A ‘Black Monk’ Haunts Wisconsin’s Nashotah House

posted: 01/06/17
by: Sasha Brown-Worsham

A house of religious education might seem like an unlikely place for an enduring ghost story to take root and stay embedded in the culture, but that's exactly what happened at the Nashotah House in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. The Episcopal Seminary at 2777 Mission Road is home to one of the country's most well-known ghost stories.

Legend has it that Daniel Pope was a priest murdered by is wife in 1852. According to the story, she was having an affair and wanted it to continue. The less-than-stellar wife then hanged him in order to continue her betrayal and made it look like a suicide. Obviously, this was a major no-no for an Episcopalian priest and Pope was not allowed to be buried in Our Lady of Spring Bank Cistercian, the church where he'd spent his life as clergy.

He was not allowed to be buried at the nearby Nashotah house, either. His tombstone is still there, but alone, removed from the other graves.

After his wife made a deathbed confession, the priests opened Pope's casket to give him his proper burial, but they found it empty. According to local lore, Pope wanders the cemetery every Halloween, searching for his proper burial. They call him the Black Monk.

Nashotah House was founded in 1842 as a theological seminary and continues its work today, despite the legend of the black monk and all that brings to the space. Is he real? No one knows. But the legend persists.

Many have seen him and others claim the snow melts from his grave and the leaves blow away. Others claim they have seen a shadowy figure in the cemetery, longing to return to his rightful place of burial. It's hard to imagine a more horrific betrayal. She took away his good name and his right to be buried where he wanted. If he is haunting the space, who could blame him?

For some the story has been debunked. But for others the legend persists and they even claim other spirits haunt the grounds.

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