Franklin Hotel

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Guests have reported hearing footsteps following them around the historic hotel. A housekeeper quit after seeing a man in period clothing watching her while she was cleaning. People walking past have reported the sensation of being watched.

(Submitted by Callum Swift)

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Geographic Information

709 Lower Main Street
Deadwood, SD
United States

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44.37618830568584, -103.73130686752853
Lawrence County, South Dakota
Nearest Towns:
Deadwood, SD (0.1 mi.)
Central City, SD (2.2 mi.)
Lead, SD (2.4 mi.)
Whitewood, SD (7.4 mi.)
Spearfish, SD (10.1 mi.)
Sturgis, SD (11.2 mi.)
Saint Onge, SD (11.8 mi.)
North Spearfish, SD (12.0 mi.)
North Spearfish, SD (12.4 mi.)
Piedmont, SD (19.6 mi.)


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  1. While on my stay there I believe I was on the 2nd floor, I tried to speak with any spirit that may be there, as I spoke, the lights in the bathroom faded in and out. this happened three times in my two day stay. I was not frighted and felt a presence draw me out to a rooftop area where I saw beer bottles, not sure why the pull to that window but I felt something while I was there.

  2. In 2000, my wife and I stayed on the second floor. This was my first stay at the hotel. On our second night at the hotel, we headed across the side street from the old Callahan’s basement bar. As soon as we reached the other side of the street, we heard bootsteps complete with heel spurs directly behind us. The wife and I gave each other a funny look and turned around only for the footsteps to cease with nobody behind us. I figured there was a logical explanation and I went on about my vacation. Two nights later at 3:30 a.m. we decided to retire to the hotel room after a long night of gambling and drinking. We were the last two people on the streets. We entered the front door of the Franklin Hotel and headed up the first flight of steps. The hotel was eerily quiet with not so much as a desk clerk behind the check-in counter. Once we got halfway up the first flight of stairs, we heard the front door to the hotel open and someone walk toward the steps who was also wearing boots (no spurs however). My wife asked who it was and upon reaching the landing and heading up the second flight of stairs, I looked over the railing only to hear (and feel on the staircase) someone walking up the stairs, but nobody was there. I replied, “I have no idea.” My wife’s response was, “what?” I explained that someone was coming up the stairs right behind us, but nobody was there. My wife and I then reached the second floor and stopped and turned around to see what was happening. The stairs continued to creak and shake with each audible bootstep. When the invisible person reached the second floor, it stopped on that infamously creaky floorboard at the top of the steps……face-to-face with us. The board depressed and squeaked but never squeaked again as if were stepped off of. I moved toward it (possibly why it stopped at the top of the steps) and confronted it by asking if someone was there. I then waived my hand through it only to feel an ice cold, damp pocket of air. I have never had the hair stand up on the back of my neck like that before. My wife began crying and we ran at a sprint back to our room around the corner. This incident happened directly in front of the former owner’s suite at the top of the staircase on the second floor. I have stayed overnight at the hotel numerous times since with no experiences. Considering all of the ghostly happenings I have had in my life, this one was the most undeniable. I plan on taking a July 2016 trip to Deadwood to try and re-create the experience.

  3. Kelsi Biletski  |  

    Our family visited the hotel after we missed our bus and had to wait in the lobby. I was pretty young at the time and I didn’t know it was haunted. My dad looked it up and talked to the clerk and they confirmed it, so we decided to explore upstairs. We took countless photos on every floor and nothing happened that really stood out besides a few “orbs” or dust particles. We left a bit later and when we arrived back at our trailer we sifted through the photos we found. We didn’t find anything but just before we went to bed my mom zoomed in on a spot on the the 3rd floor beside a fire exit and there, right beside the door, was the the unmistakable face of a man or woman. Their eyes were open and their mouth was gaping. I didn’t sleep for weeks. I still have the picture now

