Moss Mansion and its Haunts

Posted by in US Ghost Adventures

The Moss Mansion in Billings, Montana, is a local gem. People from the area know and love it, and passers-by are in awe of its beauty and stature. The Moss Mansion was designed by a well-known New York architect named Henry Janeway. Engineers R.J. Hardenbergh and E.H. Gagnon built it from the dirt up.

The home was built for Preston and Martha Moss and their family. The gorgeous red stone building was massive for its time, an engineering marvel. It’s three stories and now functions as a historic house museum. It sits on a two-acre lot and has twenty-eight rooms in all. The mansion is also attached to the greenhouse-type structure, where plants and vegetables are grown.

The home provided the Moss family with plenty of space and even accommodated their three servants. It truly has it all: parlors, dining rooms, closets, libraries, sitting rooms, garden rooms, bathrooms—you name it, there’s a room for it.

The mansion is preserved perfectly, and visiting it is a step back in time. The wood paneling and gold-threaded walls transport you back to 1902, and the marble fireplaces and elegant decor nestle you in the turn of the century’s lap of luxury. All of the rooms at Moss Mansion have a theme, as Martha had the most creative, artistic eye. With how much love the mansion received and how much the Moss’s adored the home, it’s easy to see why it’s now haunted by the members of the family – and they love making their presence known.

Why is the Moss Mansion Haunted?


It’s believed that when a place is cherished during life, it’s loved the same way after one’s passing. This often leads to entities remaining in the homes they once loved, even after death. The Moss Mansion was the private residence of the Moss family from its inception in 1903 until 1984. Several of the Moss family died in the home, including Virginia Moss, Preston Moss himself, and his wife Martha. Melville also died in the home in 1984.

History of the Moss Family

Preston Moss was born in Paris, Missouri, in 1863, in the middle of the American Civil War. He attended public schools but attended the Kemper Military Academy in Booneville, Missouri, for his later high school years. Moss then attended Harvard for a year but ended up finishing his education at Eastman Business College in New York.

After mastering the banking business by watching his father, he started his career by buying a string of lumber yards.

After growing his business, Preston met his wife Martha and fell for her almost instantly. She was a college-educated woman gifted in music and art. They married in Paris, Missouri, on June 5th, 1889, and had their first child in 1890 — a son they named Woodson. Their second child, Kula, was born in 1891.

In 1892, the Moss family moved to the up-and-coming railroad town of Billings, Montana, where Preston found great success. He developed the area’s economy and was a model leader and citizen for the residents of Billings.

He soon became a prominent investment banker, bringing modern conveniences and growth to the once dusty and rough western town. He even started the first dial telephone company and founded a local newspaper, the Billings Gazette.

In association with H.W. Rowley, Mr. Moss developed the utility company Billings Light and Water Power Co. He assisted other local citizens with their business ventures and was behind a toothpaste factory and a meat packing plant. Perhaps the meat packing plant was due to Preston’s ranching ventures as he and a man named T.A. Snidow ran 80,000 heads of sheep and several thousand cattle.

Preston also became a leader in the Masons’ Montana State Organization and served on the Billings School Board, making a difference in the public education offered to Billings school children. When Billings finally built its high school, his daughter Melville and his sons Preston and David attended it and weren’t sent to East Coast boarding high schools, which was common among the rich.

Four of their other children went on to college on the East Coast, while Preston Jr. attended a business college in Billings. He served in the Army but never saw any wartime action in WWI.

The Moss children eventually returned to Billings and became ranchers, house managers, employees at Moss Businesses, and even railroad employees. The home was ultimately listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and Melville, a Moss child, is credited with the preservation of the property and the family items.

Manifestations at the Moss Mansion

There are specific manifestations at the Moss home as well as more general activity. Some of the regularly-reported happenings include a female voice in the billiards room, cool winds blowing throughout the closed home, as well as shadow figures throughout the Moss mansion. Plenty of ghost investigation teams have visited the home, and all come out with evidence they believe to be proof of the Moss family’s ghosts still residing there.

Preston Moss

Patriarch Preston Moss has been seen walking down the central staircase many times before. He is also reported at nighttime in the master bedroom.

Melville Moss

Melville is known to still reside in the home, checking up on strangers who stay in the house at night. She’s known to be polite, but watchful. Melville is heard speaking alongside a child, which many believe to be the ghost of Virginia Moss, who passed away when she was just a tot.

Virginia Moss

Virginia Moss’ apparition was first reported when Melville was nearing the end of her life. A night nurse looking after Melville saw a little girl standing on the landing near the master staircase. She also saw the child watching Melville as she slept — it seemed like her appearance became more common towards the end of Melville’s life.

Haunted Montana

The Moss Mansion is said to be haunted to this day. Luckily for visitors, the entities at the Moss home are all very friendly and cordial and interested in having strangers walk about their eternal home. The Moss Mansion is owned by the city of Billings and the Montana Historical Society. It is open to the public as a museum that documents the 83-year occupancy of the Moss family.

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