Milwaukee’s Haunted History Tours
you believe in the ghosts you discuss on your tours?
I wouldn’t say I’m a
believer, but I’m an investigator. For sure there are things in this world we
don’t understand. And I believe in people and their heartfelt stories. They
have incredible stories. Ghost stories are one of the ways we honor, remember
and represent people. So when you retell ghost stories, you want to make sure
you’re representing people and your city in a respectful way. Words and stories
are powerful. They are precious things and I take them seriously.
do you relate these ghost stories to Milwaukee
The Third Ward tour that
I give goes back to the mid-1800s, so you’re discovering what they were saying
about the city back then, and what people are experiencing now. It’s a popular
way to promote your city, and I’d like to elevate Milwaukee to legendary status [by telling
these stories]. History without the folklore is incomplete, and we’re here to
celebrate that history and folklore like other cities. There are incredible
stories out there that haven’t been heard.
you mention one of these stories?
There’s an interesting
one about the Broadway
the Cabot Theatre. Clair Richardson, founder of the Skylight Theatre, is buried
under the stage in the trap room, and he requested that a spotlight always
remain on his picture. There were times when the stage lights would start
flickering during a performance and the staff was unable to fix this. Then they
discovered this happened when the light was out on Clair’s picture. This
happened several times. Now the crew checks the light on Clair Richardson’s
picture before every performance, to ensure it is on so the performance will go
smoothly. Clair always told them any decisions they made [in the future] would
be over his dead body.
you have any plans for haunted history tours in other parts of the city?
Doing these tours has
brought the city to life for me. When people take the tour they stop and tell
me the tour changes their ideas about Milwaukee.
It takes 10 to 15 stories to have a tour, so I’m working on this, doing more
research. I’m working on tours in Bay View, on Brady Street and Walker’s Point. I’m always encouraging people
to share their stories and I’m always willing to listen. The stories are the
surprising but true side of history, with a spicy side of folklore.
If you have a story for Allison Jornlin to investigate, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.