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Old Montanta State Prison


The Montana State Prison is a men’s correctional facility of the Montana Department of Corrections. About 3.5 miles west of Deer Lodge. The current facility was constructed between 1974 and 1979.  In response to the continued degeneration of the original facility located in downtown Deer Lodge.

The Prison served as the Montana Territorial Prison from its creation in 1871 until Montana achieved statehood in 1889. It then continued as the primary penal institution for the State of Montana until 1979. Throughout the prison’s history, the institution was plagued with constant overcrowding, insufficient funds, and antiquated facilities. The administration of Warden Frank Conley from 1890 to 1921 proved the exception to this rule. Warden Conley instituted extensive inmate labor projects that kept many inmates at work.  Constructing the prison buildings, walls as well as providing various state and community services like road building, logging, and ranching.

After Conley left office, the prison experienced forty years of degeneration, mismanagement, and monetary restraints until the riot in 1959. This captured the attention of the nation. The riot maintained the prison under inmate control for thirty-six hours before the National Guard stormed the institution.  The facility was retired in September 1979. The inmates were moved to the current prison. The Old Prison was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and is now a museum.

Reported Paranormal Activity:

Since the day it reopened, there have been numerous encounters, sightings, and phenomena recorded all over the prison. Visitors often ask if the place is haunted, then relate things that happened to them down the hallways. Something still lingers within the walls. The more than twenty thousand inmates who lived incarcerated in the tiny cells left enough behind to haunt several prisons.

Among the most common phenomena recorded are disembodied footsteps along the cell-block corridor. They sound like heavy boot steps, the type worn by the inmates in the prison’s early years. There are also the disembodied voices to be considered, many of which have been caught on tape by paranormal groups. The source of one voice has been accredited to a woman named “Nancy.” There have also been numerous claims that something lurks inside “The Hole,” which was the common name for Solitary Confinement.

Incarcerated in 1918 and sentenced to life in prison, Paul Eitner, was known as “Turkey Pete.” Paul was the first and only person to occupy his cell in the lifetime of the prison. He was regarded as a loveable old kook by everyone within the walls. When he died in 1967, he was the only funeral ever paid for and held by the prison system. His cell was retired and turned into a barbershop, most who work there claim the cell is still his

Our Paranormal Investigation:

We investigated the Old Montana Prison on September 14, 2013, with the Mining City Paranormal group. Our investigation indicates this is a haunted location.  

Be sure to check out the Photo Gallery below for some amazing photos.