Whitewater is a college town in southern Wisconsin that is home to quite a few dark secrets. I’ve had the pleasure and opportunity of living here for a quarter of the year. I’ve just begun to scratch the surface of it’s creepy lore. The Beast of Bray Road was spotted lurking in the cornfields just 30 minutes away. Now you’re being introduced to the Witches of Whitewater. Wisconsin keeps getting stranger and stranger, doesn’t it?
Starin Park is located across the street from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater campus and doesn’t look threatening during the day. The park houses an eerie 80-foot tall water tower that was built in 1889—recently dubbed a historical landmark. The tower, which is made of limestone from a nearby quarry, isn’t spooky until you learn of it’s role in the local legends.
For many years, the freshman at the University have been told stories about a coven of witches that inhabit the area—many of whom still may. The tower is rumored to be a meeting place for the witches that would gather there at night to conjure up malevolent beings using dark magic. The tower was once surrounded by an iron fence with it’s sharp spikes pointed inward. Almost as if they were trying to keep something in the tower rather than out of it.
The witches were said to have traveled between the town’s oldest homes in an underground tunnel system, cloaked from the general public.
Due to the town’s witchy legends, Whitewater has been nicknamed America’s Second Salem. It makes you wonder, though… just what are the sons and daughters of Whitewater’s witches up to these days?
In the film The Ring, those that watched the creepy video had seven days to live before meeting a gruesome end. There is a book that is supposedly housed in Whitewater’s Andersen Library believed to do something similar. Although the employees of the library deny it’s existence, the legend states that the book is responsible for a handful of deaths. The content inside the book (written by none other than the witches themselves) is said to be so dark and terrifying, it has driven a few people to suicide. There’s a rumor that the book is under lock and key in another location for the public’s protection. Rumor has it that the employees of the library are instructed to act like they don’t know what you’re talking about.
✨The Mecca of Modern Spiritualism✨
Whitewater became known as the Mecca of Modern Spiritualism due, in part, to the Morris Pratt Institute. Morris Pratt’s interest in spiritualism began after his 1851 visit to the Lake Mills Spiritualist Center. Inspired by what he witnessed there, he made a promise to lend his hand and wallet to occult studies if he were to ever get rich.
Soon after, his Red Indian psychic guide Mary Hayes, told him of iron mineral deposits that weren’t discovered yet. He pounced on the opportunity, becoming a very wealthy man.
Pratt made due on his promise and the Morris Pratt Institute was built in 1889. The school’s building was the most expensive home in Whitewater at the time. The building featured dormitories, lecture rooms, a chapel and also included an all-white room in which they held seances. Classes focused on psychic subjects; spiritualism, the occult and paranormal.
Pratt died in 1902, and the school continued to operate for several more years. Classes ended in Whitewater around 1936 during the Great Depression. The Morris Pratt Institute still offers classes today out of Milwaukee. Pratt’s grave is in Hillside Cemetery.
✨The Haunted Triangle✨
The town has three different cemeteries that form an isosceles triangle if connected together on the map. These cemeteries are: Oak Grove Cemetery, Cavalry Cemetery, and Hillside Cemetery. The areas inside and along the border of the triangle are said to be haunted. Whitewater’s downtown area is also called “The Triangle”. I can’t decide if they’re using it as an opportunity to put their reputation as ✨Second Salem✨ to good use or if it’s a coincidence. 🤔
The power of something compels me to mention that the Oak Grove Cemetery might be the final resting place to a more gruesome urban legend.
As children, we were dared to go into the bathroom alone at night and conduct the Bloody Mary ritual. The ritual takes on dozens of different forms, and what you say in the mirror is varies depending on where you grew up. For some, it was simply “Bloody Mary,” for others it might have been “Mary I killed your baby.” The bravest souls repeated her name up to 100 times in front of the mirror with nothing but a candle in the dark. Bloody Mary is said to be the nickname given to Mary Worth, who is rumored to be buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Whitewater, WI.
As with most urban legends, there are several variations to the story and nobody knows exactly where it came from. Mary has been called an axe murderess, a slave torturer, simply a woman who lost her child, a woman who killed her child, and much more.
✨The Town That Rests Upon The Dead✨
Some of the town was built over ancient Indian burial mounds. No, this isn’t a Stephen King cliché, I am about a 30 second walk from Effigy Mounds Preserve. Technically if witches and werewolves exist here they’d be right at home, wouldn’t they?
✨The Haunted Housewife Doesn’t Believe in Ghosts?!✨
Despite the name of this blog being The Haunted Housewife, I didn’t grow up believing in the paranormal. I’m a child of reason and I feel that ghosts and magic aren’t logically possible. I love the idea of paranormal activity and magic but my brain won’t let me blindly believe without proof. Well…
Never in my entire life have I thought I’d ever experience—nor have I experienced—the volume of unexplained occurrences as I have in my boyfriend’s Whitewater apartment. When tempers flare or when I’m upset, I start to hear sounds that I’m unable to mistake as something else. Uncomfortably close, and in a brightly lit room. Seemingly occurring in the middle of the living room where not another living creature stands, aside from myself. I’ve physically felt my leg and side being touched. I’ve heard deep sighs in my ear as my back was against a wall.
That being said, I don’t feel afraid. I’m not picking up any negative jujus from Whitewater whatsoever. I believe something strange is going on here, based on personal and recent experience. Definitely taking into account that I was a firm non-believer on arrival, too.
Oh, Wisconsin. I’m gonna miss ya!