Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Cave at Cherney Maribel Caves County Park  © MARIBELCAVES.COM

Cherney Maribel Caves County Park offers many caves and crevices that are open and accessible to the public by a series of trails.
© MARIBELCAVES.COM

October 2013

Wisconsin Traveler

A season for scares in Wisconsin.

Karely Mendez

At this time of the year, it seems just about everyone has a hair–raising story to tell about their favorite haunt. While Wisconsin's parks offer many visual wonders, some also inspire supernatural enthusiasts.

A "living" history museum accurately describes Heritage Hill State Historical Park in Green Bay. Heritage Hill is a 50–acre state park and museum splendidly placed on the banks of the Fox River. According to legend the spirit of a man named Henri roams the Heritage Hill grounds and the Fort Howard Hospital in the park. Some tourists have reported feeling that they are being watched when no one else was around. Others describe feeling uneasy or are struck by a strong need to leave. Some have also reported hearing disembodied footsteps at the Fort Howard Hospital, and one visitor said he witnessed a shaking hospital bed. You may come to learn about Wisconsin heritage here, but by the stories, it seems like one or more of our ancestors are still lingering around. To learn more visit Heritage Hill State Historical Park.

Cherney Maribel Caves County Park in Manitowoc County, and the deteriorated hotel nearby, inspire many spine–chilling stories. Visitors have reported hearing moaning coming from the caves under the hotel, nicknamed "Hotel Hell." Some report having seen a little girl in a black dress wearing no shoes and standing on the stairs leading to the caves. It's also rumored that "Hotel Hell" was a hideout for mobster Al Capone and that he ran a moonshine business out of it. Among the other reported paranormal events are sightings of angry spirits and ghostly children, who appear on the roof or in the windows of the hotel. This park is a good place to seek a thrilling adventure, and with amenities for picnicking, biking, skiing, hiking, restrooms and a playground, people of all ages can enjoy the adventure. For details go to Cherney Maribel Caves County Park.

A treasure in gold worth millions and an angry ghost guarding it. This is the legend of the treasure of Wildcat Mountain State Park . The park overlooks the Kickapoo River in Ontario and offers camping, horseback riding, canoeing and much more. According to legend, in the late 1890's, a load of gold was being transported from Billings, Mont. to Chicago. But when word of the gold got out, every criminal in the vicinity set out looking for it. As the wagon with the gold passed Wildcat Mountain, the man in charge of the expedition decided to bury the gold in the mountain for safe keeping. The story then suggests that everyone in the expedition either died in WWI or was murdered and the treasure was never recovered. But before you try to find the treasure in this beautiful, adventurous park, be warned that the treasure is said to be guarded by a ferocious ghost called the "Sentinel." Legend has it that the "Sentinel" stands directly on the site of the treasure and is very aggressive about defending the gold. Some say the "Sentinel" takes a human form and attacks trespassers with a knife. Others say that the "Sentinel" transforms himself into an enormous lynx. Either way, this ferocious ghost will make finding this treasure a lot more difficult for all those interested. To plan your visit to Wildcat Mountain State Park visit Wisconsin State Park System Wildcat Mountain State Park .

Devil's Lake State Park offers sandy beaches, miles of hiking and biking trails, canoeing, kayaking and rock climbing. But it's also a popular place to investigate paranormal activity. The lake, named Devil's Lake by white settlers but originally called "M'de Wakan" by Native Americans, meaning "mystery," "bad Spirit" or "sacred" lake, lives up to its name. According to Phantomsandmonsters.com, there are countless stories of lake monsters who have taken many human lives, Bigfoot accounts, a phantom canoe seen in the mists of the cold, still nights and lovers leaping to their deaths. There are also accounts of a real Devil's Doorway existing there, and of a woman disappearing while showering in a campground shower. This lake is said to be the "place of many dead." To plan your trip to Devil's Lake State Park go to Wisconsin State Park System Devil's Lake State Park .

Karely Mendez is a staff writer for Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.