Friday, October 14, 2011

The Paranormal State of Wyoming

Those who seek spooky experiences this Halloween season, or any time of year, can find numerous shivering options in Wyoming. Two of the more well-known locations are Buffalo’s historic Occidental Hotel and about a half-hour drive north to the Sheridan Inn:

Historic Sheridan Inn - Sheridan, WY
Historic Sheridan Inn, Sheridan WY - Buffalo Bill Cody auditioned acts for his Wild West Show from the huge, creaky porch around Sheridan Inn. Renovations, including electrical work, seem to have cured the flickering lights issue that led some to think ghosts roamed the gabled structure. There is still a persistent belief that a longtime resident and employee of the inn – Miss Kate – moves about the building. She had to leave in the 1960s when the inn closed down. Kate’s wish was to return before passing away. She died before that was possible but Miss Kate’s ashes were brought to the inn and placed in the wall of her favorite room. The most well-known encounter involves a late-night passerby who claims he saw the figure of a woman in a third-floor window. Several other people say they’ve viewed a woman walking around inside the building. Many Sheridan residents joined forces to see the inn restored to the point where it now hosts community gatherings and is home to a thriving steakhouse. Once you enter the inn’s lobby an instant transport back to the glory days of Buffalo Bill overcomes your senses. The Sheridan Heritage Center has completed restoration of two suites to show visitors what the completed hotel will be like but there is no overnight lodging currently available. Tours can be arranged by going here:

Historic Occidental Hotel - Buffalo, WY
 Historic Occidental Hotel, Buffalo, WY – Many of the most famous characters, real and fictitious, of the Old West either stayed in or got shot near the Occidental. According to owner Dawn Wexo some of the people who inhabited her beautifully restored buildings make their ghostly presences known regularly. Wexo has invited more than one ghost hunter to see what their meters tell them and hear voices from the other side. She and others at the Occidental are always pleased to regale visitors and guests with ghost stories as well as firsthand experiences. To get in touch, go to: PH: 307-684-0451; email:

Dare to take a look inside?Sheridan & Buffalo .mp4

Interstate 80 traverses all of southern Wyoming and a trek east-to-west supplies the ghost seeker with scare fare at nearly every stop:
Wyoming Territorial Prison - Laramie, WY

Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, Laramie, WY – Tickets to the annual Ghost Tour of Laramie City are on sale now for the eerie treks that start Saturday (Oct. 15) and continue through the end of the month. Staff and visitors to the prison have reported numerous odd encounters many related to Julius Greenwald, a cigar maker from Poland, who was incarcerated for murdering his wife. One of just two inmates to die while behind bars at the Laramie institution, Greenwald succumbed to heart failure in 1901. Strange occurrences of note include prison gates flying open despite being locked, cold spots or icy sensations and of course the smell of cigar smoke. The most famous case of paranormal activity in the facility came in 1991 when two people on a tour happened to notice someone wearing prison clothes standing in a doorway, arm outstretched with his palm facing up. The two men looked away briefly and when returning their glances toward the figure, that person had vanished. The tourists later looked through photographs of previous inmates and both men identified Julius Greenwald as the person they had seen. The 90-minute ghost tours also include a hayride through downtown Laramie to see and hear of its haunted history. Go to: or to get tour tickets call: 307-745-6161, ext. 12. If you are looking for a new means of flight, or to sweep, please allow time for a tour of the site’s functional broom factory.

The Virginian - Medicine Bow, WY
The Virginian Hotel, Medicine Bow, WY – Tour the building with its owners and you will feel their absolute need to keep the West alive here. From the d├ęcor in each room, to the “fancy meeting room” to the bar and restaurant The Virginian is replete with western hospitality. The author of the first western novel, Owen Wister, made Medicine Bow and its inhabitants focus of The Virginian. Wister’s first stop in the West was the train station across the road from where the hotel now stands. Ghostly manifestations in this lonely outpost along Highway 30 west of Laramie have been many.

Here are just a few:
• Many cold spots felt in various parts of the hotel.
• Apparitions of entities have appeared in front of the living and have been spotted out of the corner of the eye of some witnesses.
• Music from another era is sometimes heard in areas where there had been music played for guest entertainment long ago.

Virginian owners Vernon and Vickie Scott along with hundreds of former Medicine Bow residents celebrated the hotel’s 100th year in 2011. Medicine Bow requires a diversion from Interstate 80 north to Highway 30 at Laramie, Elk Mountain or Walcott Junction. The Scotts say one particular entity likes to visit the rooms and "help" in the restaurant - perhaps a former employee or owner. Current staff members report the phenomena of various items being moved from where they were last left and sometimes finding things in odd places.Visit:

Old Wyoming State Pen - Rawlins, WY
Old Wyoming State Penitentiary, Rawlins, WY - The "Old Pen", as it is affectionately called by citizens of Rawlins, was put out of use in the early 1980's. Now Wyoming Frontier Prison is a tourist attraction, a historical site, and the subject of many tales of paranormal activity. Members of tour groups often report hearing strange voices in cells, seeing people disappear around corners, and feeling hostile or tense presences. Employees have also seen apparitions and heard strange sounds. Not long after the pen was shut down it was used as the main shooting location for the 1988 movie Prison which has now attained cult status in the horror venue. The film was one of the first for actor Viggo Mortensen who would go on to become a star following a leading role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The very popular, and extremely scary, Halloween tours of Wyoming Frontier Prison are nightly Oct. 28, 29, and 31st and reservations can be made by calling: 307-324-4422. Not recommended for children under 12.

Fort Bridger State Historic Site, Ft. Bridger, WY - Ghosts of note have been spotted in almost every standing historic structure at this southwestern Wyoming location just a few miles south of Interstate 80. One or more animal apparitions have been reported, particularly that of a dog that was decorated for heroism for saving a young boy. Most ghosts seem to be rather harmless and appear to represent soldiers that died while stationed at the site in the mid to late 1800's. The site closes for the season Oct. 30. Visit Fort Bridger State Historic Site

Mysteries along I-80 await you:

I-80 .mp4

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