Ghosts of Jackson Hole
Everybody who visits Jackson Hole wants to stay a while. Some end up staying for a lot longer … forever, in fact. Or at least that’s what local ghost stories say, and this is October, the month when all such stories are suddenly true. So pull up a fancy old armchair next to a roaring hearth, turn down the lights, listen to the thunder crack outside your window, and hear Jackson Hole’s most famous ghost stories.
The beautiful Wort Hotel was built in 1941 by brothers John and Jess Wort. The hotel has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2001 (Flat Creek will be there soon, we’re certain) and is also a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide. It’s a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike, and one employee who liked his job so much, he’ll never leave.
Robert “Bob” Tomingas started as a maintenance man at the Wort in 1950, the same year the Silver Dollar Bar was added. According to everyone who knew him, Bob was a genius when it came to repairing and maintaining equipment, often spending the night next to the boiler after making it through another night of sub-zero temperatures. Bob knew all the secrets of the Wort and would often be consulted in the whereabouts of wiring, pipes, and valves.
According to one engineer, Bon even helps him diagnose burst pipes and broken wiring. One day, the engineer was trying to locate a break in a pipe, but to no avail. He looked everywhere. Suddenly he discovered a mysteriously placed pipe wrench against a wall. As one does when one finds a random pipe wrench, he broke into the wall behind the wrench, and voila—there was the break!
Bob also enjoys rearranging the maintenance shop from time to time. The Wort reports that while Bob never appears to guests, he’s still a valuable member of the team.
The McAuliffe Sisters
Not all ghost stories are so pleasant, however. In 1965, the McAuliffe family was staying at the Wort while on vacation in Jackson Hole when the oldest two of the three girls were tragically murdered by an intruder. Debbie, age 12, and Cindy, age 8, were found dead in their beds while their youngest sister lay sleeping. Hearing a commotion coming from their room, Judge Robert and his wife Betty McAuliffe ran to their room to see the murderer passed out from apparent intoxication.
Since then, hotel workers and guests have claimed to hear children crying and screaming from the area behind the front desk as well as the second floor where the family had been staying. There have also been reports of children playing in the hallways and peering out the windows of the hotel.
If you’re looking to stay in a place without ghosts, come on over to Flat Creek Inn—where the only thing that will haunt you is the certainty that you should have booked one more night.
Breanne Kunz was raised in the Pacific Northwest but grew up spending summers in Idaho and frequently visiting Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. She is a wife and mom who likes to write. She has never seen a ghost. Yet.
Webster, T. (2023). The Wort Hotel – Jackson – Wyoming [Photograph]. https://www.flickr.com/photos/diversey/52706383206/