William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody was not only the founder of the Wild West show he’d become famous for. The entrepreneur was also one of the founders of the Town of Cody, Wyoming and a hotelier, with one particular hotel in Cody holding such a special place in his heart that he named it after his youngest daughter, Irma. The Irma Hotel may still hold whispers of its founder and namesake, walking the halls from beyond the grave.
The Irma Hotel is on the registry of National Historic Landmarks. It was opened in 1902 by Buffalo Bill and quickly became the social hub of the small town of Cody, 60 miles from the Eastern Gate of Yellowstone National Park. A focal piece of the saloon contained in the hotel includes a cherry bar back that was gifted to Buffalo Bill by Queen Victoria herself.
The hotel still operates today, with a bar and restaurant on the main floor and yearly wild west shows happening just outside the historic building. The rooms have been renovated, but keep their old-world charm, and even give you the option to stay in the same rooms as famous wild west icons like Calamity Jane, Annie Oakley, and Buffalo Bill’s private suite.
But the Irma has its fair share of paranormal activity within the historic building. The hotel claims to have no less than four ghosts haunting the rooms, including Buffalo Bill and Irma Cody themselves.
Buffalo Bill and Irma are said to be friendly spirits, often appearing to guests late at night in the halls of the old hotel, turning on and off lights, and checking on employees. Bill himself is said to still knock loudly on doors, as he did when he managed the hotel for wake-up calls for guests. He also checks in on employees, and it’s said that if a woman staying in his suite looks too much like his ex-wife, he will be less than accommodating unless you talk to him first and ask permission to stay. Irma likes to check on guests staying in her favorite room, sometimes rocking in her old rocking chair.
Occasionally, the spirits will even walk into the dining room through a painting on the wall, frightening guests. Staff and employees have said they will sometimes see figured sitting in the booths at tables, and when they bring the menus to the lone figure, it would disappear with their back was turned.
Some rooms in the hotel are more haunted than others, with room 35 containing poltergeist-like activity of the water turning on and off, artwork knocked onto the floor, and personal items of the guests being rearranged or moved while they slept. Another room, Room 16, is said to be the favorite haunt of Irma Cody, who died in the hotel at the young age of 34 from influenza.
The other two entities reported at the Irma include a jovial confederate soldier who likes to play pranks on guests and employees at the hotel, but the one time his visage was seen in an apparition, he only had half of his body. The last is a mean-spirited ghost who may have been a bully or generally unpleasant person in life. Stories say that he may have been one to terrorize men when alive, hanging some of them by a belt out of the window of the top floor. He has yet to harm anyone, but paranormal investigators have reported answers from this spirit that show it wishes it could.
The Irma may actually be one of the most haunted places in northern Wyoming, with paranormal investigators and ghost hunters using it as a frequent site to spend the night. If you wanted to meet Buffalo Bill in person, you just might have to stay at his old hotel, nestled in Downtown Cody near stunning sights of the mountains.
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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.