Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Come Visit The Old Faithful Inn, If You Dare by Sarah J. McNeal

Oh yeah, it looks like a lovely old inn located in the Yellowstone National Park with a grand view of Old Faithful, the famous geyser located in the lower Geyser Basin just off Highway 20, but beware—it’s haunted.
Before I tell you about how the old inn is haunted, allow me to tell you a bit about the inn. The inn is built from materials found in the local natural resources of lodge pole pine and rhyolite stone. With its dramatic touches of metalwork, it is not only beautiful, but the largest of its kind in the world. It is actually two hotels. The original lodge is known as “the old house”. The Old Faithful Inn was constructed from the winter of 1903 to 1904. Architect Robert Reamer designed the inn in a grand rustic style.  When the Old Faithful Inn with its original 120 rooms opened in 1904, it had both electric lights and steamed heat! Over the years the inn has undergone improvements and renovations to keep it up to date with current codes and to make it even more beautiful.

Several American Presidents have visited or stayed at The Old Faithful Inn: Theodore Roosevelt;(1903), Warren Harding;(1923), Calvin Coolidge;(1927) and Franklin D. Roosevelt;(fall of 1937).

Upon entering the 85 foot lobby with its massive stone fireplace, a person can also view two more open floors above the common area. There are staircases that go all the way up to the place called the Crow’s Nest which is situated above the floors where musicians often play for the guests. The stairs continue up to the roof where there is a platform from which the inn’s guests and tourists are able to view Old Faithful.
Old Faithful can be seen from the front porch and from the huge, third floor porch, but the best place to view Old Faithful is from the second floor porch.
A wing of guest rooms may be found off the common areas of each floor. The third floor is the quietest. The bathrooms on the first floor are available to guests and tourists alike. With both guests and tourists enjoying the inn, who would guess there were others who also enjoyed the inn.
The spirit people.
Perhaps you have seen the movie “Poltergeist” in which a housing development was built on top of a grave site. Well, you know then the kind of chaos and dangers that can ensue such a sacrilege.  The West Wing of the Old Faithful Inn was unintentionally built over some unmarked graves. Uh-oh, here comes trouble.
We know now that children and adults who die from accidents or illness like to hang out in places they knew and where they felt comfortable while they were alive. Well, it just so happens quite a few people drowned while boating and swimming in accidents in Yellowstone Lake.
If spirits bond with the land itself, they often decide to stay in any new buildings that are built on their land.
Women who have been murdered by someone they thought loved them, often can't get over this betrayal and remain restless in this world.

People who have died because of beheading, and are buried without their heads, sometimes are restless because of this, either still looking for their head, or carry it around with them.

Here are a couple “accidents” that have occurred around The Old Faithful Inn:
In 1927 a park ranger named Charles Phillips accidently ate poisonous hemlock believing it to be wild parsnip and died. You would think a park ranger would know the dang difference.
Another story tells the tale of the newly weds enjoying the sights of Yellowstone Park, and the Old Faithful Inn. When cleaning the room for the next guest, they found the bride's headless body on the bed. The head was found later in the crow's nest. The husband did flee, suggesting that he killed her.

Old newspaper records verify it is true that there was a murder, and the housekeeping staff did indeed find the headless body of the bride, and eventually her head was found up in the crow's nest as well. The husband did kill his new bride for ulterior motives, and he disappeared; never paying for his crime. Now we all know, if a person does something this awful, they WILL pay, one way or another.
Here are some of the ghostly sightings:
A male entity dressed as a Frontiersman. He may be one of the people whose unmarked grave was one that the West Wing was built upon. His presence is probably seen in the West Wing hallways and rooms, and perhaps the main lodge. A detailed description of this spirit means that guests and staff have seen him enjoying the lodge.

One of the unseen presence enjoys playing pranks by picking up and turning the fire extinguisher around in a 90 degree circle before putting it back in the holder. This particular incident happened right in front of an official inspector. Also, doors open and close by themselves as well on the West Wing.

A male entity, perhaps the spirit of L.R. Piper, was seen by a child, trying to climb out of a steam hole. His ghostly hand and arm was trying to pull the rest of the body up. He might have actually come all the way out, but the child ran away before he could do so.

A female entity in Room 2 appears in an 1890s' outfit, and seems to enjoy floating at the end of the bed, watching people sleep until startled guests wake up to see her.

Sadly, there is a little entity of an unhappy boy. He appears as a solid person, runs up to guests and staff in tears, and asks where his parents are before he disappears.

The spirit of the headless bride wears a white, frilly wedding dress. She has been seen coming down the widow's walk staircase, carrying her head, looking very forlorn. Perhaps she is still waiting and hoping that her husband will come back and be the person she thought he was. Maybe she even blames herself for arguing with him. She is probably full of regret, for not listening to her father's advice, and very sad that her family forgot about her. She also makes her presence felt in her old honeymoon room.

An older man dressed in a merchant marine uniform is thought to be the bride's killer husband. He is seen looking into windows, into rooms, trying to find his bride. He too visits the old honeymoon room, the crow's nest perhaps trying to find the woman that he so cruelly murdered.
There is a recent eye-witness account by a staff member who saw the bride dressed in a white, flowing bridal gown, coming down the stairway from the catwalk, with her head under her arm. She made her way down the hallway to her room in the early hours of the morning, most likely not wanting to disturb the other guests. She has also been spotted, looking down from the second floor common area over the railing to see the grand old lobby.

