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Haunted Tugboat Lurks in Milwaukee Harbor

6 men lost their lives when the haunted tugboat Wisconsin sank in 1941. Since its restoration, strange phenomena have convince some that those men never left it.
Haunted Wisconsin tugboat in Milwaukee
Haunted Wisconsin tugboat in Milwaukee. Photo via Tugboat Wisconsin.

I recently learned about the haunted tugboat in Milwaukee from a friend who is a self-professed Great Lakes boat nerd. When he’s not filling me in on the latest weird news from Lake Michigan, he’s usually busy stalking freshwater freighters on radar and webcam, and researching the complete history of every ship.

About a year ago he made an impromptu trip to snap some photos of the SS Alpena during a brief layover in the Milwaukee harbor. It was there that a pair of friendly security guards confessed their unease about the small, otherwise unremarkable tugboat moored nearby.

October 23rd, 1941. A 552-foot steamer called the B.F. Jones had run aground. The tug, then named the America, was dispatched to help with 6 crew members. Built in 1897, the boat was already 44 years old. I haven’t been able to dig up any details on the circumstances, but age may have had a hand in the events that followed.

Somewhere in the Detroit River, en route to the stalled steamer, tragedy struck. The America went down with all hands.

The tugboat was eventually raised and repaired. It was renamed the Midway in 1982, and then finally became the Wisconsin in 1983.

Milwaukee’s Haunted Tugboat

Today, the 118-year-old Wisconsin is still in operation. It seems that anyone who spends some time with her, though, will begin to agree that the crewmen that went down with her in 1941 may have never left.

Rumor has it there are men who refuse to step foot on the boat. The engine has been known to cut out unexpectedly, and the guards my friend spoke to that day witness flickering lights and strange sounds on a regular basis.

Maybe some things are better left to the depths.

Related:

Do you have any information on the haunted tugboat or other strange things from Milwaukee or Lake Michigan? Tell me about it in the comments below or email me.

Lake Michigan Shipwrecks Visible from the Air

The waters of Lake Michigan are so clear right now that many of its historic sunken ships are currently visible from the air.
Lake Michigan shipwrecks visible from the air
Remains of the 133-foot wooden steamer Rising Sun visible from the air in Lake Michigan. It became stranded off Pyramid Point on October 29, 1917.

During a routine patrol, the US Coast Guard Air Station in Traverse City recently discovered that the waters of Lake Michigan are so clear right now, many of its historic shipwrecks are visible from the air.

Related: What is a giant crucifix doing at the bottom of Lake Michigan?

Last week they shared some amazing photos of these wrecks lying on the bottom of the lake. While not much is known about some of them, the Coast Guard has added some information on the wrecks that was provided by viewers.

Shipwreck of the James McBride in Lake Michigan
The James McBride ran aground near Sleeping Bear Dune and was abandoned on October 19, 1857.

Unidentified shipwreck in Lake Michigan
Unidentified shipwreck in Lake Michigan

Unknown Lake Michigan shipwreck
Unknown shipwreck visible in Lake Michigan below the cliff

Two unknown shipwrecks visible in Lake Michigan
Two sunken ships in shallow water

via Smithsonian

What is a Giant Marble Crucifix Doing at the Bottom of Lake Michigan?

Giant crucifix at the bottom of Lake Michigan? For the first time in two years, the winter viewing will be held in Petoskey to see the unusual memorial through the ice.
An underwater crucifix at the bottom of Lake Michigan off the shore of Petoskey will be open for viewing

Nearly every year crowds pour onto the ice of Little Traverse Bay of the shore of Petoskey to get a glimpse of the large white marble crucifix lying at the bottom of Lake Michigan. The 11-foot Italian sculpture serves as a memorial for divers who have lost their lives in the frigid waters, but that is not what it was intended for.

Related: Lake Michigan Shipwrecks Visible from the Air

In 1956, a 15-year-old boy named Gerald Schipinski died in a farming accident in Rapson. His family commissioned the sculpture, but it was badly damaged during its voyage across the Atlantic. The family refused it, and it spent the winter behind the church. A local dive group purchased the crucifix from an insurance sale the following spring for $50.

Petoskey crucifix on display before it was sent to the bottom of Lake Michigan
Petoskey crucifix on display before it was sent to the bottom of Lake Michigan

Following the death of a local diver, the group agreed to dedicate the cross to deceased divers. It was lowered 65 feet to the bottom of Little Traverse Bay in a dedication ceremony held on Aug. 12, 1962. During the dive, the right arm of Jesus fractured and vanished. After several years the crucifix became buried.

The underwater crucifix being raised for repairs in 1985
The underwater crucifix being raised for repairs in 1985

It was raised for repairs in 1985, the missing arm returned from the desk of a photographer in Detroit who was on the original dive team. When it was completed, the sculpture was resubmerged in a new location in 22 feet of water where it could be seen through the ice under the right conditions. The first winter viewing was organized by Little Traverse Bay Dive Club president Denny Jessick the following year in 1986.

An average of 1,150 people turn out for the viewing each year. Jessick is hoping for 2,000 this time around.

Photo shows the damage to the underwater crucifix in Petoskey, Michigan
The Italian marble crucifix missing both arms of Jesus

This Saturday, March 7th, weather permitting, will be the first time the viewing will be held since 2012. A tent will cover a portal carved into the ice with a viewing box where the crucified form of Jesus can be seen haunting the cold depths.

For updated info on the winter viewing go to the Petoskey Visitor Bureau website.

Denny Jessick on the Mysteries of the Little Traverse Bay Crucifix

via Detroit Free Press

Door County Mushroom House For Sale in Wisconsin

Now is your chance to own your very own Hobbit Home! The Door County Mushroom House in Wisconsin is on the market for the first time ever.
The Door County Mushroom House in Wisconsin is for sale

For the first time ever, the famous Mushroom House in Door County, Wisconsin is on the market. It has one bedroom, two bathrooms and 5,073 square feet of mystery.

The house has been sitting empty for many years, sparking many rumors and legends. However, it seems that the hobbit home was not quite as abandoned as it was believed to be.

The owner has recently passed away, making this bizarre, domed retreat on the edge of Lake Michigan up for grabs. But what is the price tag for such an unusual space, you might ask?

The Mushroom House can be yours for just $349,000.

Interested? See the listing right here.

Door County Mushroom House Photos

Interior photo of the Door County Mushroom House kitchen

Mushroom House in Door County Wisconsin is for sale

Mushroom House in Door County Wisconsin is for sale

Mushroom House in Door County Wisconsin is for sale

Mushroom House in Door County Wisconsin is for sale

Mushroom House in Door County Wisconsin is for sale

Mushroom House in Door County Wisconsin is for sale

Mushroom House in Door County Wisconsin is for sale

Mushroom House in Door County Wisconsin is for sale

Mushroom House in Door County Wisconsin is for sale

Mushroom House in Door County Wisconsin is for sale

The Door County Mushroom House is located at 5015 S Cave Point Dr, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

via Zillow