Maribel Caves Hotel

Posted by in US Ghost Adventures

We all know that looks can be deceiving; however, that’s not the case with what’s left of the Maribel Caves Hotel. It’s been ravaged by fire and exposed to harsh Wisconsin winters, and what used to be a beautiful retreat now looks like a set out of a quintessential horror movie. It’s known as one of Wisconsin’s most haunted locations—and for good reason. The building is home to ghostly apparitions, strange gatherings, and a supposed portal to hell.

Now in ruins, it’s plain to see why the Maribel Caves Hotel is shrouded in dark lore and local legends. It wasn’t always this way, though.

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History of the Maribel Caves Hotel

As stated in the original hotel brochure, the Maribel Caves Hotel was a place where one could ‘immerse themselves in fine bathing, boating, and fishing.’ Located on County R, the hotel was built by an Austrian immigrant named Charles Steinbrecher in 1900 and was originally named after the nearby Maribel limestone caves.

The hotel replicates the attributes of Europe’s medieval castles, with a rounded tower, arching facade, and walls gilded with limestone from one of Steinbrecher’s lime kilns. Like many inns and hotels in Austria with a natural spring on their properties, the Maribel Caves Hotel operated as a spa where the tired and worn would be invigorated. The natural spring water was plumbed into the hotel so guests could bathe and drink the healing waters.

After a railroad was built through Maribel, the hotel became a place to retreat from rigorous life. Guests enjoyed the ‘medicinal’ uses of the mineral water — so much so that a bottling plant was soon built next to the hotel. The water was bottled and carbonated and sold in luxury lodgings in Milwaukee and Chicago.

In 1915, the wells of fortune began to dry up for Steinbrecher, and he was forced to sell the hotel in 1931 to Adolph Cherney. The building later reopened in 1981 when it was purchased by a man named Jeff Miller.

Tragedy Hits the Maribel

In 1985, tragedy struck the hotel when it was engulfed in flames. Once the last ember burned out, the shell of the hotel was left like a massive stone mammoth hanging over the surrounding area. So, what caused the fire at the hotel? To this day, the cause remains unknown.

Tragedy struck again in 2013 when a tornado swept through the area and damaged what was left of the hotel.

Looking at the hotel now, one would think they had stepped back into 17th-century Europe, standing before the ruins of a castle that couldn’t outlast a skirmish.

Not only is the inn known for its ghost stories, but also known to have been frequented by gangsters. When prohibition was introduced and the 18th Amendment was passed in 1920, many people in the United States still wanted to enjoy beer and spirits. With that came the notorious bootleggers and organized crime running the show. According to reports, John Dillinger allegedly frequented the hotel as a stopover on his way to Eagle River. It is also said that the notorious Al Capone was known to visit the hotel.

Though it was destroyed quite some time ago, Maribel Caves Hotel and its history refuse to be forgotten. The energies of the past remain in the hotel as clinging spirits, whispering walls, and otherworldly energies.

Hauntings of the Maribel Caves Hotel

While the grandson of the original owner states that the only ghost he’s seen at the hotel is that of his grandfather in a one-piece nightshirt, visitors to the location beg to differ.

People walking up to the hotel always comment on its size — and how empty the top windows are. Strangely enough, a bright yellow orb is reported in the same windows alongside floating objects and phantom footsteps. There’s even a light that chases those who get too close.

Countless legends and tales surround the hotel ruins, including a story about witches using the area for ceremonies and even a report of a ‘portal to hell’ located in the front fountain.

These days, the hotel ruins sit as a placeholder between worlds—an ominous, otherworldly structure with not a hint of life left in it, just a reminder of its former life. The hotel site is on private property, so an ‘okay’ from the owner is needed to investigate closely. However, the hotel ruins can be viewed from Maribel Caves Park—from a safe distance.

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