From the hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining to the home of one of the Titanic's most famous survivors, you'll find plenty of creepy haunted places in Colorado. So while you visit the Rocky Mountain State and take in its natural beauty, be sure to stop by and visit some spirits.
Known as the "Disneyland for ghosts" since nearly every room has reported paranormal activity, Stanley Hotel is one of the top haunted locations in America. The hotel opened in 1909 and is most noted as the inspiration for the terrifying book and film, The Shining. The Stanley inspired author Stephen King during his stay at the hotel, and some of the film's interior shots were filmed in The Lodge (the former bachelors' lodging) at The Stanley.
The disembodied laughter of children peals in the hallways on the fourth floor. The lilting phantom piano melodies filter from the deserted concert hall as the spirit of Flora Stanley enjoys the gift her husband, Freelan Oscar Stanley, gave her. The Stanleys wander about their hotel, holding hands as they stroll among the guests.
The spirit of an employee named Paul shoos people out of the concert hall and often admonishes visitors after the 11 pm curfew. His disembodied voice demands they get out. Shadow figures, disembodied evil laughter, and flickering lights, signal the presence of a ghost. When vacuum cleaners turn on, the plugs come sailing out of the outlets. You won't see a woman in the bathtub of Room 217, where Stephen King stayed. However, there was a housekeeper who nearly died in the room sometime in 1911. The lantern she was using exploded, and she was injured, but survived. Not to let a little thing like death deter her, this spirit tidies up the room and often unpacks guests' luggage. The Stanley seems to be a magnet for ghosts. In fact, there are so many roaming about the Stanley Hotel, one will most likely stop by your room to freak you out.
LoveToKnow editor Karen Frazier stayed at The Stanley in spring of 2021 in The Lodge, which is the former bachelor's lodging. It's where most of the interior scenes for The Shining movie were filmed. Frazier and her husband were supposed to stay in the main building, but they were quickly relocated to a room in The Lodge when a water main broke in the main building and soaked their reserved room. Upon arriving, they moved their suitcases into the room and got ready to take a walk around the grounds. Frazier tossed a drugstore bag containing sunscreen on their bed and they walked out the door. When they returned to their room two hours later, the bag was missing. Frazier found it in the back corner of the room's walk-in closet, which they hadn't opened or entered in their first visit to the room.
Located in Clear Creek County, Georgetown is a National Historic Landmark District that was once a mining town. There are 240 protected buildings and most of them are haunted. Established in 1859 during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, this 1.1 square mile town has the most ghost in such a small confined space. No matter which building you investigate, you're sure to have some kind of paranormal experience, from phantom footsteps to disembodied voices. A few full-bodied apparitions show up on occasion.
For example, the full-bodied apparition of a woman donned in a Victorian dress manifests in front of unsuspecting guests. At the Hamill House Museum and the Hotel de Paris Museum, several full-bodied apparitions frighten guests and staff alike. The full-bodied apparition of a woman wanders about the Rose Street Bed and Breakfast and her disembodied sobs often awaken guests at night.
When is a cemetery not a cemetery? When it falls into neglect and the bodies remain, but the headstones are removed, and the land is reclaimed as a public park. That's the story of Denver's Cheesman Park, located in the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood.
The popular park may have as many as 2,000 bodies still buried under its lush greenery. Visitors to the park and residents in surrounding homes know these restless souls are around since they have frequent spooky encounters. If you're locked up for the night, you might hear knocking on your door, but when you open it, no one is there. If you visit the park, you may suddenly become overwhelmed with sadness or dread. You may also see shadow people wandering about the park at night. It's worse than a cemetery since these poor souls are completely forgotten, intentionally discounted, not meriting the very least of recognition with a grave marker. The feeling of restlessness you may feel when you enter the park could be an empathic reaction to the thousands of lost souls.
Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs opened in 1893. The hotel isn't shy about its paranormal activities and in a blog post lists all the ghostly encounters. The history of the hotel is macabre since, during World War II, the hotel was commandeered for a naval hospital and the basement served as the morgue for the deceased. Guests and staff hear a woman wailing. Could it be the ghost known as Bobbie, who was a nurse stationed at the naval hospital? Bobbie was murdered by her jealous lover, who was a naval officer. She must be a hungry ghost since she frequents the dining room around lunch time and at dinner. She always leaves a lingering trail of gardenia scented perfume in her wake.
The spirit of a woman in a floral dress watches over the guests in room 661. In one encounter, every time the guests opened the window, the spirit marched into the room and closed it. Many guests wake up to find her standing over their bed, watching them as they sleep. A security guard, Dave, saw the spirit of an old woman peering through the window from outside the hotel at a height that requires a ladder. A tour group heard two women talking and the sound of typewriter keys clicking. When they rushed to investigate the sounds, no one was in the office. It's debated who is responsible for the aroma of cigars that drift into the lobby and down the halls. Some believe it's the hotel's founder, Walter Devereaux, but others think it may be E.E. Lucas, the 1893 controller, who bought the hotel in 1916.
Central City Masonic Cemetery
Central City Masonic Cemetery lies between Central City and Black Hawk. It is a favorite place for paranormal investigators to visit. Strange sounds come from the cemetery. Orbs seen with the naked eye float through the gravestones. However, the most startling sight is the Lady in Black. This spirit has long appeared in the cemetery and visits the grave of John Edward Cameron, who died at 21 on November 1, 1912. It's unknown who Cameron was or the woman and her relationship to him. She appears on April 5 and November 1 to place flowers on his grave. Some people say she visits on October 31.
