A couple weeks ago I took an intriguing look at Shaker's Cigar Bar, Milwaukee's historic – and notoriously haunted – Walker's Point bar. This past weekend, I got even more up close and personal with an overnight stay in the building's third floor haunted penthouse.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter already know my two intrepid companions and I survived the night. But, according to Shaker's owner Bob Weiss and marketing director Amanda Morden, it was more or less a coin toss for whether we slept through until the next day or took off screaming in the wee hours of the morning.
No lies. 50/50. They've even had people leave within an hour of checking in (around 10-10:30 p.m., after the last bar tour ends).
What's got everyone so freaked out? Guest reports range from finding their shoes relocated to the bathroom sink to hallucinations of the bedroom ceiling engulfed in flames. After hearing a list like that, even my analytical side got a little sheepish at the thought of bunking with the beyond.
Not all of the goings-on up there have been tied down, but Shaker's has determined that a 1920s brothel girl by the name of Molly Brennan once plied her trade in the third floor penthouse. The story goes that the 16-year-old recognized a well-to-do friend of her family and was murdered.
In 2001, Weiss and a construction crew made a more definitive morbid discovery: a pile of bones buried beneath the floorboards at the back of the penthouse. The medical examiner determined that about half were human and were about 70 years old. The people at Shaker's believe this to be Molly, but even if they don't belong to the ill-fated Irish brothel girl ... yikes.
Nevertheless, I am proud to report we made it through the night (with a little liquid courage). And, at the risk of entering TMI territory, I even went to the bathroom without relying on the buddy system.
As for general spookiness? Sadly, our shoes were all where we left them, and thankfully, there were no walls of billowing flames. We did, however, fall asleep watching a movie on a laptop, which we found mysteriously closed when we woke up. I know I didn't do it, and I trust my friends when they say they didn't touch it. The doors were locked, and there's only one key to the upper levels.
Maybe I should rethink my "see it to believe it" mentality. Thanks for the hospitality, Molly.
Contrary to her natural state of being, Renee Lorenz is a total optimist when it comes to Milwaukee. Since beginning her career with OnMilwaukee.com, her occasional forays into the awesomeness that is the Brew City have turned into an overwhelming desire to discover anything and everything that's new, fun or just ... "different."
Expect her random musings to cover both the new and "new-to-her" aspects of Miltown goings-on, in addition to periodically straying completely off-topic, which usually manifests itself in the form of an obscure movie reference.