For TV viewers of a certain age, few things are as unnerving as Unsolved Mysteries. The series’ original 1980s and ’90s run combined creepy reenactments, a creepy theme song, and a wonderfully creepy Robert Stack to successfully scare the wits out of young viewers. And solve some cold cases. And fill some time with ghosts and UFOs.
But did any of the original unsolved mysteries profiled by Unsolved Mysteries have Wisconsin ties? YES THEY DID. Here are five of them, ranging from haunted bunk beds in Horicon to white buffalos in Janesville.
Not only is “Tallman’s Ghost” the most iconic Wisconsin-related Unsolved Mysteries segment, it’s one of the most iconic Unsolved Mysteries segments, period. Set in Horicon, Wisconsin in 1987, the tale involves haunted bunk beds, demonic forces, spooky paint brushes, terrified priests, and a father who may have worked with this author’s dad. Forget Poltergeist and The Amityville Horror—this shit was/is terrifying.
HOT JOCK (37:10 mark)
The strange case of sixty-seven-year-old widower Dexter Stefonek, who was murdered while driving from his son’s home in Corbett, Oregon to his own home in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Does some graffiti found in a men’s room, “HOT JOCK SHOT WAD FROM WISCONSIN 11/85 SATURDAY THE 3rd,” have something to do with it?
SWEETHEART SWINDLER (18:25 mark)
A classic Unsolved Mysteries “UPDATE.” This one involves a con man targeting grieving widows, and his eventual capture in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
MIRACLE THE WHITE BUFFALO (18:20 mark)
In August 1994, an extremely rare white, non-albino buffalo was born in Janesville, Wisconsin. The odds of such a calf, Robert Stack informs us, are one in ten million. The buffalo’s name? Miracle.
GRANDMA’S GRAVE (22:50 mark)
A woman attempts to uncover the fate of her grandmother, who disappeared in 1910 after boarding a train in Brookfield headed for Milwaukee. Shady psychics and unmarked railroad graves are involved.