Wisconsin Hotel Hunts for Ghosts

The Union Hotel in De Pere, Wisconsin
Green Bay Gazette: Mary Boyd has heard the sound of the skeptics. "I know some people think we're nuts," she said. "You either believe it or you don't, and I believe it."

She believes ghosts inhabit the Union Hotel in De Pere, the 128-year-old building that her family has owned at 200 N. Broadway since 1918. She and her siblings are bringing some paranormals to the popular restaurant Monday to see if the Union ghosts will make an appearance and verify what have been family stories for so long.

"They're even going to stay in my great-grandmother's room, the same place where she passed away," Boyd said. Asked if she ever slept there herself, Boyd said, "Heck, no."

Boyd's great-grandparents — August and Antonia Maternoski — purchased the hotel 83 years ago. Mary Boyd's grandmother, Bena, married Darland Boyd, and their son, Jim, managed the restaurant for years.

Growing up in De Pere, Boyd began hearing the ghost stories at a young age. "My mother would be up on the third floor and would be taking bed sheets home when she would notice some things," she said. "She never really told us much because she didn't want to scare us, but there were times she felt someone patting her on the back."

Then there was the time a few years ago that Boyd went to the hotel basement to get more beer and saw the hotel's bartender down there. She said something to him but he didn't answer so she ran upstairs to find him behind the bar, insisting that he hadn't been in the basement.

Or the time last summer when Boyd's sister, Ann, and brother, Patrick, were cleaning the restaurant and music started playing in a corner of the bar. It wasn't coming from the bar speaker. "Annie freaked out, and she and Patrick ran out of the building and locked it up," Boyd said.

There have been times in the kitchen when people have heard doors opening or closing and times when family members have been sure they saw someone walking past them only to find out that no one was there. "We don't know who it is but we assume it's relatives," Boyd said. "The whole generation of our family in my grandmother's generation lived there at one time."

The good news, she says, is these seem to be friendly ghosts. No one has reported any evil encounters. But the ghost stories have been regular conversation topics for people who sit around the bar, and some have even asked to go to the basement.

"They get an eerie feeling," Boyd said.

So what is she hoping to learn from the paranormals? "I hope they find something so it's not just in my head," she said. "I'm kind of nervous."

Certainly many of the Union Hotel regulars must be hoping they locate the ghosts.

Or not.


Post a Comment