Show Notes

Shelley Mordini is a high school special education teacher. She is also the owner of Baraboo Tours, a historic and haunted walking tour company in Baraboo. Shelley enjoys showing people the legacy that the Ringling brothers left behind and talking about the ghost that put the "boo" in Baraboo. Since purchasing a rickshaw to give tours, Shelley can often be seen whizzing around Baraboo, off to another adventure. Contact Shelley at barabootours@yahoo.com.
Gwen Herrewig has worn many hats while traveling around, from guiding tours of caves and glaciers to numerous office positions supporting our natural resources. She has recently conducted haunted walking tours of downtown Baraboo and interpretive paranormal experiences in haunted buildings.

For decades, ghosts have been known to inhabit some of Baraboo's most prized historic locations. Buildings and mansions built by the Ringling brothers at the height of their circus empire now harbor apparitions of unidentified children, horse trainers and other circus workers. Residents throughout the Downtown Baraboo Historic District describe disembodied voices, footsteps and items moving on their own. Even historic homes, new homes and roadways have ghosts--a family awakened to find their dining room table set for a party of ten, a little girl realized that her "friend" wasn't getting any older and a Highway 12 hitchhiker materialized despite the highway being rerouted. Founder of Baraboo Tours Shelley Mordini and tour guide Gwen Herewig share tales of Baraboo's more mysterious side.

Show Transcript

Introduction  0:04  

Welcome to frame of reference informed intelligent conversations about the issues and challenges facing everyone in today's world, in depth interviews with salt counties, leaders and professionals to help you expand in and form your frame of reference, brought to you by the max FM digital network. Now, here's your host, Rauel LaBreche.  

Rauel LaBreche  0:25  

Well, we're back for week two of an exciting conversation. And we're after Halloween now, but I you know, doesn't really matter with the subject matter we're talking about. I'm talking about Shelley Mordini and Gwen Herrwig, who are the co authors of a really fascinating book called haunted bear, boo. And when I think about it, I live in Sauk. County, Wisconsin, which is not exactly the nexus of the universe, right. But in some ways, in terms of when you start looking at the number of hauntings and the number of very extraordinary circumstances that go on in here. It is kind of a Nexus. In fact, it's enough of a Nexus that the folks at haunted America approached Shelley twice and said, We want you to write a book about haunted bearable. And after the first time said nude Oh, no, I don't have time for that. GWEN came after her and said, Shelly, we need to do this. So I am talking to Shelly Mardini Gwen Herrwig. And we had just started to really kind of scratch the surface in the first episode of us talking about the types of experiences that people have, and then their ability or willingness to talk about those things. So when you talked about the different levels of degree of cooperation, some people want their name use other people like, oh, no, I don't want people coming after me. Right. So can you can you talk tell me more about what that experience is like, for people are? Are they? I don't want to put words in but I think of like, are they shaken by it? Are they opened up? And are they more like, hidden and you know, protected? And because I can see this being kind of a fight or flight kind of experience for people. And, you know, part of the reason we have horror movies the way they are, which I really, I wish somebody would make more movies like ghosts, were the particularly good, you know, a thing going on, and it's still sort of freaky for the person involved. But there's much more benevolence to that. And I want to say just from the types of things you've talked about that that seems to be the case more often than not to, that there isn't a whole lot of a malevolent, you know, poltergeist thing popping out of the TV or, you know, whatever, where the ghost is out to kill anyone and everyone, right?


Shelley Mordini  2:37  

I agree. You know, we had a whole section in their private residence, you know, and that was really Gwen's idea. She's like, Hey, we got these stories, we should do this. And there was one private resident story that I love. It's called the lady of the house. And it's where she wakes up a 10 year old girl every night this goes does and she goes downstairs and sets the formal dining room table for 10 people with all the cutlery and the plates and the cops and and then goes up to bed. And then everybody gets up the next morning goes, What's going on? And can you imagine coming downstairs to your house? And like, why is my table set? You know, you know, not not malevolent and ghosts, but Jeepers, somebody is messing with us. Yeah, right,


Rauel LaBreche  3:22  

didn't you? You and I talked about a story similar to that. The first time we talked about the woman who their kids would leave the toys all over the yard and she


Shelley Mordini  3:31  

would come up. Yeah, that was out and bunker road. Yes. Things


Rauel LaBreche  3:34  

were be gathered up. And in fact, if if anyone out there wants to see a really mind blowing picture, you have a picture.


Shelley Mordini  3:41  

It's on my website, too.


Rauel LaBreche  3:43  

So we have to put that one up on the podcast icon for the show. Actually, your book cover really needs to be the icon for the show. I think it's a wonderful cover with the Al Ringling theater and whatnot. And so So Did Did either of you. How many personal experiences have you had with paranormal? Who are their personal things? Or you can say absolutely, this is this is not we're not joking around. This is as real as pavement.


Gwen Herrewig  4:10  

in Baraboo, or any ever. The first paranormal experience I had was in the house I grew up in, and I don't know if it was in one Ewok Yeah, and only I had it in in the family. Nobody else did, but it happened twice. And the first time I must have been in junior high. And I had my music on and I was getting ready to go OUT out for the night and I don't know like fixing my hair or something because it was the 80s and I had big hair big hair. Yeah, I had big hair. I remember all this and I could hear breathing.


Rauel LaBreche  4:47  

That was kind of scary in and of itself. I want to talk about scary. Like hairball bands and all that that stuff is scary. Really scary. Anyway, sorry. We


Gwen Herrewig  4:56  

I could hear breathing in it was Over the sound of my radio, which was loud because I was in junior high. And I remember I just stood up in the middle of a room and I turned my radio down, and I could still hear it. And it was a slow, methodical, breathe as if somebody was sleeping in the room. But it was coming from everywhere. And I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. I was the only person upstairs on the second story. And it didn't make sense to me even at the time, because if it was a ghost, why was it breathing? You know? Don't you know you're in but this same breathing a couple years later woke me up from a sound sleep. Same thing methodic sounds like somebody sleeping coming from everywhere in the room at once


Rauel LaBreche  5:53  

show no possibility that that was like a factory sound somehow or any fact that you're not okay.


