Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Old West Ghost Stories and Ghost Towns

With Halloween fast approaching- I felt some good old-fashioned ghost stories were appropriate!

I found some ghost stories about the cowboys, outlaws and towns of the old west, including Tombstone, Deadwood, and Jesse James.

Along the way I came across some Ghost Towns, Including Virginia City, Nevada-one the most “spirited” towns around! The old west tales of the town are lively and so are the Ghosts.

I have visited this town myself- and you can see and feel the history come alive!!!

Happy Halloween- Ride American!!!!


The Spirit of Marshal Fred White is reported to haunt the streets of Tombstone. Marshall White was accidentally shot by Cowboy faction leader, Curly Bill Brocius on October 28, 1880.

White, the first marshal of Tombstone, had gained the respect of the Clanton Gang, and in fact, had arrested "Cowboy” members on a number of occasions, rarely having any problems when doing so. In the early morning of October 28th, Curly Bill and several of his cohorts were making sport by shooting up the town.

When White went to disarm the gunman, a shot was accidentally fired, hitting White in the groin. Though, it was thought that he would make a full recovery, two days later he died. Today, he is said to haunt the street in front of the shooting site, which was an empty lot where the Bird Cage Theater was built a year later.


1876 saw the arrival of Seth Bullock and Sol Star to Deadwood, South Dakota. Moving their hardware store from Helena, Montana.

According to dozens of reports, Seth Bullock still continues to play host at his beloved hotel. All manner of strange occurrences have happened at the historic hotel according to both staff and guests. Reports include feelings of a strong paranormal presence inside several of the rooms and in the hallways of the second and third floors, as well as in Bully’s restaurant, and in Seth's Cellar (pictured below).

Others have reported actually seeing the tall ghostly figure of Bullock in various areas of the hotel, including the restaurant and the basement. Apparently Seth’s ghost wants to ensure that the staff is working hard, as paranormal events tend to increase when staff members stand idle, whistle or hum a tune. Plates and glasses have been known to shake and take flight in the restaurant, lights and appliances turn on and off by themselves and items are inexplicably moved by unseen hands.

Many guests have reported hearing their name called out by a male voice when no one is present, or have been tapped on the shoulder by unseen hands. Others have heard whistling and many report the sounds of footsteps in the hallways when no one is there.

In both the second and third floor rooms, guests have reported a number of strange occurrences including photographs that produce strange anomalies, alarm clocks that go off, even when they are unplugged, televisions that seemingly operate with unseen hands, cloudy figures seen in rooms and hallways, and even an antique clock, that hasn't functioned in years, that chimes of its own accord.

Bodie, California

Legends about Bodie abound, including the Bodie Curse. Supposedly, if visitors take anything from this old ghost town – even a pebble, they will be cursed with bad luck. Misfortune and tragedy are heaped upon the victim until the stolen item is returned. According to Park Rangers, many who have taken things eventually return them to the park to rid themselves of this curse. Purportedly, the park maintains a logbook of pages and pages of returned items.

In the museum, you can see the letters from people who have returned items to the park. The curse is supposedly perpetuated by the ghosts of Bodie who guard against thieves and protect its treasures. Some believe that the "curse” is nothing more than a superstition perpetuated by the Park Rangers to preserve Bodie as a historic site.

Other ghostly legends have seemingly occurred in this ghost town. The J.S. Cain house is said to be haunted by the ghost of a Chinese maid. Families of Park Rangers, who have occupied the house, describe the spirit, as not liking adults, but loves children.

Adults sleeping in the house have said that they will awake in the night to find the "heavy set” Chinese woman sitting on them. Feeling suffocated, one woman fought so hard that she ended up on the floor. Others have reported seeing the bedroom door opening and closing on its own.

The Gregory House is also said to be haunted by the ghost of an old woman. Guests and staff have reported seeing her sitting in a rocking chair, knitting an afghan. At other t

imes, the rocking chair has been seen rocking on its own accord.

