As many of you know, I was in Deadwood, South Dakota last weekend at the Ann Charles Fan Party. Ann invited me to be a featured author and I eagerly accepted. We arrived on Thursday night and on Friday morning, we had a little time (after I autographed 150 posters) to explore the area. Our hotel opened onto historic Main Street, so we walked up and down the street for a little while. It was early, like 9:30, so there were not too many people out there with us.
As we were walking, I saw this amazing building – The Fairmont Hotel – and wanted a picture of it. Then, of course, I wanted to go inside. We entered the front door, and no one was around. The hotel is not being used as a hotel currently, there’s a bar through the lobby – but again, it was 9:30 a.m., so there were no customers in there either. I took some pictures of the lobby and then I noticed a staircase to the second floor. There were a set of stanchions on the landing, with a velvet rope to cordon off the area, BUT, the stanchions were moved together, so they weren’t blocking the stairs at all. As a matter of fact, to my way of thinking, they were saying, “Hey, Terri! Why don’t you check out the second floor?!?!?” So, of course, I did!
The second floor was a large loft over the main floor. The lofted area was a large room, with a staircase and several other rooms in the far end of the area. It looked like there was going to be some kind of sale later that day because there were clothing stands and displays all around the circumference of the room. But, that’s not what stood out to me. What stood out to me was the instant feeling that I was not alone on the second floor. I felt light-headed and eerie. Yes, someone was definitely still hanging around the hotel. Someone who had been dead for a long time.
I took a few more photos and walked back down the stairs. But that light-headed feeling remained with me, so before I left the building, I kindly asked whoever it was to stay at the hotel and not follow me home.
Later that day, as I was speaking to the desk clerk at our hotel, she related that she had friends who’d worked for the owner of the hotel. She said, “When they started to remodel, they used all kinds of paint to try and cover the stains on the walls. They used KILN, multiple coats of paint, and still more paint, but the stains would always bleed through. Then they started demolishing the walls. That’s when the activity really started.”
I went upstairs to my room and Googled “The Fairmont Hotel.” I found an interview on YouTube with the owner of the hotel. Ron Russo bought the hotel in 1989 and started renovations in early 1990. He actually slept in the hotel while he was working on the building. In 1995, when he was sleeping in a room on the third floor, he woke up to see an apparition standing next to his bed. The apparition was of a woman with red hair wearing a green dress. She was standing several feet away from his bed, just staring at him. He said that she was there for about five minutes, just watching him.
He did some research afterward and discovered that there had been a woman, Margaret (Maggie) Broadwater jumped out of the window in 1907 after she’d had an argument with her lover. She died three days later. Ron believes that’s the woman he saw in his room.
Only In Your State website believes that the Fairmont is South Dakota’s most haunted hotel. This is from their site:
“The Fairmont Hotel in Deadwood, South Dakota is one of the most haunted places in the whole state. There have been many paranormal investigations carried out here and most all come to the conclusion that this place is loaded with a dark history.
The hotel was originally built in the late 1800s and served as a brothel and saloon. A lot of people went through it and not all of them were good. One of the first nasty stories that took place here was in 1907 when a girl who worked upstairs named Margaret Broadwater took her own life by jumping out a third-floor window. Why she did this is not entirely known, but there are rumors she was “crazed with drink” and possibly trying to cover up the fact she had gotten pregnant.
Another deadly story happened within the same year. A man shot and killed a client of his girlfriend’s, who worked there, while he was distraught with jealousy. While escaping after the murder, he accidentally shot himself and died after collapsing on the streets outside due to blood loss.
The ghosts of Margaret and both of the men, and even others like a little boy captured recently in photographs, have been seen and heard lurking amongst the shadows of the hotel. Apparitions are extremely common here and many people also experience the feeling of brushes against their skin or hair.
There is no doubt about it, this is one of the creepiest and ghost infested places in South Dakota. You can’t stay there at as a hotel anymore, unfortunately, but the restaurant on the first floor is still open and there are nightly tours of the notorious third floor you can take…if you’re brave enough, that is.”
On their Fairmont Hotel Facebook page, there are several reviews where patrons have shared their experiences about the Ghost Tour sponsored by the hotel. Here are a few:
“Went on the tour on July 3rd, 2018. It was a very hot evening everyone dressed in shorts and short sleeved shirts. The tour host was great detailing Historical history along with the history of hauntings. I myself caught orbs in my pictures along with one image that included a silhouette of a cloaked man and lady next to him. I verified it would be proper clothing for the 1900s, especially for a higher-class gentleman. However way too hot for anyone on our tour to be wearing such clothing.”
“My sister and I went up there for vacation this past week and did the tour. This place is on the up and up. Heard a woman singing on the second floor, someone was walking up and down the hallway and not human. Three of us checked to see if someone was there and nothing. I had a male presence walk up behind me and breathe down the back of my neck. Another guest had someone blow in the back of her neck and flip up her ponytail. Captured orbs and even captured a dark shadow standing behind my sister on the third floor where it seems the heaviest. I had bone chilling chills as if someone were holding on to me. If you want a true experience go. I’d go again in a heartbeat.”
“Definite creepy fun! Loved the tour! Our guide was great, and well versed in the history of The Fairmont. This was my first paranormal experience. I experienced orbs, some cold spots and the wife had a sudden rush of emotions in Maggie Broadwater’s room. We got good photos of the activity going on. I look forward to the next time we come through Deadwood!”
“We were on the ghost tour last night and while in Margaret’s room my daughter was having her hair pulled and then she was scratched!”
Doing a little research, I also discovered that both Dead Files and Ghost Adventures had been to the Fairmont Hotel.
It’s a busy place for being a hotel whose only guests are dead.