Gwen Herrewig  5:59  

Right? Yeah, in then it just went away. I left the room both times. And then when I came back, it was gone. But that was the that was the first time. And it was a big head scratcher for me. But I wasn't scared


Rauel LaBreche  6:12  

and have a sense of their no malevolence, or


Gwen Herrewig  6:15  

no in it probably wouldn't wouldn't even be a story that I would contact the lady that was writing the haunted book, to tell them about, you know, about the breathing. Yeah, let me tell you about the breathing because it was it was so insignificant. But it was the first time that I was like, Hey, that was very strange.


Rauel LaBreche  6:33  

Did you have a sense of fear, when that was happening? Was there


Gwen Herrewig  6:38  

no more confusion? It was the same confusion that I saw in the eyes of all the people telling me about their stories. And we have I have one quote in there from a man who was a school teacher, he taught science and he said, I teach science. I don't like it when things don't make sense. Yeah. And that is like the perfect summary of all the ghost stories and all the people that I've talked to, that they feel about that


Rauel LaBreche  7:04  

because it is difficult, right to make sense of any of this because it requires a kind of sense that we don't have you know, I think of like Georgia forage, you know, if we had those visors that Jordy has, we could look and see there's an electromagnetic force there Captain whatever. But it's so it does defy scientific explanation in some ways. Although there are some tools aren't a read of like


Shelley Mordini  7:29  

they're like ghosts, meter, crows and different tools that we


Rauel LaBreche  7:32  

use. I mean, are they are they reliable? Do you think? Are they actually measuring,


Shelley Mordini  7:36  

you know, be pre COVID time we used to have a ghost hunting experience. So it would be VIP too are you going on to to come up upstairs afterwards in the right building where we just told you we have a lot of stories that take place. And then we hand out ghost meter probes and divining rods. So you know, and dowsing rods, and they work fantastic upstairs, you know, we always have spirits connecting to them, it's


Rauel LaBreche  8:03  

or their audible like, I've seen some of those ghosts, you know, shows on like Discovery Channel or whatever. And they they are, you know, saying well, there's a sound right there, and they recorded, and frankly, I listened to those and I go, I'm not hearing it. And I really want to hear it. You know,


Shelley Mordini  8:18  

in some things, you know, like I had an experience just this summer, I was doing free rickshaw rides on the square during constants were and I Thursdays and I was going into the elevator and I had my hands full of all kinds of stuff. So I hit the elbow, I hit my elbow on the button to go up to the second floor. And as we're going up, I hear Well, hello there. And I'm like, Oh, my pocket dialed somebody and I am sorry, I'll call you when I get upstairs and I get upstairs and I unload my stuff. And I'm like, where's my phone, my phone was downstairs in the car. So those those are pretty significant kinds of things. And, you know, my first experiences started to happen while I was doing these tours. They started out small and they got more and more pronounced. There's a there's a couple that just go oh my gosh, you know, I have kind of tell one more.


Rauel LaBreche  9:11  

One more, two more.


Shelley Mordini  9:14  

This one takes place in the Al wrangling mansion. And I used to do haunted tours there with them. And I it was my first time I had cancer. I was going through some breast cancer treatments and I had that day and I came in that night and I was going to do a show. So I set up my equipment I had 25 People sit in there. I show them EVPs videos, different pitches. Then I turn off the lights and take them on 100 tour of the building. And as we sat down, I turned off the lights in this orb appeared under this man's chair, about the size of the top of a paint can slid slowly across the floor out the front door. I kind of looked at the floor and went man, those drugs were really strong today because I'm seeing stuff. I look up 24 People are Running for the door and there's one guy going what's going on I might do there was this board that appeared I do her chair and so it was only him and I that ended up giving the tour because everybody else ran out and they hit on it to the tour


Rauel LaBreche  10:13  

she'll do a an orbs are pretty common thing in terms of the paranormal. Yes, we'll see that. So there's the apparitions. There's orbs, there's partial apparitions or shadow people shadow. Yeah, I mean, there's a classification system, almost four,


Shelley Mordini  10:28  

we do a nice intro of Gwen and I talk about that of what the different types of things that we see we have a whole if we had a slide projector, we could show you all these things.


Rauel LaBreche  10:38  

As far there are theories or beliefs of of that these are different kinds of ghosts or different kinds of people, or is it just a different way? I almost think of it like their shade different shades of the same color, if you will,


Shelley Mordini  10:50  

well let her talk about the different experiences and they were all kind of fitting in the same area.


Gwen Herrewig  10:56  

Okay. Oh, I'm sorry, I


Rauel LaBreche  11:01  

just did one of these things where Gwen is like, what are you talking?


Gwen Herrewig  11:08  

In so now I know.


Rauel LaBreche  11:12  

All right, okay, here we go.  


Gwen Herrewig  11:14  

We discovered that people have seen everything from clowns to bartenders. Oh, clowns are creepy. I'm sorry. Especially in the ghostly. Okay, to children, little girls and little boys, the shadow figures. And the interesting thing about them is that we would get stories from people from completely different walks of life, teenagers, elderly people talking about different buildings. And they would mention the detail that the shadow figures have red eyes. That's very specific. And there's been rumors for decades that there's a ghost train that comes through now bearable. People all over town, feel the sensation of somebody moving or sitting on the bed next to them at night. In music, people hear music from unseen instruments and radios that they can't figure out where it's coming from.


