Haunted Madison

Madison, Wisconsin is an old college town known for many things, most notably: football, cheese, beer, and Halloween. Clowns and ghouls engulf State Street annually for Freakfest. Formally known as the State Street Halloween Party, people travels across the to experience Madison’s famous party or to explore Madison’s haunted sites. Whether you are looking to party or for ghosts, Wisco can suffice. For a creepy good time, and learn more about Madison’s hauntings, consider booking a tour with Madison Ghost Walks!


Science Hall. Photo courtesy of Jeff Miller, news.wisc.edu.

The Memorial Union
800 Langdon Street
Memorial Union is supposedly built on an Indian burial ground. Its been rumored that the second floor is haunted; many students have reported seeing an elderly woman dressed in 1800s attire standing, for only a moment or two, at the top of the stairs leading from the first to the second floor. Also on the second floor, the hands on clocks and watches spin wildly, in a non-logical fashion during random times of the day.

Science Hall
550 North Park Street
This old red building which rests at the bottom of Bascom hill has a supposedly haunted fourth floor. This floor is used predominantly for storage. People have reported seeing beakers fall off the shelves, one by one, various times since it was constructed in 1877. Also, it is believed that the fire in 1886 that burnt the building down claimed a known professor’s life that haunts the fourth floor of Science Hall until this day. The legend goes that after graduation, if you don’t climb to the top of Science Hall and write your name on the wall, the professor who died in the fire of 1886 will haunt you forever!

Wisconsin Capital Building. Photo courtesy of flickr @poinsonberryWI.

Wisconsin State Capitol
2 East Main Street
Apparently the fourth floor of this beautiful building is haunted. Reportedly, workers and certain political officials have seen doors open by themselves and have heard strange footsteps throughout the halls.

Orton Park
1103 Spaight Street
Believe it or not, this is the site of Madison’s first cemetery! The bodies were exhumed in the late 1800’s and moved to another larger cemetery in Madison. People have reported hearing voices while approaching this park, seeing the ghosts of a little boys playing on the swings, and other various paranormal activities.

Picnic Point & The Witches of Picnic Point
Picnic Point is considered one of the most haunted places in Madison. There have been several reports of reddish, glowing lights rising from the swamp on the Narrows that float on the lake towards the Capitol. Scientists have questioned the “cause” of the red lights, yet no definitive answer has been solidified. Some believe this “red energy” is the ghost of August Kutzbock, the Capitol architect who reportedly killed himself off of Picnic Point in 1868. Long ago, several Indian families used to reside on Picnic Point. Witches came, stole their children, and ruined the families’ peaceful living forever. The Indians supposedly punished the witches by turning them into hackberry trees that rest at the end of Picnic Point. During the winter, you can see the witches’ hair hanging from the end of these trees branches- punishment for their wrongdoing.

View of downtown Madison from the path to Picnic Point.

The Majestic Theatre
115 King Street
This old theatre is and has been for years, a great concert venue in Madison. In 2004 during recent remodeling, workers and students reported hearing very strange noises and apparently had an interaction with a ghost. Two workers reported cleaning the theatre late at night and seeing a man sitting in the back row of the balcony. One went to the balcony to wake the sleeping man, only to find the balcony empty. The other worker waved to the man, who waved back multiple times before the worker noticed the man’s body quickly moving closer and closer to him. Similar incidents have been reported since these witness accounts in 1987

Tunnel Bob
The first buildings constructed on UW’s campus were all connected through an underground steam tunneling system. Apparently, a hermit nicknamed “Tunnel Bob” lived in the tunnel. He was known for helping maintenance men change light bulbs throughout campus. People believe that if you go to the entrance of one of the tunnels, you will find a welcome mat he sets out for visitors.


Don’t let the legends scare you: no matter what time of year you come to visit Madison, you will fall in love with this rustic college town- everyone else has. May be curse, or may be just true love, guess we’ll never know!



About: Rachel Bozich

I am currently double majoring in Journalism and Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin. I love to travel and going on adventures. My true loves lie in trying new food, attending all and any sporting event, and spending time with family and friends. Ask me anything about where to eat, sleep, and party in Madison, and I'll tell you what you need to know and where to go!