One of the oldest buildings in the city stands in an unassuming building on 17th St. in Downtown Cheyenne. The Knights of Pythias building has had many faces in its past - the ground floor has played host to a pharmacy, a furniture store, and a flea market - but the upstairs and basement have always been the domain of the Knights...and, according to the folks at Way Out West Paranormal, is also home to spirits of the dead. If you've ever wanted to hunt for ghosts, now's your chance. Way Out West Paranormal is hosting a public ghost hunt this month at one of Cheyenne's most haunted buildings - and you're invited.

History of the Knights of Pythias Building & Its Ghosts...

The Knights of Pythias claim a golden heritage as the first and oldest Fraternal Order founded in the United States. Wyoming's chapter is older than the state; it was founded in 1870, and the territory would not become a state until 1890. The Who's Who of Wyoming's golden age walked these historic halls. Black Jack Pershing and his son-in-law, F.E. Warren, governors, sheriffs, cattle barons, and Gilded Age millionaires have ties to this hallowed institution. At one time, the building served as home to the legislature as workers erected the capitol building just a few blocks away.

Today, the Knights are perhaps best known for their truly terrifying annual haunted house fundraiser, but as with any secret, exclusive order, rumors of state meetings and government decisions being made around the dinner table at the Knights building abound. There are over 150 years of history contained in those walls...it's no wonder that there are reports that some members have never left the hall, returning to the order in death.

"The Knights of Pythias was such a staple in Cheyenne," said Jason Smith, Knights member and paranormal investigator on the Way Out West Paranormal team. "You know, it's anybody who is anybody in Cheyenne, you know, came up here...So I think this place just meant a great deal to so many people that, you know when someone passes on, you know, this is a place they want to be."

Way Out West Paranormal sign in the Knights of Pythias building. Credit: Phylicia Peterson, TSM SE WY
Way Out West Paranormal sign in the Knights of Pythias building.
Credit: Phylicia Peterson, TSM SE WY
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Jason smiled earnestly when I asked how they knew the place was haunted.  "We did, you know, find human remains, a skeleton under the stage, I'm going to say, about 25 years ago." A female body, Jason clarified. Why on earth would there be a real female body beneath the stage of a male-only secret society? Intriguing, to say the least. "There are various reasons why they could have been there. We don't know for sure that info is never passed down as to why it was there. [The remains] were responsibly taken care of through a local funeral home here to make sure, you know, the remains were respectfully cremated. And, we've gotten a lot of evidence through the years that points towards the owner of those remains still still being around here."

The theories of why a female body was found within the building vary. Jason explained that the most plausible date back to the use of skeletons as props in rituals. "Back then, they didn't have artificial skeletons right back in the day. So, they may have sourced those remains, you know, somehow, for those reasons."

Who Haunts the Knights of Pythias Building?

Does the ghost of F.E. Warren haunt the halls of the Knights of Pythias? According to Way Out West Paranormal, it's quite an active haunt. The team has investigated the building a handful of times, each time getting knocks, footsteps, and slamming doors, among other phenomena. But who is haunting the building? "We're not really sure," Jason said. "We ran experiments using EMF and started asking for names. We weren't getting much, so we went down the alphabet. We were consistently getting the letter V, so we call the ghost of the stage, we call her 'V."

Justin Smith, Knights member and paranormal investigator, tells the story of the ghost 'V' on the Knights of Pythias stage. Credit: Phylicia Peterson, Townsquare Media SE WY
Jason Smith, Knights member and paranormal investigator, tells the story of the ghost 'V' on the Knights of Pythias stage.
Credit: Phylicia Peterson, Townsquare Media SE WY
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So How Does One Hunt Ghosts? Is It Scientific?

Aaron BlackBurn, the co-founder of Way Out West Paranormal, detailed the equipment used in a ghost hunt. "So we do have the REM pods. Everything that is used in the paranormal field detects a change in the environment. It doesn't detect a ghost. So you're hoping that those changes are something that is going to be supernatural, be it energy with the REM pods or the EMF meters." Another machine, the SLS, is "able to see some energy and, and put those stick figures in," essentially tracing the outline of energy that, theoretically, belongs to a humanoid spirit.

With all that high-tech gear, one has to wonder if there's a scientific purpose for it outside of the paranormal. "Yes," confirmed BlackBurn. In fact, some of the engineers who build this stuff have been doing it for years. Billy Chapel, who lives in Loveland, and Gary Gorka have been doing it for years. These guys are experts in their field of engineering and college-educated."

Does Way Out West Paranormal Vet the Scene Before Researching?

If you've ever seen The Conjuring, you'll know that ghost hunters often check out the reported haunt for normal, mundane occurrences like broken pipes or creaky floors. Way Out West Paranormal does the same before diving into the paranormal research. They're not looking for hoaxes; they're looking for the real, ghostly deal.

How Can You Join in on a Ghost Hunt?

Way Out West Paranormal invites you to join them on a ghost hunt at the Knights of Pythias Building on March 23, 2024. This is an 18+ event running from 6:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. - bring your espresso and get ready for some thrills and chills! During the ghost hunt, you'll get to interact with the paranormal research equipment (with the option to rent equipment for your hunt,) hear ghost stories, and explore all three floors of the haunted building with guidance from the WOWP team. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased on Eventbrite by clicking here.

About Way Out West Paranormal

Way Out West Paranormal team stand before the organization's sign in the Knights of Pythias building. Credit: Phylicia Peterson, TSM SE WY
Way Out West Paranormal team stand before the organization's sign in the Knights of Pythias building.
Credit: Phylicia Peterson, TSM SE WY
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Way Out West Paranormal was founded by Aaron BlackBurn and his wife, Gina BlackBurn. They recently added Jasmine Neuroth, Jackie Suntrup, and Jason Smith to the team, creating a small but mighty team of investigators willing to risk the chills and bloodcurdling nightmares for a chance to find ghosts. For more information on WOWP, visit the organization's Facebook page by clicking here.

Take a Peek Inside Cheyenne's Haunted Knights of Pythias Building

This building is rumored to be haunted. The Knights of Pythias claim a golden heritage as the first and oldest Fraternal Order founded in the United States. Wyoming's chapter is older than the state; it was founded in 1870, and the territory would not become a state until 1880.

Gallery Credit: Phylicia Peterson, Townsquare Media Laramie/Cheyenne

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