Rauel LaBreche  12:19  

Because there's almost a an aesthetic to that I'm not quite sure with the word but like a, a spiritual component, which makes complete sense. But when you talk about music, and you talk about children and the red eyes, I mean, there's there's some real I mean, red eyes right away make me think, okay, photograph for one because when you shine light into, you know that the eyes, they bounced back with that red. So is there something there in terms of the correlative of it, but it also, you tend to think of demonic things don't you with? At least that's a strong identification for me. But,


Shelley Mordini  12:57  

you know, I find that the music is an interesting, and there's a story we got in the book, and it's an occurred in January, and my friend was Jewish. So this is important part of this, because somebody is singing Christmas songs outside of her house in January. And she goes outside, can't find him, comes back in starts to do some more dishes. More Christmas music runs outside. Nobody there like to hear somebody singing. And she said it wasn't just a few seconds, a couple minutes of Christmas songs in January, outside a Jewish person's house.


Rauel LaBreche  13:39  

This is an irritating ghost. This is a ghost that obviously is trying to


Shelley Mordini  13:44  

or a sense of humor. Yeah.


Gwen Herrewig  13:46  

I suppose those are my favorite stories. The Phantom pranksters? Yeah, definitely out of all of them that we have. Those are the ones that just seem like they're messing with the person that


Rauel LaBreche  13:58  

is that kind of the idea to have poltergeist is that they're more mischief mischievous in their antics and things that they do, or is it is there a malevolence to poltergeists that


Shelley Mordini  14:08  

we haven't run across to him? Well, it


Gwen Herrewig  14:10  

was there was one family in town. Oh, yeah. I guess we had a poltergeist experience on mound Street. And this story was in hometown horror, which that show is so on. With its travel channel channel. And they came in they did a program an episode in Baraboo called Three Ring terror,


Rauel LaBreche  14:36  

free range. Three, three ring, three ring of course,  


Gwen Herrewig  14:41  

three ring terror. Yes. And they took stories that were really genuine stories from people that that we know. And we know of the stories they they even they talk to us they talk to people all over town, and they sensationalize A lot of the story they, they demonized the stories. And so this person who I know, I talked to her, and I know what her story is on mound Street, and it was a freaky story as it was. And then they, they took it a step further, and they made it a little bit more unbelievable. But basically what happened was they rented a house. They were, they were from Milwaukee, Oregon, they came here, I don't even know what for. But this was in I don't know, 2008. Ish. And they took my tour. And afterwards, she wants to know if we had heard anything about this particular house, because here's what happened. They started to notice that doors were opening on their own like this fine, open the front door, and then she closed it and lock it just fly fly open again, the TV would turn on in the middle of the night. Eventually, her daughter would wake up in the middle of the night with scratches on her body in places that she can't reach. And they would have to deal with it. Because you know, she'd be bleeding or something. And she was scared. And she was young. And they just, they just had to deal with it. And it eventually got to the point that they were all sleeping together in the master bedroom, scared until they got out of their lease and moved out of town. Of course, three ring terror, you know, made it like she was bleeding to death in the bed. You know, I mean, she they made it, look, they made it look really bad. And they took the mound street portion of that and ran with it with the effigy mounds that used to be fair, and just made assumptions in places that we can't make assumptions.


Rauel LaBreche  16:47  

Kind of normal, isn't it? Well, media can't quite just let the story speak for itself, they have to really get the ratings up there.


Gwen Herrewig  16:55  

So in some, in a lot of cases, Shelley and I attempted to correct the stories, put them in writing. We talked to everybody except for that lady she i i wasn't able to connect with her. But I do mention the story briefly at the beginning of the private residences section. But we interviewed everybody and got the whole story. And in Harvey tried to


Rauel LaBreche  17:22  

rest of the story, right. Okay. That's what this is all about the rest of the story. So I find that really appeals to me as being a really respectful way of handling this that you don't, it's not ours to embellish. It's ours to record and present the information and let people evaluate it. Right.


Gwen Herrewig  17:43  

Well, and sometimes that means the story just isn't as good as the other one, you know, or some are better than others, but that it's what happened. And I can only make it as good as the story was right.


Rauel LaBreche  17:57  

Well, and there's enough things I mean, I you know, as I said in the first episode, I did not get through the whole thing, but I can guarantee you folks, there's enough in the stories as they are, you don't need to embellish to get the you know, Heebie Jeebies and, you know, spine tingling feelings that come along with a true ghost story, you know. So, I guess I don't quite understand that need to sensationalize things, because what it does is discredit the entire experience in my mind or our community.


Gwen Herrewig  18:30  

I mean, because nobody's afraid to go into the Ringling theatre. Why while we know that there are ghosts, and some of them are pretty mischievious and a little dark, you know, nobody's scared to go in a beautiful place


Rauel LaBreche  18:43  

and burn it down. But you know, students care and so on some of the places like the right building, you know, has a really, almost, I'd say a regular appearance or issues. Yes. In some of the houses that you've talked about, and they multiple residents, right have recounted the same experience. So and that could either, you know, enhance its value on the market or, you know, take away from its, I guess, a lot of cases of people don't even want to talk about those things they're afraid of will affect the resale value. Yes. in a negative way, right. Yes.


Gwen Herrewig  19:16  

So we identified the street in which the person lived on but not the house number. In a lot of cases, we didn't identify the person sure either.


Rauel LaBreche  19:25  

Sure. Which Yeah, me  


Shelley Mordini  19:27  

small town, they'll figure it out.


Rauel LaBreche  19:29  

And you don't want to have a Looney Tunes come in. It'll make it worse than it already is. Yes.


Gwen Herrewig  19:34  

So especially if there's kids walking through their yard in the middle of the night. Yeah, right.


