Tag Archives: Ghosthunting Colorado

Is The Navarre, a Former Denver Brothel, Haunted?

The Navarre building, which is now a museum, used to house a brothel. Its location directly across the street from one of Denver’s most prestigious hotels caused some problems for businessmen who did not want to be seen going from one place to the other. Tunnels underneath the buildings helped to solve that problem.

the-navarre-brothel

Bar brawls and loose women are indelibly part of the history of the Old West and, once Denver was established, it too had a red-light district. Some of these brothels became connected to expensive hotels via an intricate underground tunnel system that was built beneath the Mile High City, as its wealthy did not want to be seen coming and going from such establishments. Rumor has it that these passageways were put  to further use during Prohibition, and many businesses used them to transport liquor and sometimes trade it with brothels.

Kailyn Lamb, author of Ghosthunting Colorado, shares with us the story of one of these brothels, The Navarre.

The Navarre was originally built as a school for girls in 1880 and was called the Brinker Collegiate Institute. While originally it served only women, it soon became a coed institution. After the death of the school’s namesake in 1889, the building was sold and reopened as Hotel Richelieu, a more infamous type of establishment. Here, gentlemen could dine with ladies of the night, either publicly or in more private areas of the building.

There was a potential pool of clients just across the street at the Brown Palace Hotel, but business did not take off quite as quickly as the owners of the Richelieu might have hoped. As noted, to be seen coming to and from the Richelieu from the Brown was not ideal for a gentleman, so the idea for the tunnel system was born. The first tunnel connecting the basement of the Brown to the Hotel Richelieu was constructed around 1892. Later, a whole system of tunnels would spread underneath Denver, connecting other hotels—and even the government buildings of the city—to the whorehouses.

Today, buildings can tap into the tunnels for hot or cold air, an unlikely heating and cooling system that is sold by the city of Denver. Bryan Bonner and Matthew Baxter of the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society (RMPRS) said that, due to movement of air, the tunnels can make a plethora of ghostlike sounds. They also said that, unfortunately, some of the tunnels are too dangerous to enter, and many have been closed down or sealed.

With the help of the tunnels, the Richelieu became the second-best brothel in the city, after Mattie’s House of Mirrors—which, incidentally, is also considered to be haunted.

Many of the ghosts believed to reside in the building (now called The Navarre), predominantly on the second floor, are said to be those of the working girls. Bonner said that on one of RMPRS’s ghost tours, a guest allegedly saw someone pull back a curtain while the group was standing in front of The Navarre. He said it was unlikely anyone was working in the building at the time, as it is now the home of the American Museum of Western Art—the Anschutz Collection. As all of the RMPRS tours are done at night and after business hours for the museum, only security personnel should have been in the building and, according to Bonner, they never leave their posts. His theory is that the mysterious figure who pulled back the curtain may have been the ghost of a working girl.

The building continued to be used as a brothel until the early 1900s, when it became home to a different kind of discouraged business: gambling. In fact, the building’s current name, The Navarre, came about after the building was lost in a card game. The new owner named the building for a French king. One of the building’s ghost stories is that of a man who was not gambling well one night and decided to pull his gun and shoot himself in the chest for everyone to see. It is said that visitors can hear him wandering the halls on the lower floor.

After the city began clearing out gambling halls and brothels, the building became a fine restaurant and eventually a top jazz club in the city. It was purchased in 1997 by the Anschutz Corporation. Regardless of who owns it, however, the RMPRS leaders say it is a good idea to keep an eye on The Navarre, as it currently seems to have a lot of ghostly activity happening in it.

Lumber Baron Inn

The Lumber Baron Inn in Denver Doesn’t Shy Away from its Haunted Past

Lumber Baron InnLike many hotels, the Lumber Baron provides guests with a comfortable place to stay, as well as a venue for weddings and other events. What the hotel also has is a whole collection of mystery dinners. Tickets for the annual mystery dinner season can be found on the inn’s website.

