As October days begin to dwindle, the list of activities abounds, striving to take advantage of these last, precious days of mild temperatures and light breezes. Facebook and Instagram have been rife with pictures at pumpkin patches, costume parties, and Oktoberfest-esque soirees. The ‘spirit’ of the season certainly puts off a jovial vibe, full of family-friendly happenings… but there’s another, darker side to the harvest time of year. One that lends to spooks, haunts, and tales of beings from the beyond. And the Cheyenne Trolley Frightseeing Tour is certainly an option to “bone up” on your eerie local folklore.
The tour, leaving from in front of the Cheyenne Depot, runs over an hour and squeezes in an impressive number of ghost-related tales (over four dozen!) It quickly becomes apparent that the founders of Cheyenne had their hands full from the get-go: Railroad crews had been in Cheyenne for only a day when the first two murders were committed… followed by a message-sending follow up murder just two weeks later. The three bodies were buried near the corner of what is now 17th and Pioneer – before the city was even plotted out. From that time on, it seems that many ghosts have decided to keep their residency in Cheyenne and interact with the locals on a semi-regular basis.
The trolley tour winds the riders around several parts of town, pointing out houses and buildings along the route that have paranormal experiences connected with them. True to the trolley tour brand, you get doses of local history sprinkled in, which lent some authenticity to the narration. Jill Pope, who manages the trolley tours for Visit Cheyenne and compiles the stories for the Frightseeing Tour each year, can tell you dozens of accounts from the region – many of which have ended up in the book she wrote on the subject.
Every tour experience is sure to be different – the drivers and narrators have their own spin on the stories and sometimes you get a PHOG (Paranormal Hunting and Observation Group) investigator riding along with the tour, commenting on what they have found in various locations around Cheyenne. I genuinely hope they are able to join for the tours this weekend – the depth it would add is immeasurable!
As a first time frightseeing tourist myself, I would recommend that you arrive early and have a drink with one of the resident ghosts at the Albany… you’ll soon learn of the murdered William Ashford who was shot there in 1892. Having a drink may calm the nerves of the wary – and give the skeptical the ability to play along and have fun for the sake of the season. I certainly fell into the second category, but I do have to admit, the tour made me think. The what-ifs and the unknowns surfaced in my mind and gave me quite a bit to ponder this Halloween.
The remaining tours for the season are on Friday, October 26 (6:30 and 8:00 p.m.), Saturday, October 27 (6:30, 8:00, and 9:30 p.m.), and Sunday, October 28 (6:30 and 8:00 p.m.) Tickets are $12 for riders aged 10+. The tour contains some mature content and children must be accompanied by an adult. You must purchase tickets in advance by calling (307) 778-3133 or in person at the Depot Visitor Center.