Menomonie, Wisconsin History/LepusBrachyurus

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This is for a class project. If you need more information, please contact my professor. You can find her information on the Menomonie, Wisconsin History page.

Menomonie, located in western Wisconsin within Dunn County, is a city that has approximately 16,156[1] inhabitants; additionally Menomonie homes various stories all in relation to folklore and hauntings. The hauntings in the Mabel Tainter are recognized nationally, placing on varying lists for some of the most haunted buildings both statewide and nationwide. In addition to the Mabel Tainter, the Devil's Punchbowl is believed to be inhabited by different mystical creatures. Several buildings on the UW-Stout campus are believed to be haunted, as well as other buildings and parks. There are additional stories that are less reported upon, however are relevant purely due to word of mouth.

Devil's Punchbowl[edit]


A marvel in its formation as well as a beauty to behold: the Devil’s Punchbowl was formed from the Eau Claire Sandstone Formation that was created from the sea deposits laid about 500 million years ago. The deposits were then hollowed by rock strata eroding away by outwash of the melting glaciers which covered all of Wisconsin 10,000 years ago.


Rock Formation in the Devil's Punchbowl

This area had quite a bit of influence on the Native Americans (The Ojibwa) in the area, as it is believed that they frequented the punchbowl. From there, the geological wonder was owned by Samual Black who was also a captain in the Civil War. That this time, it was dubbed “Black’s Ravine”. Black would use this area for different gatherings. After that, another name for the Punchbowl was “Paradise Valley,” which I find amusing given its current name in addition to the creepy reports that now hail from the location. Currently, the location is owned by the Wisconsin Farmland Conservancy of Menomonie; however, at one point, it was owned by UW-Stout. In this time period, the name “Devil’s Punchbowl” became popular so much so that the name stuck. In this time period, the ravine was used as a party location for students. The name Devil in the title is believed to stem from UW-Stout’s mascot, the blue devil; which is an accurate name given the chilling tales of the supernatural that stem from the location.

Supernatural History[edit]



There has been some witness reports of seeing “a gnome running up the side of the rock bank then bolting through the tunnel”. [1] The idea of gnomes in the Punchbowl is a favorite of the local people; enough so that a group of Stout students produced a ghost hunting parody for the gnomes.[2]


One couple reported that while in their car, they spotted an orb of light zipping around the park to eventually end up in their car before disappearing. There are been other reports of the orbs of light being spotted around the edges of the Ravine.


The water at the Devil's Punchbowl travels down the rocks to the base of the formation is believed to retain it's clarity in addition to its chilled temperature regardless of how much time may pass. [3]

Mabel Tainter[edit]

The rumors about the Mabel Tainter[4] theater are said to go back to the building of the site, and from there on. The backstory about why the building was rectified is enough to warrant said rumors, especially with the death of Mabel herself.

Mabel's Death[edit]

Mabel Tainter died in 1886 at the age of nineteen. The cause of death was "cancer of the side". It is suggested that this "cancer of the side" was caused by complications of an abortion that Mabel was forced to have by her own parents.[2] It is rumored that Mabel fell in love with a logger for her father's company. Mabel later discovered that she was pregnant. Upon discovering this, her parents were against it due to the difference in class between the two. However, over time they became more open to the idea, however; by then, the logger had run off. The parents then urged her to have an abortion which would later be the death of her. A few years after her death, the Mabel Tainter Theater was erected in her honor.


Mabel Tainter Theatre, located in Menomonie, Wi

After the death of their daughter, the grief stricken family were urged to build the theater by their pastor, Henry Maxton.[5] A few years later, at the cost of $125,000[6], the Mabel's built the theater which in addition was also a library, church and education center.


Past Employees[edit]

While some say that they see a woman in their reports, there is another possibility as to who haunts the theater. Some believe it is a past employee of the theater that resides there in its afterlife to ready the “sound boards ... for the next day's show, [which] would be changed when the sound engineer came in the day of the show” (Haunted Houses Inc, 2007). There are also reports of phantom audience members watching the performers when there is practice and no one is there to spectate from the seats. Another report says that in the library there are orbs of light floating about going from shelf to shelf before disappearing into nothingness. Reports still continue to come in to this date.


It is said that it is Mabel herself that haunts the theater. People have seen a woman coming out of the bathroom, floating, only to disappear, or looking at herself in a mirror.

Caddie Woodlawn: Historical Site[edit]


Copy of the book signed by the author.

The estate used to have with it 160 acres of land, which was perfect for the daughters of Woodhouse to grow up on. The reason this house is considered a historical site is because one of the daughters, “Caroline Augusta, who inspired ‘Caddie Woodlawn’ in a book written by her granddaughter,[7] Carol Ryrie Brink”. The book would go on to win a Newbery Medal in 1936 and Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958.


While one daughter went on to inspire adventures and become well known to this very date, it is rumored that another daughter never left the house. Somewhere on the 160 acres, there is an unmarked grave which is where Mary lies. Younger sister of “Caddie,” Mary died at a young age and was buried on the property. She may not have moved from that one spot in the ground for over 100 years; her spirit is rumored to be highly active in the two houses. Visitors of the part have put forth “reports of cold spots, footsteps coming from the boarded upstairs of the white house, and children’s laughter”

Additional Hauntings in Menomonie, WI[edit]

JTC dorm[edit]

There have been reports of conversations occurring in empty rooms, objects moving, strange sounds including footsteps that seem to have no apparent source.


A story that one can only hear via word of mouth, some locals are insistent that there were and are witches in the the area. The local event that occurs in October "Witches Night Out" is said to be inspired by this lore.

Retirement Home[edit]

With every little coverage, locals are insistent that the one of the retirement homes is haunted by the people who died in the home. Some reports of this can be found on Reddit[8].

Name Description Lore Pictures (If Applicable)
Devil's Punchbowl Located right outside of Menomonie, WI. Local land formation formed from glaciers approximately 10,000 years ago. -Ghost Haunting

-Orbs of Light


-Strange Water Effects

Devil's Punchbowl.jpeg
Mabel Tainter Theater and church made by the Tainter family in memorial for their daughter. -Ghost Haunting
Mabel Tainter Theatre.jpg
Caddie Woodlawn House and land that was the setting for an award winning book. One of the families daughters died on the property. -Ghost Haunting
Carol Ryrie Brink sig.jpg
JTC Dorm Dorm on the UW-Stout campus. -Ghost Haunting
Witches Inspiration for the local event "Witches Night Out". Little is known about the witches of Menomonie and little to no documentation.
Witch in Blacko.jpg
Retirement Home Local Retirement Home located near the Mayo hospital which is now closed. -Ghost Haunting

External Links[edit]

Caddie Woodlawn Historical Site[3] Haunting of Caddie Woodlawn [4] General Ghosts of Menomonie [5] Devil's Punchbowl Sitings [6] Stout JTC Dorm Hauntings [7] Mabel Tainter Hauntings Dunn County Mabel Tainter Devil's Punchbowl Orbs


  1. [8]
  2. [9]
  3. [10]
  4. [11]
  5. [12]
  6. Mabel Tainter Memorial Building
  7. Carol Ryrie Brink
  8. [13]