The prison was built in 1872 and began accepting prisoners in early 1873. The facility had problems from the outset, with a fire in 1873 and recurrent jailbreaks. Of the 44 prisoners accepted in the first two years of operation, 11 escaped. By 1877 the prison was overcrowded. As the prison filled its reputation worsened, and it became less used, being considered more appropriate for those with light sentences. During the 1880s the prison was under capacity, with as few as three prisoners at one time. However, in 1889 a second cellblock was constructed,a expanding capacity to 150 and providing a central kitchen, dining hall, guards' rooms and steam heat. There were at least five cells for female inmates, and several solitary confinement cells. In 1890 Wyoming became a state and the facility was transferred to the new state, which already had planned a new facility in Rawlins. Butch Cassidy was incarcerated here in 1894-1896. Prisoners were transferred to Rawlins in 1901, The prison was closed in 1903 and given to the University of Wyoming.
The university operated the property to conduct experiments in livestock breeding until 1989. In 1991 the property opened to the public. In 2004 it was established as Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 29, 1978.
Wyoming Territorial Prison Webpage
Visitors report seeing the apparition of Julius Greenwald, one of the more infamous inmates of the Territorial Prison.
Visitors report hearing whistling and the sounds of nightsticks clacking against cells.
We have investigated the Territorial Prison twice in 2010.
For equipment, we brought:
In this EVP, you hear one of our investigators say "...actually let's get him in that other one..." (referring to a jail cell) followed by a whisper saying "why".
In this EVP, one of our investigators says "Do you have a name?". A few second later, you hear a voice say "Ben".
This EVP occurred when we were taking a break at our base area. Our interpretation is that the first sound appears to be a nightstick banging against the iron bars of a cell. The second sound appears to be a cell slamming shut.
In this EVP you can hear what sounds like the type of whistle you would expect a prison guard to use.
We did not capture any credible/noteworthy video evidence.
We did capture an interesting reflection in the window of one of the jail cells. It will be uploaded soon.
We gathered quite a few interesting EVPs. They all lean towards the types of sounds you would expect to hear in a prison environment, but nothing that directly supports that assertion.
We assert that Territorial Prison is a residual haunting. One of our investigators sat in a cell by himself doing some EVP work and minor provocation with no results. On the other hand, we have a member who has demonstrated a fairly strong empathic ability and during the interview with the curator about Julius Greenwald (who died of a heart attack), we ended up having to rush her to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center for chest pain. After an EKG and X-Ray, the ER doctor said she could find nothing wrong and actually told us we should be more careful during paranormal investigations. Some may say this seems like an attack, but given the lack of other direct interactive activity, we would assert that this was an empathic experience of the residual energy from Julius Greenwald's death.