Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Review: Haunted Helena: Montana Queen City Ghosts, by Ellen Baumler (2014)

Haunted Helena:: Montana's Queen City Ghosts, by Ellen Baumler (Charleston, SC: The History Press/Haunted America, 2014) (Paperback, $19.99)

Ellen Baumler has done it again, penning an excellent new volume of contemporary ghostly experiences in Montana using her unique brand of deep historical research (she is a professional historian for the Montana Historical Society, located in Helena), personal interviews and site visits, woven together with her decades as a storyteller and education/interpretion specialist for the Society. This volume is all about Helena, the capital city of Montana, and she revisits some places she has written about before in her ghost story colSpirit Tailings, Beyond Spirit Tailings, Montana Chillers), adding new information and incidences, as well as totally new sites within the Queen City of the Rockies. A list of the haunted places:

Introduction: It Begins at Home: Wick-Seiler Residence (where the author lives)

Shadows of the Gold Camp: Background history of Helena, south end of Last Chance Gulch, Hangman's Tree

Ghosts on the Gulch: Underground tunnels, Montana Club, Granite Block, Placer Hotel, Power Block

Lily's Legacy: Toole Mansion

The Haunting of Reeder's Alley: Stone house, miners' apartments, Yee Wau Cabin, Pioneer Cabin, Caretaker's House (this chapter includes an event I personally experienced)

A Spirited Neighborhood: Reeder's Alley, Morelli Bridge, Adami homestead/barn, Forestvale Cemetery

For Fern: Benton Avenue Cemetery

Dead Men Walking: Davis Street (Dry Gulch), Hangman's Tree South Central neighborhood

Something Extra: West Side's Christmas Gift Evans House

Haunted Landscapes: Highway 12, the Frenchwoman's Road, hitchhiking ghost of MacDonalds Pass, Rimini

Captured Moments: Stedman Foundry (Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' Montana Wild wildlife center), House of the Good Shepherd, St. Johns (Hospital) Building

Some are new sites, some are well-known hauntings which have been revisited with even more details and first person accounts. These aren't just second-hand rumors and urban legends. Many of these relate events where the author was on the scene, for example, "For Fern", where a visit to a cemetery on a grade school field trip adds another young face to the sunny afternoon. Others were collected from the people who experienced them personally. These are mostly places where there have been ongoing phenomena, such as the neighborhood setting of "Dead Men Walking", which relates a new and in-depth account of the hot spot area around the site of the infamous "Hanging Tree" of Helena.

Carefully researched historical background and personal details combine to make this perhaps the most intimate and engrossing of all of Baumler's books. A book recommended for all paranormal buffs, lovers of history and ghost tales, Montana residents, and fans of the storytelling art. Helena has many ghost stories and paranormal events, and even this latest addition does not exhaust the hauntings of Helena. There is much more to be ... mined.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

TV Show "True Supernatural" Feb. 14

Looks like I am going to be on a TV show in about a month. My interview on the Ioway story about the Shunka Warak'in will air on the program "True Supernatural" on the Destination America Channel at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, January 2, 2015. That is 8 pm Central and 7 pm Mountain Time. Yikes!

The network moved it to Valentine's Day
Then it was supposed to be Feb. 28

They took True Supernatural off the schedule again last night:

"The Betty Hill Dress, Rocky Mountain Demon Wolf Premieres Saturday, February 28 at 10/9c Hidden in the archives of the Milnes Museum at the University of New Hampshire is one of the most controversial artifacts in world history— a simple blue dress that may prove that extraterrestrial life exists. In 1961, couple Betty and Barney Hill claimed to have been abducted by aliens, and during the nightmarish event, Betty came in contact with terrifying beings who left a pink powder on her dress. After significant chemical and DNA analysis, authorities could not attribute the mysterious substance to anything found on Earth. Native American tribes venerate the legends of the Shunka Warak’in, also known as the Rocky Mountain Demon Wolf. Gigantic in size, ferocious in nature, the beast was said to have terrorized settlers and livestock, becoming a harbinger of death."

I did the interview about a year ago. First they said it would be on in July and I told people in our tribe. Then in July they said it would be on in January. Then they said it would be Valentine's Day. Then they said it would be last night. 

I am giving up telling people about the show. I know the producers just made the show, they don't broadcast it, so I understand it's not their fault. We have all had so many false alarms now though, it is difficult to say if it is ever going to show. I myself am not going to think about it any more. If it is ever really broadcast or put online, I will post about it. I guess, that's show business, those old sayings are around for a good reason :-)

Sunday, February 23, 2014


"Most of all he remembered the hataalii standing grey and thin and tall over his grandmother, holding a tortoiseshell rattle and a prayer plume of eagle feathers, chanting poetry from the emergence story, making Old Lady Many Mules one with White Shell Girl, restoring her to beauty and harmony. And restore her it had. Chee remembered staying at the old woman’s place, playing with his cousins and their sheepdogs seeing his grandmother happy again, hearing her laughter. She died of course. The disease was lung cancer, or perhaps tuberculosis, and people with such diseases died – as all people do." (Quoted in The Trickster, Magician and Grieving Man by Glen A Mazis, p. 240.)

