A new film takes us on a paranormal adventure through America's Old West and its deteriorating ghost towns, filled with stories of hauntings dating back to the days of the country's mining boom. The documentary relives tragic stories of the past and investigates modern day tales of the paranormal.
If you like ghost stories then you'll love 'Ghosts In Ghost Towns: Haunting The Wild West', and you can watch it now on Amazon
. The two-hour documentary tells us the history of several former mining settlements, including Ruby, which was said to be one of the most dangerous towns in Arizona, South Pass City, Wyoming, a beautifully preserved ghost town in the Rocky Mountains, and the largest and oldest ghost town of Bodie in California, which is said to have a centuries old curse.
All of these towns have a grim history of lawlessness, violence, murder and execution, as well as tales of every form of human depravity and suffering imaginable. With all of this death and misery, it's no surprise that spirits from the past remain to haunt the deteriorating streets of these decaying towns.
The filmmakers discovered that in every town they visited they uncovered reports of paranormal experiences. Unexplained activity ranging from seeing shadowy figures in haunted saloons, to hearing the sound of disembodied children's laughter in deserted school houses. As well as full bodied apparitions of the dead.
As an urban explorer and a ghost hunter, this film really appealed to me. There's nothing better than hunting spooks in a forgotten, derelict location.
The first stop in the film is Bodie, which is rumoured to be cursed. Should a visitor to the town take anything from Bodie, they will be sorry. Many visitors have returned items they had taken when they realised that they were down on their luck as a result of pilfering something from the town. Even an item as simple as a rusty nail gave a man nine months of bad luck until he returned it with a confession and an apology letter.
Brought to us by executive producer Ron Meyer, 'Ghosts In Ghost Towns: Haunting The Wild West' is written and directed by Anna Meyer Evans and Alan Megargle, with narration from Tom Kimball.
The film has a good amount of historical information, retold through re-creations featuring actors in period clothing. It's peppered with interviews with experts on the Wild West. The documentary is beautifully shot and features the eerie remains of forgotten towns set in stunning scenery.
During the making of the documentary, one of the camera crew had his own paranormal experience in the abandoned town of Garnet in Montana. He was filming alone in the building when he saw the face of a cowboy in a mirror, but upon turning around he found the room was completely empty.
One of my favourite stories in the film was the tale of the ghost of a young girl who has been spotted by hundreds of visitors for more than a century in the town of Bannack, Montana. It's said that in life the girl used to take her father his lunch while he was working in the local gold mine, but one day when crossing the creek she drowned. It's said she was buried in her favourite red dress.
On one occasion a Japanese tourist went upstairs in the Hotel Meade, Bannack's most haunted building. He returned to the rest of the tour group and asked the guide why there was a little girl in a red dress on the second floor. The guide was surprised as the second floor was completely empty and there was no way the tourist could have known the story of the girl in the red dress.
The documentary ends with the filmmakers conducting the first ever ghost hunt at the haunted Hotel De Paris in Georgetown, Colorado. The hotel is now a museum but is said to have two regular spooks that date back to the days of the gold rush.
The team start in room three, which was formerly the house keeper's room. She's said to have died of an illness in her bed. Armed with a few ghost hunting gadgets including a REM-Pod that detects static energy and an Ovilus, which is supposed to allow ghost to communicate by generating audible words.
The film quite accurately portrayed the current working beliefs of paranormal investigators. It goes into a fair amount of detail about the differences between residual and intelligent hauntings. Explains what orbs are believed to be and covers off the different ways that people experience the paranormal, including visual apparitions, ghostly sounds and even phantom smells.
The narrator tells us that picking up on the scent of tobacco smoke or perfume is very common, we're also told about a ghost who makes its presence known with a sewage-like smell. "Stinky" is said to haunt Hotel St. Nicholas in the ghost town Cripple Creek in Colorado.
I really enjoyed 'Ghosts In Ghost Towns: Haunting The Wild West' and would highly recommend it to any who loves a good ghost story, or who has an interest in the history of America's Old West. The film is available on Amazon Prime from Tuesday March 20th, 2018.