Haunted Collector – Ghost Behind Bars and Haunted Brothel – S03E03

Old Montana State Prison

For the first part of the episode John heads out to the Old Montana State Prison to investigate reports of people being choked, pushed and scratched. Julia, the director, has had her own less than pleasant experiences. She believes the incidents are taking a violent turn.

As with any old prison there are stories of violence. Of the well known tales is about a Deputy Warden that was beaten by two inmates. The Warden came onto the scene, shot the two men, but had to pistol whip the two men, when the bullets didn’t seem to phase them. The inmates were finally subdued and lead to the gallows. The Warden didn’t waste any time in seeing them hanged.

The prison also consists of a Cell House where they hear footsteps and the sound of men talking. There is also the Maximum Security area where Julia felt she was being choked. Her daughter also had an experience out there where she was pushed by a cell door opening.

For the investigation, Brian takes pictures with an old Polaroid camera and captures what appears to be a woman. This is the Maximum Security ward which used to be the women’s prison. The women faced a tough prison life without basic plumbing. A life with two buckets basically. Jesslyn sees a shadow figure move around as she and Jason investigate the gallows. Those gallows were well used, so who knows what kind of activity could be there.

John investigates the photo and why a female would be in a men’s prison. That’s when it’s revealed to have been the women’s prison and he hears the tale of Lucy Cornforth. She got into an altercation and would be sent to prison. Unfortunately she wasn’t well educated and thought she would go to prison for the rest of her life. She attempted to commit suicide by drinking arsenic, but at the last moment changed her mind. Her daughter was aware of mom’s plan, grabbed the glass and drank it herself. Lucy was charged with murder and did indeed spend the rest of her life behind bars.

John believes this is the woman in the picture and the person who is trying to make contact with them.

As the nighttime investigation starts, Amy and Jess see lights down in the shower area. It’s basically underground so it shouldn’t be car headlights. When they investigate, Jess gets locked into the shower area and hears clanking on the walls. Jess can’t open the door, neither can Amy so they call for John. He has no problem getting the door open and finds a panic stricken Jess inside. It’s obvious Jess was in a massive state of panic so was she just unable to get the door open? Did she cause her own problems or was there something holding the door? Was it Lucy? A male spirit? A rusty hinge?

Although John can’t pin the activity on a single item, he does believe Lucy is the source. He brings a commemorative photo of Lucy and asks Julia to put it where all the visitors can see and know of her unfortunate predicament. According to Julia, once Lucy’s story is understood, the problems seem to go away.

Dumas Brothel

Where there’s a mining town, there’s a brothel. The Dumas Brothel opened in 1890 and went continuously for a hundred years. Travis is the new owner and he wants to restore the place. He says he’s felt a presence, has been touched and that a mirror flew off the wall and shattered on the floor. Perhaps his renovations have stirred up the past, but not in a good way.

Legend goes that a woman died in the Madam’s Suite in 1953. There are reports of woman dressed in 1930’s clothes wandering the halls. Brian and John see their own figure up on the balcony right as they start their investigation. When Jason and Amy search the different rooms they find a love letter from "J" to Sarah where he promises to quit the line and take her away from the life she leads. Right as they read the letters and say the names the bed begins to violently shake. For a moment it conjures images of the Exorcist. Was the shaking done out of violence of was a tryst interrupted? But the bigger question, was it really the bed shaking and how did that happen?

It’s presumed Sarah is a girl from the Red Light District and "J" was a miner. If this is true then the date of the letter, June 7, 1917 was the day before a massive mining accident took the lives of 168 miners. Could it be that "J" died in the mines and Sarah’s love and chance of getting out of her current life were gone?

Brian and Jesslyn bring out the Ovilus in the Madam’s Suite and get the words, "Cry", "Pain" and then the word "James" repeated several times. Is this referring to "J" in the letter and the pain and crying Sarah felt for him?

John and Chris investigate Sarah’s room where they hear the word, "wait" and a bottle of Laudanum falls over. Laudanum is some powerful stuff, basically liquid opium. Watch any movie or read a tale from that time period and Laudanum is prevalent. It was a cure-all that got people addicted, if it didn’t kill them from an overdose. If we put these pieces together do we have a story of Sarah killing herself after she finds out her lover James was killed in a mining accident? Were her dreams smashed and she couldn’t find a reason to go on, especially in a life where she had to give herself over to other men? This letter could be unrelated to Sarah or it may have gone another way. What if "J" was her brother and he was going to get them both out of that town because of the horrible life they were both leading?

Either way, I suppose it’s the same depressing story of loss.

John feels the best course of action is to take the Laudanum bottle away. This was Sarah’s release and relief from despair. With all the renovations her spirit may be reliving those days. And according to Travis, the renovations have continued uninterrupted.

These are some interesting stories, but is there paranormal activity here and have they found the source of it? Singling out Lucy is a bit of a stretch in my opinion. They’re trying to connect a lot of dots and quite possibly going with the first sympathetic story they hear. Did Jess really get locked in the shower? Did she really see shadow figures? Did a woman appear in that Polaroid? That picture is really the only solid evidence they have and they seem to be running with that idea. Nothing else they come across really presents itself as the paranormal. Some interesting things happen, but I wouldn’t say any of it is truly unexplainable.

The Dumas Brother is a sad tale, but does it have more evidence to support the story? The love letter is real, but is that the right spirit? Was there really a Sarah or is that letter completely unrelated? Is all this really related to the Madam that died in 1953? Is that story even true? What evidence do they really have? A mirror that fell off the wall during renovations? Obviously no banging or hammering would cause that. Did they feel or capture a presence? John and Brian might have captured something, but none of us saw it. The bed shaking and the words from the Ovilus are very interesting. But I really don’t like or trust that Ovilus, so there really is just the shaking bed. Not sure what that was all about. When you put the letter and Ovilus together, it makes for a great story.

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One Response to Haunted Collector – Ghost Behind Bars and Haunted Brothel – S03E03

  • Tanya Winters says:

    Please see my picture and post on Haunted Montana History facebook page. My husband I were recently at the old Deer Lodge Prison self guided tour and I took a couple of pictures of a cell and later that evening was going through them and saw that I had photographed what looks like a woman’s face. My husband was looking at Montana History a month or so later and found the story and a picture of Lucy and sent it to me. I then posted on the Haunted Montana History facebook page. Could just a be a reflection but it is eerie how similar it looks to her mug shot. Sad story of what this woman went through :( If it is her I hope she can find peace.

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