The vampire, a bloodthirsty creature borne of darkness that lives in either our darkest dreams or between the pages of sensual gothic romanticism. According to fiction the vampire lives in castles upon windswept mountains forever feeding up the blood of humans to maintain it’s cursed immortal state. One would hardly think such a being would stalk the streets of a small Wisconsin town. And yet, the people of Mineral Point believe one such entity calls their town home.
The terror in the south eastern Wisconsin town began on a chilly winter’s night in 1981. Veteran patrolman, John Popper, was driving around the lonely late night time streets of Mineral Point when his car radio came alive with a call from his dispatch; it was a call that couldn’t possibly have any basis in reality.
Throughout the night, several calls came from concerned citizens claiming a suspicious looking man dressed in black was wandering around Graceland cemetery. A handful of people raised the ante on weirdness stating the figure looked like a vampire. The beat cop couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of the calls. Nevertheless, he had a job to do, and calls to answer, regardless of how bizarre they may be. Besides, it was the perfect way to break the monotony of a thoroughly uneventful shift.
When he arrived, Popper, didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Just a typically quiet place of the dead. But, when he turned his spotlight on, he saw something that made his blood run colder than a Wisconsin winter night. Standing at the center of the cemetery was an unusually tall, gaunt man with a white face clad all in black. When the frightening figure realized he’d been spotted, he let out a vicious growl and took off running. Popper, gave chase but broke off the pursuit when the man vanished. The officer was left alone in the eerie boneyard in stunned disbelief.
The following morning, Popper returned to the cemetery with a few of his fellow officers. He hoped he could find some piece of evidence to back up his story. Unfortunately, all that was found was a single pair of footprints in the snow. And those footprints belonged to Popper. Due to this embarrassment, Popper was forced to drop the case. A case that was eventually forgotten.
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Twenty-three years would pass before the vampire made It’s return to Mineral Point. In 2004, the police received several frantic calls from the residents of a local apartment complex. According to the callers, a crazed man dressed in black jumped from a tree and tried to bite them. When the police arrived, they caught sight of the man and a foot chase ensued. They were close to catching him until the unthinkable happened. The strange man effortlessly leaped over a ten foot wall and escaped. The cops were at a loss of what to do. After that one and only incident, the vampire once again fell off the radar.
The trail of the Mineral Point vampire went cold until it resurfaced again in 2008. This time, he stayed away from the town and haunted a nearby lake. One couple narrowly escaped when the vampire attacked and tried to bite them. When the residents of the town learned of the story, they feared the terror had returned.
As of 2020, the vampire has not returned to the small Wisconsin town. Was this really a monsterous being of myth and legend? Or something else entirely? Some believe he was nothing more than an escaped mental patient. While others believed the vampire was the latest incarnation of a spirit that has haunted the region for over a century, the dreaded Ridgeway Phantom.
According to local folklore, the Ridgeway Phantom is the shapeshifting ghost of two brothers who ran afoul of bloodthirsty thugs. During a particularly cruel winter in the 1840s, the brothers found shelter from a blizzard in a bar filled with criminals and killers. Somehow, the youngest of the two offended one of the patrons and were beaten until unconscious. Their bodies were thrown back out into the snow where they froze to death. Since that time their ghost has manifested as a headless horseman, grotesque creatures and a spectral lunatic chasing people with a whip.
To some in the area, the Ridgeway Phantom is a leading theory to explain the vampire. While others, well, they just don’t know what to make of the stories. Regardless of what they believe, the people of Mineral Point, Wisconsin keep a vigilant eye.
They also make sure they lock their doors at night.
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