Paranormal Claims at
Bannack Ghost Town
- Apparitions have been seen watching people from the Hotel Meade's windows
- Cold spots are often encountered in Hotel Meade
- Spirits in the hotel have been known to appear to, and speak with, children who visit
- Doors of certain buildings slam shut and swing open without cause
- Baby cries are regularly heard around one home
- The apparition of a former sheriff has been seen around town
- Numerous anomalous photos have been taken around town
- Disembodied voices are often heard in several buildings
- Shadow figures are known to appear around the old general store
The Booming History of
Bannack Ghost Town
When you picture a ghost town, you almost surely picture something like Bannack, Montana: A mixture of log and wood-frame buildings, sagging and aged porches, windows all cracked and dark, and one dusty road keeping the town together.
It would have been easy for Bannack to go the way of other ghost towns and be obliterated by the passage of time, but today, it is a well-maintained state park that, despite its deep isolation in the Montana hills, greets thousands of tourists every year. And while Bannack may seem desolate and leave you feeling more alone than you may have ever felt before, ghost stories say that no one is ever alone while wandering the weary roads of the Bannack Ghost Town.
Timeline of Bannack Ghost Town's History
Swipe or use timeline points to see Bannack Ghost Town through the years
Bannack, Montana, was founded in 1862 after a major gold deposit was struck that same year. Named after the Bannock Native American tribe, the boomtown grew quickly after establishment. By summer of 1863, the population hovered between 3,000 and 5,000 people, most of them miners hoping to strike it rich.
When Montana was first organized into a territory, Bannack was chosen to be the capital, though that was changed in February of 1865. Despite Bannack’s early prosperity, bad actors lurked nearby, wreaking havoc on the boomtown.
Henry Plummer was elected Bannack’s sheriff in May of 1863, and crime rates soon skyrocketed. In Bannack, there was no safe way to move mined gold out of the region. Many relied on stagecoaches that were regularly robbed. In fall of 1863 alone, an estimated 102 gold robberies took place near Bannack. As locals investigated, all roads ran back to Sheriff Plummer.
Finally, in January 1864, a captured highwayman confessed that he was part of a band of criminals led by Plummer. Plummer and his deputies were hanged without trial on January 10.
In the aftermath of the vigilante scandals around Bannack, the town’s stardom as a gold rush boomtown faded. The most profitable plots of land had already been claimed and their mining operations were well underway. For anyone not employed by the existing mine establishments, there was little promise left for striking it rich.
But though the population of the town had leveled out fast, residents had reason to remain hopeful for their home’s future. Alas, by 1881, Bannack had only a few hundred residents remaining.
Different mining techniques were developed in this time, helping to prolong Bannack’s life. But this, at best, allowed the town to survive on borrowed time. Stamp mills opened in the early 1900s pulled the last bits of gold out of the mine claims over the 20s and 30s. But, by the outset of World War II, stamp mining operations at Bannack had reached their end. Come 1953, just a single person still lived in the town – C.W. Stallings.
Stallings owned the entire town after buying it from a mining company, and was convinced to sell it to a group of Montanans interested in preserving the town. The group succeeded, and Bannack opened as a state park in the early 1960s. Since opening for tours, thousands of tourists have come to Bannack hoping to learn about 1800s American life.
But, many who have visited claim that 1800s life is still very much going on in Bannack, as the town’s ghosts continue to go about their lives as if the gold mining never ceased.
Bannack Ghost Town & The Legend of Dorothy Dunn
The Hotel Meade in Bannack has been the focal point of numerous paranormal claims and is often said to be the most haunted building in this reportedly ghost-clogged town. One of its most famous phantom residents is Dorothy Dunn.
Dorothy Dunn was once the daughter of the Hotel Meade’s manager and is said to have drowned in a pond in 1916. Since her death, Dorothy has been seen in the hotel and spotted through the windows, always wearing a blue dress. Dorothy Dunn’s spirit has also been said to speak with children who visit Bannack.
Bannack Ghost Town’s Haunted Hotel
An unknown older woman has also been seen peering out of the Hotel Meade’s windows at visitors, thought by some to be the mother of Dorothy Dunn.
Sudden and unexplained cold spots are also frequently encountered in the Hotel Meade. Additionally, strange EMF readings and fluctuations have been reported by those who have investigated the old, empty hotel.
Ghosts of Bannack Ghost Town’s
Chrismans’ Store is also said to be haunted, with apparitions and shadow figures the most common report. Several shadowy figures noted to linger in the old general store have been captured on photos and videos, though the identities of these supposed spirits remain unknown.
Whispering disembodied voices have also been heard around the general store. Some say the spirits around Chrismans’ belong to the former Plummer gang who were summarily hanged in Bannack Ghost Town.
Bannack Ghost Town:
A Haunting for Every Home
Outside of specific buildings said to be rife with spirits, the whole town is rumored to be haunted, from the main roadway to the smallest schoolhouse. Apparitions young and old have been seen wandering around town, going about their business as if the town was never abandoned at all.
Visitors also claim that doors of buildings swing open and slam shut without cause, as if the spirits of Bannack Ghost Town are inviting tourists into some buildings, and telling them to keep out of others.
By far the most common spirit encountered throughout town is the apparition of Sheriff Henry Plummer. He is often spotted patrolling Bannack Ghost Town, said to linger close to Skinner Saloon and the Chrismans’ Store, and has also been seen out at the old hangman’s post, where the corrupt sheriff met his end.