With Halloween right around the corner and Idaho’s rich history we invite you to explore the many hair-raising and spine-tingling ghost towns with the reputation – and feel – of not being quite as abandoned as we’d like to believe. And since we’re all for a lively night out, so to speak, we’ve compiled a list of old haunts for you to venture out to. If you dare, that is.
Means to a (Violent) End
In Burke, Idaho, you not only have the constant feeling of being watched, but towering abandoned buildings loom over you with an eerie stillness that will surely give you chills. Famous for its rich mining grounds, Burke’s history turned violent when miners revolted against the mining companies resulting in its population disappear. When you explore this town, don’t be surprised if you feel like you have company… With many of its buildings still incredibly preserved, Burke’s lack of residents is the ultimate creepy factor for its visitors.
As one of Idaho’s most infamous ghost towns, Bonanza sees more than just paranormal activity. Located along the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River, ghost town hunters come from far and wide to explore this privately-owned land that is graciously open to the public. Much like Burke, many of the city’s original buildings are still standing and a preservation effort resulted in the restoration of the town’s historic saloon and schoolhouse that have now become museums and tour landmarks. A sister city to Custer, Idaho the two towns are historically connected through their controversial mining history and visitors looking for double the fright usually visit both towns.
Living Ghost Town
Placerville’s a peculiar ghost town considering it is still called home by a handful of residents. Located just north of Boise, Placerville was one of the regions’ premier mining settlements in the 1800’s and at its peak has 3,000 residents. But at the turn of the century, a fire decimated the town and though the community was quick to rebuild, the residents scattered and left the town bare. Several structures from centuries ago still remain today and are dear to the few residents that keep this ghost town very much alive.
A Chilling Experience
A haunted house can be frightening to some but a haunted cave is sure to creep any of its visitors. The Shoshone Ice caves are comprised of mysterious subterranean lava tubes that stay frozen through Idaho’s summer heat. Legend has it that tour guides and employees of the Shoshone Ice Caves hear footsteps and hushed voices once the attraction has closed and all visitors have left. Legend has it that native Shoshone princess Edahow was buried in the ice mass centuries ago, and haunts the caves frozen halls in hopes to be freed from her icy tomb.
Often referred to as one of the most haunted structures in the state, the Old Idaho State Penitentiary has a violent past. The “Old Pen”, as many locals now call it, confined some of the states most insidious criminals for over 100 years. Upon its closing, the prison’s former inmates reportedly haunt the old jail looking for revenge after experiencing wretched living conditions, and some even suffering botched executions. Strange reports include touches from invisible spirits, sudden feelings of dread or despair, and cries of help from empty cells.
School’s Out Forever
If you found the prospect of going to school daunting as a kid, that’s nothing a little perspective won’t fix. The Albion State Normal School, launched in 1893, and was one of two state institutions to train high school graduates to be teachers and was built by the hands of the town’s very own residents. Over the years, there have been multiple attempts to restore and preserve the school but the campus falls victim to vandalism, and paranormal activities.