Outside Bozeman’s first office was haunted: a restive spirit who scared our publisher enough to keep him awake during his late nights in the office. In a way, she helped get the magazine get started. In honor of her (and of Halloween), here is a rundown of more Bozeman-area haunts.
A former employee of Little Montana Freight Company—now Montana Ale Works—was supposedly crushed by a falling pallet. Wearing a red-and-black checkered shirt, he haunts current employees as they close up, and floats above patrons in the billiards section.
Two ghosts haunt the Bear Canyon area. Sighted several times near Bear Canyon Rd. and the Bear Creek log cabins, a cowboy or fur-trapper appears during snowstorms. He struggles through the storm, leading many to believe he froze to death in the canyon many years ago. The other is a female ghost who frequents the woods along the Bear Canyon Trail, trying to lure female victims into the woods. No one knows who she is, or whether the two ghosts are connected.
Nine people have died in the old Bozeman Hotel and its annex, and they continue to haunt the businesses that occupy the building. Whether it’s lights turning on and off, or items disappearing from shelves, some supernatural presence has made the landmark its home.
We all know Bozeman Creek flows under Main Street, but is there a more extensive tunnel system beneath our feet? It’s been reported that during Prohibition, smugglers used tunnels under downtown to transport alcohol and conceal opium dens; the unlucky ones walk there still. Rumors also float around about two girls who drowned in a tunnel under Main St. and continue to haunt Bozeman Creek.
MSU’s old Strand Union Theatre—now the Procrastinator—has had numerous ghostly visitations—props moving, lights turning on and off. Longtime drama professor Joseph C. Fitch supposedly committed suicide in his office using a prop gun, and continues to haunt the home of his old theatre. Try not to think about that next time you’re catching a late movie.
Montana has a certain magnetism to it, which makes it hard to leave, even after death. So if you see a ghost, you can understand why it stuck around.