Cold Spots: Frances E. Warren Air Force Base
Cheyenne, WY - As you drive down the street, you happen to glance up into a window and see a little girl waving at you. For a moment you forget yourself and begin to wave back, only to realize a moment later that there is no girl living in that house, and the owners are away for the weekend. You drive on, startled when the sounds of snorting horses and clopping hooves, accompanied by loud shouts and gunfire, grow louder and move past your car without any physical being to make the noise, until you reach your destination, a museum guarded by a man in uniform. When you try to relate your story, you know how it must sound. The officer smiles and nods, then fades from view, letting you know you’ve had an encounter with yet another piece of the unknown.
There are quite a number of things the US Government refuses to verify. UFO’s, Bigfoot, and the existence of an honest politician are the big myths out there. There is another one, however: The existence of ghosts. While some places claim to be “certified” haunted, the government takes no official stance on the presence of restless spirits. That is kind of tough to maintain, however, when the ghosts reside at a military base, and everyone seems to know about, and believe in them.
The area that would become known as the F.E. Warren Air Force Base was actually founded in 1867 and was an Army post named Fort David A. Russell. It was built as a way for the U.S. Calvary to protect the railroad that had just managed to establish its mountain region. It was, at the time, a rough and wild area, populated by Native Americans and by equally, if not more, wild soldiers. There are many stories told about lecherous Calvary – men who committed many acts of murder, and worse, on the natives nearby. It wasn’t until 1884 that the fort became a permanent structure.
To serve and house the incoming eight infantry companies, the Army built twenty-seven brick houses to replace the wooden hovels the soldiers were living in, and planted a full grove of a thousand trees in the area. Two years later, three of the four regiments of “buffalo soldiers,” the black regiments, were housed at the fort.
Over the years, the fort’s companies have seen a great deal of tragedy, including participating in the Great Sioux Indian Wars (which cost Lt. Colonel Custer his life) and the Spanish American War. They were sent to the Philippines. As the fort grew in strategic importance, so too grew the base. By 1910, fueled by incoming soldiers and the notion that the fort should be a brigade-sized outfit complete with heavy artillery, had grown to three times its original size. Nine years later, the most significant change came to the old fort in the form of a single dirt strip that was to be used to land airplanes. The Air Force began to move in and the Calvary began to move out.
In 1930, President Hoover changed the name of the fort to Francis E. Warren, and ending the era of the Calvary outpost in favor of the new Air Force Base.
The echoes of the past still haunt the base, dating back to its earliest days, with apparitions that are both unsettling and, in some cases, invasive. In fact, over the last fifty years, more than one hundred-fifty incidents have been reported and catalogued, many of them with eerie similarities. The most common occurrences are reported in the brick Officers’ Quarter, which were additions built around 1910. One house on base has so many frequent reports that many soldiers on site refer to it simply as “the ghost house.” In this house, people have reported the apparition of a cavalryman and his dog pacing the attic. His heavy bootsteps are accompanied by the clicking nails of the dog’s feet. Residents also report that, when a certain picture is removed from the wall, the phantom canine will bark and whine until it is put back. Nearby, at another house, there have been many reports of a little girl with long curly hair that stares out the window of the guest room. She’s most often seen when the house is supposed to be empty, but her presence has been reported by former owners of the house as well. And then there’s Jeffrey, who makes his presence known in what once served as the base’s headquarters. Now the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Museum, he is most often described as benign, but he has a curious habit of disabling the security systems and leaving the doors open.
There are others that haunt the base that are not so friendly, however, and those are the type that can send even a hardened military man running. Most prevalent are the reported sightings of rowdy cavalrymen, wandering the street or drifting through the old buildings. In one case, the building where the base’s Security Forces check in, none of the Military Working Dogs are brave enough to venture to the second floor. There are also reports from female officers that state they were harassed, physically touched and assaulted by the phantom hands of long-dead soldiers. Small wonder, as there have also been reports of the apparition of a Crow Indian woman, who was raped and murdered by a group of soldiers when the base was first opened.
Investigations have turned up EVP’s, a few video recordings, some photos, and many stories of personal experiences.
Over the years, the base has played host to many great leaders, and has given the world some fine entertainers (such as Neil Diamond and Sammy Davis, Jr.). It currently houses more than 150 missiles and is a massive complex. And despite the modern machines and museums dedicated to great moments in the aerospace field and advancements in ballistics, the past still continues to intrude on the present. Reports of paranormal activity are almost commonplace now, with people becoming more comfortable with the elusive “Jeffrey.” The rowdy cavalrymen, however, are still a constant source of irritation.
The base is only open to the public during special tour dates, or if someone is “sponsored” by someone stationed there. Should you manage to gain access, be sure to check out the Security Forces building and the museum. Also, look for the oldest structures on site, the Officers’ Housing area. However, be sure to stay clear of areas guarded by armed personnel. Whether alive or not, it’s probably a good idea not to bother them.
See you in two weeks!
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