Some are ghosts.

Some are merely friendly spirits of those who once resided in the Old Governor’s Mansion neighborhood.

The popular Spooktacular Walking Tour is Friday, Oct. 28, and Saturday, Oct. 29, from 6 to 8 p.m., starting at the back lawn of the Lewis and Clark County Courthouse, 228 E. Broadway St.

Tours start every 10 minutes.

You just might meet one of the 13 unhappy ghosts who in life died a few blocks from the courthouse at the Hangman’s Tree.

Some were guilty.

Some were not.

“Supernatural events are common in the houses and backyards of modern residents” of that neighborhood, said Ellen Baumler, interpretive historian for the Montana Historical Society who wrote the script for this year’s Spooktacular tour.

And one of the ghosts, believed to be one of the men killed in a double hanging at the Hangman’s Tree in 1870, just might appear.

In 1875, a downtown businessman found himself walking home late at night and found himself veering off course toward the former site of the old Hanging Tree, only to meet a figure suspended from a mighty branch on an apparition of the Hanging Tree.

Another not-so-friendly ghost could be that of X Beidler, the vigilante hangman who executed more than 30 men. He died penniless in a hotel room downtown, Baumler said. Maybe you’ll hear tales of his “bang-up funeral” party his friends threw for him at the old Ming Opera House that drew a crowd of 1,500.

Or you might meet a friendly spirit walking the streets -- like that of poet, linguist and avid suffragist, Frieda Fligelman. Her light would burn late at night in the apartment building behind the Independent Record office. There she wrote into the wee hours and operated “The Institute of Logic.”

You’ll also hear the tale of Helena’s own Paul Revere, Jacob Feldberg, and how he bravely earned that nickname.

Altogether there are 14 stops on the walk.

Last year, the popular tour attracted more than 2,000 people.

Costumed volunteers tell just a few of the many colorful stories of the people from Helena’s past who lived in the neighborhood.

Tickets, available at the starting point, are $10 for adults, $5 for children age 6 to 12, and children under age 5 free. Those who attend are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes and clothing suited to the weather. More information is available at

The money raised will go toward restoration projects at the Original Governor’s Mansion. This event is their biggest fundraiser of the year.

Reporter Marga Lincoln can be reached at 447-4083