Local Haunts of Colorado

Come Trick or Treat season, people start scoping out where to find the best corn mazes, pumpkin patches and, if they enjoy a bit of a thrill, the best haunted houses. You don’t have to wait until Halloween to find some great haunts; turns out, Colorado has some great destinations that will add a little spooky to your next weekend day trip.

The Molly Brown House Museum (Denver)
The “Unsinkable” Molly Brown was a one-time local who famously survived the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. She once lived in this Victorian Denver home, built in 1889. Since then, it’s served as a private residence, an apartment for young men, and a home for wayward girls. It’s also a place associated with numerous eerie tales, including tales of hauntings by Molly herself. Today, in addition to frequent visitors by paranormal investigators, it serves as an educational outlet and offers historical tours. www.mollybrown.org

Museum of Colorado Prisons (Canon City)
Royal Gorge is not the only thing to check out while you’re in town. “Stop by and do time” at the museum, which shares a stone wall and armed towers with the prison that has been in continuous operation since 1871. Explore over 140 years of history including the two story cell house, with 30 inmate cells on the upper level and archival storage, the original kitchen and isolation cells on the lower level. Documentation of famous riots and exhibits of famous inmates, including Alfred Packer (convicted cannibal) and Antone Woode (convicted 12 year old murderer) are just some of the creepy artifacts on display. With all that happened within those prison walls over the last couple hundred years, the spookiness level is definitely high. Prisonmuseum.org

Hotel Colorado (Glenwood Springs)
The Hotel Colorado was built in 1891 and hosted such famous guests as Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft, Molly Brown, Al Capone and even notorious gambler Doc Holiday (although his visits to the Hot Springs preceded the existing hotel, his presence forever links him with the beginnings of the Hotel Colorado.) It was converted to a hospital in WWII, hosting as many as 500 injured military personnel. The giant ovens in the basement, rumored to have been used as crematoriums. There are still 131 of the original rooms available to guests, but visitors to the hotel aren’t limited to paying guests. Guests and staff alike have reported lots of activity, especially in the pre-dawn hours. Elevators moving floor to floor without passengers, wafting smells of cigar smoke and perfume in the lobby and sounds of dishes being moved in the Devereaux Dining Room have all been reported. A young girl in Victorian clothing has reportedly been seen playing ball on the grounds as well. Check in and see what you might see at the Hotel Colorado. hotelcolorado.com

Central City Masonic Cemetery and Creepy Crawl (Central City)
Nothing says creepy weekend haunt like an old cemetery. Just above the mining towns of Central City lies this graveyard that was started in the early 1860’s. Rumor has it that every year around November 1st, the ghost of a woman dressed in black appears to visit the grave of John Edward Cameron. There’s also stories of the ghost of a young boy that may follow you around the grounds. As they say, there’s safety in numbers, so if you chose, you can visit the cemetery with the Gilpin Historical Society during the Creepy Crawls around the city each October and take in Paranormal Night at the Museum. www.gilpinhistory.org

Hotel Jerome (Aspen)
Aspen is known for being a luxury ski resort destination, but this particular hotel has quite a different reputation. Jerome B. Wheeler built the hotel in 1889, less than a decade after the mining town of Aspen was established. The town and the hotel were booming until Aspen’s “quiet years” with the mines beginning to close. At that time, people paid $10 for a month of residence at the hotel, including meals, and the Hotel Jerome became the social center of town. Hauntings at the Jerome are rumored to include visits from the ghost of a little boy who tragically drowned in the swimming pool as well as a maid who fell ill and died after falling into an ice-cold pond. Brave enough to book your stay? Hoteljerome.aubergeresorts.com

Stanley Hotel (Estes Park)
The Stanley, arguable the best known spooky Rocky Mountain destination, is famous for being the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining. The hotel is home to endless ghost stories, including those of no less than 4 spirits regularly roaming the halls, most notably, Lucy, Paul, Eddie, and Elizabeth. In the concert hall, lights have been known to flicker, laughter and footsteps echo off the walls and unexplainable, chilly drafts greet guests from time to time. During the spookiest of seasons the Stanley offers more than just their famous Evening Tour; join them for Murder Mystery Dinners, The Shining Ball on October 21st, and Halloween Masquerade Party on October 28th. Book your stay with the Spirit Adventure Package for tickets to the spirited night tour, a Stanley “squishy” ghost, REDRUM mug and accommodations of the most infamous 4th floor. stanleyhotel.com

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