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Posted by Charlie Hintz | Paranormal
His body didn’t decay! Did Father Ambrose Oschwald leave the town of St. Nazianz haunted and cursed by his heretical works and mystic cult?
The incorrupt remains of Father Ambrose Oschwald in 1926, 53 years after he died.
The town of St. Nazianz is believed to be one of the most haunted places in Wisconsin. It was founded by a rogue priest who, upon his death, is believed to have cursed the town he built. Throughout the years, natural disasters and numerous accounts of bizarre, unexplained phenomena have helped keep the legend alive.
Father Ambrose Oschwald was fleeing religious persecution when he came to Wisconsin in 1854. The Roman Catholic Church had suspended him from his duties in the parish of a small town in the Black Forest of Germany due to “mystical, prophetic, and heretical works.”
When Oschwald left, the congregation uprooted and followed him to the US. They made their way to Wisconsin where, a 1920s newspaper article reported, a “divine white heifer” lead the group to the sacred land that would become St. Nazianz.
They called themselves The Association and formed a society based on sharing everything as common property, working without pay to support the community as a whole. And it worked for them. They thrived for many years.
But things took a turn for the strange when Oschwald fell sick in 1873.
The crypt of Father Ambrose Oschwald
A man named Anton Still stayed with Oschwald while he was sick, comforting the dying man from his bedside. During that time, he observed Oschwald gesturing to invisible guests.
“A number of times,” Still wrote, “I have observed that he, with closed eyes, when there was no one else in the room but I alone, would extend his hands in blessing, and then with his hand, signal someone away, and yet I saw no one in the room.”
Throughout the night of February 26th, as Oschwald lay dying, there were reports of mysterious pounding on the walls of his room, as well as residences throughout the town.
The sounds stopped when Oschwald died the following morning.
The body of Father Ambrose Oschwald lying in state at his funeral in 1873.
A judge from Manitowoc came to view Oschwald’s body the day before the funeral. He was taken aback by the liveliness of the corpse, warning not to bury it because Oschwald was not dead.
Oshwald’s tomb had not yet been complete, so his coffin was placed on view in a crypt beneath the high alter of the old St. Ambrose church.
The coffin was reopened on April 29th for examination before it was to be placed in the completed chamber.
A priest by the name of Father Mutz, along with a group called the Oschwald Sisters, noted that his body had not decayed, and there was no odor of corruption. Oshwald’s eyes had sunken in, but his skin had a lifelike complexion, his hair and fingernails were growing.
They washed his face and noted that it served to give him an even more natural complexion.
Father Oschwald’s tomb
The next day, 63 days after his death, Oschwald was finally sealed in his coffin and moved into the completed burial vault.
The coffin was opened again on October 4th, 1926, when it was being moved into a new stone mausoleum below Lorreto Hill. Local health officer Dr. L.W. Gregory, as well as other members of the clergy, observed through a glass cover that Oschwald’s corpse was still in remarkably good shape after 53 years.
His skin had become shriveled and sallow, but his body and vestments were still very much intact. The iron on his coffin and rusted and fallen away long ago.
Crypt of Father Oschwald, with the Chapel of Our Lady of Loretto on the hill above.
The Salvatorian Priests & Brothers arrived at St. Nazianz in 1896 to continue what Oschwald had started.
Oschwald remains in the mausoleum at the base of the hill, overlooking a cemetery full of priests. Legends of a “Catholic mystic cult” whose “secret practices” drove them from their home in Germany to found St. Nazianz still persist today.
The old Salvatorian Seminary, now known as JFK Prep, is a huge abandoned building rumored to be haunted by the tortured souls of kids who suffered at the hands of abusive nuns.
Following the rules of the Ouija board will help keep you safe from the trickster spirits and demonic entities that may come through the board.
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Those of us that live on this property now owned and operated by United Ministries are not “edgy” This is our home. The ministry has owned this property for over 15 years and have done renovations to some of the buildings. Renovations take money and the only thing that makes us “edgy” are those that continue to break in – again private property and our home-and cause destruction in a variety of ways. Starting fires, setting off fire extinguishers in the thrift store etc. There are buildings that are off limits for a reason – They Are NOT Safe-falling apart… Read more »
I attended the Salvatorian Seminary from which I graduated high school in 1965 (it was then only a minor seminary, the major seminary college had closed). The references to Father Ambrose Oschwald as a ‘rogue priest’ are not entirely accurate and his history is not that simple. Please review the Wikipedia page for him at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrose_Oschwald and, especially read the pdf from “References 3”: http://www.huberttreiber.de/Downloads/Treiber_Oschwald-St._Nazianz.pdf on that page. This is a very scholarly work about Father Oschwald and his troubles with the civil and church authorities of Germany at the time. Also, there some old newpaper articles on the web… Read more »
My family has lived in the town since the beginning. I live in the suburbs and have visited many times in my life. I truly believe the town is cursed. I have never been there and not felt presences. I have never been able to sleep the night through. My mother grew up in the town in a house that was said to be haunted She is not one to embellish. She has told me story after story about her personal experiences. My grandpa took my brother and I for a walk when we were younger to the seminary and… Read more »
how do i contact the owner. I would like to do a night investigation there.
