Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Ghosts of Frisco, Utah

Lying on the dusty and remote Highway 21 in Beaver County, Utah, the remnants of the once prosperous town of Frisco stand as a weathered reminder of the harsh reality of the Old West. When silver was discovered at the famous Horn Silver Mine in 1875, prospectors flocked to this remote area. Almost overnight, the serene plain was transformed into a sprawling town of nearly 6,000 people. Complete with saloons, brothels, gambling tents, shops and churches, the rapidly growing Frisco soon became a hotbed for violence and murder. By the end of 1876, the town had gained the reputation of being the "Dodge City, Tombstone, Sodom and Gomorrah all rolled into one." Killings became commonplace, and robberies and fistfights occurred so frequently they often went unnoticed by those around them. While the Horn Silver Mine had recently been dubbed "The richest mine in the world" by investors such as J.P. Morgan and William Jefferson Hurst, its image as one of the Old West's deadliest was quickly driving off high dollar investors.
To quell the town's rowdiness, officials dispatched famed Nevada Marshall William Pearson from Pioche. When Pearson arrived, he informed the townsfolk that he would tolerate no lawlessness, and that he would make no arrests and build no jail. All lawbreakers would be dealt with immediately. Several men tested the hardened Marshall, and he killed six men his first day on the job. Then, on the morning of February 12, 1885, workers at the mine felt small tremors in the hillside and were told to evacuate the area out of fear of a cave-in. Before noon, the richest deposit of silver and copper in the west would be consumed by a massive cave-in. Though more than 60 million dollars worth of ore had been removed from the mine in less than 10 years, many of the prospectors moved away from Frisco, leaving it dry up as quickly as it had risen. By 1920, the final residents of this long-dead mecca had rode away to other towns, leaving only dusty buildings and a heavily occupied cemetery as the last signs of a great town.
But all the violence and death in Frisco has left a paranormal scar on this isolated ghost town. Ghostly riders have been seen riding into the hills outside of town. Workers for a mining company that purchased the mine in 1998 have reported hearing unexplained horse nays. They have also seen unexplained lights and fogs that move about the town's abandoned cemetery. A ghostly rider on horseback has been spotted patrolling the streets of Frisco at night. Perhaps this is the ghost of Marshall Pearson, forever laying down the law to those who choose a life of crime. Visitors have reported the shadows of people on the ground where no people stand. People dressed in western attire have been seen in the windows or standing in the door ways of some of the towns abandoned buildings. Upon investigation, the men either disappear in front of the witnesses or are nowhere to be found.

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