Lurking Beyond
Yuma territorial prison
Teeratas / Shutterstock.com

3 of the Spookiest Places in the American West

In the American West, there are a number of spooky and haunted places. In this article, we’ll introduce you to three: Yuma territorial prison; Vallecito mining town ghost of the lady in white; The Bonnie Springs Ranch in Nevada.

1. Yuma territorial prison: Named ‘America’s best-haunted destination’

The Yuma territorial prison, and Yuma, Arizona, was named by USA Today as the “best-haunted destination” in the US. The prison, which goes back to the days of the wild American West, has a long history and is known for being one of the most terror normally active locations in the US.

Constructed in 1876, the first prisoners built their own cells and moved in on July 1, 1876. The prison operated port 33 years, in which time it housed 3069 inmates. The most common sighting is apparitions of former inmates. There are also reports of disembodied voices that tell visitors to “get out.”

However, another spooky tale is that of a little girl who drowned in the nearby Colorado River and allegedly haunts the grounds, poking or pinching visitors with icy-cold fingers.

The most frequent paranormal activity is said to occur in the “dark cell” where prisoners who broke rules were put. It is alleged that guards would throw live scorpions into the pitch-black cell to torture the inmates. It is said that some inmates emerged from the dark cell requiring a transfer to an insane asylum.

2. The Lady in White at the Vallecito mining town

At the Vallecito mining town in Calaveras County, California, a ghostly entity called the “Lady in White” has long been reported to haunt the area.

According to legend, the woman arrived at the mining camp on a stagecoach in the late 1850s. She was on her way to Sacramento to marry her lover. The woman was ill upon arrival and later died. In her belongings, they discovered a brand-new wedding dress. At her funeral, the undertaker clothed her in the lace, white dress.

She was buried at Campo Santo, which was near the stagecoach station. Since that time, people have seen the ghost of the woman wandering around the town wearing her white dress. While not said to be malevolent, nonetheless, she still puts off some bad vibes. Those who see the Lady in White still report feeling a strong sense of uneasiness and fear.

The Lady in White is but one of several ghostly occurrences in the Vallecito area. There is also a ghostly white horse, as well as, a ghostly stagecoach known as the Phantom Stage.

3. The Bonnie Springs Ranch, Nevada

In Nevada, the Bonnie Springs Ranch had been developed into a tourist attraction due to its many paranormal disturbances. The land was once occupied to the native by the Paiute tribe. But in 1843, the land was developed into a ranch and became a stopover for wagon trains making their way west along the Old Spanish Trail.

In 1952, Bonnie McGaugh bought the land and turned the ranch into a tourist attraction. She turned it into a full replica of a 1800s-era mining town in a ghost town. She created a miniature railway, a zoo, and an opera house, a schoolhouse, a wax museum, a hotel, a saloon, and a restaurant. The end result was a realistic experience of the days of the Wild West. But then…Real ghosts came to the ghost town.

Several spirits are said to haunt the ranch. Inside a replica of a former schoolhouse, the ghost of a little girl is said to Rome. She can be heard skipping and laughing – even seen riding the merry-go-round outside.

The town also features its own wax museum. It, too, is said to be haunted by mischievous ghosts who take the figures and move them or change their positions. In EVP recordings taken at the opera house on the ranch, audible swearing was recorded from a ghostly entity. People have also seen a menacing shadow that followed them around inside the opera house.

Unfortunately, the Bonnie Springs Ranch closed down in 2019 after being sold. Apparently, the new owner has abandoned the facilities to the elements, as well as, the ghosts. One has to wonder whether the paranormal activity at the location was too much for the new owner to handle.