An apparition throws dishes in a longtime tavern. Hikers spot the misty outline of a native canoe paddler. Mysterious howls are heard in the woods. A family wakes up in front of their table, all the lights on in their house.
All of these events are part of “Haunted Baraboo,” a book recently published by local guides Shelley Mordini and Gwen Herrewig.
Mordini, who teaches special education at Baraboo High School, also founded and operates Baraboo Tours. The company offers guided rickshaw and historical tours, but also shows tourists the haunted sites of the city.
When Arcadia Publishing of Charleston, South Carolina, brought up the idea of writing a book, Mordini was unsure of the proposal. The school year was due to resume in 2019, a busy period for teachers. When she told Herrewig about the opportunity, her co-author was now an advocate for the idea and agreed to be a part of the project. The two started a modest search, Mordini said, but it became really important when she heard back.
“Then I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer,” Mordini said. “This kind of catapulted us. Originally my diagnosis was “You have less than a year to live” so I was like, “OK, we have to write this book. “
From there, she and Herrewig stepped up their work. Their process has been hampered by restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of sharing a table in the library, they sat in front of their own computers, cooperatively editing a paper Herrewig had started as Mordini moved on to teaching in his 32nd year at home and Herrewig was juggling trying to help. her son with virtual learning.