Colorado: A History of Haunt Most of us know Colorado as the home to Rocky Mountain National Park, a state that exhibits the traits of both the desert and charming mountain towns. But Colorado is also home to many haunting buildings and places, where paranormal activity has been witnessed ever since the 1850’s, when settlers began to rush to its land on the whim and promise of plentiful gold or jobs building railroads.
Haunted Buildings, Towns, and Landmarks On the United State’s Centennial year, Colorado was officially inducted, making it the 38th, and bringing about the growth of its towns into cities. But before that, Colorado was part of the wild west, a place of outlaws, wars with Native Americans, and unruly characters. The state already had several inns, hotels, and brothels existing to offer travelers and ramblers alike a place of shelter, food, and even entertainment as they made their way to find great fortune, purchase land, or decide to settle down.
During this time of discovery, America, especially the middle and western states, were wild with both possibility and peril – gunslingers could shoot you for wronging them on a card game, rattlers could bite you, infecting you with a deadly venom, and with little to no hospitals around, many men and women often died. While the east coast may have paranormal activity dating back as early as the 1600’s, the ghosts and hauntings of Colorado provide a particular and captivating charisma that keeps tourists scared, yet interested.
Timberline Lodge & The Stanley Hotel This fascination with the paranormal found its home in Colorado through cinematic history, with the Timberline Lodge in Fraser, Colorado. For anyone not familiar, the Timberline Lodge Hotel was the scouted site for the actualization of the Stephen King classic, The Shining, which was released in 1980. Although, none of the interior of the hotel was captured (director, Kubrick, and film crew had a soundstage built in London for all of the film’s interior shots), there are four to five shots of Timberline’s exterior in the film, depicting it as King’s infamous site for evil, which in the novel is called The Overlook Hotel. Although, staff of Timberline assure there are no ghostly apparitions, such as a pair of twins, and definitely no occurrences quite as strange as depicted in the film in real life, many tourists frequently mention the film during their stay. In 1997, a TV film series of The Shining was created, which was filmed at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park and offers Halloween-themed activities during October, such as a ghost tour of the historic hotel.
Molly Brown House in Denver Molly Brown gained national fame when she survived the tragic sinking of The Titanic. She settled in Denver with her husband, J.J., where they became involved in the local charities and politics of the city. After their deaths, the home was used for several different objections: a boarding school for boys, and then girls, until the city of Denver purchased it and turned it into a museum in the memory of the kind-hearted heroine, Molly Brown. It was during the renovations and now operations of the museum that staff, as well as visitors, began to notice strange things. Often, the smell of pipe tobacco or cigar smoke is acknowledged, and yet no one is smoking. Many believe this is a paranormal occurrence, signifying the presence of J.J. Brown, who was an avid smoker. Other times, in the room of Molly’s daughter, Catherine Ellen, window fashionings are moved without the presence of wind or air. Considering the unfortunate end of Catherine Ellen’s life, who died young due to disease, many believe her ghost is still present.
Victor Hotel in Victor During the gold rush, Victor, Colorado experienced a flood of opportunists, and hotels made to be constructed to accommodate both the state’s guests and the economy. This four-story hotel in the town’s center was built in the image of the Victorians that were popular during the era. The town became a mining hub, a dangerous occupation for many men. But some of the dangers in life were not so obvious, particularly when a miner and guest at the Victor hotel, named, Eddie, made the mistake of not looking before stepping into the elevator. Unfortunately, that morning he should have taken the stairs, because the elevator rig was broken and instead of stepping on the floor of the elevator cab, he plummeted to his death. Guests at the hotel, still to this day, stay they can hear the heavy miner’s boots, as Eddie walks alongside them in the hallways. Some may turn, in attempt to find where the noise is occurring, but it either vanishes, or continues with no bodily appearance to match it. Other times, the elevator acts up. Could it be Eddie trying to entrap another to the death he so unwittingly chose?
St. Elmo Some towns in Colorado aren’t lucky enough to have just one haunted building in their midst, some have a population of ghosts, such is the case for St. Elmo, Colorado. St. Elmo is a ghost town, in every sense of the word. Since its decline from days of having a population, general store, post office, and hotel, the former place of interest, thanks to its near-by and plentiful mines as well as the booming railroad industry, St. Elmo has little to show for it all. Its previous progress was mostly owed to the Stark family, who settled St. Elmo, opening a hotel and general store, which were family-run by Anton and Annabelle Stark, and their three children. Annabelle was known to be rather frigid and very religious, often refusing to let her children socialize or do anything outside of their home, other than work. The slow depreciation of the town seemed to mirror the degradation of Annabelle, who in the 1950’s was sent to a mental institution after exhibiting odd, frightening behavior, such was walking around the town at night with a shotgun. Some say there were nights she went out with a bow instead of a shotgun. She eventually died, but the spirit of Annabelle is said to still roam St. Elmo, as if she’s still protecting its grounds, a gloomy apparition, deeply troubled by St. Elmo’s fall from its glory days.