The Ghost of Mud Lake

One hundred years ago an old German decided to take a short cut to his house in the dead of a cold Wisconsin winter. The short cut was over the frozen surface of Mud lake near Cascade Wisconsin. The old German knew Mud lake had many springs and might not be safe, but it was very cold, he had traveled far and he feared he wouldn’t make the long way around.

To spread the weight, the old German got off his cart and led the horse by its reign across the frozen surface. He calmed the horse and stepped slowly and carefully as his breath created clouds that rose into the cold night. He heard his horses’ hooves clop across the ice and he winced as the noise echoed through the air around them. Another sound suddenly occurred beneath their feet as the thick ice flexed, cracked and gave way.

The ice broke beneath the cart and the cart began sinking into the freezing water. Try as he might, he pulled on the reign but the weight was too much and the weight of the sinking card dragged his panicked horse beneath the water’s surface. As the old man struggled to save his steed and belongings, he too was pulled beneath the freezing water and they all sank into the lake and were never to be seen alive again.

To this day, when the lake emits a fog at night, and the air is cold enough to see your breath, you may see the specter replaying his mistake. Look closely across the lake and you can still see the cart, horse and old German being pulled beneath the water.

D’Arcy Gravelle from Cascade, Wisconsin

Another Mud Lake Ghost Story

Chambers Island Lighthouse Ghost Story

It is not surprising that lighthouses, and the very remote locations that were so necessary to protect coastlines, lend themselves to stories of haunting.

Remote and mysterious, Chambers Island is the largest in the waters of Green Bay, sits roughly seven miles northwest of Fish Creek. The lighthouse on the island stands on the northwest shoreline.

Map showing Chambers Island, west of the Door County Peninsula.
Eight lighthouse keepers had populated the island before they automated the lighthouse functionality in 1958, including the first keeper, Lewis Williams, his wife and their 11 children.

In 1976 former Coast Guard boat captain Joel Blahnik and his wife, Mary, were appointed as caretakers to work to reverse the building’s 20-year decline.

Strange events happened the first night that Blahnik and his son stayed in the lighthouse.

After a day of hard labor, father and son settled into their sleeping bags in the first-floor bedroom. Blahnik jerked awake during the night and realized he’d been disturbed by someone climbing down the steps from the upstairs lantern room.

His eyes darted around and he felt instantly vulnerable in the dark. The sound of descending footsteps were clearly human, yet he and his 9-year-old son were the only people on the island. His son was sleeping deeply nearby, and he could only listen in a quiet panic as the steps went down the hall, passing through the living room and into the kitchen. The steps seem to be heading for the door to the grounds outside, and sure enough, he could hear the door click shut as it closed.

The ghost seemed to always appear on the first night Blahnik would return in the spring to open the lighthouse. Many visitors reported hearing the footsteps echoed through the empty building and sensing an unearthly presence.

In 1979, the caretakers began to notice tools that would disappear and then turn up again in the most unlikely places. The experiences were never malevolent but rather playful, almost friendly. Over time Blahnik came to believe the ghost was that of the original keeper, Lewis Williams.

In 1987, a group of nuns from a local Catholic retreat took a tour of the lighthouse and were told the tales of the night time hauntings that were related to the visitors.

One of the nuns, troubled by the story, walked to the outside southwest corner of the building, placed her hands on the tower and fell into prayer.

After that, the footsteps ceased and the playful haunting seemed to be over.

Is the ghost of Lewis Williams now at rest or simply taking a temporary break from his duties?

The Ghostly Teamster of Mud Lake

In 1877, this area was known as Mud Bay, named for the mud, or marl in the bottom of the bay that enables ships to securely anchor during storms.

Mud Bay, like most of Door County, was heavily wooded. Lumber was a source of riches to the men who ventured into the woods to harvest the timber. It was hard, demanding work, but the rewards made it worth the effort. The men that worked the woods were tough, able men made strong by the work that they performed.

It was late March, still cold, the frozen ground covered with deep snow. The roads were barely passable trails, wide enough for horses or oxen to pass. The snow crowded the edges of the roads and lay heavy in the woods.

James Cady and A. Peterson started off early one cold morning to cut timber. The quiet woods were pierced only by the sound of axes and hand saws as they bit into the trees. The air was cold, yet it always seemed colder in the woods. A sense of separation from civilization surrounded the two men, deep in the almost trackless forest, but they had become used to the feeling.

Suddenly, they heard the sound of sleigh bells, which became more distinct as they rapidly approached. This was the only road in the area, and it was a rough logging trail that ended just a little way beyond them. Someone was coming and fast. They were expecting Anderson and Nordin with their oxen, but this was not the sound of oxen, and it was coming too fast for what would have been the plodding pace of the slow beasts of burden.

The men did not have long to wait for suddenly a spirited team of horses appeared, one jet black and one pure white. They were attached to a logging sleigh and a man with a cap pulled so low on his head that they could not discern his features sat up at the front.

When the team drew closer, they stopped and the driver shouted three times in a strange language that neither Cady nor Peterson could understand. Cady thought that perhaps the man was lost and had taken the wrong road. In a loud voice, he asked the man where he was going, but the man failed to reply or even acknowledge the two lumbermen. Suddenly the team took off further down the road.

Knowing that the road ended a short distance away, they were not surprised when the strange team and driver returned at a rapid pace. Peterson stepped into the road and Cady climbed upon some logs to get a better glimpse of the strange man. The wagon was moving so fast that they were unable to get a better view. The men were left standing dumbfounded, staring down the now-empty road, the sound of sleigh bells quickly fading.

Within minutes, the oxen team with Anderson and Nordin came down the road toward them. When Cady and Peterson told their story, the new arrivals stated they had not passed anyone on the road and there was no place to turn off. When they examined the road from end to end, none of them found even a trace of the spectral teamster.

They could find a track where he had turned around or any marks where the mysterious teamster may have left the road as the oxen team approached. The snow in the woods must have been 18 inches deep, making it impossible not to leave a trace. Anderson and Nordin should have passed the strange teamster but they had not.

The experience made such a deep impression on Peterson that he believed the sighting was a warning of danger and he refused to work in the area again.

Today, Mud Bay is known as beautiful Moonlight Bay, located northeast of Baileys Harbor and is known as the quiet side of the county, except for when the air was filled with the spectral sound of sleigh bells.

View these last 2 ghost stories here: