From the outside looking in, Cheyenne can look peaceful enough. A small city nestled on the plains, just outside the foothills of the rockies. Hidden from plain sight, however, are stories and sightings of the ghostly, the spooky, and the haunting. Cheyenne has an incredible haunted history - much of this you can learn via local author Jill Pope and her book “Haunted Cheyenne”. In reading this book and looking at the accounts of others, you’ll find that it’s not just a few spots that are haunted. Indeed, it can seem like nearly every corner of Downtown Cheyenne has some sort of spooky spirit or ghastly ghost haunting it.
In this list, we’ll narrow down some of the most haunted places in Cheyenne, just in time for the spooky season of fall and Halloween!
The Ghosts of Cheyenne’s Past
Cheyenne got its start during one of the most harrowing, exciting and, let’s face it, dangerous times in American history - the era of the Wild West. From the very beginning Cheyenne was a place of danger and excitement as much as it was one of success and riches. Gunfights, fires, accidents, and many other dangers could bring one’s life to an untimely end. Is it any wonder, then, that tails of hauntings, ghosts and odd supernatural happenings would be so prevalent in Wyoming’s capital? As one of the most historically significant cities in Wyoming, it's no surprise that Cheyenne would be home to many of the state's most haunted places in Wyoming.
The Most Haunted Places Near Cheyenne
To get a good idea of just where the most haunted places in Cheyenne are, and the stories behind them, we went to a pair of the experts. Jose and Angel Gonzales are part of the paranormal investigation team in Cheyenne called “PHOG” (Paranormal Hunting and Observation Group). Together they have investigated some of the most storied, if not outright haunted, places in Cheyenne.
Jose and Angel have worked together with paranormal researcher Jill Pope and have even guided the popular haunted trolly tours in Cheyenne in the past. Jose says he can see things that many people cannot, and says it was a series of frightening events in his haunted childhood home that got him into paranormal investigations. He wants to understand the paranormal so he can help people who may be going through fear and experiences like his own. Angel says she is a Spiritual Sensitive, and can often see the forms of spirits and can sense hauntings. She got started on paranormal investigations after she began dating Jose.
A trigger warning before you begin reading this article. While talking about haunted places can be fun and harmless, the stories that supposedly are the origins of those hauntings include sensitive themes including violence, murder and suicide.
1. Atlas Theatre
Many older buildings have a troubled past when it comes to destruction in Cheyenne, but perhaps there are fewer buildings that have seen more sorrow and disaster than the Atlas Theater on Lincolnway. The first building built there burned down in the Great Fire of 1870. The next building was built quickly - and poorly - before being used as a music store. The weight of heavy pianos and other instruments caused the questionably constructed building to collapse, killing three people, including two children. The next version was built in 1882, but burned down in 1886.
According to Jose and Angel, the building is most certainly haunted. Before they get into an investigation looking for the presence of a haunting, they try to eliminate other possibilities of what could cause the happenings. Jose says the first thing he tries to do is eliminate natural causes like creaking floors, noisy pipes and other obvious possibilities. The Atlas, however, proved to be very much a hotspot for the supernatural.
The Atlas Theatre is famous as one of Cheyenne's most haunted theaters. “When we investigated the Atlas, before I even stepped in,” Angel recalls, “I remember seeing two young boys in one of the second story windows. Then, when we walked in, I saw a lady on the west side stairway, just standing there. Sad, quiet. Very quiet.”
That woman has never interacted with anyone, but has been reportedly seen by others before disappearing.
Angel says people walking through the building may feel a heaviness or pressure or what Jose calls “psychic cold” which can cause goose bumps. In addition to all of this, PHOG’s investigation of the building produced Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP, evidence. This included knocking when spirits were requested to do so.
Could the two boys Angel saw be the boys who perished so long ago in that tragic collapse? Who is the sad woman on the balcony? Perhaps the question you should ask is, will you see them when you visit?
2. The Cheyenne Depot
Completed in the late 1880’s, the depot is a visual anchor in town. If Cheyenne has an iconic silhouette in its skyline, the State Capitol and The Depot’s clock tower would be as iconic as it gets.
There are a few stories associated with the Cheyenne Depot in terms of its hauntings. Jose and Angel investigated this beautiful building as well, and brought back several stories. It would make sense - with the railroad being present since Cheyenne’s founding in the 1860’s, it may go without saying that there would be accidents and deaths at this center of the city.
A story from 1912 tells of a Union Pacific watchman who was murdered in the railyard. His name was L.J. Sparr. Being a former guard for the state penitentiary in Rawlins, Sparr had made some enemies of inmates there. One August night in 1912, Sparr was on duty with a former inmate, Charles Taylor, shot Sparr and left him in the yard. Taylor later confessed to the killing. Angel says she has seen the ghost of L.J. Sparr still wandering the area.
Jose and Angel also tell of what they call “The Mean Man.”
“When I first walked in, on the right where the museum is, I saw what I call the mean man,” Angel says, “He worked the railroad. He would hook and unhook the railcars. There were two young guys who had started working with him. They made a mistake, and the train cars smashed together and killed him. He died extremely angry, and he still is angry!”
Jose says the man messed with him while he was using his EVP equipment, cackling at him through the recording. On the East end of the building, in the Accomplice Beer Company, Angel says they found the spirit of a woman who was murdered in the 1940’s.
