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Ashwaubenon's most haunted: Bowling alley's mysterious past spurs ghostly rumors

The most haunted place in Ashwaubenon
Posted at 6:07 PM, Oct 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-27 19:07:48-04
  • The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley opened in 1976, but the bar in its basement is over a century old
  • The basement is also home to panel and books from a ship that sailed before 1900
  • Bowling alley president Matt Orvis said employees and guests have encountered paranormal activity in the basement
  • Video shows the strange elements and encounters of the basement events space

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

I'm your Ashwaubenon neighborhood reporter Karl Winter, and we know there's something strange in my neighborhood. Underground, below a bowling alley, sits this bar. And in the other room, panels from a ship from before 1900. And with them, may have come a ghost — or at least some very paranormal activity.

The Ashwaubenon Bowling Alley is nearly 50 years old, but the quiet bar in its basement has an even richer history.

Some say it came from a monastery, while others point to its stained glass art and say it's from Ireland or Scotland. Even the bowling alley's president, Matt Orvis, isn't sure.

"That story has just really been hidden," Orvis said.

Orvis does know the bar's Oak Room has pieces from the captain's quarters of a ship that set sail a century ago.

"All the wood paneling is truly from 1890," Orvis.

The mysteries of the Oak Room continue with this book case, which has been locked since it arrived here. Some of these titles date back to the early 1900s — but we can't read them unless we get a key to this lock.

It's those mysterious elements that lead employees to say they've seen strange things in and around the bar.

"Chairs will be put down when they're up, or up when they're down," Orvis said.

The most unsettling story in the basement might have happened at a wedding vow renewal.

"The pastor said a prayer and said amen — and all the lights turned off," Orvis said. "And the lights are all on different switches — there's some over here, some back there, so it's not like anybody could just turn them off at one time.

The occurrences lead some to think the basement events space has a phantom visitor near the fireplace.

"We've kindly named him Willard, the ghost down here," Orvis said. "Willard could be up the chimney."

Anyone who visits the basement can draw their own conclusions.

"I guess it all comes down to what you truly believe," Orvis said.

If this basement and fireplace are haunted by a ghost by Willard, Orvis says it must be a nice ghost, because none of the paranormal activity has been sinister. Orvis hopes that continues if he completes his longterm goal of turning the basement into a speakeasy.