HELENA — There’s a lot of history at The Myrna Loy. Once used as a jail and now as a cultural center, the location has seen some interesting and varied characters, for better or for worse.
Helena historian, Ellen Baumler gave MTN some good background on the building of what is now The Myrna Loy.
“Probably the conditions were not that great. Jails were usually damp and creepy places and lots of energy was expended in those places and certainly in the building that's there today,” says Baumler.
Built in 1890, the building that now holds The Myrna Loy was actually the second county jail on the property. Eight hangings have occurred on that plot of land, and an accidental death occurred when a Sheriff accidentally shot his wife while cleaning his gun.
Many lawbreakers and criminals shuffled in and out of the doors before The Myrna Loy took over in the late 1980s. Some still believe that their energy may linger there today.
MTN sat down with Don Preston, Volunteer Chief Maintenance Operation Officer at The Myrna Loy. He’s often in the building alone, well after dark. He told MTN about his experiences after the guests leave and the doors shut.
“And I was cleaning up in front of the concession stand and I felt as though somebody was standing behind me. And when I turned my head, I heard several footsteps like feet padding. And it sounded as though somebody was running away. And I had a clear view down the hallway, but when I looked, I didn't see anything. So, I ran down the hallway and looked into the art gallery, and I didn't see anything,” says Preston.
Preston says that he also saw some sort of figure upstairs from him in a doorway.
“When I looked up I kind of put myself under the impression that it was okay. And I just kept doing I was doing. But I mean if something is that close to you and they wanted to do harm to you then I mean really what can you do?” says Preston.
While that all may sound spooky, Preston says that he’s not scared and that he thinks that whatever entities are around, wouldn’t want to hurt the crew keeping the building clean.
“If I was a ghost that's the last thing I would want to do, is get rid of the person that's doing that,” says Preston.
So, what’s really going on at The Myrna Loy? Well, that’s up to you to decide. But for now, have a happy Halloween.