Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Phantom Hitchhiker of Baraboo, Wisconsin

BaraBOO, (emphasis on the BOO is mine) Wisconsin is a strange place filled with many supernatural tales, but the one that caught my attention is the Phantom Hitchhiker of Highway 12.  I just can't resist a good phantom hitchhiker story!

Highway 12 dates back to at least 1917 when it was known as WIS 12.  With the 1926 US highway system in place, the road kept the same numerical designation and basically the same path.  In 1993, the section of highway through Wisconsin was named the Iron Brigade Memorial Highway in honor of a Civil War Union unit from the area.

But its another type of soldier that the stretch of Highway 12 through Baraboo in Sauk County is noted for...

For years, drivers have reported a man wearing what appears to be a green army jacket from the 1960s and blue jeans walking down the road.  In most reports, this man is said to have a dark beard, and long, greasy black hair.  Drivers will pass him, not paying too much attention to the scraggly man, but then are overwhelmed when after traveling for about a mile down the road, they see the SAME guy, still walking down the side of the highway.  How could this man have gotten ahead of them so quickly when no other cars have gone by?  Some brave souls have attempted to give the man a ride, but find that he vanishes from sight before he reaches their car.

This particular section of highway has undergone some changes and upgrades in the past year, with more scheduled for the coming years, yet that doesn't seem to have deterred the phantom hitchhiker from making his presence know.  The Baraboo Tours Facebook page reported that a sighting was reported on November 7, 2011 by a truck driver.  The driver spotted the man about 9:45 pm near Ski-Hi Road.  He was spotted again by the S-curve near Skillet Creek.

Another witness shared HIS story, in which he gave an excellent physical description of the man, and pointed out that he saw the man for the first time near the airport on the east side of the road and again near the S curve between the cemetery and the trailer park. Although many have tried to find the phantom hitchhiker, no one has yet been able to explain who he is or why he is haunting this particular stretch of road.

Eyewitness Account of a Man Believed to be the Phantom Hitchhiker
Investigation by Unexplained Research
Baraboo Tours Facebook
Wisconsin is Strange, but Baraboo is Bizarre!


  1. As a former resident of that area (early 2000's), I can safely tell you that the reports of this phantom spirit are TRUE! I encountered him many times in accordance with the way the story is told. That is exactly what he looks like and he appears at any hour of the day. I usually saw him during the day but once or twice at night. Most times I saw him between New Freedom (near the old Ammo plant) and Sauk city on Hwy 12. However, I did see him a handful of times near Ski High Road and the S curve. Many times I passed him to have him ahead of me a mile or two and I couldn't figure out how he'd gotten there.. It was one of those things where, despite the fact that it confused me, I assumed he'd somehow gotten a ride with someone faster than me and dismissed the oddity away. Anyway, I remember many times wondering why the guy was ALWAYS hitchhiking (and once in a while biking on an old, rickety 10 speed) and why he was always dressed in that old army jacket. But whether hiking or riding he would disappear from view in the mirrors after I'd pass him. Then he'd be up ahead of me. It used to confuse the hell out of me. I thought about stopping once to ask if I could help him because I felt sorry for him- I figured he was homeless. However, I always was nervous to do it because in today's day and age you don't pick up a stranger when you're a woman alone in a vehicle. So anyway, I didn't know about him until a friend of mine who lived in the same area was looking for a haunted place to go for his birthday. In looking up the information, he came across this site or another that featured this story. I was looking over his shoulder as he pulled it up. When we read the first few lines our jaw DROPPED and we began to freak out! Turned out we'd both seen him- had the same experience but neither of us had ever considered he was a spirit. We began asking around and talking with the locals. Best information we could get was the claim that he'd been hit by a drunk driver in the 1970's but nobody was able to say for certain. I will say that he is just considered a fixture up there. He's been seen for years and years and he's just accepted as the local ghost. Anyway, after I learned about what he was, I never saw him again. A few months after, I moved from the area. But it would be great if someone could help him cross over.

  2. I have seen him at 3 am in late June 2015. The description matches. We were coming back from the Baraboo casino and heading towards Madison. He was walking towards the car in the middle of the street.