The eponymous lumber baron was John Mouat, a Scottish immigrant who built the mansion after acquiring his fortune in the lumber industry in the 1890s. After the Mouats, the house was passed down to different families before being converted into separate apartments. This is where the horrors of the so-called mystery mansion come in.

By 1970 the mansion had been converted into individual apartments. One 17-year-old from Golden, Colorado, named Cara Lee Knoche, started living in the building in September of that year. She had previously dropped out of high school. On October 12, 1970, both Knoche and Marianne Weaver, a high school friend of hers, were found dead in Knoche’s apartment. Knoche had been raped and then strangled to death. She was found naked and shoved under the bed with a knife underneath her.

There were signs that she struggled with her attacker and tried to protect herself. Weaver, on the other hand, was found lying on top of the bed with a shot to the head. The police suspect she may have walked in on the murder, in turn to be murdered herself.

The two girls are often thought of as the cause of any paranormal activity that happens in the building. Apparitions of young women have been seen, and the sound of footsteps has been heard. In one case the image of Weaver was thought to be seen in the reflection of a mirror photographed at the inn. In the Valentine Suite, which is where the girls were murdered, some guests have said that they felt something hovering near them. Both images and recordings of cats have been made in the Valentine Suite, even though there was no cat on the premises at the time. Some psychics who have investigated the building claim to have contacted the two women. While they did supposedly go into detail about their deaths, there was unfortunately no information about the killer.

On the other hand, some of the paranormal activity is unrelated to Knoche and Weaver. Some claim that Mouat may still haunt the building. Cold spots have been felt throughout the building, and the house creaks and groans despite heavy renovation. There is also the figure of a woman in Victorian clothing that can be seen on the stairwell. Some also claim it is her shadow you see in the mirror above the fireplace in the front parlor. Some people have also claimed to see a tall woman in a blue dress from the ’20s. Additionally they can smell the cigarette smoke she leaves behind, despite a no-smoking policy in the building. The owner claimed a teenage ghost would greet him in the basement every day as well.

After the murders in the ’70s, the building began to crumble. The next owners, Julie and Walter Keller, found the building in the ’90s and decided to restore it. Their job was not an easy one, as the building was so dilapidated it had been condemned by the city, but it is now considered one of the best examples of original Queen Anne architecture in Denver. The Kellers did not shy away from the paranormal aspect of their hotel and hosted paranormal investigations there on many occasions. But despite booming business, they placed the Mystery Mansion back on the market in June 2014. It sold in April 2016 for $1.7 million to Elaine and Joel Bryant, who will continue to operate it as a bed-and-breakfast.

In her book Ghosthunting ColoradoKailyn Lamb looks at locations throughout the state and dives headfirst into the history behind the ghosts and what has made them stay. Join her in investigating the history of some of Colorado’s most haunted locations, and you might find more than gold in those hills.

Photo credit: Kailyn Lamb

Croke-Patterson Mansion

Kailyn Lamb, author of Ghosthunting Colorado, takes us on a tour of the Croke-Patterson Mansion in Denver.

Denver’s Croke-Patterson Mansion: A Long History of Paranormal Activities

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-10-17-38-amThomas B. Croke was a teacher from Wisconsin who came to Denver and made his fortune as a businessman. From the beginning, Croke-Patterson Mansion had a reputation. A basic Internet search on the house brings up several websites that tell a “legendary” tale of how Croke was not able to spend even one day in his new home because something felt wrong about it. Real estate records reveal, however, that Croke lived in the house for six months, and the real culprit for his vacating the mansion was more likely the crash of the silver market. In addition, Croke’s wife passed away before the home’s completion, leaving him a widower as well as a single parent. Croke’s parents also joined him in the house, but his mother died shortly after moving in. Records and letters show that Croke later traded the house for land that was owned by Thomas Patterson.

Patterson was a US Senator for the state of Colorado, who had previously served in the United States House of Representatives. Patterson was also the owner of the Rocky Mountain News, Colorado’s first newspaper. He lived in the house with his wife, Katherine, and daughters Mary and Margaret. Patterson also had a son, James, who had committed suicide in California before the family moved into the house. Mary died of chronic illness in 1894; after the death of his wife in 1902, Patterson deeded the house to his daughter Margaret and her husband, Richard C. Campbell. Patterson lived in the house a total of 23 years, until his death in July 1916. The Campbells continued to live in the mansion until 1924, the longest any single family ever did. The Campbells sold the house to the Louise Realty Company.

