LAVA HOT SPRINGS, Idaho — Lava Hot Springs, population 407. It's a town just south of Pocatello that for hundreds of years has been known as a place of healing. The town is built around hot mineral water that bubbles to the surface near the Portneuf River.
"It's what the community is founded on, really," said George Katsilometes, who purchased the Lava Hot Springs Inn more than thirty years ago.
But the hot water is not the only thing that attracts some visitors. The main building here was once a hospital and morgue.
"I saw a head, up here without a body," said Amber Mills. "It was like this shadow figure head just go down like this with no body, and I was like, I saw a head."
Mills is one of many who believe some of those who died here are still hanging around.
"But I heard boots on a hardwood floor," said Mills. Now she is obsessed with a spirit she calls the cowboy. "But now I'm prepared, right? He ain't gonna get me this time, right? We got our dowsing rods, I got this little pendulum thing. Ooh, I've got my spirit box. It's a PSB-8, okay? I'm gonna catch him. I'm gonna talk to him, actually. I'm gonna tell him why he thinks it's fun to scaring people"
Katsilometes says his employees have also had experiences, and he himself has had one. "I have experienced one episode in my boiler room, where something or someone came up behind me, I turned around and it's not there."
And while some, including myself may be skeptical about the presence of ghosts here, there is no disputing the real qualities of Lava Hot Springs lifeblood, the soothing hot water that has kept this community going long after other industries have faded.
"The springs are what keeps it going, and what has kept it going," said Katsilometes. "Cause mining is no longer, and trapping is no longer, but the springs keep going. They don't stop, fortunately."