Wausau Museum Of Contemporary Art - Wausau, Wisconsin
In 1865 Rufas P. Manson began to build what would become a very large home on this location, where his family of 12 resided until the death of Rufas and his wife Catherine in 1897. In 1900 the Manson home was purchased and moved to a different location. In 1901 the Wausau Club was organized for the city’s socially elite men. The club moved a home from Wausau’s east side to the site to serve as a clubhouse. In 1912 the club expanded with the addition of a kitchen and café and in 1922 a new 16 room guest wing was added to the west side of the building. During prohibition, a tunnel was added leading to the Wausau Pilot (current Shepherd and Schaller Building) to house a dumbwaiter filled with alcohol, in case of possible raids by local law enforcement.
In later years the Wausau Club served as a local hospitality gathering location and hosted many events such as weddings, parties and dances. The Club closed its doors in December of 2004 and lay vacant until the fall of 2017, where a local entrepreneur purchased the property and remodeled the historic building, turned the now aging building into a beautiful Museum of Contemporary Art.
PARANORMAL REPORTED ACTIVITY
For many years it served as the Wausau Club as well as for hosting community events. Staff and guests have reported sighting a ghostly apparition of a lady in the west wing and in the northern guest room. Stories passed down through the years reported that one of the female servants (Martha) had an affair with a married club member and became pregnant. The club member shunned Martha and she became depressed and committed suicide by hanging herself in her room.
During the remodeling process in 2017, the new owner reported sighting dark shadow figures move in different locations of the building. Reported sounds of footsteps and loud bangs and other mysterious noises were heard when no one else was present but the owner. Art pieces from displays have been seen to move, levitate and fly to the floor by unseen hands.
Lights in the lower basement bar area have been seen to turn on while no electrical power source was present at the time. While reviewing security cameras a possible doppelganger was spotted splitting off of the back of a guest then proceeded in a different direction of the museum.
The Wausau Paranormal Research Society was permitted access to conduct an investigation shortly after the Wausau Club closed in 2005. During that investigation the team only captured two EVP’s. The first EVP recorded was, “keep (inaudible) here” and the second was the word “what”.
The WPRS investigated on Friday, December 15, 2017 from approximately 6:30pm to 1:30am. Investigators Beaudry, Blaschka, Duginski, Williams, von Gnechten, Sczygelski and Coscio were present. Equipment used during the investigation included DVR camera system, infrared, full spectrum and digital cameras, Tri Field Electro Magnetic Meter (EMF), motion and vibration detectors, REM POD EMF meter, digital recorders and the Kinect 3D image monitor. The investigation started off with the owner of the museum giving us a tour of the location and the paranormal experiences that he had encountered around the building.
After the tour was conducted, the team decided on where to set up the DVR cameras. Due to the vast size of the location and not all of areas of the building having electrical outlets to run power, it was a challenge to run our equipment in certain areas of the building. Camera #1 was placed in the hallway behind the gallery pointing towards the old stairway landing, where the owner saw a dark shadow figure and previous reports of ghostly apparitions being seen there. Camera #2 was placed in the second floor ballroom area pointing towards the stage. Camera #3 was placed on the second floor, west wing pointing towards the northern bedroom (a.k.a Martha’s room). Camera #4 was placed in the lower basement area pointing towards the old bar, where lights have been known to turn on by themselves.
Other equipment used was motion and vibration detectors. One motion detector was placed inside of Martha’s room along with a REM POD EMF meter and the other was placed pointing down the hallway that leads to Martha’s room. A vibration detector was placed on the staircase in the west wing near Martha’s room. The second vibration detector was placed near the staircase landing near camera #1.
During equipment set up, EMF readings were recorded with the Tri-Field meter. Do to the vast size of the location, readings were not taken for every area of the building. No anomalous or unusual EMF readings were found or recorded during the investigation.
Investigators went through the entire building and took a plethora of pictures with the Infrared and Full Spectrum cameras. After the pictures and EMF recordings were conducted, the team broke down into small groups to conduct numerous EVP recording sessions around the location. During one of the EVP sessions in the Bauhaus room, Investigator Beaudry sat near the south entry door area, just across the hallway from the old staircase. After the team was settled and not moving around, the EVP session began. During that time, on the wall that was off to the side of Beaudry a shadow was seen. Investigator Beaudry assumed it was a shadow casted from something outside or from another team member in the gallery. Until he saw the shadow abruptly move away at a fast pace into the hallway. Investigators tried to debunk this shadow play by reenacting possible movement from the team members or outside sources. No logical explanation was found for this activity.
During a silent listening session, Investigator Blaschka was seated in the gallery between the Bauhaus room and the reception area. Investigator Beaudry and Coscio were seated near the entry area of the gallery. All three Investigators heard what appeared to be the sounds of footsteps and fabric rubbing together as an unseen entity walked across the gallery floor.
Another strange and possible occurrence happened while Investigators Beaudry and von Gnechten were placing the vibration detector on the staircase in the west wing area, just off of Martha’s room. After the detector was placed and activated, Investigators were leaving the immediate area when the alarm was triggered. Investigators tried to debunk the alarm trigger by activating it again and walking around the location where it went into alarm. The alarm does not activate unless it picks up some sort of vibration from that one particular staircase step it was placed on. No other time during the investigation did the alarm trigger while investigators walked around the location.
During an EVP session in the upper ballroom area, Investigators Blaschka and Sczygelski captured two recordings. The first recording was a loud pound or knock on the wall. The second recording appears to be tapping on the wall and possible footsteps.
In that same area of the ballroom, Investigator Sczygelski took several Full Spectrum photographs. In one photograph you can see an orb shaped object above the second window. The orb appears to not be directly above the window but actually in the middle of the room. The second photograph was taken just seconds later and the orb is not present. These two pictures stood out due to the hundreds of photographs that were taken with no other orbs captured on them.
FIRST PICTURE WITH ORB PRESENT ABOVE SECOND WINDOW - SECOND PICTURE TAKEN IMMEDIATELY AFTER SHOWS NO ORB
Personal experiences in the field of paranormal research cannot be ruled as evidence. Investigators experienced during the course of the investigation some unexplainable activity, such as the dark shadow in the Bauhaus room or the phantom footsteps in the Gallery. The only recorded pieces of evidence captured with our equipment were the EVP recordings and the Full Spectrum photograph in the upper ballroom area.
Taking into consideration the long history of paranormal activity reported through the years from previous staff and guests, the activity reported from the current owner, past investigational evidence from 2005 and the personal experiences and evidence from this current investigation, we feel it can be determined that this location is truly haunted. It is yet to be determined who or whom are still lingering behind the museum walls. The haunting is not malicious in nature, but possibly has a strong attachment to the location. Could it be a member of the Manson family, a past Wausau Club member or Martha the supposed servant worker who met her untimely demise by committing suicide due to her being rejected. Hopefully the WPRS will be able to continue its research and put together the missing pieces to this haunted puzzle in hopes to finally solve the mystery to one of Wausau’s most beautiful iconic landmarks.
*Any use or reproduction of this documentation is prohibited without the sole permission of Bill Beaudry and the WPRS.