A History of Ghost Stories in North Omaha

North Omaha Ghost Stories by Adam Fletcher Sasse with a picture of the Minne Lusa Pumping Station in the background...

In a place as old as North Omaha, there are bound to be a lot of ghost stories. When I was young, we told ghost stories about places we’d been, we shared the stories we heard, and we made up stories about what we didn’t know about.

When I was young, there were a lot of stories about ghosts, spooks, hauntings and terrors in North Omaha. Since I started the North Omaha History blog eight years ago, I’ve been research what’s fact versus what’s fiction, and collecting any evidence I can find that verifies or refutes the ghost stories I knew then. Along the way, I’ve found some stories I didn’t know anything about.

Here’s a collection of North Omaha ghost stories. Do you know other ones? Share them in the comments below, along with any questions, ideas or other thoughts!

Story 1: The Ghosts of Fort Omaha

Building 30: Administration & Public Safety at Fort Omaha, South Road between East and West Roads, North Omaha, Nebraska.
This is Building 30: Administration & Public Safety at Fort Omaha. Built in 1906 on South Road between East and West Roads as a noncommissioned officer’s barracks, in 1916 this became South Post Headquarters for the balloon training school; in 1929 it became the Staff Officer’s Headquarters of the Seventh Corps Area; between 1933 and the end of World War II it was a barracks and the Post Commissary; in 1947 it became a US Navy Rear Admiral’s headquarters. Today it is used as administration offices and for public safety offices at Fort Omaha.

Dead soldiers, grieving widows, a young girl, a Native American warrior, and a nicely dressed middle aged man are seen in different places around the Fort Omaha campus these days. When the night is right and you’re feeling a fright, you might also find yourself in the presence of one of these characters. Whether its a soldier who died in the 1918 flu epidemic, another one who went crazy, or a little girl who died at the Fort, today the campus is littered with stories.

Story 2: The Lady in White

Prospect Hill Cemetery, North Omaha, Nebraska
A 1970s image of the cemetery when it was a neglected relic behind public housing projects.

H. P. Stanwood was a serious man, a sculptor and marble cutter who made his living from marking the graves at Prospect Hill Cemetery. In July 1874, Mr. Stanwood and his assistants saw a ghost. After catching site of one of the assistants, she chased him through Stanwood’s shop and then went into Stanwood’s house. The entire time, she was looking for her children.

Story 3: Carter Lake’s Burning Lady

Carter Lake by Moonlight Omaha Neb
This image of sailboats on Carter Lake at night is from the first part of the 20th century. It was a sailing mecca for Omaha’s middle class.

In the 1910s, a new restaurant was built looking over Carter Lake for the fancy rich people who had cabins at the Rod and Gun Club. One of the first days he was there, the chef saw a flying, flaming ghost swirling around his bedroom above the restaurant.

A decade earlier, one of the high society ladies from North Omaha was cooking in her cabin when her gas stove went up in flames.

Story 4: The Immanuel Deaconess Tunnels

For almost 100 years there was a giant healthcare campus in North Omaha by North High School. Spread out over six blocks, there were 20 buildings, including a hospital, orphanage, old folks home, sanitarium, teaching institute, and more. Connecting all of these was a network of tunnels buried two stories underground. After the hospital moved in 1976, almost all of the buildings were demolished, and two decades later a new housing development went in their place. Talking with a friend who lives there, I recently learned that many of the residents in the hear ranging clanging and banging below their houses. Are there still patients below the houses banging on the pipes tonight?

Story 5: Chapel at Forest Lawn Cemetery

Forest Lawn in rain North Omaha Nebraska
Rain falls on the Forest Lawn Cemetery.

A large black shadow blocks out the light in a doorway. A group of paranormal investigators study the chapel at Forest Lawn Cemetery. On a long night doing hard work, one of the team members saw the shadow in the basement of the chapel. On their audio recorder a voice said, “get out.” A few years ago on Halloween, a group of people in the basement of the chapel saw a shadow move across the wall and then move into another room. A clairvoyant felt electricity through her body, her knees went weak and she instantly felt ill. That same evening, someone’s hair was pulled and said a name clearly.  A large black mass completely blocked out any light coming in through a doorway where the group was gathered, it simply stood there for a moment and then moved away. Today, this group regards the chapel at Forest Lawn Cemetery as the scariest place they know about.

Story 6: Ghosts at Hummel Park

Hummel Park, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is a 1918 pic of the road through Hummel Park.

There is a lot of misunderstanding about what happens at Hummel Park. A lot of it comes from racism, a lot from ignorance, and the rest of it from active imaginations. Hummel is a secluded, semi-remote park without a lot of oversight. Because of that, crimes have been committed and covered up there, and attempted coverups. However, a lot of good things have happened there too.

Story 7: North Omaha’s Missing Cemeteries

This is a 1900 article heading from the Omaha World-Herald entitled "Lost: Two whole cemeteries in the City of Omaha. Find will be rewarded with a large assortment of dead men's bones."
This is a 1900 article heading from the Omaha World-Herald entitled “Lost: Two whole cemeteries in the City of Omaha. Find will be rewarded with a large assortment of dead men’s bones.”

Omaha’s city father’s were shady dudes who stole land, fought opponents and claimed credit for things they never did. However, sometimes their reputations were made by well-meaning historians who followed the adage that history is written by the winners. Well, I’m breaking that rule and telling the story of how Byron Reed didn’t start Omaha’s first cemetery. I also wonder out loud about where the graves went that have been lost in time, and share some ideas about where they actually are today.

Bonus: A History of Digging Up the Dead in North Omaha

In 1909, the caretaker of the Prospect Hill Cemetery was convicted of illegally digging up the dead. Learn more in my special post-Halloween article.

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Elsewhere Online

Bonus Pics!

This is the original 1874 Omaha Bee story about The Lady in White.
This is a ghost story from an 1890s edition of the Omaha Bee.

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