The Legend of the Missing Town: Doveland, Wisconsin 

The term “ghost town” evokes certain mental images of dusty western towns empty of all human life, dilapidated mining towns with broken windows, and desolate streets. There is something inherently creepy about an empty town and the unknown stories of previous residents, something sinister about the things left behind. 

But what if instead of an empty town, there was no town at all where one once existed? That’s the terrifying idea behind the legend of Doveland, Wisconsin. 

Deep in the heart of the state, there was a town called Doveland that supposedly vanished without a trace in the 1990s. Except, there were a few clues left behind.

These were mostly in the minds of Wisconsin residents who had encountered the town either through tales from older relatives or pieces of merchandise bearing the Doveland name. Or so the internet claims.

So what happened to Doveland, Wisconsin, and did it even exist at all?

The Legend of Doveland, Wisconsin 

Let’s start with the obvious–there are no maps that mention Doveland. 

There is no physical evidence in any sort of historical records, maps, or even written accounts of the town that disappeared. So the existence, or lack thereof, of Doveland wasn’t found by some intrepid explorer or Wisconsin historian. 

Instead, the first mention of Doveland seems to be on the infamous web forum 4Chan on their paranormal board known as /x/. This mention occurred in 2017. From there, more mentions can be found on other social media websites such as Tumblr and Reddit. 

While each website is vastly different, there is one thing that each of these discussions about Doveland has in common. No one has any concrete proof. 

The Phenomenon of Disappearing Towns 

Doveland isn’t the first vanished town to creep out the internet at large. Another such example is Langville, Montana. Amateur researchers suggest that all information about these mysterious towns has been expunged from the internet.

But the more likely possibility is that there is no information…because the towns never existed.

There is evidence of towns that once existed but were wiped off the face of the earth. But most of these occurrences are well-documented. Natural and manmade events can cause a town to disappear, like the small logging town of Werner, Wisconsin. 

Werner thrived when logging in the area was good. But once the forest was cleared, the town quickly emptied. After that, the previous location of Werner was covered by overflow from a nearby dam, eliminating the town completely. 

Doveland could have faced a similar fate, but there is no record of it anywhere. While Werner and its disappearance are clearly described in historical documents and records.

So why do urban legends like Doveland and Langville capture the public’s attention so much? The phenomenon of the disappearing town goes back hundreds of years. The most infamous example is the colony of Roanoke, Virginia. 

The colony of Roanoke was founded in 1585 by Sir Walter Raleigh. But when a ship came to visit the colony 5 years later, all of the residents had vanished into thin air. 

Only one concrete bit of evidence had been left behind by the lost colonists. There was a tree carving that read “CROATOAN”. The fate of the Roanoke colonists remains unknown even to his day.

When compared to Doveland, it’s easy to see the similarities. Doveland and Langville are fitting successors to the mystery of Roanoke. However, in the age of the internet, the so-called clues left behind are a bit different than a simple tree carving. 

Illustration of the tree carving found in Roanoke, State Archives of North Carolina

Evidence of Doveland, Wisconsin 

There are three main pieces of evidence that Doveland believers claim proves the existence of the mysterious town. This evidence ranges from a single photograph, pieces of memorabilia, and Google search artifacts that seem to connect Doveland to the disappearances of over 1,000 Wisconsinites.

The Doveland Photograph 

The creepiest, and coincidentally, most tangible evidence of Doveland is a single photograph. It was potentially taken in the eighties or nineties, if the outfits of the people in the photo are any indication. 

Even without the mysterious Doveland, the picture is unsettling in the way a lot of old pictures tend to be. It had faded to a red and burnt orange hue, so much so that one figure on the edge of the picture had all but disappeared in the glare. 

There are three people in the photo which is set in a restaurant booth. There is a man in an apron, potentially the chef or server. Then, there is a woman with her arm around the man. The third is a hard-to-see figure, which may be a child or another young woman. 

A damaged photograph supposedly ‘recovered’ from Doveland.

It appears to be a fondue or hibachi restaurant. There is a large metal pot in the middle of the table indicating that it isn’t a normal chain restaurant. 

Posts on Tumblr and 4Chan claim that the photo is the only thing recovered from Doveland, Wisconsin. However, the question persists…how do they know this? 

There is nothing in this picture that confirms it was taken in Doveland. This makes it more likely that the photo is just a normal picture edited to be creepy. 

Doveland Merchandise and Memorabilia 

Part of the legend of Doveland is that some Wisconsin residents have things like coffee mugs and shirts bearing the Doveland name. If these products could be dated to a pre-internet period, they would be real signs of Dovelands existence. 

Unfortunately, the only merchandise that can be found for Doveland are things custom-made to take advantage of the internet sensation of the Doveland story. They aren’t real pieces of memorabilia, but rather a reference to the story itself. 

Doveland merchandise comes up on websites like Etsy and Facebook. But all of them postdate the first mention of the Doveland myth. 

Doveland Google Artifacts 

The only evidence of Doveland that can really be found is the so-called “ghost trace.” Or, Google artifact of the town’s connection to an article about over 1,000 missing Wisconsinites. 

A search for Doveland, Wisconsin will produce hundreds of results about the myth. Among those paranormal retellings, this genuine piece of journalism looms. Most mysterious of all, there is no mention of Doveland in this article at all, so why does it come up on a Google search?

The theory is that the Google algorithm offers up this article because of the keywords “missing” and “Wisconsin.” This can be found in both the Doveland story and this article on missing people. 

So while at first glance this article appearing in a Doveland search might seem like a smoking gun, it’s really nothing but the result of certain repeating words and phrases. 

Doveland, Wisconsin: Fact or Fiction?

It would be a much more interesting world if places like Doveland had once existed. However, it’s much more likely that, like other “creepypastas” such as Slenderman, Doveland is simply a product of the internet creating scary stories. 

Doveland might be fiction, but there are plenty of spine-chilling tales of ghost towns in American history. While Doveland might be a bust, there are dozens of other mysteries to solve if you can’t stop thinking about this disappearing town.


“Doveland, Wisconsin”,_Wisconsin

“More than 1,000 Wisconsinites reported as missing”

“Werner, Wisconsin.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top