Them on Us: Haunted Wyoming prison spooks TV crew

By on January 16, 2013
Wyoming Frontier Prison in Rawlins. - courtesy TRAVEL CHANNEL

Wyoming Frontier Prison in Rawlins. – courtesy TRAVEL CHANNEL

 

Jackson Hole, Wyo.-Zak, Nick, Aaron and the rest of the “Ghost Adventures” crew visited the old state penitentiary in Rawlins for a real bloody scare. The latest installment from the paranormal trackers on the Travel Channel turned up some frightening readings and unexplained behavior in what they called “one of the bloodiest places they’d ever visited.”

Random banging and clanging could be heard coming from the cells along death row in the Wyoming Frontier Prison that housed some of the state’s most violent criminals for 80 years (1901 to 1981). Nine men were hanged here until 1936, when hydrocyanic acid gas became the preferred method of capital punishment. Five men were sent to the gas chambers for their crimes.
Tour guide Bill Ford told the camera crew he saw a shadowy figure once near the shower area at the base of a staircase where a prison guard was brutally murdered. When the crew set up an automated camera there, someone or something knocked it over.

The prison is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is now a museum offering guided tours. It attracts about 15,000 visitors a year.

Jackson unchained
“Wyoming was just a fantastic place to shoot. It is beautiful country,” director Quentin Tarantino says on camera in a video short making the rounds online. “We needed snow and lots of it. Funny enough, but Wyoming has that.”
We had it then, last winter, when he needed it, and we have it now ahead of many North American ski locales.

Tarantino included a “snow scene” in his current release “Django Unchained” precisely because he loved the one in Sergio Corbucci’s “Il Grande Silenzio.” Tarantino is a huge fan of spaghetti westerns.

We got more brrr than anyone
The Teton Valley News staff woke up to frigid temps on Saturday and had to write about it. A minus 27 degrees was recorded at Driggs-Reed Memorial Airport. Combined with a light wind at 6 mph, wind chill was around minus 50 degrees.

To put it in perspective, TVN staffers compiled a list of temperatures from around the globe in locales known for their fiercely low readings. Carey Island, Greenland: minus 10; Helsinki, Finland: minus 8; St. Petersburg, Russia: minus 2; Oslo, Norway: 7; Reykjavik, Iceland: 32; Amery Ice Shelf, Antarctica: 7.

Looks like we got bragging rights … and frostbite.

IPSSSDR mushes into headlines
The hype machine is cranking up for the 18th running of Frank Teasley’s International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race. Press coordinator for the event, Darla Worden (WordenGroup), has done masterful work publicizing the event in recent years.

Worden dropped early tidbits last month about a change in the race format which now sends mushers 350 total miles through four states, wrapping up with a finish line in Evanston, Wyo. Pedigree’s involvement and their pledge to donate enough chow to feed one dog for one year at every animal shelter in the eight communities the tour goes through also recently played well in local newspapers along the race route.

Additional money from the Travel & Tourism Board has enabled news about the largest dog sled race in the lower 48 to reach travelers in surrounding states who may be willing to mush over to Jackson to see the event’s ceremonial start from Jackson’s Town Square. Worden has placed information about the race in the New York Times, ESPN Magazine, Outside and more.
Incidentally, the race will kick off with a new twist: two mushers will take off in side-by-side starts in a battle for position on the short trip to Snow King.

Reader Comments
“Wyoming was just a fantastic place to shoot. It is beautiful country,” director Quentin Tarantino says” Quentin can be frank if he dislikes something but most famous people know enough to cater to the insecurities of locals by praising every little hamlet they visit. Whenever I hear someone ask a famous person how they liked Wyoming it reminds me of a boy asking a girl how it was for her. You feel sorry for the boy.
Sue P

As a person who lives in Driggs, I think the bragging rights for the extremely low temperature belongs to those of us who live on the western side of the Tetons – not those in Jackson.
Jean E Hansen


About Jake Nichols

Jake is a work in progress.

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