Haunted History: a chilling visit to Brown County's Hazelwood House
Cold spots and eerie presences have been felt at Brown County's Historic Hazelwood House.
Action 2 News teamed up with psychic medium Regina Becker to find out if there's any truth to stories of specters roaming Hazelwood.
Becker runs Regina’s 7 Pillars in De Pere.
"I have found it extremely fun. Plus, I feel like I’m helping people because you fear what you don’t understand,” said Becker. “If you can make sense of it then you don’t fear it anymore.”
Becker said she’s been communicating with spirits since she was four-years-old after having a near death experience. She only recently became a full-time psychic medium after retiring as a nurse and moving to the area from New York.
Now Becker spends her time helping people connect with the other side.
Our journey begins with the Historic Hazelwood. Christine Dunbar is the executive director of Brown County’s Historical Society.
She tells us, “When I started, I had a person come over and say, ‘Is it OK if I come over and sit on the steps because I’m having feelings about the Hazelwood?'"
Dunbar recalls, “She said she saw different time periods here and different families that may have lived here."
Dunbar said she’s heard stories of people feeling spirits in the Hazelwood House for some time now.
Psychic medium Regina Becker thinks some of what people feel is the first family to live in the house: Morgan L. Martin, his wife Elizabeth, and their six children.
"I feel a stern man,” Becker told us.
Morgan L. Martin built the Hazelwood house in 1837 for his new wife and their baby.
“He built it for a purpose,” said Becker. “He picked this property for a purpose.”
Dunbar recalls, “He knew the style he wanted. He wanted Greek revival. All the wood was shipped from New York, through the Erie Canal, sent here and built."
Becker could picture the scene. “I could almost see him going through with a tape measure and going, ‘Well, you’re an inch off here,'" she said.
Dunbar said Morgan Martin held many special roles within society.
“He was a judge, he was a lawyer and he was the first mayor of Green Bay,” said Dunbar.
His busy schedule left wife Elizabeth alone to raise the kids.
“I do feel that the lady of the house was alone a lot,” said Becker.
Dunbar confirmed it. “He wasn’t here and her (Elizabeth’s) letters show exactly what you said, that I am here alone and she wasn’t expecting that."
As Becker and Dunbar continued through the house, Regina started to pick up on things.
“It was never warm in here since the ceilings are so high,” said Becker.
Dunbar said she knows that to be true because Elizabeth wrote about it in her diary that is now housed at the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay.
“She wrote that the house was drafty and they all had to sleep in the same room because the wood was wet and the fireplace didn’t work,” said Dunbar.
As they went up the stairs, Becker started to sense something else.
“My hands went from warm to ice cold,” said Becker. “I do feel an illness with a lot of pressure on the chest. I am not sure she survived.”
Becker was referring to one of Martin's children.
Dunbar said two of the kids died at young ages. Dunbar said Annie died at the age of six from rheumatic fever, and Melancton Martin died before the age of two.
Dunbar said they don’t know where he died or what happened, but it likely happened in the house.
Becker believes it happened at the top of the stairs.
“I believe that one of the other children had picked him up and was going to carry him downstairs and dropped him. I saw him hitting head first at top of steps,” said Becker. “I didn’t see him go down the steps, but I feel his brain became swollen and he died.”
Dunbar says, “We didn’t know about that, but people who go upstairs often feel cold as they hit the top of those steps. That is the only place people say anything like, ‘I feel like it’s cold right here.’”
Dunbar said the oldest son, Stephen Leonard Martin, fought in the Civil War and was never the same when he got back.
“I keep hearing that nobody understood him, you know, that maybe he would come out with something or do something odd and people at that time didn’t understand,” said Becker.
“He died in the insane asylum,” said Dunbar.
As Becker and Dunbar made their way through more bedrooms upstairs, Becker may have connected with another Martin family member.
“Someone keeps repeating, ‘You have to read for the children. You have to read for the children’,” said Becker.
Dunbar believes that was the youngest daughter, Debbie Martin, who was a librarian.
“She started a reading program for children and that sounds like something she would say,” said Dunbar.
With the help of her sister, Sarah Martin, Debbie wrote about history of Brown County and helped start the Neville Museum.
“She (Debbie) helped save historic buildings that are now at Heritage Hill,” said Dunbar.
Dunbar said Sarah was the quiet one of the family.
Becker said she tried to communicate with her, but only picked up on her image.
“She has her hair up, kind of like curled hair and pulled it on top of your head,” said Becker. “The dress is not real flowy, it is fitted and on through the arms, greenish cream color.”
“I am hearing Sarah didn’t mind taking care of the kids,” said Becker.
“We do know that she took over managing the household as her parents got older,” said Dunbar.
As they made one final swoop around the house, Becker kept getting a nagging feeling about the head of the household, Morgan L. Martin.
“I feel he wished he had had more heirs that produced heirs, like I said, I don’t see a huge family thing from their original set of children,” Becker.
Dunbar said the surviving women never married, but one of their sons, Morgan L. Martin, Jr did. He had four children.
“But his children never had any children so that was the end of the line,” said Dunbar.
After spending two hours in the Historic Hazelwood, Becker said she had an overall feeling that the house was very peaceful. When activity happens, she said the key is to not be afraid because it might just be Morgan Martin keeping an eye on things.
“I do feel that when he comes to wander around, you might feel a breeze or something like that, he is checking the place out to make sure you are keeping it up,” said Becker.
While talking to local businesses about haunted places in the area, the owner of the Lorelei Inn in Allouez told us strange things have been happening at her restaurant and bar. She said pots have been coming off the kitchen walls and the TV in the bar turns on by itself.
Action 2 News and Regina Becker toured the inn. The chilling part two of our haunted history reports airs June 14 on Action 2 News at 10.