El Rancho

Location:  Ladysmith, Rusk County, Wisconsin

Correct Title:  Best Western El Rancho Motel  


The Reputed History:
  • The main rumor revolves around a man in a red flannel shirt that was killed by an axe.
  • Allegedly the motel was built on a cemetery.


The Investigation:

We spoke with two separate employees of the El Rancho who told us that they had never heard of a man being killed at the motel.

An informant did tell us that the murder actually occurred in the 1930s at a bar called the "Bloody Bucket."  The bar was located just east of where the motel is today.  At that time the area was mostly rural, and the owner of the bar sold cattle on the side.  One night his bartender told him that a customer wanted to meet him at the cattle barn.  When he arrived at the barn, somebody murdered him with an axe.  His killer was never caught; however, about six months later his bartender married his widow.  Afterwards they sold the bar and quietly left town.

There is no evidence that the motel was built on a former cemetery.


The Reputed Phenomena:  

Residents of a nearby trailer court “said” they have seen this man standing in their living rooms watching them.


The Investigation: 

According to El Rancho employees, they had never heard of any ghostly activity happening there.  

We do have information from a former jailor/dispatcher indicating that back in the 1970s there was a peeping Tom who wore flannel shirts and who lived near the trailer court.  Although he would quickly disappear, this was because he could "run like a deer," and not because he was a spectre.  The voyeur was arrested numerous times and died several years ago.

We were unable to contact anyone from the trailer court to see if anybody alleges any recent sightings of the "peeping Tom ghost." 

The former Bloody Bucket has since been completely rebuilt, and today it is a popular Ladysmith bar and restaurant with no reports of any haunting activity.

Designed by Terry Fisk
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Revised: September 28, 2004