Menomonie, Wisconsin History/SLAIRS

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Devil's Punchbowl
Devil's Punchbowl

Hauntings in Menomonie

The array of paranormal stories and hauntings are what makes the mysterious and intriguing town of Menomonie, Wisconsin a wonderful place. Menomonie is known by many paranormal investigators to be haunted by paranormal and supernatural activities. A couple places that are well-known by the investigators are the Mabel Tainter Theater and Devil's Punchbowl. There are many stories of what happened at the places. Most of the stories are want kept the past alive and made people want to go see the haunted areas.

Mabel Tainter Theater[edit]

History of the Mabel Tainter Theater[edit]

This is an image of the Mabel Tainter Theater
Mabel Tainter Theater

The Mabel Tainter Theater was constructed during the grand Victorian era by Andrew Tainter—Mabel Tainter’s father—in 1889 in honor of Mabel Tainter.[1] He built the building out of guilt after her death. Mabel Tainter passed away in 1886 at the young age of nineteen. It is rumored that it was due to “cancer of the side” or a ruptured appendix. No one actually knows how Mabel passed away; furthermore, there is a rumor about her death. According to the rumor, “[she] fell in love with a logger from her father’s lumber company.” [2] But, because the two were of different social class, they were not allowed to get married. A little after meeting the logger, Mabel got pregnant. Her parents then agreed to allow the two to get married; however, the logger disappeared and was nowhere to be found. To avoid being humiliated, Andrew and Mrs. Tainter forced Mabel to get an abortion. During the 1800s, getting an abortion was not the same as today. Tools were not sanitized as well and the procedure was not as smooth. Unfortunately, due to the difficult procedure Mabel Tainter died. A few years after that the Mabel Tainter Theater was built.


It has been many years since the construction of the building. The building has over a century's worth of history in it. Throughout the years, tons of staff and actors reported seeing “multiple eerie happenings.” Some of the things include seeing a woman in white, lights turning on by themselves, chains rattling, and “disembodied footsteps when no one is in the theater.” According to the Mabel Tainter executive director, Erik Simonsen, "Some folks think it's Mabel herself or even her mother that has been seen on the lower level[.]"[3]

Interior of the Mabel Tainter Theater

On December 6, 2008, the Mabel Tainter Theater allowed 11 paranormal investigators to spend the night and investigate the building. The investigators were from the Sanity Check Paranormal Investigators or SCPI. The SPCI crew had six technicians with a variety of devices to detect ghostly activities. Some of the devices included video recorders, audio recorders, EMF detectors, thermometers, compasses, digital cameras, and two psychic sensitivities. The two psychics were named Judy and Erin. A psychic sensitive is a highly sensitive person who may have psychic or healing abilities. The team started on the lower level of the theater. As soon as they started the two psychic sensitivities left the group and disappeared into a back room under the stage. The two psychics stated that, "[T]hey were pulled back to that room by a strong feeling[.]" Judy and Erin felt a weird presence in the dressing room under the stage. They also felt a similar presence on the catwalk. When the looked up, they reported seeing a shadow; it quickly disappeared. As the investigation continued, the crew kept feeling uneasy and like someone was watching them. They immediately started setting up and began recording with the Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP). On the EVP, the crew caught something that sounded like a “scream or high pitched shriek.” The most interesting thing the SCPI crew caught was what sounded like a female voice whispering, “Get out.” [4] To this very day, the police still receive phone calls from people walking by the theater at night saying that they saw someone inside the building when clearing all the workers have left.

Devil's Punchbowl[edit]

History of Devil's Punchbowl[edit]

This is the top view of Devil's Punchbowl
Top View of Devil's Punchbowl

Devil's Punchbowl is located right off Paradise Valley Road, near the Red Cedar River. It was created thousands of years ago by “water eroding the sandstone bluffs along the river.” Devil's Punchbowl was originally known as Black’s Ravine, after Captain Samuel Black. He served during the Civil War. It is unknown how Devil's Punchbowl got it name. Nonetheless, it is a popular location for many students.


There have been reports of students seeing “trolls, gnomes, ghost, and fairies.” [5] It is said that if one were to talk to the supernatural beings as if they were alive, their cars would not start. There have also been sightings of floating light globes and sounds that sound like a person screaming. According to local legends, the water that flows through the stream will always be crystal clear and ice cold.

External Link[edit]

Menomonie, WI

Andrew Tainter

Mabel Tainter Theater

Lumber Company



Dunn County Haunts and Folklore: The Devil’s Punchbowl. (2012, Oct. 23). Retrieved Nov. 9, 2015, from Stout & About:

Dunn County Haunts and Folklore: The Mabel Tainter Theater. (2012, Oct. 30). Retrieved Nov. 9, 2015, from Stout & About:

Filcher, A. (2014, Nov. 3). Hauntings in Menomonie. Retrieved October 30, 2015, from

Haunted Places In Wisconsin. (1998). Retrieved Nov. 10, 2015, from theshadowland:

History and Architecture. (2015). Retrieved Nov. 10, 2015, from Mabel Tainter 125th Anniverssary :

Kleen, M. (2015, April 27). Top 10 Most Haunted Woods and Parks in the Midwest. Retrieved Nov. 9, 2015, from Mysterious Heartland:

Schuster, G. (2009, 22 October). They Live Amongst Us: The Ghosts of Menomonie. Retrieved October 30, 2015, from

The City of Menomonie Wisconsin. (2009). Retrieved Nov. 9, 2012, from

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