“I haven’t been there for probably thirty years,” Kenneth explained, “So I don’t know if it’s still there or not. Or if it’s still haunted or not. It was haunted when I lived out there, though. Lots of people probably knew about it; whether they believed what they saw and heard or not, who knows?”
Kenneth was talking about an old ghost town a couple hours outside of Rawlins, Wyoming that him and his friends used to dare one another to visit when he was in high school during the early 70’s. He described the place in pretty vivid detail, but admitted that he would most likely be unable to pinpoint it on a map since it had been so long since his last visit.
The place was an old ghost-town of the wild west, built upon the hopes of those seeking to strike it rich in gold, silver, and gems. It was abandoned once coal and oil were discovered to be Wyoming’s true natural treasures; the crumbling remnants of banks, hotels, saloons, the city jail and church, small homes and the schoolhouse were left to the mercy of the elements. Nature had begun the slow process of reclaiming the single road that led to the small and once bustling town, the wagon ruts had been smoothed away by almost a century of rain and wind, and sagebrush had begun spreading its roots into the hard-packed earth. An old steel and iron bridge still stood, it crossed a stream in the shallow and boggy gulch that separated the town from the road.
“Crossing the bridge was like the first test,” Kenneth said, a smile creeping into both his voice and face. He described his first car, a ’68 Plymouth Roadrunner as being just narrow enough to fit onto the crumbling bridge that spanned the gulch to the ghost town. He laughed as he described the standard trip, “We would always bring a guy who hadn’t been there before – it’s way more fun to scare people who don’t have the experience yet. We would tell them if it’s their first time, they have to reach out the window and slap the support trestles or struts as we passed them in the car.”
Kenneth described how him and his friends would shout to scare the newcomer most of the time, making the trip all the more frightful. He grew quiet then, as he began to describe what it was like coming into the town. He mentioned that once or twice – but not every time – there would be something on the bridge, hanging from the overhead supports.
“It was usually three of them,” he said, his voice lowering, “First time we saw them we thought one of the other guys from town was trying to make it spookier than it already was – but it wasn’t sheets or grocery bags. As he came closer to the three dangling objects they grew darker! Not like they changed colors, but like they just faded away at our approach, vanished!”
Kenneth said the sight didn’t scare him enough to keep him away, he and his friends made regular visits to the old ghost town, but only saw things on the bridge a third of the time. Each time they returned to the abandoned town, the bridge sightings were different; sometimes only one ghastly hovering image greeted them, other times it was half a dozen. The images always vanished upon their approach though, as if they didn’t want to be run over by the car, Kenneth suggested. The images were always vaguely human-shaped, and Kenneth and his friends theorized maybe there were so many ghosts on the bridge because they used to hang bandits or adulterers from it as a warning to other would-be trouble-makers coming to town.
“The rest of the town was just creepy because it was a ghost town, the west is covered with them if you know how to find them. We never saw anything extraordinary in the tow itself,” Kenneth summarized, “Just crossing the bridge – and another thing I just thought of – only when we were entering the town… there was never anything to see as we left. Of course, sometimes we left in a great big rush, so maybe we just weren’t looking on the way out?”
Doing a Google search for ghost towns near Rawlins, Wyoming brings up several results like Bear River City, Jeffrey City, and Sulfur Springs to name a few – but did Kenneth and his friends really see ghosts in this as-yet-unnamed ghost town? Or was what they saw simply a case of collective delusionism caused by a heightened sense of anxiety and great expectations?
Skeptic’s Rating: 5/10 – I can give this guy credit for his experience – but I don’t know what to make of his nonchalant demeanor in telling his story. Granted, this happened in the 70’s which were 35 years ago, so perhaps the fright of the actual experience has been dulled by the decades, or maybe the courage gained from his group of friends didn’t allow the experience to be overly frightening in the first place.
Next Week’s Everyday Paranormal Experiences, Interview #12: “Single Serving Haunting?”
On the Article Series:
I myself am a huge skeptic of all things paranormal or extra-terrestrial and I tend to take most tales of either with a huge grain of salt – sometimes even an entire salt shaker, depending on the tale that’s being weaved. I have even had a couple ghostly and otherworldly experiences myself, which I may relate in later stories – and I’m skeptical of those! Is what I experienced the truth of the experience or is there an empirical explanation that I simply have not yet unlocked? Regardless of my skeptical nature, ghost stories and alien encounters have always fascinated me as they have all of humanity for thousands of years.
It is this fascination that I wish to convey in a unique and different paranormal or alien experience every week – Thursday, to be exact. I will be conducting interviews with everyday people to hear their stories and relate them back to you, the Paranoid Gamers. Perhaps I’ll be interviewing some of you, as well.
Do you have an experience of a haunted item, place, or person? Have you been visited by aliens or heretofore undocumented intelligent life – terrestrial or extra so? If you’d like to share your experience and possibly have your tale published in this series of articles, please contact me and we can relive your experience.