Dillon, MT is home to one of the most haunted eateries in the state, The Bannack Ghost Town State Park. Come explore its mystery with Haunted Journeys.
Bannack Ghost Town, now a State Park, was originally founded in 1862 when gold was discovered along Grasshopper Creek. By the Spring of 1863, there were almost 3,000 folks living in the thriving western city. On November 1863, the town became official when the Post Office was established.
Back then, it was very difficult for the areas official to establish effective government since the town grew so fast in so little time. For this reason, the bad found it easy to have their way here. In 1863, although Bannack did have a Chief Justice in place, he had no way of managing the law since there were no federal marshals to help back it up. To help out with this problem, the minors gathered together and established an organization to police themselves. It was called the Miners Court. Though simple, setting up fair laws concerning claims. It minimized the incidence of conflict and people being killed over mine claims. Unfortunately, outlaws showed up with an elated appetite for taking what was not there's. So the local folks took care of this. Outlaws were executed here.
Bannack's economy was dependent on the mines. Throughout the years that followed, mining dwindled. The town shrank in population. Around 1940, the town closed down and all the mines closed for good. When the last people left the town in the late '40s, concerned citizens in both Dillon and in the Bannack area worked hard to be able to buy the town in order to preserve it. Around 1947, A group of people from Western Montana began to stabilize the important buildings along its main street. More support was gained when the courts ordered the mining company to put the area up for auction in 1954.
Today it serves as a living museum with about 20 buildings and points of interest preserved and stabilized, but not renovated.
Ghost towns have ghosts. Once extremely thriving ghost towns will have thriving haunts! This town is no exception.
One of the most impressive buildings that has demonstrated much paranormal activity is The (once), Hotel Mead. Constructed in 1875, it used to be the first Courthouse. After Banning lost its county seat, it turned into the Meade Hotel. It became the center of activity, perhaps bringing a sense of civility to the community. In addition, sometime during its long history, the building was also used as a makeshift hospital at times when it was called for due to high need. The Hotel Meade closed for good in the 1940s when people left the town for good, but its souls remain there.
One of the phantoms here is that which belonged to Dorothy Dunn, who drowned in a nearby pond in 1916. She was also the daughter of the hotel manager at the time. Tales tell us that Dorothy was very active, soon after her death, appearing to her best friend on the same day she drowned. Today her full-body apparition is seen mostly by children. She wears a blue era dress and attempts to speak to them. She has been seen looking out of the second-story window of the hotel.
Dorothy is not the only child in the hotel, many have heard the cries of children in the hotel. It is believed that when the hotel was used as a hospital attending to the medical needs of little ones afflicted with infectious epidemics. There are also claims that these could be the wails of children that were put into the hotel safes when the natives attacked the town.
You may also catch the ghost of an older woman in the hotel that also haunts the second floor. She has been seen looking out a window on this floor, witnessed by visitors. Not much is known about her.
Another building with much spectral activity is what is known as the Chrismans' Store. This was the town's general store, that also had offices in the back used by the notorious outlaw Henry Plummer. The men, back then, were the principal shoppers. Therefore, they spent a lot of gathering time here. The place acted as the town's informal "news bureau, university, and a social settlement". In addition, the fireplace provided a warm area for a conversation about various topics of interest, planning sessions fo things to come. Here they would discuss what was going on in their lives and their town.
This spot is filled with very active phantoms. Many have been captured by photo images. Apparitions and disembodied voices have also been heard.
The Bessette House, belonging to a long term resident called Abed "Amity" Bessette. He was one of the original vigilantes who stopped the murderous practices of the Plummer's gang. He died in 1919, passing his house to the town to be used for quarantine purposes for the deadly epidemics of at that time, including typhoid, Diptheria, and others disease. Unfortunately, this included many small children. History tells us that at least 14 infants died of smallpox. Many did not survive, leaving their ghostly remnants behind in this space.
The infamous Henry Powell's phantom is said to haunt many buildings in Bannack. One of his preferred spots was the Skinner Saloon. Unfortunately, it is no longer there. Once his grave was robbed and the culprit took his head and kept it as a souvenir in the back of the Saloon. The Saloon shortly burned down to the ground.
Let us not omit, that the spirits of many outlaws that were executed remain here as well. Certainly, this ghost town is not abandoned, for the phantoms (and the goodwill of the preservationist) keep it's history alive.
This property was featured on television on the Ghost Adventures show.
This property, as part of our network, has been added for they may have history, validation, or folk tales of having spirited activities. Please take caution in approaching and visiting these locations, since courtesy, respect, and caution should be a top priority in every Haunted Investigator's style. Also do realize, some of these places may have permanently closed, changed ownership and/or names, or just are not available for your visits. Please respect this.
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