Tracking Down the Haunted Tallmann House of Horicon, Wisconsin

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
The Tallmann house in Horicon, WI

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 released 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 architecturally similar to the Tallmann house as seen in the Unsolved Mysteries segment. It didn’t take long to pinpoint a contender from satellite view.

Recent: Lost photos from the haunted Tallmann house discovered

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 quiet street dead ends at a long line of rusted Amtrak passenger train cars with the words “Horicon homeless shelter” spray painted on the side. 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 what seemed to be an evil entity 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 whispering about bleeding walls, a hole to Hell in the basement, and an apparently ghost-powered snowblower that cleaned the driveway all by itself. 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 it’s unclear how the community first learned of the family’s experiences, it is worth noting that the Tallmann family did not seek out media attention. 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.

In the absence of facts, the media sensationalized the haunting and regurgitated the gossip circulating around town. Eventually, Glamann talked the Tallmanns into speaking with the press in order to dispel rumors and, hopefully, put an end to the unruly mobs on Larabee Street. He met with journalist James B. Nelson from the Milwaukee Sentinel, who was more interested in writing an article about a genuinely troubled family than exploiting a ghost story.

The family agreed to talk to him.

Tallmann House Unsolved Mysteries Episode

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

The producers of Unsolved Mysteries, then a brand new television series in it’s first season, soon caught wind of the story. It wasn’t long before a film crew rolled into town to shoot a segment on the haunted bunk bed. They hired local talent for the dramatic reenactments, and filmed on location inside the house with permission from the new owners.

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

Notably, the segment was not included when the series was released to stream on Amazon in 2017. A Reddit AMA with series creators Terry Dunn Meurer and John Cosgrove helped shed some light on why it may have been excluded.

One fan on Reddit asked, “Can you help me understand what happens behind the scenes that would prompt you to remove individual segments?”

Meurer and Cosgrove responded:

We have a legal staff that keeps track of the cases to make sure that we do not infringe on anyone’s rights. Sometimes a statute of limitations on a case has passed. We always try to be as respectful as we can be to the people who were featured in the segments.

What happened to 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.

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

This post was updated on January 3, 2018

16 replies
  1. Avatar
    Danona says:

    Charlie Hintz….there is a Hintz family across the street from this house…they live there today….and lived there when tjis happened…..

  2. Avatar
    Annonymous says:

    I worked on this house, and my father was the leader of the builders association that built the 10 homes as a”Self-Help Housing Project”. 10 families built 10 homes, and when all were done, all the families moved in. My mother babysat for the Tallman’s and shared some interesting stories with me that I absolutely believe.

      • Avatar
        Mike says:

        I know the family that lived there after you guys. It was still haunted throught the 90’s. We seen a woman in there one weekend in probably 94′ ish.. we seen an old woman staring at us through the garage window.. before we knew about the story. We heard the beds were burned and buried in the woods on Valley?

  3. Avatar
    Mike says:

    They weren’t victims of the Devil as the Pastor said…I would figure the last thing the Devil wants to do is scare you…just mean ghosts.

  4. Avatar
    Melissa goeschel says:

    My father help build that block we lived at 416 larabee st right across the street my mom baby sat for them I played with Chris

    • Avatar
      Robert Hanna says:

      I Use To Live In Horicon Year’s & Years Ago With My Dad, I Was In Middle School At The Time. I Actually Knew A Girl Who Lived In That House! This Was Back In The Early 2000s! But I Remember Because I Was Going To School In Beaver Dam & The Bus That Always Came To Get Me, Would Always Stop At That House To Pick Up This Kid On A Wheelchair. But It Was That Same House & During That Time I Never Even Heard About This! Especially Being Into The Paranormal Along Time!

  5. Avatar
    Darrick says:

    I absolutely believe the story as told by unsolved mysteries, I remember watching the episode when I was twelve years old, having had similar experiences myself but nowhere near as scary, I know that spirits act exactly as they did in that particular case, they do strange things, not necessarily harmful to humans but rather just demonstrate strange physical manipulations. They especially play with things electrical and with mechanical objects. Many things that these spirits do will also involve you somehow sensing their presence and somehow knowing what they are going to do before they do it, that part wasn’t shared on Unsolved Mysteries as far as i can remember but I bet that the owners of that bunk bed might agree.

  6. Avatar
    Cookie says:

    Sorry, but I think the family was going through other things, not a haunting. This is a cool story, but I don’t believe in ghosts (mostly because I don’t believe in life after death – when you’re dead, you’re DEAD). I read in Haunted America that Allen was threatening to abandon his family, going on drinking binges…he blamed it on ghosts, of course, but I’ve known too many men in my life who display that behavior. The oldest son wasn’t biologically his, and that usually makes men behave badly as well. The kids overheard each other being scared, and they fed into each other…too many rational explanations.

  7. Avatar
    DJ says:

    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.

    • Avatar
      Josh says:

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

      • Avatar
        james says:

        Hey Josh. Im a filmmaker from LA. Can you pm me. I have a few questions for you as my production team was trying to get in touch with the family.

    • Avatar
      idovbnc says:

      I think people see what they want to. Especially in a family setting. If mom or dad sees something, soon everyone wants to see it (either out of respect or sympathy for the parent).


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