When making a list of Milwaukee’s most famously haunted buildings, the old Eagle’s Ballroom, now known as The Rave, will always make the list. It was my intention to share the story with you this week, but I have run into a roadblock. There are many website that list The Rave as haunted, and you likely have heard the stories of eerie happenings in the pool room. You can click here if you want to see video of ghost hunts conducted there. But, for me, that is not the interesting stuff. The thing that has always attracted me is the story behind the haunting. What happened? Who was this person? Why does the spirit remain? Those are the questions that compel me.
Ever since I was a kid, I have heard stories about the building being haunted, but I never knew the details. The tales were always heavy on ghost activity- sounds from the basement, things touring bands saw and heard, but information on the ghost was always scarce. In the stories, someone always drown there, but who it was, and the circumstance of the death were always vague. For me, that lack of story made this building significantly less interesting than other famous Milwaukee hauntings, like the Marquette Dorms or the Pfister. I decided to investigate the accident and discover real person behind all of these stories. And that is when I hit the roadblock.
It seems to me, the best way to weed through this story is to find out who drown in the pool, and from that list, carefully consider the most likely candidate for haunting. At this time, turn of the century newspapers from Milwaukee publishers can no longer be electronically searched, making this kind of research much more difficult than it was even two years ago. I thought my best bet would be police records. Unfortunately, MCHS does not house these records, and the City Archives only contain annual reports, not individual reports. When I contacted MPD Open Records department, I was told those records had been destroyed.
So, I turn to you- help me solve this mystery. Do you have an idea where I can access these records? Do you have some source material that might help lead me in the right direction? If so, contact me! I’ll keep you posted on the search and hope we can uncover this bit of Milwaukee folklore together!