Sunday, October 14, 2012

October Haunting - Bannack Ghost Town‏

Grasshopper Creek
Bannack, Montana was born in 1862 when gold was found along Grasshopper Creek. Like other gold rushes, miners rushed to the settlement in search of their fortunes and before long the hills around Bannack were filled with as many as 10,000 miners. With that many men during the era of the rough and tumble days of the Old West, there was bound to be violence.

Henry Plummer
Not long after the settlement was formed, in walked a man named Henry Plummer. Handsome, well dressed and charismatic, he gained the trust of the area miners and was soon elected sheriff of the burgeoning community. However, little did the unsuspecting citizens of Bannack know, but their new sheriff led a secret band of road agents called the "Innocents", who began to terrorize the travelers between Bannack and Virginia City, robbing and killing more than 100 men over the next several months.

In December 1863 the miners formed the Montana Vigilantes and during the next forty two days, the Vigilantes hanged 24 of the gang members, including Henry Plummer. Later, historians questioned the authenticity of the outlaw tale, suggesting that the whole story was only a cover for the ruthless vigilantes themselves. Today, many say that the ghost of Henry Plummer haunts this old settlement, which has long since become a ghost town. Perhaps he wants to avenge his name.

At the Hotel Meade, which was originally built as a courthouse in 1875, there are numerous stories of ghostly activity. When Bannack lost its county seat status to nearby Dillon in 1881, the building sat vacant until 1890 when it was remodeled into a plush hotel. The hotel opened and closed sporadically through the years with the ebb and flow of mining activity. At one time the building acted in the capacity of a hospital.

Cold spots, the apparition of a teen-age girl, and sounds of crying children are often reported by those who visit this old building. The first sighting of a young girl was well over a hundred years ago. The teen is said to be that of a girl named Dorothy Dunn who drowned in a dredge pond along the creek long ago. Shortly after her death, she made her first appearance to her best friend, who was with her at the time of her death.

The second picture that Judith had taken.
Since then there have been multiple sightings of the teen-age girl wearing a long blue dress on the second story of the old hotel. These reports often come from children, one of which reportedly stated that the ghost of Dorothy Dunn tried to talk to her. The seven year old could see Dorothy’s mouth moving but no sound came out. Dorothy has also been sighted standing in an upstairs window by passersby on the street below.

Judith of Ghosts, Poltergeists and Hauntings took this photograph at the General Store in Bannack, Montana. Judith actually took two pictures, the first of which turned out perfectly clear.

Yet more sightings have been reported throughout the town of ghostly women dressed in their best finery.

When mining played out, Bannack became a ghost town in the 1940s. However, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks saved the town from the elements and vandalism by making it a state park on August 15, 1954.

Today, over sixty structures remain standing, most of which can be explored. The staff preserve, rather than restore the buildings of this old town allowing visitors an opportunity to relive the American West.

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