Before becoming home to another family, the mansion changed hands and functions several times. However, the next family to live in the Croke-Patterson Mansion is frequently skipped over in online accounts of its history.

Hauntings Continue at the Croke-Patterson Mansion in Denver

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-10-04-07-amDr. Archer Sudan purchased and moved into the house in 1947. His wife, Tulleen, who was a nurse, accompanied him. They had a son, Archer Jr., who did not live with them in the mansion, as he was old enough to live on his own at the time. Although Tulleen was said to be happy and social, she committed suicide in one of the bathrooms of the house in 1950 using cyanogas, a powerful pesticide. It was rumored that the reason behind her suicide was that she had a miscarriage. What is most surprising about these residents being excluded from most written histories of the house is that it is the supposed ghost of Tulleen Sudan that permeates most of the tales. A woman who lost her baby, looking longingly out the third-floor window; the sounds of a crying baby when no one is in the house; and the supposed burial of a baby in the basement are among the accounts related to her. There is also a rumor that the baby was murdered. Tulleen, however, was 47 when she died, past the age of healthy childbearing, and there is no record of a child being born in the house. Some people who have entered the house even claim that they begin to feel as if they cannot breathe when walking up the stairs to the third floor. Cyanogas creates cyanide when combined with moisture, effectively suffocating anyone close enough to be exposed to the gas. Supposedly, Tulleen used a bathtub full of water, creating the cyanide to kill herself. Dr. Sudan continued to live in the house until 1958. After he and his second wife moved out of the house, Archer Jr. moved into the mansion, serving as landlord for the separate apartments his father had created upon moving in. Records show it was sold in October 1972.

Many of the stories of apparitions point to Tulleen’s spirit having never left the house after her death. But there is more to the story of the mansion. History major Mary Rae and her husband became the next owners in April 1973, saving it from demolition and later helping to make it a historic landmark.

In the late ’70s, the building was renovated to become an office space. Construction workers would leave for the night, only to come back the next day and find all their previous day’s work undone. Suspecting that people, and not ghosts, were behind it, workers put a fence around the building, and when that did not work they brought in a guard, who quit after one night. Next, guard dogs were brought in to protect the work site. There are multiple accounts of what happened next, but they all agree on one thing: One of the dogs jumped from a tower window in the building on the first night and died of his injuries within several days. According to other versions of the story, another one was also mortally injured on the second night. The other guard dog was found in the basement in a catatonic state, in which he remained for the rest of his life.

Despite these setbacks, the office space was eventually completed, but the hauntings did not stop, and employees would hear typewriters and other office supplies being used when there was no one around. Many tied this to Thomas Patterson, saying that some scandal or story had not made it into the paper, so a departed Patterson was going to do it himself.

One person, who owned the building in 1998, claims to have seen ghosts and witnessed household items move on their own. One resident of the building in 2004 claims to have seen apparitions of a maid who would go up and down the stairs, with only her upper body and torso visible and her legs seeming to dissipate.

There is also a story of the ghost of Katherine Patterson helping a pregnant resident roll over. Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society (RMPRS) has worked with the current and previous owners of the building, such as Dr. Douglas Ikeler and his wife, Melodee. Bryan  Bonner of RMPRS says that he heard the story of the pregnant woman firsthand from Melodee, who lived in the mansion with her husband for 10 years. Bonner added that, including the owners he has personally worked with, anyone who has been in contact with the mansion for long periods of time seems to start to “lose it.” He used Tulleen Sudan as a prime example.

RMPRS also did a radio show out of the mansion during one of the periods it was vacant. Its members decided they were going to stay the night there for the show. One of the sound engineers stayed in the basement. According to Bonner, he came back upstairs immediately, saying there was a man standing in the corner. They searched the mansion but could not find a man. Bonner added, however, that it was the same corner of the basement where the catatonic dog was found, and it was the same corner in which the Ikelers’ daughters had previously claimed to have seen a man standing by their toys.

Now Patterson Bed-and-Breakfast Guests Can Decide for Themselves Whether the Croke-Patterson Mansion is Still Haunted

Croke-Patterson MansionThe house remained vacant for a while before its most current owner, Brian Higgins, and his business partner at the time, Travis McAfoos, purchased the building in hopes of turning it into a bed-and-breakfast. Higgins decided to film the renovations on the building, documenting his own “hauntings” and mishaps that occurred while the work was in progress.

After an 18-month renovation, the mansion was reopened in August 2012 as the Patterson Bed and Breakfast. Since then, it landed on CBS’s top 10 bed-and-breakfasts list in July 2014. With nine themed rooms and accommodations such as large flat-screen TVs, Higgins has worked hard to erase the stigma surrounding the Croke-Patterson Mansion. He renovated it for the modern world but kept some of the historical Victorian-era design, such as the mansion’s famed stained-glass windows. For the cost of spending a night there, paranormal enthusiasts can decide for themselves whether the mansion is still haunted.

Photo credits
Croke-Patterson Mansion, street view: By Jeffrey Beall (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Croke-Patterson Mansion closeup and tower: Kailyn Lamb

Mattie’s House of Mirrors—Downtown Denver

Ghostly Activities in Mattie’s House of Mirrors

House of MirrorsKailyn Lamb, author of Ghosthunting Coloradolooks at locations throughout the state and dives headfirst into the history behind the ghosts and what has made them stay. Join her investigation of Mattie’s House of Mirrors.

One of the busiest bars in the lower downtown area of Denver was once home to one of the city’s more popular brothels, Mattie’s House of Mirrors. The House of Mirrors was built in 1889 by Jennie Rogers, whose primary objective was to compete with the brothel owned by Mattie Silks. When the building first opened, it was located on Holladay Street; in the late 1880s to early 1890s, the street would later be called Market Street. In 1894, before Rogers opened for business, brothel owners were shaking in their boots due to the murders of three prostitutes on Market Street, which became known as Strangler’s Row as a result.

In Mattie’s, Mirrors Covered the Walls

Silks took over the business in 1910. Once she was in control of the building, she converted the lower floor into a respectable restaurant. The building gained its name the “House of Mirrors” because any and all space was covered in mirrors. The upstairs of the building was a little less family friendly than the restaurant.

The Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society (RMPRS) investigated the building in 2000 due to the alleged activity reported there. While there are plenty of rumors about people who have died in the building, the RMPRS could only find the record for the death of one woman, Ella Wellington. She was at one point an owner of the building; however, in addition to that, she may have also been an accountant or working girl for the location. RMPRS could not determine the cause of her death.

Some of the reports of ghostly activity come from the room in which Wellington died, but the activity is not limited to that room. Some activities that have been reported are the piano playing by itself, the elevator moving between floors when it has not been called, and the smell of smoke in the bathrooms. Several people have also reported hearing parties when no one is in the building. Several staff members refuse to go to the upstairs area of Mattie’s alone. During this investigation, the researchers were able to pick up what sounded like a conversation between two voices in a corner. The recorded conversation can be found on the RMPRS website.

The building now houses a bar called LoDo’s. It is no longer covered in mirrors, but a plaque can be seen on the front of the building commemorating Mattie Silks and her House of Mirrors.

The Stanley Hotel in Denver

Stanley Hotel Ranked as One of the Most-Haunted Buildings in the United States

Stanley HotelWhen writing a book on haunted locations in the state of Colorado, the Stanley Hotel simply cannot be overlooked. It was ranked as one of the most-haunted buildings in the United States by Denver’s KUSA/9News in September 2014 and is widely regarded as the most haunted place in Colorado. The hotel does not shy away from its haunted reputation and, in fact, thrives under the idea. Guests can even participate in haunted tours of the building and grounds with a guide named Scary Mary. The hotel is also host to  numerous horror film festivals throughout the year.

