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Green Ghosts: The Hauntings of Montana’s Most Irish Town

Ah, St. Patrick’s Day. That lovely day of the year where everyone pretends to be more Irish than they are, and that drinking green alcoholic beverages is a good idea. In Montana, Butte is the destination for the holiday festivities.

A recent census survey has revealed that Butte Montana is the most Irish town in the U.S. Which surprises absolutely no one who’s been to Butte. Around the turn of the 20th century, Butte had more Irish than anywhere except Ireland.

And over a hundred years later, all those people are dead. So you know what that means: A bunch of Irish ghosts haunting Butte of course.

With its mineshafts, brothels, organized labor, brushes with socialism and secret tunnel network, Butte also has a long history of hauntings and ghosts.

Mining was once the economic entirety of Butte, with many an Irish immigrant finding their way west to work and often die in a mineshaft. Today the Orphan Girl Headframe is preserved by the World Museum of Mining.

Many visitors to Orphan Girl have claimed to see a ghostly apparition of a man looming around the mock up of the Chinese Apothecary building. This ghost isn’t a fan of cameras or selfies. Many report that this ghost turns off their cameras before they can snap a shot of the iconic headframe.

It should be noted too that Headframe Spirits in Butte makes a “spirit” called Orphan Girl, which is an Irish Cream Liquor. Perfect for haunting yourself with a hangover the morning after St. Patrick’s Day.

Another famous place for exiled spirits of the emerald isle to hang out in Butte is the Dumas Brothel. Believed by some to be the longest operating whorehouse in the U.S., (it operated from the 1870s until 1982), even the current owner of the Dumas thinks the place is haunted.

One of the former owners, Madame Elinor Knott, is rumored to spend her afterlife stalking the halls of the brothel. She committed suicide in the 1950s after her lover died. Many visitors to the historic brothel have walked away with pictures of ghostly orbs and faces of the dead.

What better place than a cemetery to find ghosts of Irish descent than a Butte cemetery? Many visitors to the Mount Moriah Cemetery have reported seeing the Wheelchair Man – a ghostly apparition of a man in a wheelchair – rolling his ghastly visage through the locked gates of the cemetery.

Then of course is the Copper King Mansion, the home of William A. Clark and later a convent for Catholic Nuns. There’s a room in the mansion that never gets above 55 degrees, and a bunch of doors that seemingly do whatever they’d like because ghosts keep using them.

Another copper king left behind a haunted mansion as well: D.J. Hennessey himself haunts Hennessey Mansion. After his passing, the mansion was turned into a frat house, which would be more than enough to guarantee a haunting. Allegedly, the old dead rich Irish man still hangs out around the kitchen, walks the stairs and creeps in the basement.

So if you find yourself in Butte this St. Patrick’s Day, be on the lookout for these and many more spirits who’ve made the most Irish place in the country one of the more haunted places as well. And may the luck o’ the Irish be with you.

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