The Graveyard Shift

By: Erica Wolff


10/08/07 - The Daily Cardinal

Within the cemeteries of Wisconsin lies an untold story of state history. While some corpses may be of historical significance—such as the state’s founders —that does not eliminate the eeriness lurking around state cemeteries.

The Spiritland Cemetery, in Almond, Wis., is believed to be the place where Ed Gein, the notorious serial killer, often visited and stole bodies at night.

According to Terry Fisk, a paranormal investigator for the website Unexplained Research, after a hearing in the court case of Ed Gein, “The authorities went [to Spiritland Cemetery] and found one body was missing, another body had been tampered with and a third grave that looked like he tried to brake in to it.”

Another rumored haunted cemetery is Founder’s Park Cemetery in Cedarburg. It was established in 1834 and the Cedarburg Pioneers buried their dead there until 1869. “Over the years, their headstones have deteriorated and there is a monument there for their memory,” Fisk said. When visiting this cemetery, people often feel the sensation of being followed and other uneasy feelings, he said.

The Forest Home Cemetery of Milwaukee was founded in 1850. Here one can find the family mausoleums for the Schlitz, Pabst and Blatz brewers. This cemetery is more beautiful than creepy and is the resting place of many historic Wisconsin figures.

“We have probably the largest collection of Victorian era stones in the state of Wisconsin and the largest collection of large monuments,” said Paul Haubrich, chair of board of directors of the Forest Home Cemetery. Tours are available in groups and more information can be found on their web page.

A historic cemetery close to home is the Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison. In this cemetery there is a Confederate Soldier Lot. One-hundred and five Civil War soldiers who died at Camp Randall as prisoners of war are buried here.

The cemetery also has a large number of uniquely shaped American Indian burial mounds. In the Forest Hill Cemetery there are “two panther shaped mounds, part of one goose, which is quite rare is Wisconsin, and one linear mound,” said Leslie Eisenberg, the burial site archeologist for Wisconsin’s historical society.

These mounds are at least 1,000 years old and contain burials and sometimes artifacts, Eisenberg said.

Cemeteries are thought to be scary places where unexplained phenomena occur, but one must be respectful of those who lay at rest, lest anyone (or anything) rises to haunt those without reverence.

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