Wisconsin State Historical Society

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Supposedly, the place is haunted by two ghosts. One is a man who fell asleep at his desk and didn’t wake up. The other is a man who committed suicide by falling off the third floor landing onto a marble floor (you can still see the blood in the mable on the banisters). You feel like you’re being watched. Sometimes, you hear footsteps following you in the halls. Occasionally (where the books are), you hear books being thrown onto the floor.

(Submitted by James)

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Geographic Information

816 State Street
Madison, WI
United States

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43.07540170000001, -89.4000542
Dane County, Wisconsin
Nearest Towns:
Madison, WI (0.2 mi.)
Shorewood Hills, WI (2.3 mi.)
Maple Bluff, WI (3.1 mi.)
Monona, WI (3.5 mi.)
Middleton, WI (5.5 mi.)
McFarland, WI (7.1 mi.)
Waunakee, WI (8.5 mi.)
Fitchburg, WI (8.7 mi.)
Verona, WI (8.9 mi.)
Cottage Grove, WI (10.1 mi.)


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  1. Approximately 1989 I was a security supervisor for a contract security firm when this company won the contract for Security services at the Wisconsin state Historical society. Our First day there a state employee janitorial supervisor told me I would have a hard time keeping employees working nights because the building was haunted.

    I laughed at the comment thinking it was a little weird and I did not believe in such a thing.

    I had to fill in on a few closing shifts there, at closing time we start shutting the lights off and making sure all state employees and students have left the building.

    One night as I was going through the floors and foot patrol, I walked into one area that held a small library and student study areas they could rent that were quiet rooms. As I walked into the small area the door right behind me Forcibly slammed shut! I was terrified! There was no breeze and the door normally stood open, there was no reason whatsoever for it to suddenly slam! This was the only way in and out of that room, I then had to go back Through this door, as it was the only way out of this room.

    While on foot patrol I would occasionally hear a door shut and steps, I would go investigate and never find anyone in the building.

    While on closing procedures and foot patrol I always felt like I was being watched.

    Original part of the building was not accessible to the general public, just to employees. There was an elevator in this area that was very old, and you had to pull the door open and slide a gate to get in. As I started foot patrol in the basement this elevator was called to a different floor. I did a complete search of the building, no one was inside. I took the same elevator back to the basement where I started foot patrol and almost immediately the elevator was called again to another floor. Again, I searched entire building with the same results, no one inside except me! Again, I took the elevator to the basement, I then decided to stay in the elevator to see if it was called? Within one minute it was called to another floor!

    on the fourth floor this elevator comes to a large room that always give me the spooks, every time I walk to this room, I felt like I was being watched! We had a security guard tour system, where we must check in at certain areas to prove we made our rounds. One of the stations was in this room, I always felt an uneasy feeling there, it was always dark when we walk to this room. We were not allowed to turn lights on in the building because they did not want students seeing the lights on in the building an students thinking it was open and attract people to come, making them upset when they arrived to find it was locked. So, you had to make sure you remembered to bring a flashlight.

    Anyhow that night when Elevator was going up to the fourth floor it stopped between the third and fourth floor shook and went down. I then push the fourth-floor button with the same results! The elevator door had a small window so you could see how far you we’re on each floor. I had to get out on the third floor to walk the steps to go up there and I felt uneasy going into this room. So I assume my foot patrol duties after again not finding anything. When I came back to the elevator it again was on another floor.

    At the end of the night in the basement we were required to close a large rolling door, right next .to the door there were large binders that held old newspapers, it was a proximately a 7 foot tall stack that was next to the door, they had always been in this spot since I worked there. And this night as I rolled the rolling door shut the stack that was evenly stacked suddenly fell on top of me knocking me to the ground! I was covered in these large binders where I had to push them off me to get up! I ended up running out of this building terrified! That was the last time I was ever in this building; I took a different security job somewhere else the following week.

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