Henri Lambert, Abraham Lincoln’s personal chef, built a saloon in 1872. It became so popular that he added rooms in 1880 which would later become the St. James Hotel.
The inn in Cimarron was host to guests who would have made “Who’s Who in the Wild West?” if such a list existed then.
The luminaries included Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, Wyatt and Morgan Earp, Billy the Kid, Clay Allison, Pat Garret, Fredrick Remington, Governor Lew Wallace, Zane Grey and Frank and Jesse James, using the alias R. H. Howard.
Ironically, another guest was Bob Ford, of folk song fame, as “That dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard has laid poor Jesse in his grave.” The alias explains why James died when Ford shot Howard, a matter of curiosity for many people.
Gunslinger’s Ghost Haunts St. James Hotel
The ghost of ill-tempered Thomas James Wright haunts Room 18. He was shot in the back by the door to his room after winning the hotel in a poker game.
Wright was able to get into the room where he bled to death. His angry ghost haunts the room. One former owner was pushed down in the room and also saw a ball of angry orange light floating in the air.
The room only has a bed frame without mattress, coat rack, rocking chair and bureau with a Jack Daniels bottle, basin and pitcher, hand of cards, Ace Copenhagen tin and several shot glasses on top of it.
There’s a painting of a half-naked woman on one wall. People are rarely allowed to enter the room. There are rumors that, when the room was rented, mysterious deaths occurred in it. Its door is kept locked.
Could it be that Wright still wants the hotel he won in a card game?
Haunted Room 17 in the St. James
Henri’s second wife, Mary Elizabeth, is said to remain in the hotel as its protector haunting Room 17.
She gave birth to her children in the hotel and died there. Mary’s rose-scented perfume is smelled in this room. Sometimes, insistent tappings are heard when the window is open.
They only stop when the window is closed. A whitish, transparent female form has been sighted in the hallways.
St. James Ghostly Dwarf and Cowboy
People have seen the ghost of an old dwarf. The hotel staff nicknamed him “Little Imp” because he can be very mischievous, constantly playing tricks and laughing at them.
He’s blamed for objects that disappear mysteriously only to be found in places where they don’t belong.
A former hotel owner walked into the dining room and saw a ghostly cowboy standing behind her in the mirror at the front of the bar.
St. James Hotel – Otherworldly Guests and Paranormal Phenomena
The second floor of the hotel is the most active, with cold spots and the smell of cigar smoke in the halls of the non-smoking building.
People have feelings of being watched by invisible eyes. Cold spots are felt throughout the hotel. Cameras that didn’t work inside the hotel return to normal after taken out of the hotel.
There is also typical poltergeist activity. Items constantly fall off walls and shelves. They disappear and reappear in odd places. Electrical equipment at the front desk behaves erratically. Lights turn on by themselves.
Haunted St. James Hotel Today
Guests enjoy the Old West atmosphere the hostelry offers. They like to hear stories about Wyatt and Virgil Earp and other heroes of the Old West.
They enjoy hearing the true tale about Bob Ford, who killed Jesse James, used the alias R. H. Howard when he checked into the hotel which explains why the folk ballad lyrics are “That dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard has laid poor Jesse in his grave.” Ghost hunters like the hotel because it’s haunted.