After it closed down and the new owner jerry bought it I lived there as a small child. My parents owed jerry a lot of money, and he let them make it up by my stepfather and brother helping him fix the place up. I was terrified, some horrible things happen in that place. Sleeping in the dorms wasn’t a thing, as I didn’t sleep. I was too scared, that place still invaded my dreams
I was born and raised in St. Nazianz, got out in 1976. This is the first I’ve heard of it being haunted or cursed. Went through JFK Prep after it shut down many times and couldn’t count how often I (we – me and childhood friends) were in Oswald’s mausoleum. Never got a haunted vibe. It is sad that the Prep is falling apart. It would be a beautiful campus if maintained.
I taught there and was there when the school was closed. I lived above the laundry my first year and in the basement my second year. Yes some strange things happened but these were good spirits.
here is something you may not know…the priests and caretakers of jfk prep sold their bodies for medical purposes so they could help keep the facility open
This man is featured in the April 2022 issue of New Oxford Review.
When i was 14 years old i got to walk through all the buildings with a property care taker at the time. My sister and her friend wrote a report for their class on the buildings. Im so happy to see the gym is fully restored. I remember sitting in the church area as our guide told us all about the buildings.
I’m doing a documentary on the small town. I’m from New York and would like to get inside the seminary/JFK Prep. I’ve heard about the people being edgy… and I do have a family member from the town but they haven’t been much help on accessing the seminary/JFK Prep. If anyone has further information on how to get inside, I would love to hear from you. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have been there a few times since it was abandoned and made into a thrift store. There is clearly *something* going on there; i’d wager something besides ghosts and thrifting. The staff seem a little too edgy and protective. The couple who purchased it came from Door County if i remember correctly. (Door County: where farmers contaminated the land with arsenic supposedly to protect the fruit crops. I avoid Door County produce. You probably should, too.) The couple also opperated a small church in Manitowoc near Holy Family Hospital a few years ago. Not sure if they still do. In… Read more »
Back in the 60’s we had a cottage at a nearby lake. Would spend the summers there. My ancestors owned the tavern dance hall and 1/2 side of the lake land. Not only did we attend St Gregory’s church but my great and great great grandfather and grandmother along with great aunts and uncles are buried in the cemetary. I more than likely was told of these stories when I was a child.
I attended the salvatorian seminary from the fall of 1964 thru the spring of 1967. Very good school but did not feel that I wanted to continue the path to the priesthood, so I did not return for my senior year.
Man, Pete! Where did you find this article…fascinating!
Can you provide me with your documentation for this statement? “Father Ambrose Oschwald was fleeing religious persecution when he came to Wisconsin in 1854. The Roman Catholic Church had suspended him from his duties in the parish of a small town in the Black Forest of Germany due to “mystical, prophetic, and heretical works.”
I am very curious about this because I am doing a presentation on St. Nazianz and Fr. Oschwald for a family genealogy event.
Several years ago some of my friends and i just drove there and parked outside to look at the beautiful buildings im a sensitive and ive never been there but as my friends mom that was driving down the road i started getting a terrible headache and shortly after we got there everyone else came down with the same thing i heard so many stories about that place and u have to take everything people say with some skeptic but whatever the true story is there what i sensed just being parked outside on the side of the road was… Read more »
I just happen to be searching for info on St. Nazianz, Wisconsin and came across this website only to be kinda freaked out due to the fact I will be living there starting in June 2016. I believe in the paranormal but sure hope this town doesn’t mess with me or my family!
Would like to walk around Lake Ochwald. I was there in fall of 2014, but it is stated as private property. My dad took me around there a few times when I was a kid. I would love to take my family on that same walk now. Who owns the land around Lake Oshwald?
Is the property able to be toured? I was told it’s not and that if caught there you can be arrested. My sister and I would love to tour the place. Can someone tell me if it is. Thanks.
