Wyoming has a rich history with many tales of Native Americans, settlers and famous outlaws from the Wild West. Wyoming’s numerous ghost towns, forts and historical cemeteries serve as a reminder of its intriguing and often unsettling past. The restless spirits of pioneers and gunslingers are said to roam among many of the state’s historical sites. The region is home to a number of unique landmarks such as the Devil’s Tower and Devil’s Gate that often give rise to tales of evil spirits. Wyoming’s folklore abounds with accounts of hauntings and the supernatural.
The Ghost’s Room in St Mark’s Episcopal Church in Cheyenne
St Mark’s Episcopal Church was originally built in 1868. In 1886, two stonemasons were hired to construct a bell tower. About halfway through the construction, both men disappeared. The unfinished tower was capped off at that time. Years later, when construction resumed, workers complained of strange sounds, banging noises and whispering. Many were afraid to work in the bell tower. Someone came up with the idea to build the ghost its own room to appease it. Just beneath the eleven carillon bells, there is a room with a wooden floor, gothic windows and a chandelier. It is only accessible by an 85 foot spiral staircase that begins in the basement. The bell tower was completed in 1927. It is said that one of the original stonemasons later returned and explained to the priest that his friend had fallen to his death. Afraid of being deported if an investigation ensued, he sealed the body in the foundation and left.
A Real Life Ghost Adventure
Historic Plains Hotel in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Photo Courtesy of Kent Kanouse
Travelers in search of specters and other apparitions can experience hauntings first hand at countless locations across Wyoming. Ghost stories flourish in inns, taverns and prisons. Cheyenne is known as the most haunted place in Wyoming. The city is profuse with legends of the wild and lawless who met an early demise and still inhabit the city. A historical tour of the state can transform into a haunted adventure through its spine tingling tales of the supernatural.
The Haunting of Wyoming Frontier Prison in Rawlins
Photo Courtesy of Howard Twine
Wyoming Frontier Prison was the first state prison and operated from 1901 until 1981. The prison held some of the state’s most violent offenders including Wyoming’s death row inmates. In the early part of the century, the prison was known for violently beating prisoners. Early executions entailed forcing the inmates to hang themselves. Approximately 250 men died at the prison. Many were murdered by guards or inmates, and some committed suicide. Nine inmates were executed by hanging and five in the gas chamber. The facility has become a well-known site for paranormal investigation. There have been reports of voices, cold spots and sightings of apparitions of former inmates.
Buffalo Bill Still Roams the Irma Hotel in Cody
Photo Courtesy of tommytex2001
The Irma Hotel was built by William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody in 1902. It was named after his daughter. The hotel includes two suites and a personal office that were used by Buffalo Bill. Buffalo Bill passed away in Denver, Colorado, but many people claim his ghost still inhabits the Irma Hotel. Staff members say the rocking chair in Room 16 rocks on its own. Room 16 was formerly Irma’s room. Guests have reported strange sounds, being touched by “nothing” and hearing unidentified footsteps. There have also been sightings of a man that is only visible from the head to waist. Several accounts claim the man appeared to be Buffalo Bill.
The Ghosts of Shoshone Bar in Lovell
Photo Courtesy of Shoshone Bar Facebook Page
The Shoshone Bar is a sixty year old tavern with a history of strange occurrences. The staff and customers have reported hearing strange voices and banging sounds. The building has a history of unusual electrical problems, and people claim to have seen floating money and apparitions. Some of the ghosts are believed to be former owners. Witnesses say the ghost sightings are accompanied by the sounds of footsteps outside the office, keys being inserted into locks and tumblers spinning in a safe. One is claimed to be a candy salesman that disappeared in the 1940s. Some say they can feel his presence in the basement.
The Ship of Death on Platte River near Fort Laramie
North Platte River near Fort Laramie, Wyoming. Photo Courtesy of Ken Lund
Numerous accounts have been given of a phantom ship that emerges from a mist along the Platte River. It is an old sailing ship, and its masts are covered with frost as are the ghostly figures of the crew. The ship is said to be the harbinger of death. Those claiming to have seen the ship say the crew are huddled around a corpse on the deck. As they step away, the identity of the corpse is revealed. The corpse is always a person the witness knows. Their appearance on the ship is an omen that they will die on that day. Numerous tales of these occurrences date back to the 1800s. A trapper named Leon Weber saw his fiancé on the ship in 1862. In 1903, Victor Heibe saw a friend on board the ship. Each sighting was followed by the death of the person seen on the deck.
Hungry Ghosts at the Cowboy Bar in Meeteetse
Photo Courtesy of David Cohen
The Cowboy Bar has been in business since 1893. It has a long history of serving outlaws and rough housers. There are numerous tales of murders being committed at the bar as might be ascertained by the bullet holes in the walls. Staff and patrons report hearing footsteps and seeing bottles fly off the shelves. There are accounts of full glasses falling from the bar without spilling any of the contents. Several people claim to have heard the invisible clientele placing steak orders.