Haunted Boise

10 Oct

trolley outside the old idaho penitentiary

Friday night Stephen, Christie, Geoff and I went on a Haunted Trolley Tour of Boise (imagine that written in the ubiquitous red-blood-running Halloweeny font). And it was all you could ever want from a haunted trolley tour, let me tell you.

gettin' toasty on the trolley

There were only six of us on the trolley (everyone else had a “date with BSU football” apparently. By the time the tour started, BSU was ahead by 42 points. Such an exciting game, I’m sure.). It was decked out in Halloween decor, the driver wore a witch’s costume, and we drank hot cocoa while riding with the windows open and the heater on.

random stilt walker on the corner. I love that he's kind of blurry, it makes it more theme-appropriate. He was just walking down the street, in rainbow pants on stilts. Talking on his cellphone. Like you do.

There was a recording that narrated ghost stories as we drove past each haunted place. It was so great and home-y. At one point there was some blinking light that the driver asked Geoff to switch off because she couldn’t reach it while driving, and the trolley had to be jump-started earlier that day, so she never stopped it even when we got to the walk-around parts of the tour. When we drove down Elm Street, the driver skipped over the tour recording part because she said it was stupid and just recapped the plot of Nightmare on Elm Street, but pretending it happened in Boise. It was just a cute, intimate little local tour, low-budget in the best ways.

those little flash sticks just don't warm you as much as you'd think

We stopped at the Pioneer Cemetery (Boise’s first graveyard, moved from its original spot) and the old Idaho State Penitentiary. We weren’t allowed to go in the graveyard, but peered in at the appropriately spooky gravestones. Note the orb in that photo! OOOOWEEEEE OOOOOOO! 

ahhh ghost spider!

The Old Pen was fun at night. We couldn’t go inside, but we could walk around the old scaffolds, and just seeing the outer walls in moonlight was spooky enough. There was a guard making rounds, talking on his cellphone. He stopped his conversation just long enough to wish us a good night. I tried to ask him about seeing ghosts, but he didn’t hear me. PROBABLY BECAUSE HE WAS A GHOST.

ghosts along the watchtower

hiding from ghosts

ahhh ghost cross!

lights outside the old pen

Some of my favorite parts didn’t involve the local ghost lore (which was fun), but the weird local history tidbits. Like, there’s a statue of Abraham Lincoln near the capital building that’s the oldest standing statue of Lincoln. Its facial features were created with a plaster mask taken of Lincoln’s dead head. And the old Ada County Courthouse has murals from the 1800s that include depictions of a Native American being lynched, and a pioneer woman with three arms (what? I know.). The first pioneer cemetery was built in a flood plain, so every spring the rains would cause corpses to float up into the streets (after telling us this fact, the tour train started playing some song whose main chorus included “don’t be afraid to drown” or something like that).

Toot toot! Abandon hope all ye who enter this trolley!

All in all, it was precisely the kind of thing I love. Goofy, obviously someone’s passion project, and full of spookys. Providing me a reason to be outside in the fall, with a cup of hot cocoa, boosted it up some extra points. Good work, Boise. 


One Response to “Haunted Boise”

  1. Debra- CEO Boise Trolley Tours October 13, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

    Glad you had fun! It’s a Great tour, I agree!! The song played at the Pioneer Cemetery is called “Drowned ” by Corder-McCormack. (Album Spiritual Warfare). Other featured tunes are Talking Heads- Psycho killer & Burning Down the House, and Turn to Stone by
    Souixsie & the Banshees.

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