Press Release – Just in time for Halloween, the Wyoming Office of Tourism has identified five of the most spine-tingling attractions in the state. From prisons to theaters, these places are guaranteed to give visitors the chills.
History of the American West is present throughout Wyoming, on display in architecture, landscapes and museums. Along with those remnants of history comes stories, both fact and fiction, about those who were around during their creation and whether their spirits still remain today. Halloween is the perfect time of year to explore Wyoming's history and determine if the spooky stories are anything more than tall tales.
- Wyoming Territorial Prison – Laramie
The Wyoming Territorial Prison was built in 1872 as a federal prison that housed "evil doers of all classes and kinds." In 1890, it became Wyoming's state penitentiary for 13 years. According to visitors, a former prisoner who convinced the guards to let him start a cigar business haunts the property. He is said to occupy the doorway of his old cell in the north wing. Anyone interested in seeing him in person can participate in a tour any day between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.
- Fort Laramie National Historic Site – Fort Laramie
Wyoming is home to many historic forts along the Oregon-California Trail, including one of the most famous of all, Fort Laramie. The site dates back to 1834. In 1849, it became a military post to protect those traveling west. One of those travelers had a rebellious daughter who snuck away from the post while her father and his friends weren't watching and never returned. The ghost story claims that she visits once every seven years. Visitors can look for her or one of the other lingering spirits on self-guided tours of the site.
- The Atlas Theatre – Cheyenne
The Atlas Theatre is still an active performance stage today, making its haunting history that much more interesting. Originally built in 1888 as an office building, the Atlas Building was converted to a theatre in 1908. Two spirits haunt the theatre, though no one knows why. Ghost hunters have reportedly caught voices on recording and visitors claim to have seen things move without being touched. The best way to experience the spirits for one's self is to attend a show there organized by the Cheyenne Little Theatre Players.
- Wyoming Frontier Prison – Rawlins
Prisoners who were too rough for the Wyoming Territorial Prison were transferred to the Wyoming Frontier Prison. After on and off construction for almost 15 years, the prison opened in 1901 with a variety of issues. It was also known for some questionable execution methods and overcrowding. These circumstances set the scene for a real-life thriller. In the areas of the prison where inmates were disciplined, visitors claim that spirits threaten them to leave. Today, the prison offers tours and has an onsite museum.
- Fort Bridger Historic Site – Fort Bridger
Like Fort Laramie, Fort Bridger was a well-known trading post for travelers in the mid-1800s. It was named after its founder, Jim Bridger. After he sold it to the Mormons in the 1850s, it quickly became a military post in 1858. The site's cemetery is an obvious location for creepy occurrences, and is said to be home to a guard who inspects the graves. Former workers and military personnel are also said to remain at the post in spirit. From tours to Halloween events to the museum, there are several opportunities for visitors to meet with spirits of Fort Bridger's past.
For more information about experiences in Wyoming this fall, please visit TravelWyoming.com/fall-wyoming.
About the state of Wyoming
The State of Wyoming, also known as the Equality State, was admitted to the union on July 10, 1890 as the 44th U.S. state. Wyoming is the 9th largest state in terms of area yet has just over 500,000 residents, contributing to its ranking as the nation's 4th most livable state. The state is home to the country's first national park – Yellowstone – and the first national monument – Devils Tower. These sites, Grand Teton National Park and countless other glorious statewide attractions – supported by heartfelt cowboy hospitality – serve as host to millions of visitors every year. For more information visit: TravelWyoming.com, facebook.com/visitwyoming, twitter.com/wyomingtourism or instagram.com/visitwyoming.