Do you want to have some real fun?
With those words, the wildly eccentric Clair Richardson founded the Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. He had so much fun there, he never left. While Clair died in 1980, people still feel his presence often. His ghost is rumored to disrupt live performances if the perpetual spotlight, shining on his urn in the Cabot Theatre’s trap room, is allowed to burn out.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, the Third Ward, dubbed “The Bloody Third” in 1846, is a charming arts district today but conceals a violent gangster past. Once home to Milwaukee’s mafia operations and before that Irish gangsters, known as the Third Ward Cowboys, its streets have been touched by tragedy and the paranormal.
On this 2-hour ghost walk with a paranormal-loving guide, you hear unique stories from this area, including tales of ghosts, curses, premonitions, and monsters.
- Explore this historic Third Ward with a real paranormal expert on a Milwaukee ghost tour
- Learn about some present day eerie happenings at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
- Learn about the Pfister Hotel that has haunted guests for years
- Enjoy multiple stops on this walking tour to hear ghost stories and take a break from your 2-hour stroll
- See the dock where the Lady Elgin side-wheel steamer took off for Chicago, never to return
- Be entertained by truly local stories of evil-eye doctors, a flamboyant and corrupt mayor, an unlucky maid, and more
Important booking information
- Street meter parking is available, but there is also a paid lot across the street from the Milwaukee Public Market
- This tour runs in cold temperatures and light rain, so please dress accordingly and wear comfortable shoes.
- The tour route is wheelchair-accessible, just let us know if you plan on using one, so we can adjust the route appropriately for your comfort
- Because this is a limited capacity tour, all sales are final. But we will reschedule you if you have an emergency, we love ghosts, not monsters!
- Service animals are welcome but for liability issues, please leave your furry friends at home.
What You Can Expect
On this ghost walk of the Third Ward in Milwaukee, expect to cover 1.5 miles over the course of 90 minutes to 2 hours as your guide leads the way. There will be plenty of breaks to hear stories and ask questions on visits to ten spots around the Third Ward.
Here is a sample itinerary of some of the places you visit.
Start in the historic Third Ward
Your guide and small group meet at the Milwaukee Public Market, which is today a pleasant place to visit for fresh fare. It is a stark contrast to when this area was called the Bloody Third.
Your guide explains the chilling real accounts of how it got its name in the late 1800s. (Let’s just say it has something to do with what happened to the innocent passersby who dared venture out on the streets after dark.)
The ghost of the Institute of Beauty and Wellness
This building was built in 1910 and once housed F. Mayer Boot & Shoe Co. It is now a West Elm, but here in Milwaukee, many remember it as the Institute of Beauty and Wellness until they expanded their operations and moved down the street to a 5-story building on East St. Paul Avenue.
Inside once lived the ghost of the little boy known as Timmy. Here you’ll stop to learn more about his time in the area.
Hauntings in a historic pub
On the next stop, stand before The Tied House, which was once the Pabst Brewing Co. Saloon and Boarding House. According to legend, the upstairs here was the site of a terrible murder in the early 1900s.
This crime, which you will hear all about, would certainly fit the times. Before 1910, under the administration of Milwaukee Mayor David S. Rose, prostitution and vice flourished in the city.
Learn about Milwaukee’s most haunted hotel
Any Milwaukee haunted history tour would be incomplete without mentioning perhaps our most famous ghost – Charles Pfister. The Pfister Hotel on Wisconsin between Milwaukee and Jefferson Streets was built in 1893 on the outer edge of the old Third Ward.
Your guide gives you creepy recounts of the guests who have experienced hauntings in this hotel, including MLB player Carlos Gomez.
Copyright 2021 Wisconsin Ghost Walks LLC, part of the American Ghost Walks family of haunted history tours.