I set out to explore the Milwaukee Public Museum again and stumbled upon a good ghost story! The museum has been around for a long time, but only in its current building since the 60s, and it’s set to move to a new location in a couple years, so I went to see it while I can in its current iteration, as well as visit this temporary dinosaur exhibit which I have to say was pretty cool. While I was there I spoke to museum employee Alice Wilson and she told me about Dr. Borhegyi, the former director of the museum who is said to haunt its third floor.
The story of Dr. Borhegyi got me interested in him so I decided to do a little more research on him and the hauntings that employees have experienced. One of the coolest exhibits in the museum is the streets of old Milwaukee that he had a large hand in creating, and I love the immersive presentation of this exhibit where there is sort of a recreation of Milwaukee back in the day. It seems that Borhegyi was a dramatic person, with a flair for fashion who dressed in a cape that he would twirl and a string tie. This was kind of known as his signature outfit. He was also known for his courtly manners, kissing the hands of ladies and bowing to gentlemen. Honestly he sounds like a riot. I wish I could have seen him in action. He was also a heroic figure who joined the Hungarian resistance to fight the Nazis in 1944. He died on September 26, 1969, in a car accident mere blocks from the museum. Since that time, he is said to haunt the museum, specifically the third floor, although I’m not quite sure why the employees are convinced that he is the spirit that haunts them, besides some of them reporting seeing a figure in a cape. Well I guess that would make sense to assume it was him since he had a true love for the museum and was known for wearing a cape.
It doesn’t sound like he is a malicious spirit though, from all accounts. Most of the activity happens after hours, such as motion sensors going off and the elevator will show up on the third floor. Some of the staff also reported walking through cold spots that they described as an intense chill.
With the relocation of the museum happening in a few years, I’m curious if the hauntings will continue to the new location or if this will be the end of this particular legend.
- Celeste Parker