Menomonie, Wisconsin History/AlyssaIsNerdy

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Menomonie is a medium size city in Wisconsin, home to many humans and spirits. Like any other historic town, Menomonie has its fair share of ghost stories. A few of the places that are haunted in Menomonie are The Mabel Tainter Theater, JTC on UW Stout's campus, and The Devil's Punchbowl. If you ask someone about The Mabel Tainter Theater, they'll tell you about how much it's haunted by Mabel herself. If you ask about Devil's Punchbowl, they'll tell about the gnomes. Ask someone about Jeter, Tainter, or Callahan on the University of Wisconsin-Stout campus, their eyes will bulge and say how badly it is haunted. Most of these are stories spread from person to person but some have been investigated by professionals.

The Mabel Tainter Theater[edit]

There have been professional investigations inside the theater. In 2008, these professionals went in and found a voice on an EVP, captured a picture of their sensitives with an orb next to them, and the sensitives have felt beings around them. The ghost of Mabel has claimed to be seen by some lucky wanderers in the Theater. Some have seen her parade down the staircase in her fancy dressed clothing. They say she walks around like she owns the place. Workers have heard her playing the piano when no one else is around. The piano in the theater is the original that was special made just for her. Others haunt The Mabel Tainter Theater as well. There have been reports of children’s laughter. Mabel’s sister Ruth died at a young age. Ruth could be haunting over jealousy to the things she didn’t get but Mabel got like an entire building dedicated to her. There also seems to be a man entity haunting the technological side of the theater that goes on. It has been said he messes with the switchboards before a show goes on. It might also be because of the fact his office is right next to the switchboard and he doesn’t like that. There is also of course, the common phantom footprints people hear, like at any haunted place.

Mabel Tainter
Mabel Tainter in her theater

I personally got to go on a tour with some students from my English class. We went all throughout the building for a special tour just for us University of Wisconsin-Stout students. We were in a special room for the ladies called “The Blue Room” where a picture of Mabel, her brother, and her sister Fanny are. A friend of mine brought up a question about Ruth, Mabel’s sister that died when she was young, and swore she felt something. She felt little hands press against her leg, non-aggressively though. I look over to her as I watch her head lower and ask if she is okay. She says she felt some handprints and a fingernail scratch go down her arm. I blow it off because I couldn’t really hear what she said but assumed everything was alright. Afterwards I ask again what that was about and she told me she felt handprints, a fingernail go down her arm, and another press of hands go down her back. She never asked about Ruth again after the experience she had at The Mabel Tainter Theater.

ref 1[1]

ref 2[2]

ref 3[3]

JTC on UW Stout[edit]

There are only word of mouth stories talking about Jeter, Tainter, and Callahan dorms on University of Wisconsin-Stout campus. In one instance where a ghost story was debunked was in 1988, Stoutonia released an article about a haunting in a third floor Callahan room. Two college roommates named Rob Gerbitz and Tim Zacher had reported of seeing a bright orange light under the door about eight times one night. The light later would move around the room and go on the walls and desks. Items from Gerbitz and Zacher’s rooms had gone missing or moved around as well. They had named the bright orange light “George”. They lost sleep over these strange findings thinking a ghost was haunting them. A Facebook post from the UW-Stout Archives/Area Research Center on Halloween of 2012 said it was a prankster on their floor. It was said the prankster used a camera flash to make “George” appear. Gerbitz and Zacher apparently retaliated with pranks of their own.

The oldest dorm buildings on campus are Jeter, Tainter, and Callahan. Luckily for ghosts, they’re all connected together to form JTC. It has been said that several suicides have occurred in the halls over the years the building has stood standing. There have been reports from students and staff of weird noises at night, phantom footsteps, televisions turning off and on, windows being shut or opened, and locked doors become unlocked or vice versa. The usual lame ghost findings that happen to any building that has been around for over sixty years. The real fun begins in the Tainter Hall basement. Down in the basement of Tainter Hall, lives a kitchen. There has been reports of objects being moved and tipped over for no reason. Equipment will also turn on or shut off by itself. The radios will also mysteriously switch stations. The second oldest building on Stout’s campus is Harvey Hall. There have been sightings of a tall man dressed in a suit that remains faceless who reportedly roams the halls at night. ref 4[4]

The Devil's Punchbowl

Devil's Punchbowl[edit]

What once was land to a Civil War Captain and known as Black’s Ravine is now used for bird watching, hiking, and a good place to get high off of cannabis, and is now known as the Devil’s Punchbowl. An ancient sea put down sediments that turned into sandstone rock some 500 million years ago. Menomonie is in an area that is part of the Central Lowlands Province which consists of flat sedimentary rock. The Devil’s Punchbowl was formed out of the Eau Claire Sandstone Formation that was part of the sediments from 500 million years ago. Peter Stoll was the owner of the land when it was Black’s Ravine. He donated it to Dunn County. It was renamed Paradise Valley afterwards. It somehow got to the name of Devil’s Punchbowl. The University of Wisconsin-Stout became owners of the area so it could well be named after Stout’s Blue Devils. The West Wisconsin Land Trust currently own it today. About 10,000 years ago, glacial melting started carving away at the sandstone, making it the shape it is today. The underground springs and many years of rainfall and melted snow also added into the shape. It is now a protected being a scientific study area because of its unique geological makeup and beauty. The West Wisconsin Land Trust has but up a wall around it to try to keep it as preserved as possible.

There is unusual happenings in the Devil’s Punchbowl although. People have spotted ghosts, fairies, gnomes, and trolls. It has been said the trolls have sweet tooths and would prefer you to bring Skittles candy if you visit them. Apparently, if you fail to bring a gift to the trolls, you may have car troubles on your way out of the bowl. People also have claimed they have seen orbs of light that follow them to their car. There is also enchanted water that stays cold for days after you have gathered it.ref 5[5]


  1. Mabel Tainter Theater – (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  2. Unexplained Research - They Live Amongst Us: The Ghosts of Menomonie. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  3. Haunted Locations. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2015
  4. Hudziak, D. (1988, October 20). Third Callahan Room Haunted by Bright Light. Stoutonia, p. 3. Retrieved October 30, 2015
  5. Hollatz, K. (2012, October 18). Beware! Hauntings! in Menomonie. Stoutonia, p. 16 Retrieved December 18, 2015
  6. The Real Ice Bowl. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2015

External Link[edit]

  1. Mabel Tainter Theater – (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  2. Unexplained Research - They Live Amongst Us: The Ghosts of Menomonie. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  3. Haunted Locations. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2015
  4. Hudziak, D. (1988, October 20). Third Callahan Room Haunted by Bright Light. Stoutonia, p. 3. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  5. The Real Ice Bowl. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2015.