Ghosts of Devil’s Perch |  A Paranormal Investigation of Butte, Montana

Ghosts of Devil’s Perch

Paranormal activity is far from rare in the historic mining town of Butte, Montana. After what seems like never ending paranormal interference throughout town, city officials call in a paranormal investigation team with hopes of uncovering an evil presence that seems to be threatening the entire community. Investigator Dave Schrader, psychic medium Cindy Kaza and tech expert K.D. Stafford team up to unearth Butte’s Dark secrets. In the Travel Channel’s all-new eight part series, Ghosts of Devil’s Perch, the team unearths a variety of disturbances and encounters restless spirits.

Travel Channel Paranormal Investigation Team
PC: Travel Channel | Ghosts of Devil’s Perch paranormal investigation team

**In this week’s episode, “The Axe Man,” you’ll see the Cabbage Patch, all that remains of a shanty town that was one of Butte’s poorest neighborhoods. Learn More about the History of the Patch on the Southwest Blog.

Butte’s Mining History

The gold rush of the 1860s brought thousands to Montana, especially to the Southwest region. Miners flooded the area with the discovery of gold at Grasshopper Creek in Bannack in 1862 before heading northeast toward the Alder Gulch area and the development of the ‘Fourteen Mile City’ which spanned from Alder to Summit with Virginia City and Nevada City settled in the middle. As claims became overrun, miners struck out to other parts of the region in hopes of discovering their own riches. In 1864, gold was discovered in Butte but silver would keep the few miners of the area interested. It wasn’t until the 1880s, with the societal desire for electrified homes and streets, that Butte gained its fame as the ‘Richest Hill on Earth’, providing nearly 40% of the world’s copper (Montana Kids).

It was the easy riches copper mining provided that kept the mining town wild. With a population that peaked over 60,000, there was bound to be a booming restricted district. With shift work at the mines, alcohol flowed 24 hours a day.

The Anaconda Copper Company had an interest in creating a community that would hold the attention of miners; they supported the local transportation, invested in city parks and entertainment, even the development of the Columbia Gardens. It wasn’t only these positive community features that benefited the mines however. The booming red light district and bars kept miners spending their money in town rather than saving up to move elsewhere. In its heyday Butte has been described as dirty, even sulfurous, with a colorful history of elicit activity.

Copper may have kept the town alive, but dig deeper into Butte’s history and you might just encounter the unexplainable paranormal that the city’s dark history has left on the landscape.

Butte from uptown; Steward Mine looking towards the Highland Mountains | Rick and Susie Graetz

The Travel Channel’s new show Ghosts of Devil’s Perch explores some of the most notorious hauntings throughout Butte. Many of the sites explored in this series can be explored by visitors with a penchant for the paranormal. This eight part series will air on Sundays on the Travel Channel with same day releases on Discovery+. Episode 1 airs on Sunday August 21. 

Where does the name “Ghosts of Devil’s Perch” come from?

When it comes to monikers, Butte, Montana is most often referred to as “The Richest Hill on Earth.” This name was given to the area by Marcus Daly, one of the infamous Copper Kings, who had a vision to establish a smelter larger than any in the area had built as the Anaconda Copper Mine and Smelter. 

While “The Richest Hill on Earth” was living up to its name, thousands of miners were attracted to the area and with such a large population there was no shortage of nefarious activity occurring throughout the city. The alcohol flowed and Butte’s red light district was booming. The town was described as smoke-ridden and sulfurous. While some were getting rich, many scoffed at the moniker and instead referred to Butte as “The Perch of the Devil.” As Glasscock notes in The War of the Copper Kings, “easy money makes a wild town.” 

Learn More About the Series

Interested in learning more about the Travel Channel’s show Ghosts of Devil’s Perch? You’ll find exclusive content on the Travel Channel’s social media and you can stay connected on twitter with @thedaveschrader @travelchannel and @discoveryplus and on Instagram with @supernaturalink @officialdaveschrader and @cindykaza

Can’t wait to watch Ghosts of Devil’s Perch? The show is premiered Sunday, August 21, 2022 with “Blood Feud” at 9pm ET/PT with the same-day release on Discovery+. This eight episode series will release a single episode each Sunday, concluding on October 9, 2022 with “End Lines.”

Chris Fisk & Butte’s Spooks & Spirits Tour

Butte’s very own Chris Fisk served as the Historian for Ghosts of Devil’s Perch. Does that name sound familiar? It should! Not only did Fisk teach history at Butte High for over 25 years, but was awarded the 2010 Outstanding Teacher of American History by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Fisk also serves as the guide for Butte’s incredible Spooks & Spirits Tour. We cannot recommend this tour enough, give them a call to reserve your seat.

Butte Spooks and Spirits Tour on the Old Trolley
Butte Spooks & Spirits Tour aboard the Old Trolley No. 1

Paranormal Points of Interest throughout Butte

Throughout this series, the team explores some of the most notorious hauntings in Butte. In episode 2, “The Axe Man,” you’ll see the Cabbage Patch, all that remains of a shanty town that was one of Butte’s poorest neighborhoods. Episode 5 leads the team to the Historic Dumas Brothel, which operated into the 1980s, while Episode 7 digs into the public executions that took place at the courthouse. With a description that suggests investigators are headed hundreds of feet below ground, we can only assume that the finale will take place in the Orphan Girl Mine which sits in the World Museum of Mining.

Hell Roarin’ Gulch exhibit at the World Museum of Mining. Photo credit Andy Austin.

Many of these sites are explored on the Spooks and Spirits Tour, but there are also a number of paranormal investigations offered throughout Butte, Montana. Ghost Hunts USA offers paranormal experiences at the Dumas Brothel and the Old St James Hospital and the Butte Historic Haunts explores the Myra Brothel, Cabbage Patch and Tony’s Tin Shop.

An Excerpt from “The War of the Copper Kings”

In Southwest Montana, we are suckers for interesting history and trust us this region of Montana is jam packed! As we were digging into the Travel Channels new show we came across an article written by Montana historian Ellen Baumler titled Devil’s Perch: Prostitution from Suite to Cellar in Butte, Montana which explores the symbiotic relationship the copper mines had with the red light district. This article also lead us to a book titled The War of the Copper Kings: Greed, Power, and Politics by C. B. Glasscock which offers one of the most colorful descriptions of Butte:

“That was Butte by the time it reached a population of fifteen thousand–barren, sulfurous, smoke-ridden. Only man could survive such an atmosphere. Only man, held by Marcus Daly’s assertion that this was “the richest hill on earth” would attempt it. Even some of the men, and more of the women, worn by their never-ending battle against the soot which ruined their clothing, begrimed their floors and festooned their curtains, scoffed at the phrase. “The riches hill on earth. Huh! It’s the perch of the devil.” So a second subtitle was given to Butte.

But Butte could survive the second because the first was proving true. Men and women will defy or connive with the devil for riches, and at times even for a livelihood. For profit they will live and labor literally in an atmosphere of hell, breathing brimstone, festooned with soot, surrounded by the imps of Satan, and, such is their heritage, find time and courage to laugh and to play. Easy money makes a wild town. Butte had it, and was it. Few of the prominent early residents took life as seriously as William A. Clark. Even such important men as Marcus Daly, Lee Mantle, Pat Largey, John Noyes and A. J. Davis, with a keen eye to business, had another eye for something else. Life in Butte might be sulfurous, but it was hilarious.”

– C.B. Glasscock in “The War of the Copper Kings” pg 87