Nov 1, 2010 12:05 PM by Angela Douglas - Q2 News
BILLINGS - Established in the late 1800s, all you have to do is take a trip down Montana and Minnesota Avenues to know that Billings has quite a history, and according to some... a lot of that history still lingers.
Karen Stevens, author of Haunted Montana and More Haunted Montana, has been giving haunted tours of Billings for the past decade.
Growing up in a haunted house, Stevens' curiosity about the super natural world developed at a young age.
"I just wanted to study the phenomena and see if I could find out some reason for why it happens," explains Stevens. "It has led to a lifelong interest in ghosts."
Teamed up with Tours by Fun Adventures, Stevens takes thrill-seeking tourists on a one hour ride throughout the city highlighting more than ten buildings known for having ghosts.
A few well-known businesses included in the list of stops on the tour are Juliano's, the 27th St. Subway, Granny's Attic, the Yellowstone Art Museum, Alberta Bair Theater, Dude Rancher Lodge, The Rex, Western Heritage Center, and Crowne Plaza.
Juliano's was built as a private home back in the 1920s and is now a restaurant. Stevens says a ghost has been spotted peering out of an upstairs window.
"There would be a man in an old fashioned suit staring down at the owner outside," says Stevens. "So, Juliano's is one place in Billings where you might get a little more than what's on the menu."
There have also been a number of ghost sightings throughout the years at Granny's Attic. One in particular involved a ghost walking through a wall.
"When the owner looked at the blue prints the next day, they found that there had been a door where the ghost walked through the wall," explains Stevens. "They don't know who he is, could have been any of the sheep ranchers."
Stevens had all sorts of stories about most of the buildings along Minnesota, including one stop that many folks frequent during the lunch hour, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that the building has weathered a few seasons.
"As you might expect, it is haunted," says Stevens as we pull up to the Subway located on 27th St. and Minnesota Ave. "Now, the Subway folks tell us that they will hear men's voices sometimes when they're closing or opening, and there's never anyone there. The water in the bathrooms will be found running even though they check them and make sure everything is turned off before they go home."
Speaking of food, it appears ghosts might still get hungry, because our next stop is another eatery. The Rex.
The downstairs bathrooms are where many of the stories originate from. People have reported hearing things, seeing things, and feeling uncomfortable. The Rex employees have name the ghost "Buck."
Obviously, I had to check out the ladies room to see if I could spot the legendary "Buck," but it was a ghost-free night.
We wrapped up the tour at The Dude Rancher Lodge, which seems to have quite a bit, if not the most, recent activity compared to all the Billings locations.
The Dude Rancher Lodge was the first motel built in Billings and room 226, has the most activity by a ghost named Anna Belle. In fact, the housekeepers at the Lodge have come to have a quite a relationship with her.
"She had the key and she was trying to open the door and it wouldn't open up," explains Tours by Fun Adventures co-owner, Renee Christiansen. "She said, 'Well, Anna Belle? Are you here today? Will you open the door for me?' And the door opened right up."
A few other well-known locations were also included on the tour. A number of ghost sightings have been reported at the Crowne Plaza, Alberta Bair Theater, Western Heritage Center, and the Yellowstone Art Museum.
Regardless of whether or not you buy in to the whole ghostly scene, it's an adventurous way to get into the spirit of all hallow's eve. After all, it is the magic city.
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