The University of Wisconsin’s Whitewater campus is not the first institution of higher education on this site. The Morris Pratt Institute was established here in 1889, built with funds earned from a mine that was discovered through psychic intuition in northern Wisconsin (I’m being a little vague here because it’s a long, fascinating story that you can hear from friend and top paranormal researcher, Allison Jornlin in a video at the bottom of this post). It quickly became nationally known as the spiritualist capital of the midwest, if not all of America.
For those not interested in the spiritualist movement at the time, they assumed that the school was an educational center for witchcraft. Though it may have discussed alternative concept and explored pagan ideas, no, it wasn’t a Harry Potter-esque, school for witches. But still, the “Witches of Whitewater” beliefs live on. The town even has the nickname of “the Second Salem,” though no witch trials happened here, though there are surely some associated urban legends to that point.
The water tower at the edge of campus is original to 1889 and is known as the “Witch’s Tower.” Urban legends state that witches held their ceremonies here. It’s even inspired a local brewery to name one of their beers after it with some awesome artwork of the witches dancing in front of the tower.
Interestingly, there is also a cemetery, Calvary Cemetery, located in the middle of campus (in one photo below, you’ll see a photo of the tower, as seen from that cemetery). As the legends state, Calvary Cemetery, along with Hillside Cemetery and Oak Grove Cemetery form a triangle. Within that triangle, all of the witch-y activity happened (again, just according to legend). Today, that triangle is known as the “Witch’s Triangle.”
NOTE: For some reason Hillside Cemetery doesn’t appear on Google Maps and it isn’t searchable, so if you’re looking for it, it’s across the street from the Kettle Moraine Baptist Church, on the eastern coast of Cravath Lake. This location also boasts its own haunted mausoleum.
Whitewater, WI is a wonderfully preserved small, college town that does offer more than its share of haunted locations, even outside of the “Witch’s Triangle.” There are dorm buildings on site that boast some paranormal activity, along with the school’s theater building, and a few historic houses nearby on main street that have activity.
White the Morris Pratt Institute was no Hogwarts, perhaps all of that energy work did lend itself to the area being more open to ongoing paranormal activity. The Institute is not in Whitewater anymore, but does still exist, now based out of Milwaukee.
Do you know of any other haunted locations in Whitewater? Are there any other remnants from the original Morris Pratt campus? I’d be very happy to add on to this post and/or do more reporting on the Whitewater area.
Allison Jornlin talks about Mary Hayes Chynoweth & the funding/founding of Whitewater’s Morris Pratt Institute: