Buckle up, we’re going for a drive down some of the most haunted roads in Wisconsin. From a phantom hitchhiker, witches, and ghostly roadkill, to the notorious Bloody Bride and dead Boy Scout troop, this is a spine-tingling road trip into some of the Badger State’s darkest and strangest legends where the supernatural and the tragic intertwine.
Down these haunted highways and cursed country lanes you’ll find chilling back roads ghost stories that will make your skin crawl and your imagination run wild.
Let’s go for a haunted joyride into terror!
Phantom Hitchhiker of Hwy 12 – Baraboo
Baraboo, the birthplace of the Ringling Bros. Circus, has plenty of ghosts. Al Ringling himself is among the spirits said to linger in his old mansion. The old Baraboo Inn is believed by some to be one of the most haunted bars in the country, with upwards of 30 spectral ghosts including gangster Al Capone. The spirit of a distraught mother wanders the woods around Ringling Road, where legend says a deranged Ringling employee was murdering children and dumping their bodies down an old fieldstone well. There were even ghosts of circus elephants causing havoc around town in the 1930s.
Highway 12 runs along the western edge of town. It’s here that unsuspecting drivers encounter the phantom hitchhiker – a man walking along the side of the road in jeans and a green army jacket. They pass him…just to see him again a mile or so down the road.
The Jay Road Jogger – Boltonville
A thickly forested stretch of road in rural Washington County called Jay Road is home to two haunted legends. Residents and passersby have encountered ghost cats reportedly from when a group of teenagers once set the home of a local crazy cat lady ablaze.
And then there’s the Jay Road Jogger, the spirit of a woman who, according to legend, was hit by a car while jogging down the road. Her body is said to have been lost in the swamp and never recovered. Unwitting drivers will catch her spectral form in her headlights, and then she vanishes…only to appear in their backseat!
Boy Scout Lane – Stevens Point
A spectral bus and an entire ghost troop of Boy Scouts is said to haunt Boy Scout Lane. Why the scouts are doomed to haunt the woods around this road varies by legend. According to some, the scoutmaster murdered the entire troop. In others, the bus got into a deadly accident or caught fire, killing everyone aboard. Another story says that the entire troop and their leaders vanished without a trace and were never seen again.
Visitors to Boy Scout Lane have felt an uneasy sense of foreboding and the feeling of being watched. They have reported seeing lanterns or flashlights in the woods, and hearing branches breaking around them in all directions.
Drivers who stopped along the road have reportedly discovered fingernail scratches and the handprints of children on their vehicles.
Witch Road – Ripon
Callan Road, known locally as Witch Road, is a short, unpaved jaunt that loops off Hwy KK in Fond du Lac county. It’s here, along this isolated gravel road, where the dilapidated home of a murderous witch is said to still stand somewhere in the woods. The branches of a gnarled tree are said to form her likeness, and the spirit of a lost girl still trying to escape the old crone has been seen among the trees.
Visitors have heard strange sounds, unexplained lights, cold spots, and other phenomena. The house in the woods and witch legend are said to originate with the story of two spinster sisters who inherited the family farm after their parents died, and lived out the rest of their lives there. Locals whispered rumors about the two women, who rarely came into town, and supposedly lived very private lives. When the sisters died, the house was left vacant and soon became the victim of vandals who set it afire.
According to Ripon Press, John and Cleora Thorndike bought a farm there in 1893. When they died, their twin daughters Grace and Gertrude (born in 1894) continued to live in the house. Grace died in 1971, leaving Gertrude as the last of the family living there until she died in 1987 and likely becoming the so-called “witch” of Witch Road.
Bloody Bride Bridge – Stevens Point
The Highway 66 Bridge in Stevens Point has taken on a more sinister nickname over the years and has become legendary as one of the most haunted places in Wisconsin. Bloody Bride Bridge gets its name from the story of a bride and groom crossing the bridge many years ago on their wedding night.
According to the legend, the couple got into a fatal accident on the bridge, and to this day the bride can be seen on rainy nights, wandering around on the bridge in her bloody wedding dress.
One story tells of a police officer who supposedly hit the bride when she appeared on the road in front of him. He got out to help her, but there was no one there. When he got back into his car, she was waiting in the backseat.
Paradise Road – Jefferson
You’d think there would be more spectral roadkill haunting dark, rural back roads like Paradise Road in Jefferson, but so far this seems to be the only one. Here, it’s said that drivers encounter the ghost of a decapitated racoon with fresh blood that glistens in the headlights.
Other stories involve mysterious shadows, screams, and robed figures in the woods along the road. Legend says three sisters used to live on Paradise Road, until they were accused of witchcraft, dragged out of their home, and hanged from the trees where they still shunt the cursed land.
7 Hills Road – Fond du Lac
This harrowing stretch of road through the Fond du Lac countryside, with numerous high, steep hills, seems like exactly the kind of place where joyriding teens or an inattentive driver could meet their fate. According to the legend, 7 Hills Road is haunted by the spirit of a woman who missed the stop sign at the end of the road and careened into the tree ahead…splitting her in half.
Dubious as that particular detail may be, that could make for a chilling encounter on this eerie road at night.
Weary Road – Evansville
Based on the quantity of phenomena alone, this dark, narrow stretch of pavement zig-zagging sharply through the countryside near Evansville may be the most haunted road in Wisconsin. Weary Road is home to a number of varying legends from Old Man Weary, who’s said to appear to you after you’ve visited the road three times, to phantom cars and motorcycles. Even a spectral train has been reported careening down the tracks that cross the road.
Local lore says that Lewis Weary, the farmer the road was supposedly named after, was a kind-hearted old man who enjoyed entertaining kids from around the area. Parents began to grow suspicious of his intentions, however, and decided to put a stop to it by setting his house ablaze while he was still in it. Unbeknownst to the parents, several kids had been visiting Mr. Weary at the time, and they perished in the fire along with him.
Mr. Weary was innocent, according to the story, so maybe he’s still wandering the road waiting for the opportunity to avenge his death.
Another story says that teenagers had been joyriding out on Weary Road (probably dangerous in itself, considering it’s barely two lanes wide) when the driver lost control of the car and crashed off the bridge. In a similar version of that story, one teen had been car surfing when they made the sharp turn by the bridge, causing the kid to fall off the car to his death.
As a result, it’s said that if you park your car on the bridge at night, it won’t start up again.
Other visitors to Weary Road have reported scratches appearing on their arms and legs, hearing screams and inhuman sounds, seeing small imp-like creatures in the trees and dark figures moving across the road, as well as glowing orbs of light. A green, glowing shape is said to be Mr. Weary himself.
Haunted Roads in Wisconsin
These may be some of the most notoriously haunted roads in Wisconsin, but every community seems to have similar urban legends or folklore about a road outside of town haunted by some tragedy. Whether it’s the restless spirits of those killed in horrific car accidents, the ghosts of witches seeking revenge, or an entire bus full of spectral Boy Scouts, the legends of Wisconsin’s haunted roads will make you think twice about taking a night drive into the unknown.
Is there a haunted road near you? Have you had an encounter on one of the roads above? Tell us about it in the comments below!