Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ghostly Garnet-MTEP11

Ghostly Garnet-MTEP11

Mystery Tidbits Episode 11-Ghostly Garnet
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Ghost Towns, probably some of the more intriguing land marks to visit and explore in the United States. Full of mystery and history, these sites can make for some exciting sightseeing and they can open your mind to wonder what exactly  happened there. Were the gun fights? Was there murder? Probably so.

Many Ghost Towns of the west were built for the sake of miners. A place to house them while they looked for their treasures in the hills. But when the gold or silver runs out and those towns become abandoned and desolate, then what? What remains is an empty, ghostly memory of a time and place in history that we all hope can live on forever through historical preservation, interviews and records from the past.

But what if some of those residents who lived in these ghost towns never left? What if they continue to inhabit its building years after they have passed on. One small ghost town in Montana may truly be inhabited with real ghosts. Welcome to Garnet.

Garnet, Montana, a small town which was born in the year 1895 was occupied by hundreds of people, particularly miners and their families. The town boasted hotels, stores, saloons, a school, a drug store, an assay office and it even produced a weekly news paper. It was a bustling little town for a while however, within only 10 shore years of its existence its population decreased from over 1000 people to just 150 people. A fire destroyed most of Garnets business section in 1912, large mining strikes had mostly been depleted and most of its miners had packed up and moved on to seek out new riches. The town made a brief comeback in the 1930's during the great depression, however that didn't last long and it has pretty well been deserted ever since, at least deserted by physical beings that is.

A Montana state historian, by the name of  Ellen Baumler claims that once the sun goes down on Garnet, the spirits of the this once booming town come out to play. She wrote in her book Montana Chillers  that "Sometimes, in the deep winter quiet, a piano tinkles in Kelley's Saloon and the spirits dance to ghostly music. Men's voices echo in the empty rooms. But the moment a living, human hand touches the building, the noises stop." She continues by stating about Garnets Ghost residents "They cause no trouble and anyone who visits the deserted town in the dead of winter should be prepared to meet them."."They hide in the shadows, laugh in the wind, and come out when you least expect them".


Perhaps the Kelly's Saloon is the most haunted building in Garnet, Montana. In the winter of 1972-1973, the Bureau of Land Management decided to have someone stay in Garnet all year long, including the winter. The lucky soul was a man by the name of Mike Gordon. Gordon was given a snowmobile, though snowmobiles back then weren't near what they are now. He mainly got around by using snow shoes or ski's with a toboggan that could carry his equipment. He was isolated, basically being transported back to winter time in the late 1800's. There was no electricity. He kept warm by continually stoking the fireplace and would most likely read by lantern or flashlight. One day, in January or February, Mike had just put another log on the fire and was writing a letter home when all of the sudden he heard the sound of a piano in the town. Thinking that it was just his imagination he blew it off until he realized it wasn't in his head. As he continued to listen, he said it sounded like an old honky tonk piano. He eventually decided to investige.

Mike left his cabin and headed down main street. As he approached the Kelly's Saloon he realized the music was coming from within it. The Kelly's Saloon was in the downstairs of the building and a living quarters was on the second floor. There was to much snow to enter the main floor so Mike decided to go to the back side of the building where snow was piled up and there was a plank that let from the hill to a door on the second story. He began walking across the plank, still hearing the Honky Tonk music and then froze. He was frightened and didin't have the best feeling about the situation. He left and headed back to his cabin.

A little while later, Mikes curiosity got the best of him. He decided to head back to the Saloon. As he approached, he could still hear the music. He opened the door and entered the living area. Straight down the corridor was a stairway, where he began to walk toward. He realized that the music was coming from the bottom floor. As he walked down the stairs and made it to the bottom, the music suddenly stopped. In disbelief, he looked around the bar area. It was completely empty. Mike has always wondered if he imagined the whole incident.

Kerry Moon, who was a fire control chief working for the BLM in the 1970's stayed in Garnet to protect against vandalism, with a crew in the summer and by himself in the winter. He states that "You could hear activity in the town almost any time of day...During daylight you could hear the sound of horses and men and wagons, regular activity that would have taken place back then. At nights, especially for some reason on Wednesdays, you could hear the sounds of partying-singing and dancing and laughing, lights in windows, and even honky tonk music". The noises kept the fire crew up at night, Kerry continued by saying "We decided we were going to have to get used to it...None of us had gone crazy. We just all realized that whatever was here when these people were alive brought them back in death".  

It would seem that the activity became more intense in the winter. Moon states that "I don't know if it was because all the tourists were gone or because winter keeps people indoors up here, but the ghostly activity really increased. Somebody was knocking on my door almost every night, and there was a lot of noise downtown, almost continuous noise. I got so I just had to ignore it and do my work,...I think the worst thing was the forge in the blacksmith shop...I would hear that heavy pounding and think someone was in there fooling around. Then I would realize there was no one up here but me".

Moon also heard the honky tonk piano play at the Kelly's Saloon in the dead of winter.

Oh, yes, one important piece of information I believe I failed to mention is that at the time these men heard the piano in the Kelly's Saloon, It had long since been removed.

Apparitions have been seen as well. In an account from Ellen Baumler, she talks about tourists seeing former store owner Frank Davey, who lived there until his death in 1947. She states that "Park ranger Allan Matthews, who works for the Bureau of Land Management, knows this all to well. According to Ranger Matthews, on a recent summer day a volunteer was working at the visitor center. Three tourists-a woman and her two kids- came in and asked, "Who's that man over theree, standing at the door of the icehouse, with his arms spread out funny? The volunteer looked in the direction of the icehouse, where old Mr. Davey stored his gold. She did not see anyone. The confused volunteer asked the family to describe him. One of the kids said, "He has white hair, and he's wearing a three-piece suit, and he looks really mean." Their mother nodded in agreement. The volunteer shrugged and said that it was probably just another visitor. She did not want to scare them. She did not thell them what she knew"

Baumler also says that Park Ranger "Matthews and others have seen a woman in one of the upstairs rooms in the hotel, gazing out the window"

Garnet sounds intense. It sounds like when you step into the town, it acts as a time machine, wanting to take you back to when the town was booming and bustling, to a time when one had to make their own way.


Ghost Story: Garnet Montana a haunted ghost town.-

The Federal Government Will Put You Up In This Haunted Ghost Town, If You Dare-

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