Bannack State Park has two campgrounds, the Vigilante Campground and the Road Agent Campground. There aren’t any major differences between them―they both have picnic tables, fire rings, and restrooms. And there’s a slight but real chance that both might be haunted along with the rest of the property.
Bannack got its start in 1862 when gold was discovered at the nearby Grasshopper Creek. The gold rush lured a lot of prospectors and businessmen to Bannack, and in 1864 it was named the Territorial Capital of Montana (eventually that title was given to Virginia City). Eventually the people of Bannack also started leaving for Virginia City since gold had been discovered there and they were hoping to find a bigger payout. Some people stuck around, but the population was never the same. By the 1950s, most people had moved on and the state of Montana decided to make Bannack a state park.
So why would a harmless little town like Bannack be haunted? Well, possibly because of the famous hangings that occurred there. Bannack’s sheriff, Henry Plummer, and two of his fellow deputies were hanged when they were found to be secretly leading a ruthless band of road agents called the Innocents who robbed a lot of gold miners traveling to and from Virginia City. Plummer had a troubled past that included murders that were said to be in self-defense. In this case, his reputation and rumors were enough to convict him.
Maybe the angry ghost of Henry Plummer still roams the grounds. But if he does, he’s not the only one. Sounds of crying children can sometimes be heard by visitors, and the apparition of a teenage girl has appeared numerous times. The girl is said to be the ghost of Dorothy Dunn, who drowned in a dredge pond along the creek years ago. She is usually spotted on the second story of the old Hotel Meade, but she has been seen in other areas as well. It is usually children who are able to see Dorothy. One seven-year-old girl even said Dorothy tried to talk to her, but she couldn’t hear what she was trying to say.
If you wander through the park, you just might see an apparition of some women dressed in their Sunday best, a common sighting. If you take pictures in the buildings, you could see some unexplainable white orbs that seem to hover in the old rooms. And if you camp at the campgrounds, you may hear the faint, unmistakable sound of babies crying in the distance. Stay inside your tent or RV at night… you wouldn’t want to come out and run into the ghost of Henry Plummer.