Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Ghost of Seth Bullock - The Bullock Hotel in Deadwood, South Dakota

Many believe that the town of Deadwood, South Dakota is one of the most haunted places in the mid-west.  This could be so because it is the place where legendary figures from U.S. history abounded.  Among them, Seth Bullock who had become the first Sheriff of Deadwood.  Some say that he has never left.

Seth Bullock in his younger days

Seth arrived in Deadwood in 1876 along with his partner Sol Star.  They were in the hardware business and began by selling mining equipment out of their wagon.  Being successful, they soon set up shop on the corner of Main and Wall Streets, building a store.  That same year the law in Deadwood, Wild Bill Hickock died.  Having prior experience as a Sheriff, Bullock was soon made the law in town to keep the peace.  They say he was able to do so because he had a stare that scared most people.  It was said that he was the sheriff "whose gaze could stop fights."

The Star & Bullock Hardware store in Deadwood, South Dakota 1877
Seth Bullock and Sol Star circa 1880s on their ranch

Although  his hardware business still thrived, it burned down in 1876.  The only surviving structure was the brick warehouse in the rear of the building.  Seth and Sol decided to abandon the hardware business and rebuild on the site with a luxury hotel which became widely known as the finest in the region.  They added a bar in 1900 obtaining the adjacent property.

The Bullock Hotel in Deadwood, South Dakota 1876

Seth Bullock met with Theodore Roosevelt when he was in Deadwood bringing in a horse thief.  The two became good friends over the years and when Roosevelt was elected president, he appointed Bullock as the first Forest Supervisor of the Black Hills Reserve.  He was appointed U.S. Marshall of South Dakota by Roosevelt in 1905 and continued the office through two more presidencies through 1910.

Almost a decade later, Seth died of cancer in September of 1919 at the age of 70.  He was laid to rest near Mt. Moriah Cemetery which some say has become a very haunted place in itself.  However, Seth had never really left the hotel which became his pride and joy.  

Seth Bullock of Deadwood, South Dakota

The Bullock Hotel still stands to this day and several dozen people over the years have claimed to have seen his ghost with it's steely stare roaming the hallways of the hotel.  Most sightings have occurred on the second and third floors of the hotel, but other strange occurrences have occurred in the restaurant and cellar area of the hotel which is used for meetings and banquets.  Occurrences range from a full body apparition to misty figures being seen in several of the rooms.  Some guests have sworn that someone has tapped them on the shoulder or felt someone brush against them to turn and find nobody actually there.  Other folks have heard whistling and foot steps only to find that there was no one around to have actually made the sounds.  Several times in the hallways, apparitions have been spotted in mirrors, some claimed to have captured them in photographs.

The Bullock Hotel today

There are some poltergeist activities that take place as well.  In the restaurant, dishes have been known to rattle, lights turn themselves on and off, appliances turn on and off at their own accord as well. Glasses and bottles have been known to move in the bar area by some unseen force.  There is an antique clock that stands on display but does not function.  Every now and then it has been known to chime.

A snapshot taken inside The Bullock Hotel showing what many to believe is an image of a man in the right of the mirror

In the cellar of Bullock's Hotel which is known as "Seth's Cellar", near the bar an image of a cowboy has been spotted in the mirror when of course there was no one dressed as a cowboy in the room.  Perhaps this is Seth looking out from the after world to make sure that everything is running smoothly at his pride and joy hotel!

The bar area of The Bullock's Hotel today known as "Seth's Cellar"

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