Montana may be known for its rugged landscapes and the Big Sky country, but the tales of the supernatural that fall within its beauty have fascinated people for centuries. Montana’s vast wilderness and rich history boast unexplained ghostly encounters told by visitors and locals for all fear. With eerie legends and untamed forests, Montana houses a unique assortment of haunted locations.
The Treasure State has many tales of paranormal phenomena active in some of the most remote corners of what was once the Wild West. Join us as we journey to discover the five most haunted places in Montana.
Moss Mansion in Billings
The Moss Mansion is a 25-room building built in 1903 in Billings, Montana. It housed owner Preston B. Moss, his wife, and their six children. He became an important and diverse investor in Montana and is credited for the city’s continued success. The building is officially on the National Register of Historic Places.
Even with Moss’s financial success, he didn’t avoid tragedy. His daughter, Virginia, passed away from diphtheria at six years old. Today, her spirit still haunts the home with playful encounters and harmless activity. Many have reported lights turning on and off, footsteps running through the halls, and children’s laughter throughout the home. Interestingly, some experience her presence through a cell phone. Visitors have taken photos of family and friends at the base of the grand staircase. If a camera has a square feature that finds human faces, many people have noticed a lone square on their phone camera at the approximate height of a young child. Today, the Moss Mansion is an event venue, museum, and historical landmark.
Address: 914 Division St, Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 256-5100
Bonanza Inn in Virginia City
Virginia City is a quintessential example of a gold rush town in the Wild West. While it is now a ghost town, Virginia City was a rough part of Montana with many criminals, murders, hangings, and even suicides. A local favorite for rowdy behavior was the Bonanza Inn.
Before it was a hotel, the Bonanza Inn was a hospital run by the Sisters of Charity. There, the nuns would heal the sick, care for the wounded, and pray for those who passed on within the walls of the building. Today, the since-converted hotel is still in operation, and it’s common for guests to report ghostly encounters.
Historically, one nun went above and beyond her duties at the hospital. Sister Irene made house calls for those in need and helped those on the streets. Her ghost, known as the “black robe,” often roams the Virginia City streets at night, particularly around the Bonanza Inn. Guests at the hotel also experience unexplained noises, pinching, poking, and even unpleasant odors that many attribute to the basins used historically for cleaning wounds.
Address: 308 W Idaho St, Virginia City, MT 59755
Phone: (406) 843-5333
Dumas Brothel in Butte
Butte, Montana, is a popular tourist destination for history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts. The Butte red-light district flourished in the late 1800s and remained active for decades in the small mining town. Today, the Dumas Brothel is the only building still standing as a memory of a different time. It is also one of the most haunted places in Montana.
The Dumas Brothel actively operated between 1890-1982, the longest-running brothel in United States history, where many women participated in acts of prostitution. Often referred to as “madams,” many women were mistreated and lived in poor conditions. Today, ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts tour the building in hopes of experiencing a ghostly encounter.
The most famous haunting is the ghost of Elinor Knott. In the mid-1950s, Elinor planned to leave her life of prostitution and run away with her betrothed. When he didn’t show, someone discovered her dead body the following morning, and many speculate the cause of death was murder or suicide. Today, her apparition roams the halls, carrying a suitcase and waiting for her former lover. Others experience paranormal noises and eerie feelings, and some claim to smell cigar smoke throughout the building.
Address: 45 E Mercury St, Butte, MT 59701
Copper King Mansion in Butte
The Copper King Mansion in Butte, MT, was built in 1888. Owned by William A. Clark, the 34-room home features Victorian architecture. William A. Clark was one of the richest and most influential businessmen in the world. He earned his fortune by helping miners claim their findings and his involvement in baking loans. While he had numerous other business ventures, he is known as the “Copper King” because of his personal claims of copper that ultimately built him a mining empire.
There are many who swear the Copper King Mansion is not haunted, but guests and staff have reported similar sitings that are hard to ignore. Occasionally, a hazy fog is often spotted in the basement and sometimes in the first-floor hallway. Doors have opened and shut independently, and many have felt a cold presence, specifically in the game room. A tour guide also witnessed a trunk in the attic opening abruptly on its own. Regardless of the story, all who witnessed an apparition or felt a presence have conveyed it is not sinister, and they do not feel unsafe. Today, the mansion is an event venue and hotel where guests can book a stay or tour at the Copper King Mansion to make the decision for themselves.
Address: 219 W. Granite Street, Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 782-7580
Montana Territorial Prison in Deer Lodge
One of the most haunted places in Montana is the Old Montana Prison in Deer Lodge. Also known as the Montana Territorial Prison, the facility housed some of the worst criminals in Montana from 1871 through the late 20th century. Inmates endured poor conditions, eventually leading to the famous 1959 prison riot. The deadly riot was led by Jerry Myles, a career criminal who spent his life in multiple federal prisons, including Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. The riot caused destruction to the building and casualties, and the Montana National Guard was called to end the violence. Unfortunately, this event eventually led to the closure of the prison altogether.
The prison was converted into a museum available for tours today. Over the years, visitors, tour guides, and staff have shared stories of paranormal activity. While many have claimed the feeling of clothing being pulled or someone touching them, some have alarmingly felt a choking sensation. Ghost tours and overnight stays are available to those who dare to chance a ghostly encounter.
Address: 1104 Main St, Deer Lodge, MT 59722
Phone: (406) 846-3111
- The 5 Most Haunted Places In Idaho
- The 6 Most Haunted Places In Oregon
- The 5 Most Haunted Places In Ohio
The photo featured at the top of this post is © DCBoutte Photography/Shutterstock.com
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.