Homestake Opera House

The Haunted Indoors of Western South Dakota

Are these legendary western South Dakota spots haunted? Only one way to find out.

Many say that Deadwood is the most haunted town in South Dakota, but that's not the only place rumored to contain spirits in western South Dakota. Find out for yourself at these indoor locations across the western part of the state.

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Black Hills Playhouse

With the changing leaves and crisp, fresh air, autumn is a beautiful time in South Dakota. It’s also when thoughts can turn to the supernatural. From the Native Americans that first called this land home through South Dakota’s sometimes wild history, reports of supernatural spirits around the state have persisted. Some swear they’ve experienced the otherworldly in locations across the state, from a Dakota Wesleyan University dormitory to a small antenna building on Ellsworth Air Force Base. Whether the spooky tales are true or not is up to you.

The town of Historic Deadwood has enough haunted spots to earn its own list. We also have a collection of haunted spots in eastern South Dakota and a list of our favorite haunted outdoor spaces. Today, we look at some of our favorite (allegedly) haunted western South Dakota indoor spots in the state. Happy ghost hunting!

Hotel Alex Johnson

523 6th St., Rapid City

Some businesses might shirk away from any potential haunted history. Not the Hotel Alex Johnson. A book on the check-in counter is full of guest reports of unexplained phenomena. Most of it is centered on the 8th floor. Room 812 is believed to be haunted by the “Lady in White,” a distraught spirit known open windows, remove dresser drawers and put back them back in place upside-down, or wander the halls of the 8th floor. On that same floor, some guests claim the ghost of a young girl would knock on their door only to disappear down the hallway. Others say they’ve seen the ghost of Alex Johnson himself appear in the hotel to make sure operations are running smoothly.

Alex Johnson Hotel
Alex Johnson Hotel

If all of this sounds a bit scary for you, it’s easy to avoid the 8th floor in this historic and beautiful hotel in downtown Rapid City (although the elevator has been known to stop there, even if no one requested it).  But if your interest is piqued, you can request a “haunted room” or book the Ghost Adventure Package, which places you in a haunted room with a K2 meter (also called a “ghost detector”), a $25 dining credit and free access to the Vertex Sky Bar. The Vertex is on the top levels of the hotel, allowing you a stunning view of Rapid City and a chance to steel your nerves before returning to your room.  

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Elks Theatre

512 6th St., Rapid City

Right across the street from the Alex Johnson is the Elks, a historic theatre with one of the largest movie screens in the state. Some believe it’s also home to a friendly ghost named Jimmy.

Elks Theater

Jimmy has apparently been appearing in the building since before it went from opera house to full-time movie theatre. He can sometimes be spotted in the main theatre after closing hours, and all reports of his sighting are usually accompanied with a smile.

Homestake Opera House

313 W Main St., Lead

Being this close to what could be South Dakota’s most haunted town, it’s no surprise that the Historic Homestake Opera House may have some ghosts of its own. The 24,000 square-foot building was built by the Homestake Gold Mine for their workers and families. While the mine has transformed into the Sanford Lab Underground Research Facility, the opera house is in the process of being restored after a 1984 fire in order to continue a tradition of entertaining residents and visitors with concerts, movies, and more.

But spirits allegedly remain, causing visitors to hear see the occasional spirit or hear a disembodied voice in the building. 

Homestake Opera House

The Gaslight Restaurant & Saloon

13490 Main St., Rockerville

What better place to find a ghost than in a ghost town? Located 8 miles north of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the ghost town of Rockerville was once home to more than 1,000 people. Today, it’s mostly an interesting Black Hills stop for exploration and a heaping portion of deliciousness at The Gaslight Restaurant & Saloon. If you stop in, don’t be too surprised if a well-dressed – and transparent – man greets you at the door. Numerous staff members and visitors say the friendly ghost of Samuelson Harney sometimes appears to welcome Gaslight patrons. The spirit is believed to have been transplanted to the Gaslight with the bar, counter, and footrail secured from Samuelson’s Harney Hotel, a historic a historic Rapid City hotel demolished in 1976. While the bar has come and gone, Samuelson Harney is rumored to have stuck around, welcoming patrons and playing pranks on the staff for decades.

Black Hills Playhouse

24834 S. Playhouse Road, Custer

Since 1946, the Black Hills Playhouse has offered folks a chance to experience high quality theater in the middle of the Black Hills National Forest, but the setting isn’t the only thing unique about the Black Hills Playhouse. A ghost – either a former Civilian Conservation Corps worker or BHP founder Warren “Doc” Lee himself, depending on whom you ask – is rumored to leave out costumes for actors. You might not see the ghost yourself, but you’re almost sure to see a buffalo or other wildlife on your twisting drive to this truly unique venue. (Note that your GPS might be less than reliable on your drive, so make sure to see this link on specific directions. Trust us. It’s worth it.)

Black Hills Playhouse
Black Hills Playhouse

Alpine Inn

133 Main St., Hill City

At this legendary Bavarian restaurant nestled in the beautiful community of Hill City, lunches can get very German, your dinner option is Kaes Spaetzle Primavera or steak, and a ghost is considered to be a protective spirit that once kept the Alpine Inn from being damaged by a terrible hail storm. Have a meal and/or spend the night in this Black Hills landmark to enjoy a full stomach, old-world charm, and the possible protection from a friendly spirit. 

Alpine Inn
Alpine Inn
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