Discover more from Wisconsin Frights
The creepiest town in Wisconsin
It's called "Second Salem" for a reason.
Following the advice of a school teacher turned psychic, Whitewater farmer Morris Pratt struck it rich in the Northern Wisconsin mining industry in the 1880s. Pratt, a New York native, was a devout believer in spiritualism, the practice that originated there in 1848 when the Fox Sisters supposedly made contact with the spirit of a dead man buried in their basement.
Many New York natives brought these ideas with them when they went west, and Wisconsin became an important hub for communing with those beyond the grave.
In Whitewater and other nearby towns, well-to-do residents took turns hosting renowned mediums from around the country to conduct seances in their homes.
While attending one of these events, Pratt mentioned that if the spirits could help him become wealthy, he would devote that wealth back to spiritualism.
Subscribe for weird Wisconsin legends, dark history, and quirky destinations delivered right to your inbox.
Pratt was known to get thrown out of churches for arguing with pastors. He considered himself a “scientific spiritualist,” and yearned for the opportunity to prove to the world that communication with the afterlife was real.
So when the money started rolling in from the Ashland mining company he invested in, he kept his word.
Even as the Fox Sisters were coming clean about their hoax, and most people were disillusioned with the now fading trend of spiritualism, Pratt built a school in Whitewater dedicated to the dead.
The Morris Pratt Institute eventually moved to Milwaukee (where it still operates) and the building was torn down, but some believe experiments conducted within its walls brought things from beyond the veil into Whitewater that never left.
From ghosts and witches to strange murders, bizarre burials, mysterious rituals, and inexplicable creatures in the lake, there’s a lot going on in this town.
Or get the abridged version:
Last chance this Halloween!
Experience true dread at Dominion of Terror in Sheboygan before it’s gone for the season. Open Friday & Saturday, 7-10pm.
This Weekend’s Frights
Subscribe now to get weird Wisconsin delivered straight to your inbox.