Rauel LaBreche  19:37  

You know, knocking on the door is trying to freak you out more. So, folks, I'm talking with co authors of a new book called haunted Baraboo Shelley Moore, Dini and Gwen Herwig are here, recounting ghost stories in a very real way. We're gonna take another quick break to hear a word from our sponsors. And when we come back, try to wrap up some of the favorite stories. The favorite the really kind of transformative events that both of these ladies had in the writing of this book because I, I have to believe that there are particular ones that just really hit home with you both. And I also want to ask some questions about some of the really big like Baraboo Inn in the old Barsboo and seems like one you kind of have to talk about. I've been there's a reason maybe why it was at the right at the beginning of the book, too. So but we're going to do all that. So don't go anywhere. We'll take a quick break to hear word from our sponsors and come back and give you the real story. The other side of the story as Paul Harvey would have said, The Haunted bear boo, that we all know about here in this area at least. And we hope you'll buy the book and find out about it too, because there's a there's some pretty scary the is going on here unbearable. Right? So we'll be right back on 99 Seven Max FM's digital network and frame of reference.


While we're back here with authors Shelley Moore, Dini and Gwen Herwig, talking about a new book onto bear boo, which is part of a series of books called haunted America, put out by Arcadia press. Did you say yes, so those of you that love ghost stories that want to know more about those things that we can't quite explain, that are beyond our normal sensory experiences, probably and, and yet, we do see things we hear things. So they're impacting us in a way that they can or means that they can. But I saw before we took a break, I kind of prepped both of you to say I wanted to talk about your favorite story. And, and I'm going to pull it back and give you a little more time to think and tell you my favorite story. And I you know, I didn't read the whole thing. So I'm probably going to find that oh, God, I wish I would have read this one yet and talk about it. But maybe you will. But it was about the old bear Boo in. And I think what intrigued me about that story is not only the volume of stories that there are the you know, it's a pretty lengthy chapter because there's so much information there. But also because it was interesting, it seems to me an interesting environment for helping nonbelievers to have something an experience where they can't quite explain what happened and be like I you know, I don't know how else to explain this, except it was not normal, whatever that is, right. So what did you find that you talked with the current owner? And tell us a little bit about the happenings at old bear blue and white? Is that such a special story?


Gwen Herrewig  23:08  

Sure. Yeah. We talked to the current owner, his name is BC Farr. And the chapter really follows him through his experiences there. And it starts all the way back with when he first bought the building that we tell some history about you know, it used to be


Rauel LaBreche  23:29  

the vendor hotel


Gwen Herrewig  23:30  

vendor hotel, thank you


Rauel LaBreche  23:32  

back when there were like breweries and whatnot in the area, right. And then


Shelley Mordini  23:35  

like in the train came right across the street, you know, so that was the closest place to the train station. Okay.


Gwen Herrewig  23:41  

Right. So in then DC bought it in the late 90s and started working and he had been fairly dilapidated. It was fire had gone through. And at the time that he bought it, I believe it was just being used for storage. And so he started to fix it up to turn it back into a bar. And he almost immediately started noticing strange things happening. And he thought he was going crazy. Because things weren't where he left them lights are on when he turned them off. They had a guy working with them and they started blaming each other. But when he actually finally came out, when it came out that it was haunted enough people had gone there and had enough experiences. People thanked him who had worked in the building and years past. Oh, thank goodness you finally are saying something because they were unable to say anything before even though back when it was Dombroski, as they would have strange things happening to this didn't just suddenly appear when BC bought the building. People who had been there for decades had strange experiences inside


Rauel LaBreche  24:45  

sure when he makes an interesting comment in it that he said for the most part and I'm paraphrasing this piece but for the most part, it seemed like the whatever spirits were there had kind of a good vibe like a party vibe is good in there. bars, bars, eternal party, you know, whatever. So, but there was he said maybe 95% or so were of that nature, but there was a 5% or so that had a real dark quality to them. How does that work? How does that look? I mean, in terms of his experiences,


Gwen Herrewig  25:17  

it seems like the darker the darker side is the side that people feel like they're going to get hurt. Or they feel unsafe. Somebody getting pushed down the stairs, there was an example. He I think hyper extended his elbow one time when he got hit by an orb that was going through was that your general


Shelley Mordini  25:43  

and in but, but there was also a spirit you know, in the story talks about a guy who was carrying up like two cases of beer upstairs. And you know, he could have a different spirit could I gave him a push backwards, but something gave him a push forward and helped him wrap the steps sort


Gwen Herrewig  25:58  

of similar toward the end of the story. Somebody was staying in their haunted suite, they have a furnished haunted sweep that anybody can rent in stay the night. Get in on the action of that the second story, but somebody stayed there one night, and when he was getting up to go to bed, as he was as he went to stand up, he felt the pressure on his chest that made him stay where he was. A moment later, the chandelier in the ceiling crashed to the floor in a big spray of flashing light and the breaker broke and he was all freaked out. And he stood on the road in front of the old caribou and for half an hour. And he had to be talked into going back in the bed because all the other hotels in the in the area were better the night.


Rauel LaBreche  26:51  

interesting too, because he was actually he should be thankful, you know that whatever something pushed him back and said, Hey, do don't move right.


Gwen Herrewig  26:59  

Well, in this weird thing about the chandelier is that it was it was almost like it was a yank out. The screw was stripped. Everything that was up was stripped and the wires had just everything had just broken and it all came down. So you wonder


Rauel LaBreche  27:15  

if there weren't actually two different forces that work there. Right? Yeah, one that was just like, attractive. Right? Yeah. Lord knows there's enough of that in the real world, too. So was in he also talked about a story of a Salesman, right, that came through tell a side story, because that one I found particularly humorous.


Gwen Herrewig  27:34  

Those are funny that people so the old bear Boo in calls it getting ghost bombed when when a non believer comes in, and then they have a personal experience inside the bar, and they become a believer. It's called Getting ghost bombed at the old bear ruin. And for whatever reason, it seems like the ghosts rise to this occasion of people coming in saying they don't believe you. Yes, yes. So there was a delivery man that came in. And he was saying that he didn't believe in ghosts. And it was all just a gimmick. And he he got hit upside the head by something. And then he got hit again. And and he took his hat off. And he went to go out the back door. And he heard a disembodied voice saying, well, I'll be seeing you later, buddy. And he never came back.


