Battle of the MPM Ghosts

Allison with Dr. Borhegyi portrait

In a recent Ghost Hunters episode, the TAPS team investigated the Titanic exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia. This led one of our contacts at Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) to wonder whether a different Titanic exhibit, currently housed there, might be haunted.

Our contact, a curator at the museum, mentioned to a co-worker that, to her knowledge, nothing like what was experienced in Atlanta happened at the exhibit in Milwaukee. To her surprise, her co-worker corrected her with references to numerous unusual accounts documented by museum staff.

After hours, three of the staff have seen the apparition of a man standing in the corner to the right of a display featuring a wrench recovered from the Titanic. The witnesses believe it to be the ghost of Charles Painter the man who owned the wrench and perished on Titanic. An unidentified woman in white has also been seen walking into the wall near the money display.

Various cold spots have also been reported in areas other than the iceberg room. Security staff also recorded an motion sensor alarm in the middle of the night right around Christmas time. The motion sensor alarm sounded on the computer in dispatch. When a guard was sent to check it out, he could find no reason for the alarm.

These recent reports are in addition to the 39 years of ghostly events attributed to former MPM director Dr. Stephan Borhegyi, who was killed in a car accident on his way to work on Sept. 26, 1969. The manifestations attributed to Borhegyi included apparitions of a dark figure in a cape (standard apparel in life for the flamboyant Borhegyi). Ethereal pipe smoke, spectral laughter, and surging cold spots that rush through the bodies of unsuspecting patrons and staff are also reported.

Most of the paranormal activity at MPM has taken place on the 3rd floor and 3rd floor mezzanine, where Borhegyi’s portrait and collections are kept. This is the reason given for the purported peculiar proclivity of the elevators to arrive and return to the 3rd floor without being called.

According to a security guard at MPM, these elevators have been the scene of something of a turf war between the ghost of Borhegyi and the newcomers. However, MPM staff has not witnessed any actual ghostly fisticuffs. Perhaps Borhegyi, by all accounts a gentleman in life, is simply yielding to his guests in a show of hospitality. Whatever the reason for the shift, at the time of this writing, the elevators are inexplicably stopping on the 2nd floor, where the Titanic exhibit is located (until the end of its run here on May 25th).


~ by mkeghosts on May 3, 2009.

One Response to “Battle of the MPM Ghosts”

  1. I love your report on my father the ghost of the Milwaukee Public Museum Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi (more commonly known simply as Borhegyi) and the ghosts of the Titanic exhibit. After familiarizing myself with my father’s archaeological research on Middle American mushroom stones and his pioneering work on the Mesoamerican ballgame I realized he was much more than the “bigger-than-life” museum director I knew as a child, who now as you already know is immortalized in the Milwaukee Public Museum as its resident ghost.

    I have dedicated my book titled Breaking The Mushroom Code, Mushroom Religion in the Americas Before Columbus, and my research site to my father and to the late Maya archaeologist Lee A. Parsons, former Curator of the Milwaukee Public Museum who was my father’s close research partner. Among Lee’s many publications, he wrote Pre-Columbian America, The Art and Archaeology of South, Central and Middle America, a volume he dedicated to my father in 1974.
    Carl de Borhegyi
    For more on Borhegyi and his archaeological research visit

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