Yellowstone National Park is a beautiful place to visit. Geysers, boiling pools of bright jewel colors and waterfalls one can get lost looking at, all of these things combine to make the first National Park something special to behold. It even continues the old world charm of the early 1910s when it was first made available to guests.
Nearby the geyser it’s named for, the Old Faithful Inn is a stunning work of architecture, but the 85 ft lobby may be hiding something sinister at the peak of it.
Built on the same location as the Upper Geyser Basin Hotel that burned down, the “Old House” of Old Faithful Inn was the first structure erected in 1903, with more additions being added to keep up with the increased demand for lodging in Yellowstone National Park. The interior of the structure contains four stories of balconies and a chimney and “crow’s nest” centered in the mammoth room.
The hotel boasts being on the National Register of Historic Places, a National Landmark, and has had many notable guests, including Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt.
But the hotel also has its legends, and those who stay in the picturesque tourist lodge claim to see guests that never checked out. One guest woke her husband up in the middle of the night while staying in room #2, claiming to see an apparition of a woman dressed in 1890s attire floating above their bed.
The most famous legend of the hotel, however, is that of the “Headless Bride.” It’s said that the young woman was a socialite in New York in 1914. She went against her father’s wishes, choosing to marry a much older man who was a servant in their household. Her father cautioned her that he may only be after her money, offering a dowry upon their marriage under the condition that she be cut out of the line of inheritance and never return to New York.
The love-struck woman took the deal and the couple embarked on a honeymoon to Yellowstone National Park, where the new groom immediately began spending the money allotted to them at an alarming rate. The couple fought almost nightly, and one night the husband slammed the door to their room and left the hotel, never to be seen again. The staff gave the young bride her space, but checked the room after she hadn’t been seen in a few days.
They stumbled upon a grisly scene, with the woman lying in the bathtub, having been decapitated. A search of the hotel didn’t turn up her missing head until a week later, perched in the hotel’s crow’s nest at the peak of its 85 ft lobby. Guests now say that you can see the bride, wearing a flowing white dress and holding her own head under her arm, wandering the halls of the Old Faithful Inn, especially in the upper levels near the crow’s nest.
You won’t be able to visit the crows’ nest when you stay at the Old Faithful Inn now, however, as an earthquake in the 1950s damaged some of the support structures and the chimney nearby. It’s perfectly safe, as long as you stay off the crows nest and leave the poor headless bride alone. Who knows what she might do in retaliation.
The former manager of the Old Faithful Inn claimed later to have invented the story of the Headless Bride to attract tourists in the 1980s, but guests still claim to see the woman, so its authenticity is up for debate. But you won’t know until you visit and look for the heartbroken woman for yourself, will you?
The Old Faithful Inn offers excellent service, hospitality, and excellent proximity to the park’s attractions. Be sure to book a room next time you trek into Yellowstone to see the sights- and frights.
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Born in Death Valley and raised on the prairie, Deborah is a Wyoming-based paranormal researcher and a senior at the University of Wyoming, studying Communication. Her interests lie in folklore, history, rhetorical analysis and research. With an obvious love for ghost stories, frequently those interests combine with her work on Ghostlandia.