Rauel LaBreche  28:20  

That'd be a great way to get rid of a Salesman because it's hard to get rid of them sometimes. Right? So surely, what about you? Was there what story really kind of you and you had more experience or I mean, you've been talking through these stories for a long time, we


Shelley Mordini  28:36  

had quite a few experiences. Like when we originally started with Glenn and I, we didn't want it to be the Glenn and Shelley show, you know, we wanted to have other people's experience. Well, this is the Glenn and Shelley show. And we could easily fill a cup your next couple of weeks for you if you needed to.


Rauel LaBreche  28:50  

So programming for me to worry about.


Shelley Mordini  28:54  

But I really liked the story about the Al ranglin theater, there's quite a few different ones in there. But the one that kind of intrigues me and makes me laugh a little bit is about was told to us by Cory Griffin, you know, moved to California lucky Cory. And it was during beauty in the beast. And while they were doing they were getting the set set up, and the builder was there with his daughter, and he was working on and she you know, was standing in the middle of the stage waving. And he'd be like, Who are you waving to? Oh, the man. I'm waving to the man. And he'd be like, alright, yeah, go back and keep on working. And she'd smile and was dancing around and doing some waving. And then finally when they go to leave, they're exiting the building and she turns to the right there and there's a large picture of Al ranglin And she's like, Oh, Dad, that's the man I've been waving to. So you know, how ringland Still in the


Rauel LaBreche  29:48  

house. Well, he certainly invested a lot in that building right in this


Shelley Mordini  29:53  

community. You know, he was a lover of barebow loved barebow supported bearable wanted. I mean, we have their library As a family have the theater because of him, you know, he encouraged his brothers to set up shop here, you know, like he loved bearable.


Rauel LaBreche  30:08  

So in the first segment of this, I always start off this show with my favorite things is do you have a, I guess I'm going to call it favorite, do you have a favorite way of thinking of ghosts? That helps you to make sense of it? You know, because I think, you know, people struggle with the idea of, I don't know how to explain this. And because I don't know how to explain it, it can't really be real, or you know, I don't know, and they kind of blow it off. But, I mean, if you're embracing this subject in a way that a lot of people don't few people do. Do you have a is there a way that you've come to kind of grasp it or, you know, embrace it, that you might share with people. And I think of it as a favorite way to think about ghosts as a result of having gone through this,


Shelley Mordini  30:55  

I still go back to Gwen's original quote, she said, you know, we're, if you stay in the ghost country long enough, you will have an experience. If you keep giving haunted to, you're going to have an experience. And, and I think that, you know, as we said, we are interviewing people, I think that when people start to say, you had an experience, and you do and go, Oh, you're crazy, let me sign you up for the asylum. And I give them a chance to be able to voice their story. People are very thankful for that, like, you know, thank you for telling me that I'm not crazy that somebody sat on my bed at night, or heard these voices. Like, I think people need a place to vent about those things, and not feel judged. So I think we do that.


Gwen Herrewig  31:39  

Well, and just because we are in this type of position doesn't mean we always believe everything that we hear, right? So for me, I started giving the tours about the same time I started meditating, and really focusing on my own spirit, my own spirit. And so like, I've started to be able to identify a little bit more with like, quote, unquote, spirit, more so. But the cone amici light craft bar is my story that happened to me, I didn't, I didn't really believe that they were that the ghost was in there. And I would give tours. At the time I was giving a spirit walk, which started at the distillery. And they would they would do those spirits in there. And then I would give them a haunted walk up to the wine bar, where they would do some more spirits, telling ghost stories in between and while we're there, and they have a spirit attached to their building, which who we think is Otto Luthor, the son of John Luther, who owned the Luther saloon back in the 1880s.


Rauel LaBreche  32:51  

There's quite a few pictures of that soon because it was so obviously it was a pretty important place in town for people to have photographed as many times as they did with the palm room and right palm


Gwen Herrewig  33:01  

room in the palm room was still there. That's the most interesting part is when the current owners, the previous owners, when it was the country, issue winebar. When they came in the remodel to turn it back into a bar, they found the original murals in the palm room, and they left them and so so the back room where the palm garden was, is pretty authentic, except the palm trees are no longer there.


Rauel LaBreche  33:24  

We need to get palm trees. Right. Right. So


Gwen Herrewig  33:27  

I would give these tours. But the story of Otto Luthor was not our strongest story because it was more of a sense, people would feel that he was in the bar, but it's not like he was throwing wine glasses off the bar or, you know, doing any kind of shenanigans where you can't see him. People just sensed him thought he was there might have heard a noise. Just never felt right. And so sometimes I would leave the story out in favor of other more colorful stories around town that I knew and I would tell. So when I have a woman who had a sensitivity came in, and she saw my shirt, I had this big got ghosts shirt on, and she wanted to know what we were what I did, and I told her gave 100 tours, and she asked only if the bar had a ghost attached to it. And I said yes, because honestly, I still didn't really believe it. And in she said that she wanted to tell me what I was getting. So that she wanted to tell me what she was picking up from the bar so that I could tell her whether or not she was crazy, because she couldn't go to a psychiatrist and tell them that she is able to pick up all this stuff from a room that I got some ads for that, right? Yes. And so she sat down and she described them she said he's wearing wingtip shoes. He has a suit and a hat and she said Make no mistake, this is still his bar. He's here all the time. He likes it here. He likes the people. And, and we and we went on, I took her to the back room, and she pointed out where the fire was either. There was an explosion that was from a gas leak that caused him to die a day before his 18th birthday. And he drew her attention to where we understand the explosion happened. And he said that he comes into that back room, the palm garden area to remember, this is where he feels most at home. And by the end of her conversation, she said that he had a message for me. And I was like, wow, that's really neat. And, and she said that he always kind of got the feeling that I didn't really believe he was there. And he was hoping that based on what I learned, I could step up my explanation of him and provide a better story.


