Carol Hirschi restored the stately 1910 mansion to its original grandeur.
Period portraits transport the visitor back to the Victorian era.
Carol Hirschi purchased the property in 1997. The building was then being used for office space by the Lutheran Church. The Hirschi's went to work renovating the building and filling it with antiques. Today, the rooms look much like they must have in 1910. Built that year by George Brumder, Sr., a businessman who made his fortune in German language publishing, the stately mansion was the Brumder family home for at least a decade. Later it was sold to Samuel Picks, a reputed mobster. After Prohibition ended, the building became a popular boarding house for employees of nearby Allis-Chalmers. In the 1950's, the Lutheran Church turned the property into a parsonage. In the 1960's, the church began using the mansion's rooms as offices and converted the downstairs billiard room into a coffee house. Many musical acts played there throughout the 60's and 70's including actress Amy Madigan's band Methyl Ethyl and the Keytones.
Spooky antiques throughout the mansion set the scene for a haunting.
With the wide variety of activity The Brumder Mansion has seen throughout the years, it's no wonder that visitors today report experiences with past residents who just don't want to leave. According to Carol Hirschi, guests in the Gold Suite in particular experience strange, unusually vivid dreams and feel the presence of spirits. A visiting medicine man even reported being kept up all night by a crowd of chatty spirits.
The most frightening of the strange experiences in the Gold Suite happened to Carol herself. She entered the room several days since anyone had been in there, only to find several drops of fresh blood in the bathtub. Carol says, "I thought, ' What? Somebody has a body upstairs and [the blood is] coming through the ceiling?' I looked around, but I couldn't find anything."
The macabre nature of that occurrence is thankfully atypical. Most of the spooky goings-on in the house have been more lighthearted and playful. According to Carol, the ghost isn't an evil spirit, but a mischievous one. "It seems like it's someone kind of childish who plays these pranks because they're silly," she says.
One ghostly prank involves a programmable doorbell which refuses to operate when Carol sets the tune. It only seems to work when she leaves it alone, then it will play tunes randomly. "Happy Birthday" is the current favorite. Other spectral practical jokes include doors that slam throughout the night, phantom footsteps, and breakable objects that come crashing down from walls, but somehow remain unscathed.
Carol believes there may be multiple ghosts haunting her house. In a dream, she has seen the face of a woman staring down at her from one of the home's ornate ceiling medallions. She also awakened one night in the Gold Suite with the impression that an angry female presence was near. That presence gave her the strong feeling that she needed to remove her dog from the room immediately. She thinks the presence may have been an aunt in the Brumder family who was notorious for hating dogs. Carol has also surmised that some of the more mischievious activity may be the work of the ghost of a child. A psychic visiting from California confirmed Carol's impressions when she reported seeing the ghost of a woman and a child in the house.
Mansion Bed & Breakfast is located at 3046 W. Wisconsin Avenue. Call
Carol at 414.342.9767 for more information or visit The
Brumder Mansion website.