fetched. Co-author of "The Wisconsin
Road Guide to Haunted Locations" Chad
Lewis has investigated Oshkosh's most
haunted locations, and here he suggests
three for Halloween thrill-seekers.
Grand Opera House
Ghost story: Legend has it this historic
theater at 100 High Ave., is haunted by
spirits of former workers, who like to
"get involved" in productions.
Evidence: "Everybody knows of the Grand
Opera House. So many people have
documented it," Lewis said.
In 1967, former University of
Wisconsin-Oshkosh professor Bob Jacobs
took a class to the Grand to film a
flick about a haunted theater. They
reported seeing a ghost with small
spectacles looking down and smiling from
the balcony; he looked just like Percy
Keene, who worked in the theater from
1895 till his death in 1967.
Today, performers and Executive Director
Joe Ferlo also say they've experienced
spirits there. Be it an orange mist-like
vapor floating around the stage or
ghosts sitting in theater seats during
Experience it: The Grand will host a
3-day Halloween Haunt Fest Oct. 29 to
31, featuring horror movie double
features and some classics. On Oct. 31,
a special midnight tour will take guests
through the 123-year-old theater while
guides tell spooky tales: $15 for 3
days, $6 Oct. 29 and 30, $8 Oct. 31.
New Moon Cafe
Ghost story: The coffee house at 401 N.
Main St. is a busy shop, but rumored to
be haunted by people who perished in a
fire in the Oshkosh building years ago
Evidence: The original building, the
Beckwith, was destroyed by a fire in
1875. Mrs. Simon Paige, wealthy wife of
a lumberman, died in the building in
1880 (not in the fire), and staff have
reported seeing a "wealthy-looking"
female spirit lingering about. Others
say they've seen ghost of a young man or
Experience it: Stop for some coffee when
it's quiet, and keep your eyes open. If
you do happen to see a spirit, just make
sure the java's cooled before you spill
it all over yourself.
Ghost story: It's been said that at
night spirits of children like to run
around the cemetery at 1901 Algoma Blvd.
Evidence: "We got a story from someone
who was walking through it in a cold
month and saw a young child there
without a coat," Lewis said. "They
thought, 'That's very odd, no coat in
the middle of winter.'" The witness
claimed to walk toward the little girl,
but she suddenly disappeared. Lewis and
crew visited the cemetery with a psychic
unaware of its history, who sensed
ghosts of children.
Experience it: If you're brave enough to
wander the cemetery after dark, take
some friends for support (and for
witnesses who can verify anything you
see, unless you want to be called