Rauel LaBreche  36:00  

Isn't that interesting that there would be that much cognizance, I guess, and then reaction? Yeah. Awareness. Yeah, yeah. And even a desire to kind of assist with, you know, helping you to a better understanding. I mean, that's a really, you think about there's a mindfulness and weigh in, right. Every time I talk about this subject matter with anybody, I always think of, I think it's Einstein, who was quoted as a, the brain that he was in saying, you know, energy cannot we know, energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change its form. So you know, that and that led to some not so good things, but also leads you to think about, well, our souls, our spirit, the energy that makes us who we are, it can't be destroyed. I mean, it just if you apply physics to it, it can't be destroyed, it can only be transformed. So there's like the part of me that's wondering, well, maybe that's what this is all about. You know, it's just the transformation that and some of us for whatever reasons, stay in certain places and manifest in certain ways. With I love that another thing about the old bear boo Yan was the whole idea of, you know, whiskey bottles being thrown off of the shelves and the balloon following them around the bar, you know, just all those things where it's like, Well, isn't that a playful spirit? I'm going to get you to see a dad doing that with a little kid or something. Right? So, okay, I want to go through I'm just going to do this kind of rapid fire. So and if I get to one, I want you to just stop and say if there's something really there that you want to know, I don't want to ruin the book for people, but I want to give them just enough to make that I got to read that story. Okay, so here's some I'll throw these out here.


Shelley Mordini  37:38  

Ghost Train. Oh, fantastic. Okay, love that one. Okay, that's a bit less by the train that's by train station depot and it comes all the time.


Rauel LaBreche  37:47  

So is it an auditory thing so you can hear the traffic lights will


Shelley Mordini  37:51  

go off and like a train is there and then lights go off and back on and then you can cross that center and


Gwen Herrewig  37:58  

PC believes that his place at the old bear Boo in that the he gets an influx of, of ghosts from the ghost train at times, people are still getting off.


Rauel LaBreche  38:08  

And getting off can mean different things. Yes. Okay. How about this one? Just I love the title of this one. The untimely death of Alberta gol Mar


Shelley Mordini  38:20  

Oh, that is actually a dot a documented murder that took place here in Baraboo. Okay. And we document it because the house that it's in, has some experiences and not so much from the murder. I think I talked about how there was the Christmas songs that that was the house that it was at. And Alberta Glomar was Charles Kumar's wife and she they were great circus people and had this small little stuck Sears and Roebuck home that they built and then she was unfortunately murdered in the house by a person a vagrant that she had let live in the basement and but that's not who wants it. Okay, yeah, now it's other other


Rauel LaBreche  39:02  

people are thinking right was there a goal Mar circus at one point was so called


Shelley Mordini  39:07  

Mars are first cousins to the Ringling Brothers. And the Ringling Brothers really wanted them to be circus people. So then they could hand off their second hand equipment and we don't want this act to go over to my cousin's over there.


Rauel LaBreche  39:20  

Here's our throwaway. It's like they should call him the same Vinnie to Paul circus. So and there's a whole section on circus spirits keeping the spirit alive. circus world museums St. Mary's Ringling hospital. That's


Shelley Mordini  39:33  

a great one. Yeah, Glen did the history on that one and that one? Fantastic. Yeah,


Gwen Herrewig  39:39  

yeah, that one was an actual ghost hunt. We we talked to the Sauk County paranormal paranormal and


Rauel LaBreche  39:47  

there's this I'm learning.


Gwen Herrewig  39:49  

Yeah, yeah. And that was the only that was the only actual ghost hunt. I think that we talked to them. Okay. Interviewed. Okay,


Rauel LaBreche  39:57  

what happens on a ghost hunter you're so you're actually So


Shelley Mordini  40:00  

while I was there with them when they set up and what they did, they brought in generators. And they came in about two or three in the afternoon and really wired the place for electricity because of course, there's nothing in there. And then went until like two or three in the morning doing and had multiple experiences


Rauel LaBreche  40:17  

that they'll set up like the infrared EVPs and


Shelley Mordini  40:21  

cameras, but by the time you know, they ended up by two in the morning generators dead, all phones were done, and that's when they probably had their biggest psychic experience, or


Rauel LaBreche  40:32  

was that described in the book? Get the book to read that one? Sorry. Um, I'm in Ghost wolves. You and I talked about that.


Shelley Mordini  40:41  

Like that is the most reported story in Baraboo. Like more people experience the goat the calling of the wolf than any other anybody else.


Rauel LaBreche  40:52  

And that goes back even if there's another book that I remember reading about that goes back to the the Native American peoples that were in the area, they have stories of the the Phantom wolves and the calls of


Shelley Mordini  41:05  

the wolves all in the wolf 50 Wolves calling Okay,


Rauel LaBreche  41:09  

so there's some seriously hungry or whatever was out there. Spirit warriors.


Shelley Mordini  41:15  

That was Glenn's? Yeah.  


Gwen Herrewig  41:17  

Yeah, that one is based on people's stories, who, who see either shadows or actual apparitions of native people in in the woods. And they're either practicing their ritual rituals, or you dancing around bonfires, at different things. But whenever it comes time to actually try to get close and see them they disappear.


Rauel LaBreche  41:45  

Okay, why and I think I remember another book talking about Devils Lake has quite a bit of paranormal activity, a canoeist Native American canoes that appears fairly regularly. And so things of that nature. Okay, so that's the part three is pre Baraboo. So that's where you touch on some of the park for private residences. So we talked about the lady of the house,


Gwen Herrewig  42:07  

those are some of my favorite stories to residents in the Phantom radio,


Rauel LaBreche  42:11  

oh, radio podcast, we need to talk about the Phantom radio. And this


Shelley Mordini  42:17  

is one of my friends had her name change to do this, but she told this story about living in this house and radio going off in the middle of the night. And it said, some you know, I'm not gonna say because there's some very specific names that the radio said. And it said so and so died at this age. She woke up and was like, Who was that? But the interesting part was, it wasn't her radio. You know, it was she thought it was from her mom's room. She went over there, open up the door, mom's sleeping, not there. But it was a trickster. You know, she finally one I just said I had enough, you know, I need to sleep, and then was able to sleep. And then just before she woke up in the morning, she heard the raspberries in our ear before. Yes, and just saying, hey, finally, you know, I won't bother you, but I'm going to do this instead. And then she didn't have any other experiences after that. That's


Rauel LaBreche  43:12  

enough. respectfulness on the go sparked release.


Shelley Mordini  43:14  

I think that if they're bothering you, sometimes you can tell them stop and it's like a teenager knock it off. Yeah, yeah.


Rauel LaBreche  43:20  

Well, I mean, let's say, even biblically, David would tell God off periodically. So there's some good things for that. How about the wandering spirit?


Gwen Herrewig  43:29  

Oh, that one. You know, when we were talking to people, we decided to lump four stories into one because they were all very similar. For different people described a short spirit, two people saw it as a shadow. And two people saw it as a little boy but it was three feet high, roughly. And it was seen inside multiple homes on East and Fifth Street. And so the story basically explains all the different experiences that they had with this particular kind of spirit in in a couple that the two shadow spirit stories are similar in that the person who saw it passed out like went went to sleep immediately as they started to approach it. And the other two who saw it saw who saw the little boy described the boy similarly and so I don't know if it's the same spirit are not but they are oddly similar.


Rauel LaBreche  44:33  

Okay, so enough commonality there to want to group them together. What about the this one I think I know a little while know that that's later on. The one that I made me kind of think was, someone is in the house. I like the fact that that's that to me right away is like, doesn't sound because when you're when someone's in your house, that's a terrifying thing right from the get go. Right? So that that title to me seems to be one of those verses. Was it scary? Is that a scarier story or just


Gwen Herrewig  45:05  

that was one that in a woman whose husband died, started to realize that there was somebody else in the house with her. I mean, it was obvious at one point that, you know, she just didn't feel comfortable. And so they got her kids got her a chime, that that would go off if somebody enters the back door. And so then it started going off in the middle of the night. But nobody was there. Of course, it never went off in the middle of the day when she was awake. It was only at night  


Rauel LaBreche  45:43  

and there's nothing scary about that.


Gwen Herrewig  45:45  

When it happened when it was snowing outside, and there was no water coming in through the door, and you know, footsteps, his time was just going off, she couldn't figure it out. And let me just say that that is similar to all the businesses that I talked to that actually had a movement detector in alarm system, that they struggle to keep their ghosts from tripping their alarms all Nightline interested in the Al Ringling mansion, the library, the Circus circus library,


Shelley Mordini  46:19  

so like want to go off at the old bear boomin. And then 17 minutes later, we'll go off at the Parkinson library. And like the like the police will call up and say, hey, get ready. We'll meet you over there. He's coming. Yeah, man. And it's like, calmer. Oh, it's time. We'll see you there. You know, like no big deal. Just to go setting off alarms in the middle of night, and it's no big deal.


Rauel LaBreche  46:44  

That tells you something about bearable. Yeah. Yeah, Oliver. So one last one, just because this is one I'm familiar with. And it still makes me go. But it's the old highway 12 hitchhiker. I love that. I love that story, because that's another one where repeatedly occurs kind of the same place, but people have the same experience that have no connection with one another. I mean, these are travelers often from other areas, or whatnot. And they see pretty much the same thing.


Shelley Mordini  47:17  

And we had a unique mix in ethic, it's in the book here with one of our tour guides Jacob. And during COVID He among his friends had nothing to do so they were driving around in what he called an ancient car. And for us, you know, we're all kind of the same age, it's the car where you can lift up the locks and put them down their manuals, the ancient, the windows, the ancient car,


Rauel LaBreche  47:41  

crank and window that was actually in one of those internet tests where they're like, if you can identify what this thing is, you're a genius. Oh, thank you.


Shelley Mordini  47:49  

That's so weird genius, right? Yeah, so they were driving around and, and as they were coming down 12, of course, old 12 dead ends. And they were outside of Menards and driving past it. And they see a man on the side of the road just like the highway 12 man. And Jacob starts to tell the story to everyone. And they get to the end of highway 12 Which dead ends and they stopped so we can finish. And as he stops all for the locks unlock in the car. So it took them less than two minutes to get back to bearable but it's still going on.


Rauel LaBreche  48:24  

That's that's our goes to that. If you have to, you can actually I think find this one on the internet because it's been so prevalent, but that man appears you'll see him on the road and then miles down the road see him again. There are instances where he'll actually you'll stop for him and he'll get it the car door will open but then no one gets in there. You know there's breathing on windows in the middle of the winter that don't have any you know, steam to them. There's all kinds of facets to that story that really kind of makes that like oh, the highway 12 hitchhiker. Right everybody seems like everybody has a story about


Gwen Herrewig  48:56  

even my grandma said that she had heard about the highway 12 Hitchhiker decades ago Yeah, it's been around for a long time


Rauel LaBreche  49:04  

doesn't he often have like either a green like army army


Shelley Mordini  49:07  

jacket dark hair very for Lauren's look, backpack.


Rauel LaBreche  49:11  

Yeah. So you gotta wonder what happened to that person. It really hasn't been identified as a specific person


Shelley Mordini  49:18  

now and we haven't really found any stories of you know, Army vet killed on the side of the road. Right? Yeah, right. Find any of that do there


Rauel LaBreche  49:25  

maybe just really loved that is a beautiful part of the road. Yes, particularly even better. The wolves are crawling. Great place and the train's coming in. Grant your show. I can't thank you enough for spending some time really delving into the book. It is available on Amazon,


Gwen Herrewig  49:46  

Barnes and Noble and any bookstore.


