I love October. The leaves change, the weather dips slightly as only Southern California autumns can and the History Channel hosts their yearly spooky line up. I love Halloween programs!
There is something devilishly fun about being scared. I think my love for it comes from my brother popping out of a dark closet or hiding under my bed to grab my feet as I walked by.
Whether you believe in spooks or not, it seems everyone has a ghost story. Even during my research on Fort Laramie wheeled results of reported hauntings. Since the post was established in 1849, it has said to have been called home, not only to hundreds of soldiers, but also said to be visited by a host of ghosts. The most well-known spirit is known as the "Lady in Green.”
She was said to be the strong willed daughter of an agent for the American Fur Company. I couldn't find her name but the young lady was known to be an accomplished equestrian, her favorite riding habit was made of dark green velvet, her mount, a big black stallion. When it came time for her to leave, she begged to lengthen her visit on the rough frontier. Her father relented on her promise to stay close to the fort. One afternoon while her father was gone, she left the protection of her escorts and rode off on the distant prairie. She never returned. Despite a long thorough search, no sign of her was ever found. To this day, her disappearance is still a mystery.
Since then, her ghost is said to appear every seven years, just east of Fort Laramie on the Oregon Trail. In 1871, a young Lieutenant who was known as a fine horseman, claimed to have been chased down and struck with a jeweled riding crop by a young dark haired woman riding a huge black steed.
The old Captain’s Quarters is also said to be haunted. Built in 1870, it was intended as housing for the commanding officer, but eventually divided into a duplex, when the commanding officer of the time chose to remain in another new dwelling. When a new officer was assigned to the post, he could "rank out of quarter" any junior officer and take the house for himself. Here it is said doors open by themselves, the old wood floor boards echo with the sound of heavy boots and unseen footsteps. Late at night, there have been reports of bright lights coming from inside the facility, even though it has no electricity. This spirit has been nick named George by the staff.
Old Bedlam, the bachelor officers' quarters is also said to be haunted. First constructed in 1849, it is said to be the oldest military building in Wyoming. This entity, thought to be a Cavalry Officer, has been known to walk throughout the building, sometimes telling people to "be quiet.”
The Cavalry Barracks building, built in 1874, once housed hundreds of soldiers in its two large, open squad bays on the second floor. Early in the morning, the sounds of heavy boots can be heard making their way over the boardwalk, incidentally about the time soldiers would have once answered the reveille.
Other ghost sightings around the fort include the form of a young man in a raincoat, still holding a long past conversation...with no one. Also the apparition of a surgeon has been seen, looking irritable, his uniform covered in blood.
At Deer Creek, a small stream running through the fort property, a headless man has been sighted throwing rocks into the water during early morning hours. This ghost is said to be unfriendly and should be avoided.
Southeast of the fort is a place called Bovee Draw. Here, at midnight, witnesses have said to see the ghost of a erratic Civil War soldier. This ghost is also said to be menacing and should be left alone.
North of town, there is a place called Detention Dam. Here, the spirit of a man holding
a blood-splattered sword has been seen staring at the water at the stroke of midnight.
So, if this Halloween finds you alone on the Wyoming prairie, look out for the lone figure of a young woman, still astride her favorite mount, her green riding dress forever flowing in the ever-present Wyoming wind.