"...Because our culture has such an intense fear of death we frame our healing in terms of life. Healing however comes from the word for ‘wholeness’ and within many traditions healing does not automatically mean to live. Unless we see death as an integral and right part of life we cannot hold this view. All authentic spiritual traditions, ancient and modern, have a holy place reserved for death. Within the western traditions the magic circle is divided into two halves, one that tracks our life from birth to death and the other which tracks our existence from death to rebirth. Healing is about being whole within ourselves, integrated and complete. We can be healed and die. We can live and not be healed. Without healing though we are fragmented and splintered, in life or death. We become the unquiet dead, restless and longing. Or we become living cogs in a ravenous, ever-hungry consumerism that feeds on injustice and pain."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Blackfeet Story About Bigfoot

My favorite contemporary Bigfoot story is from the Blackfeet:

"Back in town we met a man who belonged to a club of ATV riders. His name was Tony Little Plume. Tony introduced us to some of his club members and they offered to take us back up into the hills in the next day or so if we wanted to go then. Tony shared a story with us about his experience with Bigfoot.

It seems that several years ago, Tony’s cousin came to visit Tony on the reservation. His cousin was raised in the city and was not fully aware of the “old ways” of his family in Browning. Tony asked his cousin what he might like to do while on the reservation for the summer and his cousin told him he wanted to go hunting, hunting for a big bull elk. Tony then arranged to take his cousin into the hills around Kiowa Camp to hunt.

On the way to the place that Tony expected the elk to pass, they came upon a dead cow. The cow had apparently died some time earlier and was now being eaten by a black bear. The cousin decided to attempt to shoot the bear. Tony instructed him that in the old ways, it would not be acceptable to shoot a bear in this manner. The cousin told Tony that he was not brought up in the “old way” and still wanted to shoot the bear. Tony did prevail and the cousin did not shoot the bear.

The two men went on to try and intercept the heard of elk so that they might shoot a bull elk. As luck would have it they were unable to intercept the heard, and did not find any bull elks to hunt. On the way back to the truck, they passed the cow carcass again. They could see that there was a bear behind it, still eating. This time, before Tony could stop him, the cousin took a shot. His shot missed the bear, but the bear stood up. They could see that it was no longer the black bear eating there, but a large grizzly bear!

This huge bear stood straight up and put his nose in the air. After a quick sniff, the bear knew exactly where the two men were and charged directly at them! The men where about 200 yards away from their pickup truck and made a run for it. The bear was quickly gaining on them and it soon became clear it would overtake them before they could reach the truck parked just down the next hill.

Suddenly, there came a loud and frightening scream from the hill on the other side of the truck. It was a scream that neither man had ever heard before! The bear, also heard the scream and stopped in its tracks, turned around, and ran away. The two men were able to get to their truck and return home safely.

The following day, Tony got a call from an elder in the tribe. The elder asked him what he had done. Tony was truthful and explained how the cousin had shot at a bear and the story that followed. The elder chastised Tony and forbade him from going back to that area to hunt.",_Montana

Friday, January 24, 2014

Paranormal Montana Update 2014

For those of you who are curious about what the heck is going on with this blog, who are saying, is this blog abandoned or what?…I moved this fall to Kansas, to my tribe's reservation. I am helping with efforts to revive our language and culture, and preserve our history. I post about some of that at my Nemaha blog. So I have had to switch gears considerably.

However, I am still involved with studying the paranormal, and I am still connected to the Montana paranormal community through the Paranormal Montana Facebook group I started a few years back, which has 266 members as of this post. If you have paranormal issues or interests, that's probably your best bet for a first stop:

The Paranormal Montana Facebook Group.

Currently, besides helping my tribe, I am getting up to speed the paranormal in the Nemaha area of the Missouri River, where the states of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Iowa meet. If you have any interest in that area, just email me.

But Montana has been a major part of my life and always will be. I love her. I was raised there and my family still lives there, and we aren't done with each other yet I am sure. Life just has some interesting turns to it.

I will be putting together some kind of book about the paranormal in Montana as a whole (the whole state and all the different paranormal aspects) based on this blog, and will continue to post occasionally here on how that unfolds, as well as on the new things I continue to find out about Paranormal Montana.