On the second floor of the building, staff with Visit Cheyenne have heard children playing when there is no one else in the building. They also tell of a lady who haunts the second floor women's bathroom. Members of PHOG when they investigated ran into this entity, saying she was singing an old-time, happy tune. Staff members at the depot haven’t heard singing, but say there is most definitely a presence there.
While not everyone experiences something at the depot, many would agree this is an active, haunted spot!
3. The Plains Hotel
Amongst some of the most famous names of ghosts in Cheyenne, Rose, or Rosie, is perhaps the one most often referred to by spooky lore lovers in town. Rose’s tale, like many that lead to alleged hauntings, begins happily but ends in tragedy.
The story goes Rose is a cheerful bride, just married that day and staying at the Plains Hotel. However, a well-known haunted hotel in Cheyenne. However, after her new husband leaves for the bar and is gone for a while Rose goes to check on him, only to find him with a prostitute. She would follow them to a fifth floor room, shooting them both dead. The distraught bride would return to her second floor room only to turn the gun on herself.
Ghostly activity has been reported at the plains ever since. Some say you can hear Rose wailing, crying, and sometimes laughing, inside her room on the second floor. Others say the prostitute and the cheating groom make their way about the hotel at various times of the day.
In addition to Rose’s story, there have been sightings of children in the lobby and the basement, only for them to disappear. Cowboys have been reported to be sitting on a bed when people wake up before vanishing.
4. The Lincoln Theater
The Lincoln Theater is one of the oldest theaters in Cheyenne, opening its doors in 1929. It was the first theater in town to show talking movies, and has since seen multiple renovations and reiterations. Today, the Lincoln is one of the premier live music venues around. However, this modern facade can't hide the building's reputation as a haunted theater. Of course the modern face of the Lincoln give way to the vintage nature of the building, and it can’t hide the supernatural happenings that have been reported there.
“We had a Crossover here, and it makes this building one of the scariest for us.” Angel says, telling me of an event that happened during a PHOG investigation. Angel says she saw man named Thomas who was killed after a fight over a woman. He and a fellow worker in the Lincoln, years ago, apparently were working the scaffolding when the argument happened. Thomas would end up falling to his death. According to Jose and Angel, Thomas’ spirit lingered there, wishing to depart. Jose, using prayer, says he helped Thomas crossover to the other side.
Other incidents included spotting a person in a mirror when no one else was present, and the ghostly personage of a child was seen. Jose calls this building a moderate to high activity location.
5. Wyoming Supreme Court Building
One of the more recent buildings on our list, the Wyoming Supreme Court Building was finished in the 1930s. The most famous haunting in this building is the alleged ghost of Wyoming Supreme Court Justice, Judge Fred Blume. Judge Blume, a German immigrant, was appointed as a justice in 1921, and stayed in the position for 42 years. During his lifetime he worked to translate Roman laws dating back to the 4th century into English. It was a painstaking work of love. But Blume died before he could complete his works - some say this is why his spirit is at the supreme court building where he allegedly haunts his old office there.
“I believe Judge Blume is still there,” Jose says, “People I trust have given me eye witness accounts. Books flying off the shelf in the library area - I think the judge wasn’t pleased with where the books were.”
6. Francis E. Warren Air Force Base
Jose and Angel have investigated F.E. Warren personally and brought back some chilling tales. One building they explored was once an old hospital, including a children’s ward. There places in this building even the normally fearless military dogs of the 90th Security Forces Group won’t go. This makes it not just haunted but also one of the abandoned places that adds to the eerie atmosphere of the base.
“That’s building 34,” Jose says, “Security Forces Building. To this day, many of these military members who work and live there believe it is haunted.”
Jose and his team investigated the building with the blessing of the commander at the time. From the get go there were signs of serious phenomena. EVP picked up voices, including children. The airmen who were with the team told PHOG that they hear the voices often. Jose recalls going door to door on various levels of the building and hearing what sounded like conversations on the other side.
Then there’s the feared attic.
“The attic is so intense the military dogs refuse to go up there. That is the hotspot.” Jose tells Visit Cheyenne, “We get up there, and I could feel a big pocket of psychic cold. It scared me and reminded me of those frightening times in my childhood. Whatever it was, it was intense. The military cops have felt it too.”
Of course, being an Air Force Base, not everyone can get on to enter this building. Nonetheless, Jose and Angel say it is absolutely one of the most haunted places in Cheyenne. The limited access is the only reason this spot isn’t higher on the list.
7. Deming Elementary School
According to Jose and Angel, there was a janitor who worked at Deming back in the earlier days of the school.. After an accident, however, he died suddenly in the school’s boiler room.
Reports from other folks around the school tell of shadows in the windows, and strange happenings in the school. Urban legend has it that if you look into the windows, you’ll see your reflection, but also that of the ghostly janitor! Strange noises, flickering lights and other phenomena have been reported at the old school.
Ready to Explore Haunted Places in Cheyenne, WY?
As you can see Cheyenne is full of stories of the creepy, the spooky and even the macabre. Reading, researching and talking to locals can be one way to explore Cheyenne’s haunted history. But you can also hit up the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley Frightseeing Tours! The tours start just in time for the spooky season at the beginning of October and run through Halloween. Take a ride on the spooky side and learn more about Cheyenne’s incredible Haunted History.
Can’t get enough of Cheyenne’s fascinating history? Or interested in exploring more abandoned places in Wyoming. Take a look at our other posts here: