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It's 2020, and there's hardly anything without the brink of technology. Can you imagine a few days without electricity, the internet, and even running water? But if you're genuinely looking for a one-of-a-kind vacation experience, then there's nothing beyond Garnet, Montana. About 35 miles northeast of Missoula, you'll find one of Montana's most spectacular towns. Furthermore, the government is looking for people to stay in this town for free. But wait, there's a small catch...
Stretched around 35-miles northeast of Missoula, Garnet sits peacefully as one of Montana's most intact historical towns. If you've spent some time road tripping, you might understand that "abandoned town" can mean a lot more than what the eyes can see. From rubble to a few old foundations—the faintest trace of dusty old buildings—to tree-lined cabins sheathed in years of dust and cobwebs. A visit to Garnet might give you a picture of what the place used to be with "humans." Sometimes, visitors feel it's too much and more like an eerie Hollywood set. Maybe that's why people love this Montanan town.
Mining was the main source of survival the residents in Garnet swore by to every sickle and cart. But the Second World War's stringent rules fogged their hopes with dark layers of misery. In the turn of events, Garnet was abandoned. All the residents gave up on everything and set their paces elsewhere. But, the orphaned town had an exception—only one resident decided to stay in the town though everyone else moved out.
Years of heritage stood stripped-down atop the Montanan mountain and soon, local preservationists joined forces with the Bureau of Land Management to save whatever was left of Garnet. In the turn of events, The Trust for Public Land came forward to wrangle a deal and save the town's leftover heritage. However, along with the historical legacy, there is something odd about Garnet that still spooks the local people.
Whatever remains of Garnet today illustrates the town's unusual legacy as an abode for families, not just bachelors. A walk through the sun-baked rubble and dusty cabins flaunt what the lifestyle of the bygone epoch's residents looked like. Though Garnet is the hotspot for adventure, it is not a place for the faint-hearted. Keep reading to find out why...
When Garnet thrived with its residents, there was great pomp and show in the region. Every bit of amenity was made available to the mining dwellers. Newlyweds were provided with a free cabin until they built their home or until the town organized another wedding—whichever happened first. The gold mining Montanan legacy crumbled to the bits it's grounded on today, and the families that shouted with laughter left the place to survive on its own.
Will you be shocked if we say that everything over here is utterly free? From lodging to meals, you don't need to shed a buck from your wallet as the government takes care of it. However, you can expect the unexpected the next second you land in Garnet. Still, people show an overwhelming response every time there's a fresh booking on schedule. But why do the authorities spend so much on a town that's worn out to this level?
When you book a trip to Garnet, you can expect to get paid by the government! You hear that right—you're paid to stay there. There's free room, boarding, and meal stipends. Though you're expected to provide guided tours and work in the souvenir shop, there's plenty of time to explore nature too. Shockingly, there's a small catch amidst all the adventure you're planning to seek in Garnet. It's something that highlights the town's history, coating it with a layer of a bit more than abandonment.
Garnet didn't just thrive of gold, it lost its residents in the early half of the 19th century. But that's not the end to its dark glory. The Montanan legacy that sits atop the lush green mountain also happens to be the most famous ghost town in the entire county. The 19th-century mining town was abandoned somewhere between the 1920s - 1940s, giving it a makeover of what shouldn't have happened next.
After WWI ended, the residents knew that the second episode of the turmoil was near. And that's when WWII knocked down their dreams with a strict policy. Contrary to their beliefs, WWII came with restrictions on dynamite usage, making mining a question of debate in the region. Soon, Garnet was seeing its last residents and eventually was on the brim of a colossal standstill. However, one person decided to stay back.
A widowed saloon owner, Marion Dahl, braved herself to stay in the abandoned town for a few decades in a row. Leaving behind everything intact cost Garnet quite a lot in terms of its heritage and 19th-century artifacts. Over the years, scavengers stripped the abandoned town of its beautiful fixtures and antiquity. Even the stained glass windows and ornate woodwork of the once-posh hotel weren't spared by looters.
Years passed, and Garnet eventually landed in the hands of the authorities for maintenance and preservation. What sounded of great pomp and show in the early 19th century echoed of nothing more than modern man's footsteps on the town's rubbled path. Today, the government strives hard to bring in more visitors to the historical landmark of Montana. But if you're planning to visit the town, then you must be aware of something before you decide to do so.
Locals have also reported hearing strange noises at night, especially piano notes getting struck from an old saloon. The eerie notes were often accompanied by distant voices of the alleged spirits. It's sometimes laughter, sometimes loud cries, and even women chanting together as if they're gossiping about something. Shockingly, there's more to Garnet than you could imagine.
Some local people also claim that the residents' ghosts take shelter in the shadows of Garnet. There are also reports of gauzy figures in period clothing strolling between the eerie buildings. However, no one captured any footage to prove their claims. But when Bureau of Land Management historian Allan Mathews visited Garnet, he saw something that he shouldn't have seen.
Unlike other locals, the historian believed that Garnet consumed too much of tell-tale stories regarding the existence of its former residents' spirits. But on a fateful day, Allan's belief tumbled down like a landslide when he saw a figure of a woman abreast of the old hotel's window. Though he couldn't confirm whether he'd actually seen something paranormal, there are many who claim to have seen strange things in Garnet.
In an interview in The Montana Standard, ranger Nacoma Gainan spoke about Garnet's volunteering opportunities. The article mentioned that Garnet is open to those who love the outdoors and want to give back to the historical town. The warnings about the unavailability of electricity, Wi-Fi, and even running water was given. Still, no visitor grabbed the clue about the eeriness that brewed atop the Montanan town.
According to an article in Helena Independent Record, Ellen Baumler—Montana Historical Society's resident author and ghost whisperer wrote about the paranormal incidents that fogged Garnet after dusk. Though reports lack substantial recorded proofs like photos or videos, people continue to claim their paranormal encounters in Garnet. Ellen even stressed about the strange things that happened in and around the abandoned town, especially during winter.
Sometimes, visitors not only hear ghostly fingers striking the piano keys but also see strange visions. Noises can be heard in the empty buildings too, but they stop the moment someone touches the building. Though these instances resemble the scenes plucked from Hollywood, the locals stand by their claims about Garnet's eerie activities, specifically at night.
Sometimes, it isn't just the voices you hear or the music that chimes through the dusty century-old abandonment. Unexpected things like flat tires, jammed keys, minor injuries, and empty gas tanks are some of the shockwaves that storm visitors. Though there's no evidence that all this is the aftermath of disturbing the former residents, visitors believe that it packs more thrill in their adventure at Garnet.
Apart from the spine-chilling experiences in the town, you can expect a small world different from the usual city buzz. For those who're ready to volunteer and take up a job as a tour guide, the government provides everything free of cost. But all this—only if you're daring enough to see whatever stands near the window or listen to midnight tunes played by the invisible!
Guess the Montanan town is best the way it is—undisturbed, abandoned, and full of spooky flavor! So, how daring are you to embrace a trip to Garnet? Do you know a similar adventurous spot underlined with some supernatural elements like this abandoned town? Share your experience and thoughts with us! Also, please don't forget to click the "Share" button!