Most may not love the idea of ghosts, at least not in the rattling chains and moaning sense of the word. Still, the idea of haunted places is intriguing, leaving us to drop our inhibitions and willingly walk into a graveyard or across a spirit-filled bridge. We don’t know if we’ll see anything, lest our idiot friend donning an eye-holed sheet and bellowing, but we do it anyway. Because that’s the thing: we don’t know what will happen.
For those visiting Wyoming, the not knowing is particularly exciting. This is because the haunted potential of the state goes well beyond a headstone; instead, the ghost takes up an entire hotel.
The Occidental Hotel has long been part of Wyoming history: it was built in 1880 near the Bozeman Trail and became a mainstay of travelers. In fact, it’s even where Old West legends like Buffalo Bill Cody and Butch Cassidy (and the Sundance Kid) hitched up their horses and called it a night. Teddy Roosevelt was also a rumored former guest.
The layout of the hotel is what you’d expect from 19th-century lodging. Case in point: it had a saloon. It also had a restaurant, a lobby, and six rooms upstairs. Outside, there was a kitchen and a livery stable.
The Occidental Hotel was once booming, with filled rooms and saloon cheers. But, like many places in America, it saw its heyday come to a crashing halt with the dawn of the Great Depression. While it rebounded with the rest of the nation, it wasn’t able to restore its prosperity.
Even decades later, it struggled to succeed: between 1986 and 1997, it closed down entirely and was slotted for demolition. A lot of hard work kept it alive.
After years of modernization and upkeep, the hotel regained some of its original appeal and the rooms filled up once more. But, it isn’t just the living staying there. At least, not according to legend.
Per Wyoming folklore, a prostitute lived in the upstairs portion of the hotel when it first opened. She had a daughter who died in the northwestern wing of cholera when she was just a young girl. Her spirit is rumored to appear in front of present day guests.
They report seeing a brown-haired girl in a white gown roaming the halls. Some even report being awakened by a certain kind of force shaking their body or witnessing objects fly across the room. Others insist that the floor creaks, even when no one is walking behind them.
Whether tomorrow’s visitors will be treated to a paranormal experience is really anyone’s guess. Still, the hotel might be worth a try for anyone interested.
Full of modern day perks but olden day charm, the Occidental offers guests the chance to step back in time, if even for a night. It’s also garnered strong reviews on the Internet. Surprising, given that many people go on the web to complain rather than praise. Perhaps it’s the amenities -Wifi, a café, a business center, and ghosts. The latter can scare up business anywhere.