The Second Hand Shop - Stoughton Wisconsin


We have been privileged to visit this well-documented haunted building many times.  It is OPEN FOR BUSINESS so go on down to Stoughton and do some shopping!


This three story commercial structure was built in the late 19th century as a 27 room hotel and also been a grocery store, a pizza joint and reputed to have once housed a brothel and a speakeasy. The store specializes in the sale of used furniture, household goods, toys, books and collectibles. Since the building is built into a slope, the main floor is actually the second floor while the first floor is used for some merchandise display, utilities and storage. The third floor, which at one time contained 27 hotel rooms, is now a large open space and has no electricity. It is used strictly for storage.

The building is located along the main artery running through town, US Hwy 51. This highway extends from northern Wisconsin all the way down to Texas. Just down the street about two blocks runs the Yahara River which, through larger tributaries, ultimately feeds into the Gulf of Mexico. This is worth noting as some experts believe that energy forms can use moving water as a conduit of sorts.

The building's history has some interesting features. One of them concerns a former sheriff and chief of police, Saxe Hoverson, who jumped from a third story window and died a few days later at the community hospital. At the time, this was considered a suicide attempt, but the nature of the gentleman's injuries (two broken ankles, broken ribs, skull fracture) indicates that he may not have jumped voluntarily. Given the building's lore as a speakeasy, it is not hard to imagine some bootlegging gangsters beating him up, cracking the base of his skull with a heavy object and then giving the law officer a push out the window. There is no research to substantiate this scenario, but since Wisconsin served as an outlet and haven for Chicago-area gangsters such as "Terrible" Touhy and Al Capone during the bootlegging days of Prohibition, this is not as unlikely as it may seem. Stoughton is about one hundred miles north of Chicago. It is also interesting to note that while there are several society page references in online newspaper sources to "Mr. and Mrs. Saxe Hoverson", there are no further references to them after 1924. According to local sources, Mr. Hoverson died in 1925. It is presumed that Mr. Hoverson Sr. (and not Jr.) was the victim.

The building's ghost-lore includes the spirit of Mr. Hoverson, a little girl ghost reported by a medium doing a walkthrough on another occasion. A medium visiting on another occasion referred to a murder taking place in the building and a body being buried under the floor in the "Holiday Room" on the first floor. A spirit is said to hide in a small closet under a stairwell. There are also reports of a misogynistic male ghost in a back room on the first floor and a ghostly woman folding laundry in that same area, suggesting that a hotel laundry may have existed on that floor. Customers have reported seeing merchandise such as coffee cups lifting up off the shelves and settling down on the floor in front of them. The owners Vicky and Phil have heard rattling noises, found merchandise moved into the middle of the floor upon opening in the morning and Vicky is hesitant to be in the store alone at night. The building has been investigated several times by different groups and individuals since they bought it a few years ago.

Katie Kintner is the founder of Wolf River Ghost Society.  Along with her husband, Keith she has been investigating ghosts since 2005.