The National Paranormal Society lists the Old Faithful Inn as a haunted location, but hasn't made any public display of any of their findings as an investigation group, or linked any other hard evidence gathered by other groups. This is probably because the people who run this wonderful inn don't want to attract ghost hunters, and want their guests, both alive and in spirit form to not be scared or bothered.
The Old Faithful Inn is most likely haunted even though, despite the claims of some inn personnel that the Old Faithful Inn is not haunted, many guests and staff members have experienced sightings and other paranormal activity.


In my time travel western, HARMONICA JOE’S RELUCTANT BRIDE, I did include a ghost who plays a pivotal role in the story.
Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride

A haunted plantation…A mysterious trunk…And a date with destiny
When Lola Barton inherits a rundown plantation, she believes her life has finally taken a positive turn. But, when she finds a mysterious trunk in the attic, it takes her into the past and to a man with dark secrets—and she’s married to him. What comes next only time can tell.


Harmonica music floated down from the attic—the last place in this tumble down wreck of a house Lola Barton wanted to go.  Had someone or something taken up residence there?  Lola made her way up the darkened attic stairs measuring each step as the ancient boards creaked in protest under her feet.  Her flashlight beamed a narrow circle of light illuminating the cobweb-covered door at the top of the landing.  Her heart raced and pulsed in her ears.  Hands trembled with the surge of adrenaline as she pressed forward.  She ignored her inner voice that warned, “Don’t go!”
Her cynical mind told her the rumors that Misty Oaks Plantation had ghosts weren’t true.  The tales of murder and betrayal had to be the overactive imagination of the local townspeople.  A homeless vagrant had to be the most logical explanation for the disturbance. 
Once she gained the landing, she blew the cobwebs from the door and leaned her ear against it to listen for any movement on the other side.  Wisps of harmonica music lifted in the air.  Perhaps someone left a harmonica lying around and the wind blew hard enough through the cracks in the walls to make it sound as though someone played the instrument.  Just the wind.  No ghost.
With her courage bolstered by her logical conclusion, she grabbed the doorknob and turned it. 
Available as Kindle Unlimited 

Also included in a western collection of 5 novels by 5 western writers titled A COWBOY’S BRAND

Sarah J. McNeal is a multi-published author of several genres including time travel, paranormal, western and historical fiction. She is a retired ER and Critical Care nurse who lives in North Carolina with her four-legged children, Lily, the Golden Retriever and Liberty, the cat. Besides her devotion to writing, she also has a great love of music and plays several instruments including violin, bagpipes, guitar and harmonica. Her books and short stories may be found at Prairie Rose Publications and its imprints Painted Pony Books, and Fire Star Press. Some of her fantasy and paranormal books may also be found at Publishing by Rebecca Vickery and Victory Tales Press. She welcomes you to her website and social media:


  1. We stayed a night in this Inn! It was spring, but a snowstorm came blowing in the next morning and the bus driver had to hurry us on so we could leave before the Park closed the gates.
    We did not see nor hear any ghosts, but I was aware of the idea "floating" around when we were there.
    It was very interesting, the whole place, and our room--forgot which floor was small, very well furnished and had everything we need. Except the iron bedstead--it was short. It was fine for me, but my 6'1" husband could not stretch out straight. Had to keep his knees bent all night. He was not a happy man.
    Your novels are wonderful, and this ghost story surely fits in with the season.

    1. Celia, although I did visit Wyoming years ago with my friends on a road trip, I did not have the opportunity to stay at the Old Faithful Inn. It looks like such a lovely place from all the pictures I found. It may look just a bit like the hotel in the scary movie, The Shining, but it doesn't look all that haunted to me. But you know me, I don't believe in ghosts and such.
      I feel so sorry for your husband not being able to stretch out to sleep. I would have been so grumpy the next day. I'm certain that couldn't have been much fun for either of you.
      Thank you so much for that compliment about my book, Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride. Even though I'm a skeptic about ghosts and paranormal activity, it's awfully fun to write about them.
      I so appreciate you coming to read my blog and leaving a comment. It's always good to have a visit from you.

  2. We've stayed there several times but saw no ghosts. I enjoy the main lobby for the beams and heights. Always like ghost stories as who knows...

    1. You lucky lady, Betty, to have a chance to stay at the inn several times. Was it as beautiful as the pictures? It looks like a cabin that drank one of Alice In Wonderland's potions that made it blow-up into a huge thing.
      Thank you for coming by and commenting on my blog.

  3. Beautiful place and would love to see it...and a ghost or two. Your ghost story sounds like a good read. Always enjoy them. Great post, Sarah.

    1. Well Linda, if you really, really want to see a ghost, I think you should check out Old Faithful and report back to us if you see one. I've never seen a ghost and I have no idea how I would react if I did--probable run away hollering. LOL
      Thank you for your very kind words and for visiting my blog today.

  4. Thanks for the great article, Sarah. I love the Old Faithful Inn, but never knew it was supposed to be haunted. Guess I was lucky and they've left me alone. :)

    1. Kirsten, they knew better than to try to scare YOU. I envy that you have stayed at the Old Faithful Inn. I bet it was quite something to see. The pictures I found were astounding--especially the view of all those floors from the lobby.
      I appreciate you coming to visit me and leaving a comment. Thank you, Kirsten.

  5. Great post, Sara, especially for this close to Hallowe'en.

    1. Thank you, Caroline. Of course, my intention was to scare up some fun with Halloween and mix it up with some historical western information.
      Thank you for your comment.


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