Tracking Down the Haunted Tallmann House of Horicon, Wisconsin

By on June 29, 2015

Tracking down the Tallmann house in Horicon, Wisconsin, which made headlines in 1988 for the story of a family tormented by a haunted bunk bed.
The haunted Tallmann house in Horicon, Wisconsin
Tallmann house, Horicon, WI – June, 2015 via Cult of Weird on Instagram

The Haunted Tallmann House

Earlier this month I shared the story of the haunted bunk beds in Wisconsin. Well, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hunt for the notorious Tallmann house while passing through Horicon for a family wedding over the weekend.

The articles I found during my first round of research did not provide an address, only that it was on Larabee Street. Originally, the exact location had been kept secret. It wasn’t until threats of arson that the chief of police decided to release the address in order to keep nearby homes and families safe.

But that address didn’t seem to make it into any of the original reports that are currently available, so I resorted to Google Maps.

Larabee, it turns out, is a short street with few homes that match the architecture of the Tallmann house. It didn’t take long to pinpoint a contender from satellite view.

A five minute detour from our route to the wedding had us idling suspiciously in front of the infamous house while my kids grumbled in the back about how Dad always has to stop and take pictures of stuff.

One end of the street dead ends at a long line of rusted Amtrak passenger train cars. Spray paint graffiti on the side reads “Horicon homeless shelter.” On the other end is the small, unassuming ranch home with cream-colored siding and wood paneling that was once plastered across television screens and newspapers.

It is an unlikely location for a haunting of Hollywood proportions. Nevertheless, the Horicon haunted house gained quite a bit of notoriety for a series of mysterious phenomena as menacing as anything depicted in Poltergeist or The Amityville Horror.

Hysteria in Horicon

In 1988, the Tallmann family fled their home after nine horrific months of torment by an evil entity seemingly connected to a bunk bed they had recently purchased second hand. Frightening visions of a haggard old woman, fire, ghostly mists and demonic death threats pushed the family to the fringes of their sanity until, finally, they packed some bags and escaped the nightmare on the night of January 11th.

By the end of the week the town was already whispering about bleeding walls, a hole to Hell in the basement, and a ghost-powered snowblower that cleaned the driveway on its own. The media quickly descended on the otherwise sleepy neighborhood, along with hordes of curious thrill seekers.

In the April 1988 edition of The Quill, Barret J. Brunsman wrote:

Ghost rumors had swept through the crowd at the Friday night basketball game at the local high school. Hundreds of cars swept down Larabee Street past the Tallman home. People walked through the yards of the other nine houses on the block, climbing over fences, peering into windows.

Drunks showed up — they weren’t afraid of no ghosts. They tried the doors and windows of the Tallmann home, intent on getting inside to prove their bravery.

When the police ordered the drunks and gawkers to stay away from the house, a few would-be ghostbusters told the cops to “go to hell.”

Arrests for disorderly conduct were made; the street was barricaded.

While there seems to be nothing written about how the story originally began circulating, it is worth noting that, unlike other famous hauntings (*cough* Amityville) the Tallmann family did not seek out media attention and money. They were hiding from the press. After talking to the family and becoming convinced of their sincerity, police chief Douglas Glamann was intent on protecting them, as well.

Eventually, though, it was Glamann who talked the Tallmanns into speaking with the press in order to dispel rumors and end the chaos. He found trust in a reporter by the name of James B. Nelson from the Milwaukee Sentinel, with whom the family agreed to share their story.

The Tallmann House on Unsolved Mysteries

It wasn’t long before the Unsolved Mysteries crew rolled into town to shoot a story on the haunted bunk bed. They filmed on location inside the house with permission from the new owners.

Horicon haunted house where the Tallmann family lived
The Tallmann house on Unsolved Mysteries, 1988

The Tallman House episode aired on October 26th, 1988.

Now, almost 30 years later, there is no evidence whatsoever of the the hysteria that once gripped Larabee Street. Comments on the original article have expressed doubt over the Tallmanns’ story, and claim the current owners of the house have never experienced anything out of the ordinary.

But what became of the bunk bed?

Nelson wrote in a February 19th, 1988 article for the Sentinel that the family had buried it in a private landfill in the Horicon area where they felt no one was likely to build a house.

The exact location remains unknown.

Maybe someday a house will be built over it and awaken whatever evil lurks beneath.

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  1. DJ

    November 29, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    I lived across the street from this house when this hysteria broke. It was nothing. It was completely and totally over-sensationalized. I remember all the traffic, roadblocks, TV cameras, and the UNSOLVED MYSTERIES program. I remember watching every night to try to see ANYTHING supernatural. There was Nothing. What happened in the house I cannot speak for. But This was a complete scam in my opinion.

    • Josh

      August 29, 2016 at 10:31 pm

      I currently work with Mr. Tallman. We were all told when hired to never bring up anything regarding the incident at that house .

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