Mysterious Madison book for sale
Buy Now
^Learn More!^
W-Files, Wisonsin's longest running paranormal website! UFO Wisconsin - A Progress Report by Noah Voss
Buy Now
^Learn More!^
Posting the Paranormal Since 1997
Cryptids | Aliens | Angels | UFOs | Crop Circles | Bigfoot | Legends | Lake Monsters
Ghost Hunting Equipment | Ghosts | Complete Oddities List
Store | Legend Trippers Journal | Video | Contact

The Weirdest and Wildest Collection of Unique Gifts Anywhere!
Wisconsin Unique Gift Ideas Annual Shopping Guide
The more you shop, the more people we can help!
Shop odd and unique gift ideas

W-File: gh_snowmobile.html

Type: Ghost
Location: Woodruff, WIsconsin

Source: The book Northern Frights by Dennis Boyer (published 1998) pages 44-47.

The Phantom Snowmobiler

Dennis Boyer's Introduction

Wisconsin's archetypal outdoors ghosts count many a fisherman, hunter, and logger among their number. Most of the stories have deep roots or at least established traditions to draw upon. Even outdoor ghosts of relatively recent origin can be analyzed within the framework of familiar settings like the fishing camp or the hunting shack. The feel of flannel, the scent of pine, and call of the loon are as much a part of such stories as the usual haunted place features.

Deep winter settings produce fewer tales unless there is a connection to winter madness or cabinfever. Fewer still have a thoroughly outdoor winter setting (The Ice Fisherman is an exception). It may also say something about ghosts and the tellers of ghost stories that even most noisy ghosts are disconnected from the sounds of machinery. There is not much evidence of ghost linkage to power boats, jet skis, and all-terrain vehicles.

This makes the Woodruff tale of the Phantom Snowmobiler all the more surprising. Like the motorcyclist ghost of Ridgeway (Driftless Spirits, Prairie Oak Press, 1996), there is an unmistakable anti-traditional element to the story.

The narrator personifies the Wisconsinites who rarely get to tell their stories and feel alienated because no one listens. He is a large man. He sweats profusely in the summer heat even as we sit directly in the path of the tavern fan. He longs for winter. He lives for winter. His Marine Corps bicep tattoos jump as he clenches fists in emphasis of his points. He explains that he really did not want to hurt the TV weatherman who he threatened after a forecast of snow fell through. Dale seems to be like a man who is not afraid of anything. At least until you get him on the right subject.

The Story From The Old Marine:

I didn't believe in ghosts before. I probably still wouldn't give a crap ifl hadn't run into the one we got up here. They call him the Phantom Snowmobiler. I called him a nut-cutting son-of-buck.

They started talking about him about ten years ago. Back then people saw him running late on Highway J out toward Pickerel Lake. I remember thinking that the taverns were using cheap stuff in those Korbel bottles. I saw funny things once on cheap tequila.

But then about two years later I saw it myself. A bunch of us were on Woodruff Road south of Hemlock Lake. An old clunker Arctic Cat pulled out of the gravel pit road-almost wiped me out. It was the most beat-up piece of crap I'd ever seen.

But when I tried to catch it he left me eating snow. He must have hit a hundred miles per hour when he got on the straightaway of Highway 47. Then he doubled back on Mid Lake Road. When we made the beer and pee break down at Lake Tomahawk, the others told me it was the ghost. I told them that no dead treadjumper was going to get the better of me.

So I set about trying to catch him. Saw him two or three times a winter for about five years. Chased him all the way to McNaughton one time. He ran me off the trail twice, dumped me off a bridge once, and led me onto thin ice on Minocqua Lake. He made it across. I didn't. I was fit to be tied I wanted a piece of him in the worst way. I even thought about mounting assault rifles on my tread job. Silly, huh?

Well, I mellowed a little. A big guy like me can work up a belly full of hate that will kill him. You get ticked off, you get that grease and booze cooking in your gut, you get that cigarette smoke boiling in your brain, and the next thing you know you're working on ulcers, high blood pressure, blood clots in the head, and popping hemorrhoids. That's when a guy will knock around the wife and the kids. So it's good that mine left long ago.

But one of my good semper fi buddies from the Corps told me I had to learn to accept things I can't change. And just to make sure I learned the lesson he cold-cocked me good with a beer bottle the next time he caught me after a high speed ghost chase.

Then a funny thing happened. I stopped chasing the ghost and he starting finding me. Yeah, riding just ahead of me. Sometimes alongside of me. This is when I started getting a good look at him. I think I'm about the only one who's spent that much time close to him.

Others have described his old Arctic Cat snowmasher. And I can vouch for its crappy looks. But I'd swear that thing could leave Woodruff and make the North Pole in thirty-six hours. The ghost himself is a throw-back. No fancy clothes or boots. No shiny helmets. He's wearing a set of greasy gray insulated coveralls. A G.I. earflapped hat on his head. Buckle overshoes on his feet.

But when you get up close you notice something startling real quick. You look at his face and there is none! Yeah, just a blank space under the visor of the hat. So there's no talk and no eyes to give you signals. About all I could ever figure from him was from his hands. Sometimes he'd point. Sometimes he'd wave. And sometimes he'd stick up his mitten thumb.

His old snowbeater has an odd sound for a snowmobile that age. You know the new ones have high-pitched whines. The old ones sounded like big chainsaws sawing railroad ties. But the ghost's snowbanger just has kind of a hum. Almost like it's running on electric.

So I guess if you keep your pie-hole shut and watch and listen you can learn something. Not that the mucky-mucks and butt-wipes up here would want you to know. No, they don't want the story told. Don't scare the tourists. Don't you know it's bad for the bar and resort business?

But I know that if you follow the patterns you can find omens. The ghost has blocked trails and those who went around him later found themselves through the ice. He tried to run some drunk punks off Highway 47 to save them. But one of those fools gave an electric pole a sixty-mile-per-hour kiss. So I know he's trying to tell us to tone it down. But that's not part of the official plan around here.

I like to wail on my machine as much as the next guy. And I've been known to fuel myself on a bottle of brandy and a twelve-pack so that by bar time I'm twice the legal limit. But I know the trails and I know what I'm doing. What we're getting up here now is a lot of Milwaukee and Chicago rum-dumbs that can barely find their way up here.

Then they get on high-performance machines that they get no practice driving. Then they drink double what they can handle. They go in the night to places they have no experience with. And they think the whole northwoods is an open park.

The ideas of guide wires, private lane cable gates, and barbed wire fences are totally beyond their brain capacity. They're surprised when they're decapitated or have their skulls bashed in. They're shocked when they trespass and cross private land and end up cracked up in somebody's foundation hole.

I think the ghost is trying to stop it. But maybe all those other dead snow jockies left ghosts that are working against him. We better help him or there'll be a snowmobile ghost at every intersection from Stevens Point on up.

Looking for Paranormal Investigating Equipment?  Find it all at!

Help show your support for this site and our efforts by visiting, and any links below! 



All information contained above and elsewhere on has rights reserved to Enterprises and appropriate permissions must be gained before utilizing anything contained here on to aid in assuring our visitors, report filers and resources used to bring this site to you have all protections and due rights made available.  Interested parties please contact us through "Copy Right Services @"


Disclaimer: has not verified the validity of every report published within the  All reports are added to the database 'as is' received.  The reports posted have many possible explanations, including but not restricted to known natural earthly phenomena, hoaxes etc.  We leave it up to the individual viewer to judge the report based upon the content of the report itself.  As investigations occur, that information will be notated on the individual report.