In fact, a group of paranormal investigators set up their investigation in the cemetery one October 31 night to see if the stories were true. They were not disappointed! The Woman in Black appeared in the graveyard and set her flowers on the grave. Two of the investigators tried to grab the ghost, but her apparition flew from the cemetery towards the woods, vanishing into thin air. This tale doesn't include the reason why the ghost hunters thought they could capture a ghost by grabbing it. Perhaps the manifestation of the spirit was so corporeal the ghost hunters suspected it was a person pranking them.
Often described as the second most haunted hotel in Colorado, the Hotel Jerome in Aspen, opened in 1889 and has quite a few resident ghosts. Jerome B. Wheeler (president of Macy's department store) financed the hotel and wanders about the lobby. There are numerous other apparitions, including one of a young boy who reportedly drowned in the hotel pool. His spirit disappears when noticed, but leaves a telltale wet spot on the floor. The spirit of a distraught man walks the halls, sobbing uncontrollably. Most people agree he's the ghost of poor silver prospector Henry O' Callister, who lost the love of his life when her family sent her back to Boston. Apparently, he hasn't found her in the afterlife. One or more ghosts like to help the hotel staff by turning down the beds. If you visit, you may see one or more of these benevolent spirits. The mischievous spirit of a former employee, Kerrigan, enjoys taunting the staff. In the late 1890s, the beautiful 16-year-old girl was bullied by coworkers and told they'd tossed her pet kitten into the hotel's icy pond. Panicking, Kerrigan ran to the pond to save her beloved pet. As a result, she developed pneumonia and died. Today, she strips the sheets from newly made beds, fills sinks with soapy water, and moves cleaning tools.
Molly Brown House
The Molly Brown House in Denver has quite a few resident ghosts. Dubbed, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, she was more than a survivor of the Titanic, she was a force to be reckoned with. This American socialite grabbed an oar in the lifeboat, ordered the other women to row, and insisted quartermaster Hichens go back to look for survivors. However, he was afraid the survivors would capsize their lifeboat and refused. A pioneer and champion in the Women's Suffrage Movement and a philanthropist, it's no wonder this powerful woman didn't stop after she died.
Her spirit wanders about the house. She is still such a strong presence that the temperature always grows cold whenever she's around. The spirit of her husband enjoys smoking his pipe and cigars. The aromas are prevalent throughout the house. When you enter the house, you might be tempted to look in a mirror on the first floor. You may be rewarded by the spirit of the butler appearing behind you, peering into the mirror with you. The apparition, Johanna, likes to hang out in one of the upstairs bedrooms. The apparition of a woman in a Victorian style dress enjoys rearranging the dining room furniture. Doors open and close on their own. Perhaps it's Molly letting her presence be known.
Bronco Billy's Casino
If you're in Cripple Creek, stop by Bronco Billy's Casino for a steak and a few slot machine games. Voted #1 Best Casino in Colorado, the Casino touts several restaurants and a themed boutique hotel (circa 1896). You may just decide to spend the night. Before checking out, don't forget to leave a note on one of the building's original chalkboards in your room. While you're enjoying your visit, you may see the resident ghost. The spirit of a young girl enjoys doodling on the casino walls. Sometimes she likes to get attention by throwing bar glasses off tables and the bar. She sometimes pouts and sits on the stairs and at other times, she looks out of the casino windows, startling passersby.
Highlands Ranch Mansion
Highlands Ranch Mansion & Historic Park in Highlands Ranch is a living snapshot of the lives of early settlers and pioneers. Several ghosts haunt the property. In 1926, Frank Kistler purchased the property. With its 50 acres, the park includes a working ranch and is the property of the Highlands Ranch Metro District. The mansion is open to the public and can also be rented for weddings and other events.
If you rent the venue, you may find closing up after your event difficult. It seems the ghosts like to turn on the lights you just got through turning off to make you walk back inside to turn off the lights once more. And, even once you get them turned off, and the door locked, you might be unlocking the door to turn those darn lights off - again. Once you win the on-and-off game and are walking to your car, look up at the upstairs bedroom windows. You may see the apparition of a girl staring down at you. That's when you know it is really time to go!
The apparition is probably Frank Kistler's daughter, Julia. This little ghost wears a white dress and wanders about the mansion. Her story is one of neglect when her father remarried. He adopted his new wife's two sons, and he doted on the boys from that point. Julia often stood peering out her bedroom window as he rode off with the boys, leaving her behind.
Julia enjoys being in her old bedroom and visitors see her wandering about the hallways, especially during wedding events. When renovations were being done in the attic, one of the carpenters was working alone, when he bolted down the stairs and out the house, leaving his tools behind. If you're touring the house, you might suddenly find a small cold hand slip into yours. The spirit of a little boy known as Alex loves to hold hands and walk beside visitors to the mansion. Don't be surprised if you hear music lilting from the ballroom. It seems there's always some kind of party going on in the spirit world. Not to be outdone by apparitions, and phantom music, spirit orbs are seen with the naked eye and often show up in photos.