Hotel Meade – Bannack

As you walk the creaking boardwalk through the ghost town of Bannack, you can almost imagine a time when its buildings and streets were bustling with gold miners looking to strike it rich on the gold-laden banks of Grasshopper Creek. You can also understand why this town is still “occupied” by ghostly residents from a time long gone by, when so many died as a result of lawlessness, rampant illness, and harsh climate. One such occupant can be found in the once-stately Hotel Meade, which operated on and off until the 1940s. On the afternoon of August 4, 1915, Dorothy Dunn, Fern Dunn, and Cousin Ruth Wornick were bathing in an abandoned dredge pond along nearby Grasshopper Creek when the girls stepped off a ledge into deep water. A young boy courageously dove in and was able to pull the three girls out of the water. However, 16-year-old Dorothy had already succumbed by the time she was pulled onto shore. Possibly due to the dreadful nature of her death, Dorothy has since been haunting the second floor of the Hotel Meade where she spent much of her time while her mother worked in the hotel. There have been numerous accounts of visitors seeing a young girl sitting at the top of the grand staircase and of children visiting with parents who seem to be chatting with no one but insist they are talking to a young girl. Although state-of-mind plays a large role in our perceptions, I have been in other purportedly haunted places where I didn’t feel the same palpable presence that I felt as I crested the spiral staircase to the second floor. The feeling was quite overwhelming, and I actually needed some coaxing to continue down the hallway, as there were no other visitors in the park and no personnel in the hotel, yet I knew I was not alone. Armed with my digital voice recorder and what little nerve I had left, I proceeded to record silently for a few minutes as I slowly walked the hallway. I encountered an area roughly the size of a person that was markedly colder than the rest of the building, and as a wave of chills washed over me, every hair on my body Photo by Greg Burchfield Rocky Mountains 163 stood on end. Returning to the end of the hallway where I started, I playfully asked if she was a “little chicken” with a purposeful pause, giving her a chance to reply, then prodding a bit more by saying, “I think she’s a little chicken.” With dozens of photographs in addition to 30 minutes of recordings in the hotel and other buildings in town, I called it a day and headed home. As I played back the recordings, I was literally in tears as I heard a young girl giggle and respond to my taunts by saying, “Little chicken from the farm,” in a playful voice.

Written by — Greg Burchfield

HOTEL MEADE BANNACK
STATE PARK 4200 BANNACK ROAD
DILLON, MONTANA 59725
TEL: 1 (406) 834-3413

Taken from the: Encyclopedia of Haunted Places -Ghostly Locales from around the World – Compiled & Edited by Jeff Belanger – Copyright 2005 by Jeff Belanger

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