Stanley Hotel Best Known for Stephen King’s The Shining

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 4.57.11 PMAnother story that makes the hotel so popular involves Stephen King’s The Shining. King was inspired to write this popular novel, which was published in 1977, after staying in the hotel. Later, in 1980, Stanley Kubrick was so enthralled by the novel that he made it into the popular movie of the same title. It is regarded as one of the best horror movies of all time, and the Stanley Hotel plays the film on loop, 24 hours a day, on channel 42. This movie, however, was not filmed on location at the Stanley Hotel because of a lack of necessary lighting and power, according to Kubrick. Supposedly King did not like Kubrick’s film and felt that it ignored many of the themes in his book. According to tours at the hotel, King supervised a made-for-TV version of The Shining that was shot at the Stanley and aired in 1997. One of the more noticeable differences between the book and the movie is the giant hedge/maze. King’s version had giant hedge animals that moved and taunted characters, while Kubrick’s movie had an eerie maze.

In 2009, the hotel celebrated 100 years of wowing the nation as a successful haunted hotel. No one is sure when the haunts in question began. Several different apparitions and instances of paranormal activity have been reported throughout the building, especially in the lobby. The ghost of Stanley himself, as one might expect, has ostensibly been seen throughout the building. Additionally, his wife, Flora, who was a professional pianist, is thought to be the unseen player that tickles the keys later at night in the Music Room (although some report that it is not Flora but her husband who plays the ghostly tunes).

Lots of Paranormal Activity Reported on the Fourth Floor of the Stanley Hotel

The fourth floor of the hotel is another location where paranormal activity is often reported. Dunraven, the wealthy man from whom Stanley bought the land, is reportedly seen in room 407, accompanied by the smell of his tobacco pipe. It is strange that Dunraven’s ghost should appear here, however, as he never stayed in the hotel and had left the country before it was even built. The lights also seem to have a mind of their own in the room, and there have been reports of a ghostly face looking out the window when the room is not occupied. According to an online video tour of the hotel led by Scary Mary, the fourth floor was originally a cavernous attic and was one of the few locations where children were permitted. People have said they can hear the sound of children laughing and running through the halls, especially in room 418. Some have reported the sound of bouncing balls, and others still have reported the feeling of being tucked in at night, a duty given to the children’s nannies. There is a closet that notoriously opens and closes on its own in room 401, and in room 428 people report hearing footsteps on the roof and their furniture being moved around. There is also said to be a friendly ghost called the Cowboy in that room, whose apparition tends to stand near one of the corners of the foot of the bed.

Photos taken of the hotel have been known to depict orbs or even ghostly silhouettes. One area of the hotel, a stairwell, creates a sort of vortex of activity in images, and photos of that area often show greenish orbs. Sometimes, the more human-shaped ghosts that appear in photos are seen in rooms or areas where guests are not allowed or are not staying in at the time.

Stanley Hotel Not Shy About its Reputation

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 4.58.32 PMThe hotel does not shy away from its reputation as the most haunted hotel in Colorado. As a matter of fact, in addition to daily historical tours, the hotel also gives daily haunted tours. Its website lists several tour packages, including a historical/paranormal combo tour, a nighttime ghost tour, and a five-hour ghosthunt through the most haunted areas of the hotel. All of the tours require advance booking and have separate costs. According to one article, the Stanley earns more than $1 million on tours alone. It also has a “haunted photo gallery” that includes spoof ghost photos of different locations in the hotel. Its online store includes items that pay homage to The Shining with oozing, bloodlike lettering spelling out “REDRUM.” There is even an annual horror film festival there, dubbed the Stanley Film Festival, that was founded in 2013.

Ghosthunting-ColoradoMuch of the hotel’s fame is due to the success of King’s book and Kubrick’s film. Are the ghosts just there to play along, or is the Stanley Hotel really as haunted as they say? The best way to find out is to visit it yourself.

Ghosthunting Colorado is the latest book in the popular America’s Haunted Road Trip Series. The guide covers 30 haunted locations in Colorado. Each site includes a combination of history, haunted lore and phenomena, and practical visitation information.

About the author: Kailyn Lamb holds a degree in journalism from Mississippi State University. She has always had a fascination with otherworldly things, and she devours horror movies, Stephen King novels, and ghost stories as often as she can. Kailyn lives in Denver, CO.

Photo credits:
Bryan Bonner/Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society
By Rominator (Self-photographed) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Bruce Vittetoe (Lobby Piano  Uploaded by xnatedawgx) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Ghosthunting Colorado

Ghosthunting Colorado—The Latest Book in the Popular America’s Haunted Road Trip Series

Ghosthunting-ColoradoWelcome to colorful Colorado, home of ghostly hotels, city parks, and, of course, some of the best mountain viewing around.

Author Kailyn Lamb looks at locations throughout the state and dives headfirst into the history behind the ghosts and what has made them stay.

The eyes of paranormal enthusiasts have long been on the Centennial State due to the fame that Stephen King’s The Shining brought to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. The Stanley, however, is not the only haunted hotel in Colorado. Multiple inns and hotels (some of them brothels) in Denver alone have histories as sites of deaths that make their victims decide to stay in their beloved rooms forever.

Ghosthunting Colorado is the latest book in the popular America’s Haunted Road Trip Series. The guide covers 30 haunted locations in Colorado. Each site includes a combination of history, haunted lore and phenomena, and practical visitation information.

About the author: Kailyn Lamb holds a degree in journalism from Mississippi State University. She has always had a fascination with otherworldly things; she devours horror movies, Stephen King novels, and ghost stories as often as she can. Kailyn lives in Denver, CO.

About the series: America’s Haunted Road Trip is a one-of-a-kind series of haunted travel guides. Each book profiles 30 haunted places that are open to the public. The author visits each place, from inns and museums to cemeteries and theaters, interviewing people who live and work there. Also included are travel instructions, maps, and an appendix of many more places that the reader can visit.

The Ghosts of Red Rocks

Is the Red Rocks Amphiteatre in Morrison Haunted?

Kailyn Lamb, author of Ghosthunting Colorado, visited to see for herself. Here is an excerpt from her story about the hauntings going on at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Behind the stadium seating at Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountains. But, if the stories are true, the ghost of a violent woman known as the Hatchet Lady roams here. Photo by Kailyn Lamb

 

Colorado is home to a section of the majestic Rocky Mountains and, as a result, some of the best hiking and skiing in the country. Just a half hour west of Denver, in Morrison, lies Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, a personal favorite on my list of places to visit in the state. With its amphitheater built into the surrounding rocks, the venue is best known for concerts; the Beatles, U2, and the Grateful Dead are just a few of the hundreds that have graced the stage. Although the amphitheater did not open in its current form until July 1941, people have been using the area for concerts since the early 1900s.

It seems that the natural beauty of Red Rocks calls to more than just fitness junkies and music lovers. There is, in fact, a spirit in the surrounding area that does not seem to mind the hustle and bustle of the popular venue. Aptly named the Hatchet Lady of Red Rocks, she is only one of the ghosts that haunt Red Rocks Park, the 640-acre area that includes the amphitheater and hiking trails, but her story seems to make her one of the more popular ones. This is probably because her apparition is that of a headless woman who may have been murdered in the area and who appears to couples getting a little too frisky in the shadows of the rocks. Another theory is that she is the ghost of a woman who homesteaded in the area that became Red Rocks. Known as “Old Mrs. Johnson,” she would allegedly pull a coat over her head and swing a hatchet to scare away her daughters’ suitors. One of the trails at Red Rocks leads to an old graveyard where people think the woman may be buried. People have been known to stay in the graveyard at night to try to hear or see her. Other theories involve a homeless woman living in the area in the 1950s or a woman living in a cave, which has been fenced off to prevent people from exploring the area. This version of the story says the woman kills children that come too close to the cave and hides their bodies and severed limbs in the surrounding area. Supposedly, the ghost of the Hatchet Lady was upset when Hoyt began planning and building the area for the stage, and some say she may have interfered with construction as well.

During the warmer months of summer you can find people working out at Red Rocks Amphitheatre by day, and tailgating concert goers by night. If you pay attention, you may also find the ghost of a miner who haunts the backstage areas of the stadium. Photo by Kailyn Lamb.
During the warmer months of summer you can find people working out at Red Rocks Amphitheatre by day, and you’ll see tailgating concert-goers by night. If you pay attention, you may also find the ghost of a miner who haunts the backstage areas of the stadium. Photo by Kailyn Lamb

The attire of a second Red Rocks ghost marks him as the specter of an old miner, and many people claim to have seen his apparition, which is clear enough that those who have can provide great detail about his appearance. He supposedly stands 5 feet 5 inches tall, has a long white beard, wears a brown hat, holds a bottle in his hand, and is mostly seen in the restricted areas of the stage. Outside of his appearance and seemingly unpleasant demeanor, not much is known about this ghost or why he haunts the area. His story does seem to lack the color of a blood-soaked headless woman wielding a bloody hatchet.

There have also been sightings of Indian spirits dressed in traditional ceremonial attire, and some of these sightings report the ghosts doing ceremonial dances.

The Red Rocks Trading Post is a gift shop for tourists exploring the Rocky Mountain area. Previous employees have said that the building may also host a spirit. Photo by Kailyn Lamb.
The Red Rocks Trading Post is a gift shop for tourists exploring the Rocky Mountain area. Previous employees have said that the building may also host a spirit. Photo by Kailyn Lamb

One building in the park that has seen a lot of ghostly activity is the Trading Post, originally called the Indian Trading Post when it opened in 1931. The first caretaker actually lived in the basement, but it was later converted into a storage area. Inside, Indian wares that were provided by the Denver Art Museum were sold. The current building still functions as a gift shop, with a small coffee café inside as well. The Denver Channel did a two-part story on the building in 2009 after several employees revealed their belief that the building was haunted.

Red Rocks Amphiteatre happens to be one of my all-time favorite places in the world. While I cannot admit to personally experiencing any ghostly activity there, I can say that there certainly is a magic about the place, and many people talk about the spiritual feeling that is almost tangible at the site.

Ghosthunting-ColoradoMy recommendation is this: No matter how you feel about ghosts, this should always be a stop when visiting Colorado. You do not even need the excuse of a concert to go there, although I highly recommend doing that too.

About the author: Kailyn Lamb looks at locations throughout the state and dives head first into the history behind the ghosts and what makes them stay.

Join her in investigating the history of some of Colorado’s most haunted locations, and you might find more than gold in those hills. Pre-order your copy NOW.

Molly Brown House Museum

Molly Brown House Museum—A Story Not Soaked in Gore

A story by Kailyn Lamb,  the author of the next book in the America’s Haunted Roadtrip Series  Ghosthunting Colorado

Molly Brown MuseumNot all haunted spaces have their stories soaked in gore, violence, and death. The Molly Brown House Museum, which is possibly haunted by its namesake, provides a good example of this.

Margaret “Molly” Brown did many notable things in her life—the most famous of which was surviving the sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912. Arguably one of Colorado’s most beloved celebrities, she left her mark on the Mile High City in many ways. Better known for her unofficial nickname, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” she inspired both a musical and later a film starting Debbie Reynolds in the ’60s. According to one of the Molly Brown House Museum’s tour guides, Catherine Trumpis, the fiery and passionate woman never went by Molly in her lifetime, just Margaret or Maggie. Impressions she left on the world go beyond her sense of spirit, her activism, and the tragedy of the Titanic. Her house, now a historic landmark and museum, may hold her ghost as well.

She was born Margaret Tobin in Hannibal, Missouri, in 1867. She would later wed James Joseph “J.J.” Brown in 1886. Margaret was 19 when they were married, and J.J. was 32. They had two children while living in Leadville, Lawrence and Catherine. They purchased the house for $30,000, the equivalent today of about $833,300.

Once the Browns had settled into their new home in Capitol Hill, Margaret started throwing parties to take part in the higher society that Denver offered. Allegedly, J.J. did not approve of these parties and would spend all his time during them in his study smoking cigars.

