Ghosts of Wandawega.The new issue of @madisonmagazine tells the story of two of our resident ghosts.One benevolent. One malevolentAs the reporter explains .This is the story of the first. If there is a scale of friendliness by which ghosts are judged, ours would certainly be the most docile, kind & watchful.His name is Boleslavs, and was known as Father B (for Baginskis). He was the priest that sold us Camp Wandawega nearly two decades ago.Ten years ago we hosted a memorial at camp where a tree was planted in his honor. (A birch, a customary Latvian choice). People came from far and wide to pay their respects. Folks that hadnt been to Camp Wandawega in decades arrived bearing casseroles, grandchildren and photo albums overflowing with memories. In stark contrast to the Religious Haven Father B built at Camp its seedy past as a Bawdy house & speakeasy has been well documented. Murders, Suicide, all manner of illegal activity, for its first 40 years, Wandawega Hotel had drawn a sketchy crowd. There was a time that I worried about the karmic residue left by so many desperate souls whod escaped here to commit crimes of all sorts. (That era came to an end when the house Madame Annie Peck went to a womens prison in 1942). My fears where put to rest when the church elders told us that every spring Father B would walk the length of the grounds, reading from his bible, sprinkling holy water, and blessing the entire property for another new year.This is how we see our friendly ghost now.Walking the grounds, blessing the birches.His memory is celebrated every Sunday when we open our doors to sometimes hundreds of worshippers. Mass is no longer given in its native Latvian tongue, and many of the original Latvian congregation has since been replaced with locals from neighboring lakes. But Father Bs presence can still be felt every warm sunday when the church bells ring and the fish are biting.May his soul rest in peace…*this issue also features other haunted places and spaces in the area -And also tells the story of other ghost – Johnny Sweetheart well share his backstory in our next post.
October 1, 2022 • Published by Tereasa Surratt