This Halloween consider taking a trip to look for the paranormal in one of the oldest settlements West of the Mississippi River. French-Canadian fur trader Julien Dubuque first arrived to the area in 1785. The city was officially chartered in 1837. Since then beautiful Dubuque, Iowa has become a “Masterpiece on the Mississippi,” with its limestone bluffs, revitalized main street, tree filled parks, hiking and biking trails, and of course, the great Mississippi River. Dubuque is Iowa’s oldest city, and with all of its history comes a fair number of stories that focus on the paranormal. We’re sharing the top three starting with the most popular.
|Mathias Ham House - Dubuque, Iowa|
Perhaps the best known paranormal site to locals, the 150 year old Ham House may be the most interesting of all, shrouded in folklore and unstable energy. Built in 1849 by shipping tycoon Mathias Ham. Rumor has it the hauntings began in 1890, when the last remaining member of the family lived in the home, alone. Sarah Ham was alone in an upstairs bedroom when an intruder broke in. Two gunshots were heard coming from the house, and the intruder fled, leaving a bloody trail all the way to the Mississippi. The next morning, the body of a dead pirate was found along the mighty river's banks.
At night, for many years, mysterious lights have been seen, moving throughout the mansion's dark hallways and staircases. Some speculate that it is the lamplight of the intruding pirate, others say it is the ghost of Matthias Ham still trying to find his daughter in order to get revenge, as he was killed by her in a bizarre accident one evening long ago. Employees of the Dubuque County Historical Society report unexplained noises, footsteps, voices, lights and icy cold air. They also describe feeling “ill at ease” in certain parts of the Mansion.
|Fisher Building - Dubuque, Iowa|
The Fischer Building:
Also known as the Bank and Insurance building, the Fischer Building is known to have not one, but TWO ghosts.The basement of the Fischer Building is purportedly haunted by a man who wanders from room to room. His apparitions has been observed by various spectators from behind. A female apparition has also been reported on the fourth floor of the Fischer Building. She wears nice clothing and high heels. When she reaches the end of the hallway, she disappears suddenly.
|Grand Opera House - Dubuque, Iowa|
This theater has been serving the area for over 125 years. It held its first opening night on August 14th, 1890 where patrons saw the Hess Opera Company perform Bizet’s Carmen. Investigators have witnessed odd lights, orbs, the slight sound of piano playing, voices, and even an apparition on stage. Objects left in one place have reappeared in another. During some play productions the stage crew experienced strange behavior from technical equipment, such unexplained power outages, and spotlights that rise and fall over the stage at will.
If the unexplained hauntings and ghosts aren’t your cup of tea, then consider attending the annual Dubuque Halloween Parade. The parade starts at 5:30 PM on Monday, October 26th, and follows the normal parade route through downtown Dubuque.
The Dubuque Mississippi River Museum is also hosting a Mad Scientist Party safe Trick-or-Treat event on the William M. Black. The Mississippi River Discovery Center will be turned into a multi-point science lab for kids. There will also be science demonstrations, live animal programs, craft stations, and other hands on activities. Join the Mad Scientist party on Sunday, October 25th from 5 to 7:30 pm. Admission is charged at $5 per person for ages 3 and older.
If your looking for some exciting halloween thrills in Dubuque, Iowa consider the haunted house Dark Chambers located in the port of Dubuque. If dressing up is more your style, there is also plenty of nightlife and Halloween fun to be found in Dubuque’s local bars and attractions, offering drink specials, and costume parties. If you’re traveling to Dubuque this halloween consider staying at either of our hotels that offer central locations to all of the fun.
450 Main St.
Dubuque, IA 52001
1 888 HOLIDAY
3434 Dodge St
Dubuque, IA 52003