Hauntings in the first National Park: Yellowstone Ghost Stories

Does a headless bride wander the balconies of the Old Faithful Inn? (Photo courtesy Xanterra Parks & Resorts)The things that go bump in the night in Yellowstone might not be just the resident wild creatures. The park’s historic hotels and mysterious landscapes have inspired countless ghost stories over its long history.

Last year, I visited the Old Faithful Inn on a winter’s night. Every fall the Inn is closed and shuttered for the season until it reopens the next spring. As I walked through the darkened hallways and listened to my lonely footfalls, thoughts of The Shining certainly entered my mind. Indeed, employees have a spooky tradition of gathering for showings of the film over the winter in one of Inn’s dark rooms. 

The Old Faithful Inn, over one hundred years old, has numerous ghost stories associated with it. One tells of a newlywed bride beheaded during her honeymoon at the Inn. Soon after the murder, guests began reporting a headless apparition that wandered through the hallways. Visitors and employees have also witnessed the specter of a small, intense-looking man walking through the lobby—he is thought to be the ghost of Robert Reamer, the architect of the Old Faithful Inn and many other historic buildings in Yellowstone. 

Other well-known landmarks in Yellowstone also possess spooky stories. Visitors have reported hearing the whispers of the drowned on Yellowstone Lake and a little, lost boy is said to appear among the onlookers watching the Old Faithful Geyser. 

Even the wildlife of Yellowstone are represented in the ghost world. In her book Yellowstone Ghost Stories, Shellie Larios relates the story of Wahb, a lonely, silver-tipped grizzly. This ursine apparition had a tragic life—his family was destroyed by gunfire in his youth—and after his apparent suicide at Death Gulch, he now haunts the forests of Yellowstone.