Rauel LaBreche  49:49  

So if you're in the area and you want to just learn something about who put the Boo in Baraboo This is a must read. But if you just are torn, torn to the Stuart are drawn to those kinds of stories. I really appreciate the fact that it's very respectfully written, you're not sensationalizing things. You're just telling stories the way they are and letting people make up their own minds about whether you believe or you don't believe it's just like, well, you know, the what is it Shakespeare says the universe is not only queer than we imagined, it's clearer than we can imagine. So if we can just accept the possibility that you know what I don't, I don't have a way to explain this. And that's okay. Yeah. I don't need to explain it, I just need to accept that this is part of the human experience. And we do that with all kinds of things. Right. It's considered, you know, my God, why can't you be more open minded? You know, when you start talking about these sorts of things, it's like, close that mind. Right. So any parting words of wisdom for anyone that has an experience like this? Are there things that you think are important for those people?


Shelley Mordini  50:55  

We're still collecting stories? So you can contact us at barebow tours? Go on to our website? Where have our email there, our phone number? You know, we're looking to see what our next adventure is? And you know, and I joke around with the podcast, but not really, yeah, what some were kind of thinking about,


Rauel LaBreche  51:13  

not a bad thing, interview people that are willing to come on and talk about their experiences. So anything grinding, either like words of wisdom or just comfort that you would say to somebody that's had an experience, and


Gwen Herrewig  51:28  

I tell them to talk about it, because there are plenty of people out there who also had a similar experience who are willing to talk, even though maybe the first person you told, laughed at you and didn't believe it. Either. There's plenty of there's plenty of people who had experiences and even some that, that don't believe, have had experiences that they can't explain.


Rauel LaBreche  51:52  

Sure, when it's interesting, because it's, this is an experience that we, we love to be afraid we love to be scared by a good ghost story, right? I mean, think of the number of campfires that people gather around and she's like, Oh, I got a better one than that. Set it up. And we you know, if it's, you know, groups of older kids with younger kids, they purposely try to scare the Geminis out of the younger ones, right? That's just kind of part of our nature. And yet, we get to be adults. And there are these things that really happened to us that we can't, you know, like, was I asleep? Was I awake? Was I you know, on drugs? What was going on there that I you know, had that experience? And then you have the, the fear that goes along with that? How do I explain this, I'm afraid to even talk about this, because it's, it's going to be read, I mean, met with ridicule, or it's going to be, you know, they're just not going to do anything. I'm crazy and blah, blah, blah. So it's like, it's like pent up, I can't talk about this. And it would be it's already scary enough for me to have endured it but then to be the to have to endure what might go along with it ridicule or whatever. So, well, thank you for being courageous, both of you for being courageous enough to say, no, these stories have to be told, you know, and we'll put them in writing. We'll go on record. You know, we'll write them the way they are. We're not gonna like try to sell Discovery Channel on you know, the next ghost series, you're gonna do us right. I appreciate


Shelley Mordini  53:11  

that. Well, we thank you for having us on. Thank you a great chance to talk about the thing we'd love doing


Rauel LaBreche  53:16  

well. That's what we all that's what this shows all about it. Let's change our frame of reference of how we look at haunted bear boo, baby, right. Yeah. So if we can do that we've done good work for today. So Well, folks, I'll be right back with our closing thoughts. I have my guest today and Shelley Moore, Dini and Gwen Herwig who have written a fantastic book for those of you that are interested in ghost hunting or just learning about something you don't know anything about. The back of it says Explore the supernatural history of circus city. So this is definitely a book that's all about exploration part of the series by Arcadius press called haunted America, I urge you to get on to Barnes and Nobles and onto Amazon or wherever else you want to go to look for books and see if you can't find it because it's a good read. And well worth the money. I will say I'm going I'm supporting you right there.


Shelley Mordini  54:03  

Thank you. Thank you and you're coming on a historic walking tour.


Rauel LaBreche  54:06  

I am gonna be there so you can we have a couple of ghost stories. Oh, interesting. Okay, so thanks for joining. We'll be right back here on 99 Seven Max FM with our closing thoughts.  


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Rauel LaBreche  54:55  

And there you have it. The completion of my Halloween special Interview with Shelley Mordini and Gwen Herewig. You know, when I think about ghost stories, I go back to my childhood. And remember getting a copy of Disney's thrilling chilling the sounds of the haunted house. I remember hearing this and this just like it was yesterday, and I remember how much my mom loved, I mean, absolutely loved ghost stories, not just the romantic ones like the ghost and Mrs. Muir, but also the really terrifying ones. At least for me as a young teenager, like Poltergeist, she seemed to really enjoy being startled and jumping up and gasping. She was drawn like a moth to a light to horror, and the intense feelings of fear and shock that go with it. So what is it that causes our obsession with horror films? Are we addicted to the chemical interaction that happens in our brains when we get scared? Or is there some sort of unconscious connection to our own death that pulls us toward horrific situations, even as we want to run away? It sure seems like that might be the case from the way those actors always walk into those scary places. While we all yell Don't go in there, you idiot. And yet, they always do. It seems to me that we need a frame of reference that helps us know and explore ourselves as we take those ghost walks. To figure out what compels us to go walk into scary places without turning on a light and go face to face with things we don't understand. And then arrogantly taunt them to scare us. At least we should develop the skill or habit to think first in those situations where death could be around any corner and intended next time. I beat you a Jew. I had to do my bad Boris Karloff impersonation at least once. And don't forget. If you have suggestions or questions, visit us at www for sohc.com Stay well


Transcribed by https://otter.ai



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