About Old Montana State Prison
Built in 1871 the Montana state prison served first as the territorial prison, and then from 1879 as the Montana state prison until it closed in 1979. A year after the last inmate moved out the prison building reopened as a museum and tourist attraction.
During more than a century as a working prison the building was some to the worst criminals and bore witness to some of the worst atrocities known to man. Murders were not uncommon here, there were riots, fires, and brutal violence within the prison well into the 20th century. Not all the inmates were violent however, one of the most fascinating prisoners to be incarcerated here was Paul Eitner. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1918 as is remembered as the only prisoner to occupy his particular cell in the life of the prison. During his time in the prison he became insane but his madness was humored by the staff and other inmates. They printed fake ‘money’ for him which allowed him to ‘buy’ the prison and pay the wages of all the staff. Eitner lived in the same cell until his death in 1967. After his death the cell was transformed into the prison barber shop, and many of those who worked there claimed that Eitner never truly left the cell, but his presence can still be felt there today.
Is Old Montana State Prison Haunted?
Other tales of prison life are less humorous, the more recent killings, stabbings, and riots here are well documented, and the horrors that may have happened during the early days of the prison can only be guessed at. Prison life was frequently brutal and perhaps this has caused the spirits of so many of the prisoners to linger within the walls they once called home. There have been many paranormal encounters throughout the prison buildings. The most frequently reported occurrence is that of disembodied footsteps echoing down deserted corridors. While unexplained voices coming from empty rooms have often been reported by both investigators and museum staff.
The area in the prison with the most accounts of unusual activity is the solitary confinement area. This part of the prison seen multiple claims of visitors being overcome with an unnerving sensation, or even being shoved out of the darkened space. Other visitors have had unseen people push past them to escape from the ‘hole’, or have heard someone whispering to them in a voice to quiet to understand.
None of these experiences have ever been properly explained, and who may be responsible for them is unclear. Maybe on your visit to the Montana state prison you will discover some answers to the mystery.
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