Into the Fear - Wisconsin Dells Ghost Boat

Cold Water Canyon, The Dells Ghost Boat
Cold Water Canyon, The Dells Ghost Boat
A new fun Wisconsin Dells Attraction began in 2014 - The Wisconsin Dells Ghost Boat Tour.

Ghost sightings had become so frequent in Cold Water Canyon that a series of town board meetings had to be held on what to do about the flood of ghost hunters daring to hike the dangerous canyon on summer nights. Naturally, Wisconsin Dells decided to turn this forsaken underworld portal into a money making attraction. The board turned to one of its oldest commercial institutions - The Dells Boat Tours Company.

New in 2014, a nightly cruise casts off into the eerie twilight. Ghost hunters are ferried over to the mouth of Cold Water Canyon where they are let off to explore a place that is creepy enough by the light of day.

Enjoy your post-sunset cruise. And, be sure to survey the crowd around you. There is an important question to answer; if this were a true horror movie, who would be the first victim? And, who would make it out of Cold Water Canyon alive?

A ghost captured on my iphone at the Dells Ghost Boat Tour
A ghost captured on my iphone at the Dells Ghost Boat Tour
It was a full moon on a Friday the 13th in June of 2014. What better time to test the paranormal reputation of Cold Water Canyon? My good friend who has taken me to a number of renowned haunted places at night fixed us up with tickets. I'm a skeptic ... I have my doubts about most ghost tales. But, that doesn't stop shivers from gathering along my spine at times. What was there to lose though?  ... A Friday night boat ride and a hike into a famed gorge on one of the most beautiful sections of the Wisconsin River - sounds fantastic.

Dells Ghost Boat Tour  -  Wisconsin Dells twilight Adventure
Dells Ghost Boat Tour  -  Wisconsin Dells twilight Adventure
If you are familiar with Wisconsin Dells' many Americana roadside attractions, or have ever been to a haunted house at Halloween, you know what you can expect from the Dells Ghost Boat Tour. I'll just say that I was glad I went because I love Americana roadside attractions, hiking, boating, gimmicky haunted houses, and watching people just freak out around me. I made it out alive. So will you. And, that's all I can tell you without revealing too much.

Whiskey Jack Wisconsin Legends and Lore

But, I can tell you about Whiskey Jack ...

Along the twilight cruise out to Cold Water Canyon you are regaled with stories about Whiskey Jack - the legendary lumber raftsman. Though the Dells Boat Tour obviously invented this story to suit the nature of their ghost tour, the tales of Whiskey Jack are historic folklore originating from this area - from a day when The Wisconsin Dells was named Kilbourn City.

The Narrows at Kilbourn City were a famous trap for raftsmen transporting logs downstream to lumber mills. There were frequent logjams, and many raftsmen were swept off the rafts and drowned where only the most skilled could navigate the twists and turns of Wisconsin's Dells.

Whiskey Jack was reputed to be among the most skilled raftsmen. He was comparable to Paul Bunyan, being a man of 7 to 8 feet tall and a Samson in Power. As his name implies, he had a insatiable thirst for liquor. If he were around the Dells today, he would probably stop in for a swig with Nig at Nigs bar on Broadway.

But, the tales of Whiskey Jack are far from flattering. Being of German descent I am less than entertained by this one tale of Fighting the Sauerkrouts:

Sauk City was an old German settlement on The Wisconsin. This was an easy place to tie off the lumber rafts. And, there were many good German bars on the main street. The German folk were referred to derisively as Sauerkrouts at the time of the log runs.

Whiskey Jack was reputed to take special joy in brawling with Sauerkrouts. He yielded a club which was splattered and stained with the blood of Sauk City Sauerkrouts. He always looked forward to a brush with the Germans at Sauk City; they were good fighters and that made it more fun to break their skulls open and steal their beer. 

I suppose this yarn wouldn't be quite right for the Dells Boat Tours to tell a captive audience today. Most Whiskey Jack tales aren't the sort of story you might read your children before you tuck them in for bed. These are stories invented by men in bars.

You can read more Whiskey Jack Yarns Here: Whiskey Jack Yarns

Directions, Map, and Information

2014 prices = $23
Tours leave at 8:30
Nightly, Memorial Day through Labor Day 2014
Reserve Tickets In Advance

Link: Buy Tickets Here

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 Address for your GPS: 11 Broadway, Wisconsin Dells, WI
| coordinates: N43.627834, W089.777887 |

From Milwaukee2 Hours
From Madison45 Minutes
From Green Bay2.5 Hours
From Wausau2 Hours
From Minneapolis3.5 Hours
From Chicago3 Hours