Gordon William Lillie, better known as "Pawnee Bill," and his wife, May lived their life by entertaining people with their many combined talents. In 1888 the couple launched their own Wild West show so that they could share their creative forces with the world.
Bill and May lived in the extreme, never failing to go large, wildly and loudly every single day during their life, so it comes as no surprise that their silence met by an unexpected death would give the duo a reason to resist being quieted as they continually demonstrate to others in the afterlife. The ranch is evidence of this as it boldly comes alive with storytellers inviting you to walk through a ghost tour of the mansion and experience extreme paranormal activity complete with ghost sightings, spirits, apparitions, and orbs that remain an integral part of the lively Lillie ranch.
Life at the ranch was filled with long hard work days during the late 1800s, so any form of entertainment was much appreciated by the local folks and they soon came to expect the varied acts put on by Japanese, Mexican and Arab performers that performed at the well known Lillie ranch.
May Lillie was the star of the show and was widely known as the "Champion Girl Horseback Shot of the West." Pawnee Bill also enjoyed being in the act, and later in 1908 he added Buffalo Bill to the line-up and dubbed them "The Two Bills."
Pawnee Bill was an enterprising man who dabbled in oil, banking and real estate, and the Lillie's home was a prime example of his creative vision. Influenced by the architectural beauty found in England's finer homes, Bill set to designing his own fortress with traditional craftsmanship using a blend of simple, medieval, romantic and folk style decor known as Arts-and-Crafts.
The earlier part of the decade brought the Lillie's the wealth that they needed to complete their $100,000 mansion as the Two Bills took their act to various cities throughout the United States. May remained at the ranch, supervising the many activities and work that was needed to maintain the ranch and enable it to flourish. Inspired by beauty, May and Bill embellished their home with everything from beveled windows and open arches to stately pillars and Oriental weavings. Drop style chandeliers made up of diamond cut glass, gold stained frieze, and expensive paintings all completed the look that the Lillie's were seeking to finalize their ornate home.
In 1936 the happy couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in Taos, New Mexico. That same year witnessed May's passing when she was killed in an automobile accident due to Bill losing control of the vehicle while he was driving back to their ranch after attending a celebration with friends. Heart broken, he never fully recovered from May's death, and most claim that his spirit died that night as well. Pawnee Bill passed away quietly in his sleep six years later.
The Lillie's legacy lives on at their ranch in Pawnee, Oklahoma, and visitors flock there every year to catch a glimpse of the Wild West. The mansion is highly active to this day with the spirits of the loving couple that once thrived in the home that they lovingly designed. Many people claim that May's presence is felt sitting in a chair near the front entryway; in fact the air becomes heavy in that area and a cold chill encases the room, making you hair stand on end.
Pawnee Bill's spirit is more prominent and has actually been seen by hundreds of people walking through various parts of the home during tours. His favorite location to spook you is directly in front of his own portrait hanging on the second floor. The upstairs bedroom located in the southern part of the mansion has an angry feel surrounding it immediately upon crossing the threshold.
Orbs have been caught on film and the temperatures drop to freezing in this section of the mansion on a regular basis. A peculiar sadness can be detected throughout the mansion that is often described as despair. To visit Pawnee Bill and May's ghost, you will have to take a tour of the quiet and lonely home that was once filled with life, wild antics and plenty of "hootin and hollerin."
The Pawnee Bill Museum: Modern live actors expertly recreate the original Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show the last three Saturdays in June every year. The 500-acre grounds include a blacksmith shop, an Indian flower shrine, roaming bison, longhorn, and draft horses that can be seen while touring the ranch.
Directions: The Pawnee Bill Ranch is located on Blue Hawk Peak Hawk, one-half mile west of Pawnee on US 64.