Idaho is not a state that is particularly known for ghost stories and hauntings. For some reason it is often seen as a more wholesome state compared to some of the other paranormal hotspots around the country. However, that doesn’t mean that there is no ghost activity to be found, you just have to know where to look! From creepy cemeteries to abandoned prisons, haunted Idaho has a little bit of everything to offer.
Take a look at some of the most haunted places in Idaho!
6 – Canyon Hill Cemetery, Caldwell
When it comes to local ghost stories, there are always one or two that really stick in your mind thanks to some of the unique details. In Idaho, one such story is that of the legless jogger who haunts Canyon Hill Cemetery! Apparently, if you are brave enough to drive up to the gates of the cemetery and park your car there around midnight the apparition of a jogger with no legs floats up to the driver side window and taps on the glass!
5 – The Bates Motel, Coeur d’ Alene
Originally, The Bates Motel in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho was officers barracks both before and during the second world war. It was later sold and converted into a motel known as The Roadway Inn. Several years later it was sold again, this time to Mr Randy Bates who renamed it The Bates Motel. This was long before the move Psycho was ever released, but the name certainly made it popular once the movie did come out! It has actually been suggested that the author of Psycho, Robert Bloch, stayed at the motel some time in the fifties and kept note of the name. The now iconic Bated Motel sign was put up by a production crew in the eighties when a movie was filmed there and was left behind when production wrapped.
Now, the real life Bates Motel may not be as terrifying as the movie version, but it is still considered to be one of the most haunted places in Idaho! Both guests and employees say that there is near constant paranormal activity at the hotel. The majority of the unexplained occurrences seem to be centred on rooms one and three. Guests who are given these rooms often report getting the unsettling feeling of being watched. They also experience cold spots, strange noises, lights turning on and off and ashtrays either being knocked off of tables or simply moved to another spot when no-one has been in the room.
4 – Shoshone Indian Ice caves, Shoshone
When we think about haunted locations, it is a natural reaction think only of buildings, but one of the most haunted places in Idaho is actually a cave! Shoshone Indian Ice Caves are a popular attraction for tourists visiting the area. However, long after the tourists have gone and the caves are closed up it is said that employees hear phantom footsteps and hushed voices. Some have suggested that it is the Indian princess Edahow who haunts the caves since she was buried in the ice many decades ago.
3 – Owyhee Plaza, Boise
The Owyhee Plaza Hotel has been something of a Landmark in Boise, Idaho since 1910. It has seen a large amount of renovation work over the years, but it still retains most of its regal and classic architecture. From the time it opened up until the 1940s the hotel was considered something of a hotspot, especially the rooftop garden which featured a restaurant and dance floor which often had live music. The current owner purchased the property in the early nineties after having worked at the hotel for several years. Quite aside from being a Boise landmark, The Owyhee Plaza Hotel is also said to be one of the most haunted places in Idaho.
Hotel staff and guests alike have report strange goings on at the hotel including a full body apparition! One of the most compelling reports comes from a couple who stayed in room number 136. The lady awoke during the night and saw a female spirit standing in the room. She said that she was not at all scared, in fact she felt a sense of calm come over her! She asked the spirit who she was and what she wanted, but the ghostly woman simply faded away. Other guests and staff have reported similar apparitions in various different parts of the hotel and many people report the sensation that they are being watched or hearing strange unexplained noises.
Farragut State Park is one of the most popular vacation spots in Northern Idaho thanks to its convenient location and fantastic amenities, but come nightfall the campground known as The Brig is not for the faint of heart! In fact, it is one of the most haunted placed in Idaho!
The Brig was originally a naval training center and at one time it also served as a military jail. It was built during the Second World War in response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The construction took 11 months and cost around $100 million. In terms of the history of the area, The Brig has been the site of at least one homicide and there was also at least one suicide here during World War 2. When Farragut was a military base, it would have been home to around 300,000 men.
It is not clear who or what actually haunts The Brig, but most witnesses do agree that the apparition seems to be in some kind of uniform although there is debate as to whether this is a military uniform or prison garb – both of which would be plausible for the building. It could be that the sightings are two or more different apparitions. Visitors, campers and staff over the years have all described the apparition in detail saying that he almost seems like a real living person – apart from the fact that he can vanish into thin air and is often slightly transparent! Aside from the apparition, there are also reports of objects flying across the old cells and large, heavy objects being ‘relocated’ when nobody has been in the building! Sounds like the ideal spot to go camping, right?
Everyone knows that prisons are nearly always a magnet for paranormal activity thanks to the melting pot of emotions that soak into the walls of these buildings. Old Idaho State Penitentiary is no different and it has long been considered one of the most haunted places in Idaho. The prison was established back in 1870 as a one cell house, but it very quickly began to grew into a complex of buildings enclosed by a thick wall of sandstone. In fact, part of the prisoners’ sentences was mining the rock to build the very walls that kept them in! Over 10,000 convicts have passed through the prison over the course of a century and it seems that not all of them left!
There have been several deaths on the premises including 10 executions and 110 documented deaths due to illness, murder and plain old age. However, the conditions in this prison were horrific, with inmates being subjected to inhumane treatment so it would not be surprising if the death toll was actually much higher, and those deaths were simply not documented! Due to the design of the prison, the cells were unbearably hot in the summer months and freezing cold in Winter, plus there was no indoor plumbing so as you might imagine there was a great deal of misery and suffering which has definitely left a mark on the prison.
There are a number of documented paranormal events that have happened in Old Idaho State Penitentiary. The most haunted spot is said to be 5 House where Idaho’s answer to Jack the Ripper, Raymond Allen Snowden was executed in 1957. It is believed that the murderer’s soul is still haunting the prisons and grounds and he has done even since before the prison closed in the seventies. Reports of his presence have been made by visitors, staff and prisoners alike! Whenever he draws near, the living are said to be overcome by a feeling of dread and oppression.
Snowden is by no means the only spirit at Old Idaho State Penitentiary. It is a fairly common occurrence for visitors to hear phantom footsteps echoing throughout the halls and disembodied voices are also heard fairly regularly. Visitors participating in the regular walking tours of the old prison have also been touched and even pushed by unseen hands. There is a very strong feeling of being watched from the shadows and several shadow figures have also been spotted in a number of places around the prison.