The Bullock Hotel was subject to a major television program called unsolved mysteries.
“In 1887 Sheriff Seth Bullock answered the call to clean up the mining town of Deadwood, South Dakota. In 1991, a psychic claims that Bullock was communicating with him to change Deadwood gambling laws or a period of lawlessness will ensue.”
Some ghost stories no matter how believable are just too good to pass up. We next have the unusual tale of a legendary lawman, a psychic in England and a small town in South Dakota. Where fact, fantasy and history have come together to tease the imagination.
It all began more than a century ago. In the late 1870’s South Dakota was booming with gold fever, attracting outlaws, gamblers and swindlers. Mining towns dotted the landscape perhaps the most infamous was Deadwood. It was here “wild” Bill Hickok was shot to death and Calamity Jane practiced for trade of house of ill repute. “It was our wild wooly town the miners were just absolutely raising hell on this town. Most towns are ninety-five percent solid citizens and five percent characters and Deadwood the reverse is true”.
Finally in the summer of 1876 the call went out for a man who could bring law and order to a community. The call was answered by Seth Bullock who had come into town a few months earlier from Montana, he became Deadwoods first sheriff. “What I have read, he didn’t have to use a gun, actually the story is that one look from his very penetrating gaze was enough to corral up most law breakers”. gods Sheriff Bullock took his clean-up campaign throughout the territory.
One afternoon in 1887 he encountered three men whom he took at first glance to be cattle rustlers. “What the hell’s going on here, what are you boys doing in these parts?
Were looking for a horse thief.
What’s your name?
My names Theodore Roosevelt and I’m the deputy sheriff of Billings County. Who these other fellas you got with ya?
Sheriff Bullock and Theodore Roosevelt went on to be the best of friends. When Roosevelt formed the ruff riders Seth joined up. Teddy of course would later be elected president In 1905 Seth was an honored guest at the inauguration. But even in Deadwood not many people knew that when President Roosevelt died in 1919 the sheriff arranged to have this memorial called “the friendship tower” erected just outside of town. 9 months later Seth Bullock himself passed away and was buried at grave site overlooking the monument.
Today deadwood is once again a boom town thanks to the law legalizing low stakes gambling. The Bullock hotel funded by Seth 1875 has been revitalized and according to some spirit a Seth Bullock can be seen meandering through the hallways.
“At this point over 30 employees and handful hotel guests that had experiences here. To the point where it’s common place to the point where we laugh about it in and just take kind of fun a lot of fun and the fact that we feel that we’re not alone here.”
Norm Stephens a slot machine supervisor at the hotel says that one morning he was working in the basement when a mysterious shadow fell across the wall. It was a figure of a man but when Norm turned the shadow vanished. A few weeks later operations manager Joey George had his own ghostly encounter. He claims that when he walked by the bar after closing time all of the stools were lined up in a row. Joey stepped into the office then heard unusual noises behind him. He returned to the bar and all of the stools had been moved. But both of these mysterious incidents paled in comparison with another hotel workers experience in 1989. “We had a young employee who is I think about eighteen at the time and um… he was working in the back which is the restaurant now, he came flying out of the back room and he was just ghost white said that he saw a figure in western attire with jeans tucked into the boots. What he had seen scared him because he felt that it was real. And uh… he was very very much afraid he would never go back into the kitchen by himself and there after quit.
The people of Deadwood had always assumed it was the ghost of Seth Bullock who was haunting the hotel. Then in April of 1991 pare of confirmation came from a most unlikely source. 5000 miles away in Dorset England was a man who claims to be a psychic said he began receiving messages from beyond the grave, by pure coincidence the psychics name was Sandy Bullock. “Occasionally that these people pop through and the name Seth Bullock I thought perhaps it was an ancestor was coming through to say hello or something like that. Um and I’d rather dismissed it”.
But the spirit of Seth Bullock did not go away Sandy claims as Seth communicated with him through a Native American guide who issued a warning for the people of Deadwood, a period of lawlessness ruled on the horizon. It could happen again in 1993, beware. The psychic warning seems so urgent that Sandy immediately wrote an open letter to the proprietors of the Bullock Hotel. “I thought if I write to someone in this place called Deadwood they’ll just think im a nutty old English women and forget it you know throw it away.”
A few weeks later Sandy’s letter arrived at the Bullock Hotel which at the time was undergoing extensive renovations. “And all information at the time as i read it i thought to myself well he found a book someplace on Deadwood, read it and wrote to me. But at the very bottom of the letter it mentioned that Seth says he can’t haunt the hotel right now because of all the banging that’s going on, and I thought to myself, well its driving me crazy too. But he also said that that he’ll be back and you’ll know it’s “old Seth” and that is when again the hair stood up on the back of my neck because that was my aunts pet name Seth. Anytime something strange would happen Jerry would say Ol’ Seth is up to his tricks again.”
Local journalist Rita Web was intrigued and decided to write back to Sandy Bullock. And in this letter I said to him I’m categorized I suppose neither as a believer or non-believer. I will treat your story with the utmost respect however i have a lot of readers who will be totally skeptical about your story because of the skepticism I would like to pose to you a test question. Who was the well-known person who was a close friend of Seth Bullocks and how is Bullocks grave positioned in relation to that friendship? When i got his letter in response to my test question and he said, “tall trees blocks the view from his old bones but Teddy and he still meet in the afterlife” and i said whoa and i still get goose pimples when I think about that.”
Rita believes the message referred to a stand of pine trees that now obstructs the view of Theodore Roosevelt’s monument from Seth Bullocks grave site.
“It was a story that was not well known and i’m back and there was no way Sandy Bullock sitting in Dorset England could have researched this. I mean it’s just not possible. There is just too much evidence of Seth’s presence in this town and particularly at the Bullock Hotel to discount it. Perhaps uh… other people might feel differently all i know is the evidence seems to point very strong belief in the direction of Sheriffs Seth Bullock still being on the job today.”