Marlene Hansen, owner of the Octagon House in Fond du Lac, stands outside as workmen put lighting on the exterior. The Reporter photo by Patrick Flood

Fact or fiction: Take a look at Fond du Lac's haunted history


By Heather Stanek

10/30/07 - The Reporter

It was just the wind. Wasn't it?


Black cats and scary costumes aren't all that give people the heebie-jeebies on Halloween.


A number of Fond du Lac area places are shrouded in haunted legend, according to several Web sites and books.


Fact or fancy? You decide.


Octagon House

The ghosts get rowdy sometimes at this historic site. Marlene Hansen, owner of the Octagon House at 276 Linden St., said her mother instantly sensed a presence within the old house when Hansen bought the property more than 30 years ago.


One or more of those ghosts later pushed her mother down the stairs, Hansen claims. She has also felt someone push her, but she grabbed a railing and didn't fall.


Hansen also believes she has seen Ruth Pier, the wife of a soldier who died in the Battle of Antietam, in the home. While wallpapering one night, Hansen said she felt someone watching her. She turned around to see a transparent woman with Victorian-style hair clad in a white blouse, long black skirt and mourning pin leaning against the doorframe. Hansen tried to talk to her, but the woman faded.


And there have been other things… Sometimes, Hansen said she hears footsteps or finds teacups, kettles and other objects moved. Others have reported hearing voices or feeling cold hands, she added. Hansen swears ghosts have drifted through rooms during special events.


The unearthly occupants make her wonder about life after death.


"I have to investigate," she said. "Are we just floating around out there, or are we a great science experiment for the UFOs?" she said.



Employees at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, 1 N. Main St., always have enough to talk about thanks to the former owner. Walter Schroeder, who built the hotel in the early 1920s, supposedly haunts the hotel, causing mischief for guests and staff. Logs show that clinking glasses, banging noises, apparitions and even screams have been reported.


For more in-depth coverage of the hotel legend, check out The Reporter's Wednesday edition or visit www.fdlreporter.com.


Galloway House

Visitors say they have heard clattering plates and children giggling at the historic Galloway House, 336 Old Pioneer Road, according to The Shadowlands Web site. Others have reported hearing voices and sounds.


Sally Albertz, director of the Fond du Lac County Historical Society library and archives, doesn't believe those claims. She said she's worked at Galloway House for 22 years and never experienced otherworldly activity.


She said children may have started the rumors, reporting seeing people in the home's windows and passing the phenomenon onto adults.


It's all in the imagination, unfortunately, Albertz said.


"I wish we were (haunted)," she said. "We might get more tourists that way."


Amber Hotel

Another former business owner is reportedly hanging around the Amber Hotel (now Campbellsport Inn), 139 W. Main St., Campbellsport.


According to "Weird Wisconsin," by Linda Godfrey and Richard Hendricks, the Amber Hotel was allegedly haunted by owner Ed "Mush" Bauer. Visitors have supposedly heard his footsteps.


Witch Road

Rumor has it that a witch who lived on Witch (now Callan) Road in the town of Metomen 50 to 60 years ago still drops by occasionally.


According to "The Wisconsin Road Guide to Haunted Locations" by Chad Lewis and Terry Fisk, the ghost of a little girl hides in the woods and peaks out from behind the trees. There have also been reports of flashing lights at the end of the road and white lights on the trees.


A house, now on private property, occupied by the alleged witch is now a dilapidated mess, according to the book.

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