Tom Schuller, president of the Kewaunee County Historical Society, believes that there is paranormal activity in Kewaunee County.
He has lived in several houses throughout Kewaunee County that he says are haunted by ghosts.
“I want to emphasize that 98 percent of people in the United States never hear, see, feel anything when they watch to see if some place is haunted,” he said. “Other people are more sensitive and open to an alternate world where these energy forms exist.”
He said his belief in this alternate world began when he was living in an apartment with three roommates in the city of Kewaunee 35 years ago. They found an old Ouija board in a closet and played it one night. The board spelled out the word NAT and then went on to say “that he didn’t live here, but he died here.”
With his love of history, Schuller began researching the building and learned that it had been used as a harness shop in the past. Old records showed that a man named Nathan had fallen off the rafters while trying to retrieve a harness and had died of a broken neck.
Nat became a nuisance, he said. Schuller’s friends would be making dinner and Nat would turn off the oven or turn the faucets on in the middle of the night.
In another house he lived in on Center Street in Kewaunee, lights would also go on and off.
“I always felt I was being watched, so I left,” he said.
Later he rented a house out by the Dominion power plant. The landlord lived across the street, and when he said that he was interested in renting the house, the landlord said, “I don’t think you want to stay there.”
Lights were on in the house, but the landlord showed him the power line where the electricity had been cut off.
“I stayed there about three months, and the ghost would come and take the covers off the bed,” he said. Schuller said that when he moved out it was a hot August day and he had left the windows open. He drove down the road and realized he had forgotten something. When he came back, all the windows had been shut and locked.
He said that after that experience, he moved back to the city of Kewaunee and lived in an 1890s Victorian house. He never saw any signs that it was haunted.
In his role with the historical society, Schuller likes to give tours of the Kewaunee County Historical Society’s Jail Museum and watch people’s reaction to the rumor that it is haunted. When the jail was opened up one Halloween, he said that he greeted people as they came.
“One girl went in and 10 to 15 minutes later came out crying,” he said. Schuller was worried about her and asked her what was wrong. He wondered if he should call for help. She said that she was fine but “there is something very sad in there, and it just made me cry.”
Another young man went in and said he didn’t believe in ghosts. A few minutes later he came out looking scared, Schuller said.
“I don’t know what happened in there, but something grabbed my arm,” Schuller said the boy reported.
On Oct. 17 investigators with the Chicago Paranormal Society came up to study paranormal activity in the jail with thermo-imaging cameras and audio recorders.
“We heard stuff by the jail cells that was muffled conversation,” said David Olson, one of the investigators. “Three of the female investigators had a conversation where someone seemed to be knocking to communicate with them,” he said.
The investigators also reported many unexplained touches – where they felt someone tapping their shoulder, tugging on their hair or patting them, according to Olson. He said it will take him about a month to analyze the pictures and audio recordings from the jail..
The Hotel Karsten has Kewaunee County’s most famous ghosts, Schuller said. The most well-known is William Karsten Sr., who was a Great Lakes ship captain, and built the hotel. Karsten is buried in Riverview Cemetery in Kewaunee.
His ghost has been spotted by several people at the hotel sitting his captain’s chair in his old suite of rooms looking out at the lake, Schuller said. He said that the owners moved the chair out of the room and there have not been any more sightings of Karsten’s ghost since then.
Another ghost who haunts the hotel is a woman named Agatha, who was a maid at the hotel and lived there for about 30 years, according to Schuller.
“She considered it her place and she is still seen by some people who stay there taking care of it,” he said.
He said that he won’t visit cemeteries at night, but agreed to be photographed in front of Captain Karsten’s gravestone during the day.
“If you think that you have seen something (that might be a ghost), it won’t be more active on Halloween, because it doesn’t know that it is Halloween,” he said.
He said that all the reported sightings of ghosts at the jail museum have been good for the society.
“The ghosts have increased attendance there,” he said. “There are a certain amount of people across the United States who like to go to places that are haunted.”
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Haunted Kewaunee