Traversing Nebraska’s highways and byways takes people to interesting locations. Some of the stops may involve visiting haunted attractions, ranging from an old railroad hotel to city parks. No area, it seems, is safe from hauntings in Nebraska. While Cornhusker fans will don their favorite outfit colored red and head to Lincoln for a home game, paranormal enthusiasts will grab their EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) device, cameras and other items in search of celestial contact.
Historic Argo Hotel
Where: Crofton, Neb.
The Historic Argo Hotel has seen various iterations during its nearly 110 years. Actress Leslie Brooks spent summers at the hotel, visiting her grandparents who owned it. Billed as a blonde bombshell, Brooks appeared in 29 movies before her personal life took a turn for the worst. Her first husband took their child and disappeared. She eventually left acting to search for the child, without success. The actress died in 2011, 10 days shy of her 89th birthday.
Built as a hotel to host upscale rail travelers, the hotel changed ownership and names to New Meridian Hotel. In the early 1940s, the hotel was sold and became a medical clinic. It was during this time that patients’ deaths may have contributed to the building’s hauntings. Later, as a doctor’s office and a bed and breakfast, sightings of figures roaming the building and a child’s voice have been heard. Paranormal investigators have visited the Hotel Argo looking for proof of spiritual beings.
With the hotel featuring seven suites on the second floor, it’s common to feel like someone is watching you, or may be walking the hallway. Visitors may not see an apparition, but the feeling of not being alone is strong.
Where: Valentine, Neb.
The largest city in Cherry County is home to oldest schoolhouse in Nebraska. And it just happens to be haunted.
Valentine’s Centennial Hall – built in 1897 – serves as a historical museum with exhibits in a dozen rooms. A young student supposedly died in 1944 from a poisoned reed in her clarinet. Her apparition has been spotted around the building and music can be heard. Visitors have also reported feeling ill.
Doane University Library
Where: Crete, Neb.
Opening in 1872 as Crete Academy, the liberal arts college in Crete, about 30 miles southwest of Lincoln, later changed its name to Doane College. The small school has produced successful graduates, including actress Sameya (Samantha Marie Ware), Mack Trucks CEO Zenon CR Hansen and photographer Thomas Mangelsen.
Now known as Doane University, it is also home to a ghostly librarian. A woman in white has been reported strolling around the basement at Perkins Library. She can also be seen near the front windows on moonlit nights.
Fort Sidney Museum and Post Commander’s Home
Where: Sidney, Neb.
Fort Sidney served a variety of functions during its tenure, beginning in the early 1870s. Among its soldiers was Captain Walter Reed, who would go on to become a successful doctor with a military hospital named after him in Washington, DC.
But, it may be the 1885 death of a captain’s wife that enjoys eternal life. The woman fell down a flight of stairs, breaking her neck. Distraught, the officer had the stairs enclosed, never to be used again. Over ensuing years, people reported hearing footsteps and then a body falling down steps, but they couldn’t see any stairs. The stairs were found and opened in 1975, but closed to the public. The sound of footsteps and a person falling can still be heard.
Where: Fremont, Neb.
Fremont has undergone a metamorphosis, with new downtown businesses, such as a quaint coffeehouse, axe throwing, an Italian restaurant and its first brewery in a century. But, it maintains its connection to the past.
Once a cemetery, Fremont’s Barnard Park is believed to be haunted by spirits of people whose graves were missed when city officials moved remains to Ridge Cemetery. People have reported seeing ghostly figures and hearing voices when no one is around. The park is open until dark, and most occurrences have happened then. Here’s a newspaper story about 2023 paranormal investigations there.
Seven Sisters Road
Where: Nebraska City, Neb.
Nebraska City had played a major role in Nebraska history, home to J. Sterling Morton, the state’s first territorial governor and founder of Arbor Day. The John Brown house celebrates the community’s role as part of the Underground Railroad. But, a tale of family and murder highlight Nebraska City’s local ghost stories.
Officially, it’s known as L Road. But to locals and paranormal enthusiasts, it’s Seven Sisters Road. Folklore claims a young man, angry with his family, coerced his seven sisters to follow him to seven separate hills where he hanged each one. Today, as people drive along the 22-mile-long road, they’ve reported hearing frightening screams from women and bells ringing. Vehicles have reportedly experienced issues, such as windows rolling down and up by themselves, lights dimming, and engines slowing down or speeding up.
Nebraska State Capitol
Where: Lincoln, Neb.
The state capitol, constructed in 1932, is home to the ghost of a man who fell to his death. How he died has been debated. He either fell while trying to hang Christmas lights, replace a bulb, or lost his balance. There have been reports of his apparition being seen, along with voices.
Lots of ghost stories involve Omaha’s Hummel Park. From alleged satanic portals to actual murders, urban legends seem to love including the park, about 20 minutes north of downtown. Hummel Park is a popular hiking spot, with trails along steep hills and through wooded areas. It provides spectacular views of nature, offering a break from the city’s urban environment.
But, there’s a dark side to Hummel Park. Rumors of satanic rituals being conducted in the picnic area, which was built during the Great Depression, live on despite factual information to the contrary. However, Hummel Park’s dark history of murders fuels the stories of ghosts and demonic residents.
A woman allegedly killed her husband and buried him in the park, so she could run off with her lover. His ghost roams the park, calling out her name. Spirits allegedly enjoy messing with people when they count the steps on the staircase in Hummel Park. It should be about 200 steps, but people claim they’re ghostly changed all the time.
Captain Bailey House Museum
Where: Brownville, Neb.
Captain Benson Bailey had a Gothic revival brick house built in the southeast Nebraska town in 1877. The Civil War veteran was allegedly poisoned by a neighbor. His ghost haunts the house, which is now a museum. People have reported doors opening and closing on their own and music coming from different rooms.
Where: Lincoln, Neb.
Antelope Park offers a piece of nature within the confines of urban Lincoln. Walking trails, animals and more can be enjoyed across the almost 150 acres. However, at night apparitions have been observed moving about near the caretaker’s house before fading into the woods.
Nebraska’s paranormal residents can be found everywhere from small towns to its largest cities. From apparitions to voices and music, spirits typically seek to continue their existence without issue. If you encounter a celestial experience, embrace it and treat the spirit with respect.