The "Bantley" Graveyard

Location:  Canton, Barron County, Wisconsin




This community has had numerous problems with vandalism.  Be aware that the cemetery is under constant surveillance. 


A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for vandalizing the cemetery.  Please call the Barron County Sheriff's Department (non-emergency): (715) 537-3106 or (800) 532-9008.

The Reputed History:  
  • A certain Mr. Bantley (sometimes spelled Bantely) murdered his wife and four children and then committed suicide by hanging himself in his barn which was located next to the graveyard.
  • At one time a Satanic cult used the same barn for religious rituals and used the birdbath in the graveyard for sacrifices.  Blood stains can still be seen on the birdbath.
  • Two young boys were playing a game of tag in the graveyard after dark.  A hand reached up from the ground, grabbing one of the boys by the ankles, causing him to instantly die of fright.  The body of the other boy was later found outside the graveyard.  The cause of death was unknown.
  • The proper name of the graveyard is neither Bantely nor Bantley.  It is actually "Pioneers Rest Cemetery."  The confusion most likely arises because the cemetery is owned and maintained by the Bandli (notice the spelling) family.  It is popularly referred to as the "Bandli Cemetery" by some of the local residents.

The Investigation:

  • Nobody by the name of Bantely or Bantley is buried in the cemetery.  The Bandli's, however, do have a family plot there.
  • A search of the Barron County Birth, Death, and Marriage certificates turned up no records for any persons bearing the name Bantely or Bantley.  Records found for Bandli family members indicated that all had died of natural causes. 
  • We also spoke with David Bandli who confirmed that no member of his family had been murdered and that no family members had committed suicide.

  • We were not able to confirm the stories of Satanic cult activities in the area.
  • The alleged birdbath is actually a planter for flowers.  No bloodstains were observed.
  • Mr. Bandli had never heard of anyone dying while in the cemetery--thus leaving no evidence that two children died after being grabbed by some entity. 
  • Serious flaws cast doubt on the alleged history.  First, how could the hands reaching up from the ground have been observed if it was dark?  Second, if the two boys witnessed the hands and later they were both found dead, how would anybody have known about the hands as there would have been no surviving eyewitnesses to testify as to what had happened? 
The Reputed Phenomena:  
  • Numerous ghostly apparitions have been observed after dark, including the ghost of a young girl who has been observed sitting in one of the trees located inside the graveyard.
  • During the day, shadows will follow people who walk along the road past the graveyard.
  • The dare:  If you drive over 25 mph over the bridge next to the graveyard, your brakes will go out.
The Investigation:  
  • No ghosts were observed.
  • No anomalous shadows were observed.
  • The brakes did not fail while driving 25 mph over the bridge.
  • We were unable to locate anybody who could offer firsthand testimony to substantiate any of the reputed phenomena.
  • David Bandli had heard rumors of the cemetery being haunted, but could not find an original source for the legend, nor has he ever spoken to anybody who had a firsthand experience. 

Instrument Findings:

  • EMF Meter:  Normal
  • IR Thermal Probe:  Normal
  • Photographic:  Normal
  • EVP:  Negative

Our conclusions do not eliminate the possibility of strange phenomena occurring in this cemetery, but we do conclude the history and cause of this particular haunting are false. 

Designed by Terry Fisk
Copyright Unexplained Research. All rights reserved.
Revised: September 28, 2004