Spirits shroud the ghost town of Bannack, where sluices once ran and whiskey flowed. Vigilantes bestowed violent beginnings. But dig deeper. The town’s windswept cemetery where spirits rest, or don’t rest, is evidence of tragedies even more indelible than hangings and shootings. In August of 1916, sixteen-year-old Dorothy Dunn, her cousin Fern, and a friend waded into a dredge pond and stepped off a shelf into deep water. None could swim. A passerby saved Fern and her friend, but lovely, vivacious Dorothy drowned. The site of the accident to this day is known as Dorothy’s Hole. Bertie Mathews, whose parents ran the Meade Hotel, took the death of her best friend Dorothy very hard. Some time after the tragedy, Bertie was upstairs in the hotel where she saw the apparition of her friend. Bertie recognized Dorothy’s long blue dress. The experience scared her, and she seldom talked about it. Since then, many others have seen Dorothy upstairs in the hotel. Visitors report cold spots, and children who know nothing of Dorothy claim to have talked with a girl in a long blue dress.
|The Meade Hotel, where Dorothy's ghost has been seen and felt.|
John Vachon, photographer. Library of Congress LC-USF34-065619-D
Story from Montana Moments: History on the Go