A very Milwaukee ghost story

Long ago, a man named Otto Krause owned a rooming house in the township of Lake (bordered by Greenfield Avenue to the north, College Avenue to the south, and from 27th Street east to Lake Michigan). All was well until, one by one, his tenants began to move out, unnerved by moaning and the sound of rattling chains coming from the basement.

Krause and his eldest son decided to investigate. Taking seats in the living room the men prepared to wait through the night to  see what manifested. As local historian Robert W. Wells wrote in the Milwaukee Journal‘s Jan. 20, 1971 edition, “The wind howled. Boards creaked. Finally, when the suspense built up sufficiently, the ghostly moaning and chain rattling began.”

Krause, a former town constable, rose to his feet, a loaded pistol in each hand and ordered his son to open the basement door. The two men started down the steps ….

“It might be better to end the story there,” wrote Wells, “but what happened was Krause found a former tenant hiding in the cellar. Otto had evicted him for not paying his rent and the fellow had come back to rattle chains and moan into a heating pipe to get his revenge.”

There are allegedly haunted places in Milwaukee. A tugboat may still be manned by its long-dead crew. Wells’ employer, the Milwaukee Journal, may have a ghostly clerk. The Eagles Club is often said to be haunted and some think it is the spirit of a boy who drowned there. However, skeptics and believers alike can eliminate Krause’s rooming house from the list of locally spooky places.Carl_sig


One comment

  1. I’m told that one of the east side hotels has a haunted room that is kept shut. I won’t name it here because it’s hearsay to me, but a feature-writing student wondered about writing a story about that. (In the end she chose a more corporeal topic.) — Erik Gunn


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