  4. So I came to Deadwood a few years ago, it was in the fall. School had already started but my sister agreed to let my nephew join me and my boyfriend on a trip back to Nebraska, a small town where he lived for a while, and whats that monument…Mount Rushmore. Long story short, we came into Deadwood late at night and it happened to be the weekend of a buffalo roundup so lots of people in town. Couldn’t get a room. Finally the Franklin Hotel said they could accomodate us in this old white house that was behind the hotel. They were real nice and charged us for only a room even though this was a three (or four) bedroom house. We went in, exhausted, unpacked a little…Sorry this story is going to be long… too many details I don’t want to leave out. So the first weird thing was that my nephew wanted to play cards. He was 11 at the time and kinda got into the whole Deadwood thing. I was was too tired. Felt guilty. But just too tired. So he set up in his own “room” and when I went upstairs to check on him he was playing with my deck of cards. So I was like oh did you grab those out of my luggage? And he said no, they were on the nightstand. So then I was like maybe their not mine…I will check my bags tomorrow… they looked like mine…whatever. Boyfriend was extra tired and went and laid down so I decided to go to bed too, at the bedroom at the end of the hallway. My skin was crawling while laying in the bed. I was like crap..bed bugs, but what the hell can I do about it now. I fell asleep. Then I woke up yelling at my boyfriend…I was sitting up in bed and told him there were red bubbles on the ceiling, rolling down the hallway. They were glowing. It was awake enough so I jumped out of bed to check on nephew. He was still awake on ipad. Told him to turn lights out, but his first vacation, so was like whatever he’ll be tired in the morning…I went back to sleep. And then I awoke and there was a man at the foot of my bed. I wasn’t just scared but felt terror. I was paralyzed but tried to move my fingers to wake up my boyfriend but I couldn’t. I don’t remember really seeing him but more feeling his presence. I remember him now as a man in old fashioned clothing but in a way it is a blurr now and I can’t say 100 percent that I saw that, but it is how I remember it now. I must have just fallen back asleep because next thing I know it is a sunny beautiful morning. I have never had anything like this happen to me before or since, thank God. I don’t like haunted anything anymore. My nephew and boyfriend slept great, and had coffee ready for me lol. That house is ancient. The floors creak and the whole house is actually slanted, so when you walk down the hallway you can feel it or if you lay in bed. What else…the next night we got a real room at the Franklin Hotel, I was so relieved. It was the room with the American Indian that was in the Olympics. I felt safe, hoping he was watching over the room maybe. So that is what happened. I asked the hotel desk is anyone ever said the house in the back was haunted and they said no. You can see the house if you use Google maps to go behind the Frankling hotel. If you’re facing the front of the hotel go up the street on the right. I think it was built in late 1700’s. It must have seen alot of people pass through and have a lot of stories. Oh by the way those were my cards. And I believe my nephew would not have gone into my luggage, he just wouldn’t do that. And I think what may have pissed the ghosts off was something I said. I don’t remember the exact conversation but I was upstairs in the bedroom that night and I said I am not worried about ghosts, they like me. Well I’ll never say that again lol, the whole thing was scary. I would not want to stay in a haunted place again. Ok that’s it. Glad I put it down in writing 🙂

  5. In April 2015, I stayed at the Franklin Hotel for one night. I stayed on the first floor,very near the rear exit to the parking lot, in a cheap, $20 room. During my stay, while asleep, I felt someone grab ahold of my leg and yank me down toward the end of the bed. It happened twice. It’s a spooky old hotel. I’ve stayed at other cheap motels and have never had another experience like it.

    • We stayed at the Franklin last Wednesday thru Sunday (June 12-16th) during Wild Bill Hickock days…beautiful hotel with so much history! Our first night there, I was laying in bed next to my bf and my granddaughter was laying on her bed. My bf was watching tv and I was laying on my stomach trying to sleep. Granddaughter on her phone in her bed…. I was poked on my back and I looked up at my boyfriend and asked what? He looks at me…puzzled and I asked him why he poked me…he said that he didn’t. I didn’t believe him and laid my head back down and a few minutes later…I was poked in my back again. I asked my bf again why he’s poking me…he said that he didn’t. My granddaughter says that he didn’t because she would’ve seen him do it out of the corner of her eye! The next morning he told some workers in the lobby about it and they said it’s 2 poke Bill!! I would like to know more about him…does anyone have any info??

  6. Stayed at the Franklin hotel 2 nights September 2018 in the room on the 2 floor!! My sister said the shower would turn on n shut off at night. I was awakened to a knock on the door n the day before I heard people loud in the hallway like they ere having a party like back in the roaring twenty’s n no one else was in the rooms by ours. My mom awoke to a white object that flew across the room n disappeared! There was also blood spots on the bathroom door n wall!! Great motel though very historic!!