Jesse James

It should come as no surprise that the Jesse James Farm in Kearney, Missouri is said to be haunted. Given the violent temperament of some of its inhabitants, the untimely death of Jesse James, the violence that occurred on the property, and the tragic death of Jesse’s younger half-brother Archie.

Both Jesse and Frank James were raised in this house by their mother Zerelda, who was married to three different husbands and bore eight children. It was here that Jesse James was whipped as a teenager by Union militia who strung up his stepfather and burned nearby farms.

It was also here that Zerelda watched as her son Archie was murdered by Pinkerton detectives in an attack where she lost her right hand. After Jesse was killed, he was buried here, where she could protect the grave from trespassers or souvenir hunters. Later, his body was re-interred at the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Kearney.

The James Family Farm has said to have been haunted for more than a century. Evidently home to a number of lingering spirits, lights are said to move about both inside and outside of the property buildings. Others report hearing the sounds of pounding hooves, muffled shots and cries that are reminiscent of the area history, dating back to events of the Civil War.

Today, wide arrays of mysterious happenings occur in the house. Reports are frequent that lights are seen inside the building long after it has been locked up for the evening and movements are often seen which are never registered on a security monitoring system. Staff reports that feelings of a presence within the home are extremely intense. Others report that on foggy mornings, hushed voices and the sounds of restless horses can be heard from the nearby woods. However, when they follow up, there are no signs of a disturbance or tracks within the trees.

Virginia City, Nevada

Old Washoe Club

The Old Washoe Club is said to be the most haunted location in

Virginia City. A saloon occupies the lower level and has for many years. The second floor used to be The Millionaire's Club. The third floor was previously used as a brothel.

Ghosts known to haunt this location include a man dressed in black, a lady dressed in blue, and a small child. There is also the ghost known as Lena, who has been experienced all over the building. The Old Washoe Club has been featured on different TV shows including Ghosts Hunters.

Silver Queen Hotel & Casino

The story of the ghost at the Silver Queen Hotel & Casino is a sad one. A female spirit from the 1800's still lingers on there. The story goes that she was pregnant and waiting for her boyfriend to come back, but he never returned. She was so upset, that she committed suicide.

Virginia City Visitor's Center

The Virginia City Visitor's Center, located on C Street, across the street from the Ponderosa Saloon and Mine, was once a two story, dried goods stores. It is currently the home of the spirit of a little girl. The identity of the little girl is unknown.

The Chapin Boarding House

Originally built in 1862 by Samuel Chapin, the Chapin Boarding House was one of the finest boarding houses in all of Nevada. Today it sits vacant, for sale. People who enter the building complain of an uneasy feeling.

Gold Hill Hotel

Built in 1859, the Gold Hill Hotel is the oldest operating hotel and saloon in the state of Nevada. It is located just outside of Virginia City. Visitors arriving to Virginia City from either the Lake Tahoe or Reno areas pass by this small town en route to Virginia City. It is also a stop on the 35 minute train tour of the Virginia and Truckee Railroad tour.

At least two ghosts are said to reside here. First, there is William, a firefighter who died in the Yellow Jacket fire. Guests at the hotel have been known to smell his pipe tobacco. He particularly hangs out in room # 5 and has repeatedly awakened guests at 3:00 o'clock in the morning by shaking the bed.

There is also the ghost of Rosie. Rosie is believed to be a previous housekeeper who enjoys moving guests' keys around. A visitor can know when Rosie is present by the smell of old fashioned rose petals.

More Haunted Locations in Virginia City

There are many additional haunted locations in Virginia City such as The Red Dog Saloon, the Mackay Mansion, and Piper's Opera House. In fact, it seems like just about all of the old, historical buildings have a ghost or two, which is why Virginia City is considered the most haunted city in Nevada.

The Dunlop House, Virginia City, and employees stand in front of the building, approximately 1890 (pictured above)

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1 comment:

Chuck Bartok said...

Bodie is a real adventure, Virgina City FUN but don't forget Calico, outside of Needles California.

Right after Walter Knott bought the Town in the 1950's I camped there several times as a Boy Scout. Rode horseback and "played" Cowboy!

Fell of a cliff and broke ribs and wonder my nose is so big!