Madison’s Most Haunted

November 29th, 1873 – there were nine prisoners holed up in Madison’s jail still on the same spot it was in the Nineteenth Century. Nine prisoners, can you imagine that? Currently there are over three hundred inmates and this is a maximum security facility. It’s reserved for the criminals who’ve done the worst things, do not have work release, and are awaiting trial before probably being sent to prison. So, the idea of only nine inmates is a quaint notion.

Photo Courtesy of Corey Coyle – CC3.0

Even more quaint was the night that the lone officer who was keeping an eye on the jail, Sheriff Van Wei, settled into bed while the prisoners had supposedly gone to sleep. Suddenly, the sheriff was awoken to the sound of two of his inmates having a good old-fashioned freakout. Startled to life, Van Wei, dressed only in his night shirt, grabbed a lantern and ran to the cells.

Two inmates, a young arsonist by the name of foster and his cellmate was a man named Sheevy. That just sounds like a criminal’s name doesn’t it? Skeevy Sheevy? The men said that they had blown out the light for the night when they heard a strange noise in the hallway. The noise became deafening and it moved through the hallway and through the iron grates into their cell. Then a light filled the room and they could hear the sounds of something brushing against their beds.

Sheriff Wei thought that this sounded ridiculous, and they begged him to be moved to another cell. Wei was not one to be affected by fanciful ghost stories, but he did admit that they seemed genuinely terrified. The next night, he heard the men screaming again but Wei was not moved to investigate.

The local newspaper however got wind of the story and a reporter interviewed the inmates. They told him that on the second night, they did what any good little kid does when they’re scared to death – they wrapped their heads in their blankets and hid in their beds. This is also known as the best way to defeat the dreaded ravenous Bugblatter Beastof Traal in the book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. The Bugblatter Beast is a creature so stupid that it thinks if you can’t see it, it can’t see you. Apparently, these fine human specimens thought the exact same thing about the wraith that beset them on those nights.

Madison’s Capital Times Newspaper December 5th, 1923

Sheriff Van Wei later told the same reporter that he thought that it was all a prank played by foster who Wei figured spent all day to think of ways to scare the bejeesus out of Skeevy Sheevy to pass the time when he was in jail. But he did admit that it didn’t look like an act that these men were pulling and that they seemed authentically frightened out of their minds. Was it some spirit they had wronged coming back to take revenge? Or a prank. Either way, no more was seen of the spirit however and Madison’s jail has been fairly quiet of ghostly activity since.