  7. On Oct. 21, 2018, My family and I went to The Franklin Hotel early in the morning for breakfast and gambling. It was early around 7:am and we entered by a side door of the hotel. Once inside, I was taken by the decor and started photographing the chandeliers and ceiling. We asked where the resturant was located and we rode the old hotel elevator to the Basement. Upon entering the elevator we suddenly realized we were going up not down despite pushing the B button. The elevator stopped on the second floor and two people got on with us. The elevator is extremly small and 6 people was really tight. The people had luggage which made me think they were checking out but the elevator wasnt going down it continued to the third floor. The doors opened and a man and woman with a hotel gurney were standing in front of us. They appeared to be cleaning rooms at 7:30am? The doors closed as they didnt get on and it looked as if they were wearing period clothes of another time. The elevator then shot up to the forth floor and the doors opened to noone there. The couple with the luggage then pressed the button to go to the second floor again and they got off. Im not sure what that was about but they were not friendly and wouldnt speak. As the elevator left the second floor heading to the basement, I heard a rotary phone ringing and it rang two times before the elevator opened. I mentioned it to the other 3 family members and only one of them being my mother in law heard it as well. We went in to breakfast and were placed at a booth in a corner. I was getting very strange visions of a woman on the forth floor who was standing by a window and having great sorrow as an emotion. I did not share this with my family but when the waitress came and asked for my order I said “What is with the woman on the forth floor? She is sad and I am feeling her sorrow. The waitress almost answered then my mother in law who is Lakota Indian said she was pushed out a window. The waitress seemed shocked and stated that the woman was thrown out a window a very long time ago….before she could finish telling us what happened I could feel sorry for a child. The waitress then said “she was pregnant.” And she asked if I saw the radiator? I said yes and then she proceeded to tell us she was chained to a radiator. I then asked her what was the restaurant before the remodel as I felt it was a bad place with card playing and violence. She then told us about a man who committed suicide by shooting his brains out. The area was in the kitchen of the restaurant when it was known as Callahans. She also said that the walls were covered and it was often referred to as the Brain room by employees . She mentioned that employees did not like to be alone in the early morning shifts in this area. We did not press her for more details as she said she has only worked there for about 10 years and this had occurred some time back in history. As we ate our breakfast, my mother in law was cutting her ham steak and her toast lifted off her plate as if someone had picked it up and moved it out of the way. I was watching her cut the ham and the toast moved on its own without her even touching it. We went upstairs to gamble and our luck wasn’t there so we decided to go but first I needed to use the restroom again downstairs in the basement by the restaurant. This time I used the stairs as a result of the strange acting elevator. As I made my third step down the staircase, I heard the awful screaming of an infant baby. I stopped dead in my tracks and got a cold chill down my back and could not continue forward. The waitress saw me and she asked “Are you okay? You saw something or heard something didn’t you? I shook my head yes and I went into the bathroom. Upon going back upstairs to my family I told them what happened and insisted we leave the Franklin Hotel immediately. Once we started our walk away from the Hotel the my eyes took me to the window on the Fourth Floor directly to the left of the arched window. I could feel this window as being the window the woman was thrown from to her death. I continued to take pics of the street and other shops only to discover a pic on my iphone that I did not take. The pic is of a man by a radiator and it shows his hand. This pic is similar to the picture captured by the commen made by Kelsi Biletski in this tread. I am including the order of pics and it appears this pic was put on my phone after we entered the side door of the hotel. It appears to be a man in the shadows and a radiator in the shadows along with his creepy hand. This information can be verified by 4 people.

