Images by Bonny Fleming of Asio Studio
605 took an exclusive ghost tour of the Historic Bullock Hotel in downtown Deadwood. One thing is for sure: we’ll never look at mirrors the same way again.
The smell of cigar.
A man’s voice saying your name.
Something tapping your shoulder, tugging your elbow or pulling at your shirt.
“You never know what you’re going to get when you walk into the building,” said Madame Molly of the Bullock Hotel.
Deadwood’s first hotel proudly states that former owner and town sheriff Seth Bullock still walks the corridors of the building, keeping guests and staff on their toes.
Mind you, he died in 1919.
Our ghost tour guide knew firsthand about the many ghosts appearing in the establishment. Molly Bukobac, current Bullock Hotel historian and town re-enactor of Madame, Calamity Jane and Martha Bullock, has worked at the haunted hotel for years and saw a ghost her second day at work.
“They threw me at the front desk by myself to see how much I knew,” she recalled.
A woman had walked up and chatted with Bukobac about how she had been hoping to see spirits during her stay. As the woman flipped through the binders in the lobby of ghost photos and accounts from guests of Bullock Hotel past, Bukobac suddenly saw a person standing behind her.
She recalled, “There was a black silhouette of a man about 6’1 wearing a cowboy hat and a duster. I thought it was odd because I could see through him.”
By the time Bukobac instructed her to turn around, the ghost had disappeared.
And that’s not where it ended. Disappointed, the woman went back up to room and returned an hour later. Holding up an image on her camera, she showed Bukobac and image of a man sitting as if he was in a chair reclining in the middle of her suite.
“It was Seth Bullock—you could see that much detail in his face and shoulders,” she said.
Bullock has a very distinct look. Taller than the average male at the time, Bullock towered over everyone and was known for his unforgettable mustache.
“He had steely cold, blue eyes and could stop an argument by just glaring at you,” said Bukobac.
At the time of Bullock’s arrival from Helena, Mont. in 1876, Deadwood wasn’t even a town.
“It was illegal for us to be here,” explained our guide, as the land was Native American territory.
But word of gold didn’t stop anyone from invading the “Gulch” and U.S. Marshals didn’t have enough power to remove them, which led to hundreds of deaths not being catalogued in the 1800s.
“We don’t know where they died, if they were murdered, if they just passed away or what,” said Bukobac.
This could be why so many spirits with unfinished business are still strolling the streets.
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