A couple weeks ago my Wife two sister’s and i drove up from chicago we first visited witch’s road about two hours west. We heard about the two places after searching Google for haunted places after debunking witches road and finding out the truth from the current land owner (yes its a hoax )we thought for sure so was St Nazianz we arrived kind of later then planned and it was dark already after walking around the grounds me and my younger sister decided to go in my wife and older sister refused to go in we planned to stay… Read more »
Went there as teenagers too, never knew the original story,..spent our nights spooking the gals, and hunting the ever allusive catacombs. But it was a beautiful place..shame for it to be left empty.
This is really fascinating. How sad it is to see the place decaying like that. The church is certainly beautiful.
I’ll bet that dabbling in old Odinic black magic is what got Fr. Oschwald kicked out of Germany. My husband, who has some familiarity with Norse paganism, believes that to be so based on what went on with the white cow and the racket at the time of Fr. Oschwald’s death.
I remember going there one year (2002, 2003, or 2004, I think) and the chapel was used as a haunted house. We originally were led into a room and told the normal haunted house rules and then told to not go in the areas that weren’t part of the path. We didn’t have anyone leading us and in between it was completely dark, so at one point we did get in an area we weren’t supposed to getting lost, luckily coming across a worker that got us right back on the path to get out.
We spent a lot of time out there at night in our late teens and early 20s. This was before Vandals desecrated the place. Freaking idiots. It was, and I’m sure still is very beautiful grounds. I have very real and truthful stories about that place and things we have all seen and heard. My stories are verified by the others who were along at the time. One of them has something to do with the inside of the tomb in the graveyard on a full moon on a fall night. No joke. That place will make your hair stand… Read more »
I grew up in Saint Naizianz myself and had the joy of walking the grounds of the JFK many times. I thought it was a beautiful place. Thought it was sad how the vandalism would show up from people!
I was born and raised in St. Nazianz….many, many stories
All very interesting. I went to HS there 1970 – 1974. Was a little creepy for a city boy, perfect setting for scary stories, We used to venture up to the tomb with new students at the beginning of the year to scare them and have fun. I never saw anything, though some of the women at the girlsa dorm made some claims I cannot remember.
It was a great place to go to HS though, and I have MANY fond memories and met some great people and familes there.
The things I have seen, I will never venture back into that property at night, I will never go alone, again.
My ancestors were part of the founders of St. Nazianz. Should I be worried? Oh and by the way some of them eventually moved to West Bend!
As far as I know, no nuns ever taught at the Seminary, and definitely not at JFK Prep, only Priests, Salvatorian Brothers, and lay people.
Great article Charlie. Been there many times.
I used to “party” out there. We would sneak in at night and find our way through the school and work our way to through to the top of the building. There wasn’t a single building out there that wasn’t falling apart inside or out. The school at night lit by our flashlights looked like something you would see in a post apocalyptic movie. There were still books and papers lying all over the classrooms. Creepiest thing about it was a friend had “borrowed” a book and two small statues from the site. A couple days later him and sone… Read more »
It isn’t abandoned, there is a thrift store there and people even live on site in one of the other buildings…
Luv this website
We visited recently and were told by a resident that it’s not haunted. The only ghost there is the Holy Ghost. I’m just reporting what I was told… nothing more. Looks pretty spooky to me…
I visited once as a child, we went with some adults thinking it was a joke. I seen with my own eyes this place is haunted. I remember it like it was yesterday.
I attended JFK Prep in 1979. It was a very interesting place. It didn’t close until 1982. I hope it can be restored.
I was a seminary student at St. Nazianz in 1962-63. There were several of us sent there from the Flint, Michigan area, as well as from other areas in Michigan. We were sent there specifically to become more proficient in Latin, as Mass was still said in Latin. We had fellow students from states as far away as New Jersey . We were housed in a separate building which was set up with a classroom and dorms. We had Latin classes morning and afternoon. Because of the age differences we had very little, if any, contact with the high school… Read more »
interesting..ived lived near GB most of my life and never once heard anything about St Nazians being haunted
Mr. Slovak, I don’t know if you will see this post. I’m praying for you. I personally know Jim and Linda from shopping at their thrift store in Two Rivers. They were very charitable to my family. I no longer reside there permanently but this story brought tears to my eyes. As with so many other institutions doing the work of helping souls for the love of Christ, this one fell victim to Vatican II and the fake new religion. Please keep the buildings as close to the originals as possible. It would be so salutary if someone would devote… Read more »
I went to a Catholic grade school back in the late ’60s, early 70’s named St. Philip Neri in Milwaukee. We were blessed to be one of only a couple parish’s that had a chapel from Schoenstatt…it had a very German background. Anyway, after reading this, it almost seems like we had visited there or the area right by it on a field trip. I was wondering if anyone knew if they had tours back then for grade school kids back then? The area and story sounds so familiar