  8. I just left from my stay with my family in the Franklin Hotel. I swear I am not joking about any of my experience! I hate spooky things, so I really don’t want to believe about the hauntings either. Before we came, we had heard it was haunted and of course we were all paranoid about the night ahead of us. Definitely upon entering, you can tell how old it is, and needless to say the appearance is offputting and creepy to say the least, and just upon entering you feel unnerved. My siblings and I were sitting in the lobby by the casino, and we were talking about the spookiness of the place and we were approached by the doorman. We asked him if we believed in the ghosts of the place, and he spoke very quietly and distantly about his beliefs. He said he had definitely seen some weird things, and they have yet found anything to attribute the strange noises heard in the fourth floor to. He told us that he definitely believes in the ghosts that stayed in the hotel. During the night, our sister, who was staying on another room, came and shook our door just to mess with us. We yelled at her and she returned to the room, but the door shook several times during the night after that even after she went to bed. The door also shook every time I opened the bathroom door. Let it be known I do hallucinate often at known, but it’s always about spiders and creepy crawlies. I woke up briefly during the night and I thought I saw a figure standing at the end of my bed, though very briefly. I was too tired to acknowledge it and I’m pretty used to my hallucinations by now. My mom however, does not hallucinate and was fully awake when she walked to check us out of the hotel in the morning while we were waiting in the car. She doesn’t tell us stories to scare us, and the only paranormal experiences she’s had she doesn’t like to talk about. She told us she was walking Down the hall on the second floor (where I’d had my paranormal experience) and she saw a woman walking down the hall, which was odd because it was very very early in the morning. She ignored it, until she didn’t hear the click of the door close, which you can always hear in this old hotel. When she looked back she didn’t see the woman, and upon getting another look at her, recalled her ‘big butt’. Later, we figured it could have been a bustle on the apparition woman. Needless to stay, as cool as it was, I am not going back to that haunted place in deadwood.

  9. We stayed at the Franklin last Wednesday thru Sunday (June 12-16th) during Wild Bill Hickock days…beautiful hotel with so much history! Our first night there, I was laying in bed next to my bf and my granddaughter was laying on her bed. My bf was watching tv and I was laying on my stomach trying to sleep. Granddaughter on her phone in her bed…. I was poked on my back and I looked up at my boyfriend and asked what? He looks at me…puzzled and I asked him why he poked me…he said that he didn’t. I didn’t believe him and laid my head back down and a few minutes later…I was poked in my back again. I asked my bf again why he’s poking me…he said that he didn’t. My granddaughter says that he didn’t because she would’ve seen him do it out of the corner of her eye! The next morning he told some workers in the lobby about it and they said it’s 2 poke Bill!! I would like to know more about him…does anyone have any info??

  10. We were there Oct 17th and 18th 2019 for my nieces wedding. It was me with my 14 yr old and 10 yr old daughters. My oldest suffers from depression and anxiety and from the moment we stepped in the doors her heart was racing and she felt like she was on the verge of a panic attack. She also got super depressed and very mean and agitated.
    I personally felt weird just tired and kind of sick to my stomach. I felt like I was drained. We would hear weird creaking sounds outside the door like someone was walking up to the door. I was sleeping in the same bed with my youngest, and we were all asleep but all of a sudden. I felt my daughter move kind of jerked down a little on the bed and she woke up crying hysterically. She was so scared of something she just had this feeling she said. She was drenched her shirt and her hair! I was finally able to calm her down and she fell back asleep but thank goodness we had to check out the next morning! Strange feelings all around from all 3 of us and we all seemed to be a big bundle of nerves.

  11. Stayed at the Franklin a few months ago, unaware of previous experiences. The first floor and basement dining was really nice so we decided to book a room. When the elevators doors first opened to the flickering, fluorescent halls I instantly felt unsettled. Below are some pictures of our first room on the fourth floor. Later we requested a change because of all the dead flies.

    The clerk moved us to a room around the corner which was obviously slept in, which he claimed should’ve been ready. He moved us again to a suite on the third floor. No dead flies. Great! Well-kept compared to our first one. There was only one other family either checking in or out that we noticed in the hotel. Around 2 or 3am we were getting ready to pass out when we heard loud stomping on our floor. My friend, (being a skeptic), said it was nothing so we both ignored it. A few minutes later it sounded like a large man/woman was running down the hall. The footsteps stopped at our door by the fire escape. My friend got up quickly to look out the door but there was nobody around. The stomping continued every few minutes for an hour or so we stayed in our room, spooked.

    The next morning we awoke up to a big-free zone. I fell back asleep and woke up an hour later to numerous flies that appeared to have been squashed; scattered on the windowsills and dressers.

    For all you non-believers, dead insects are said to be a sign of a demonic presence. Funny enough, my friend still remains a cynic. I’m no stranger to these experiences, but am skeptical to return to this chilling hotel.

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.