Although no one has been allowed to smoke in any area of the house for several years, guests of the museum’s daily tours have noticed the odor of cigars, specifically on the second floor where J.J.’s study was. It should also be noted that while J.J. and Margaret’s mother, Johanna Collins Tobin, enjoyed smoking, Margaret herself did not, saying it smoked up the house and that she did not like the smell. In 1910, she converted J.J.’s smoking parlor where he entertained guests into a library.

3MollyBrownContemporaryHouse50PCMollyBrownHouseMuseumA big reason Margaret was able to convert J.J.’s parlor was because the couple had separated in 1909. The couple never formally divorced due to their religion, but they never reconciled either. After Margaret separated from J.J., she began to travel the world. Aside from her house on Pennsylvania Street in Denver, she had homes in Lakewood, Colorado, and Newport, Rhode Island, and an apartment in New York City. She was in Cairo, Egypt, with her daughter during one of her many trips abroad when she received a telegram from her son, Larry, saying her first grandchild was very ill. She decided to head back to the United States on the first vessel on which she could obtain passage: the Titanic.

Most know the background of the sinking of the Titanic, and some even know Margaret’s role aboard it, as a result of James Cameron’s 1997 film, in which actress Kathy Bates played this chapter’s heroine. When Margaret discovered the chaos above deck while the ship was sinking on April 14, 1912, she immediately took control. She began ushering people onto lifeboats and, according to Trumpis, did not get on one herself until forced by some of the ship’s crewmen.

Some accounts say that as people in the lifeboats watched the Titanic crack and finally sink, several passengers jumped from the sinking ship into the frozen waters below. Where accounts differ is whether or not Margaret had the men rowing her lifeboat go to help those people. While there is no record of whether Margaret was able to save any people in the water, many attribute the “unsinkable” part of her nickname to her brave attempt. Once the ship had sunk and the survivors were picked up by RMS Carpathia, Margaret was put in charge of the survivors’ committee on the trip back to New York. She was picked for several reasons: People were able to relate to her spiritually as a Catholic in their time of grief, and she was fluent in English, German, Russian, and French. Upon her return to New York, reporters asked why she did not sink with the Titanic, and Margaret is reported to have answered, “Hell, I’m unsinkable.” The rest, as they say, is history.

In the Absence of Violence, the Molly Brown House Museum has Acquired the Ghost of a Fiery, Strong Woman

Margaret’s amazing story continues from there. She volunteered as a nurse with the Red Cross in 1917 during World War I, which earned her a French Legion of Honor medal. One of the other notable things that she did in her life was to help create a juvenile court system in Colorado. She also ran for a seat in the senate three times, all before women had the right to vote, and she was one of the first women to do so, with a campaign that promoted domestic rights for women and children. She also acted on the stage in London and Paris.

3MollyBrownContemporaryHouse10PCMollyBrownHouseMuseumDuring tours of the Molly Brown House Museum, guests can walk through almost the entire home, with the exception of the third floor, where she used to throw parties. Several of the hauntings, though, actually occur on the second floor of the house, including the aforementioned cigar smoke smell from J.J.’s study. Another common episode involves a rocking chair that sits in what used to be Margaret’s room, which several people claim to have seen rocking back and forth of its own accord. Daily tours take place approximately every 30 minutes during the museum’s operating hours. The museum also hosts special exhibits pertaining to Margaret’s history, as well as special Halloween tours—called Victorian Horrors—and other holiday events. Guests of tours have also claimed to see apparitions that looked exactly like portraits of Margaret that are found throughout the house. One guest even claims that the ghost of Margaret kindly, albeit silently, pointed her in the direction of the bathroom.

There have been independent psychics who have visited the museum who claim that Mrs. Brown’s mother, Johanna Tobin, roams the second floor, that J.J. smokes cigars in the back hallway, and that a maid is dusting the library shelves.

Ghosthunting-ColoradoIn the absence of violence, the Molly Brown House Museum has acquired the ghost of a fiery, strong woman—and maybe the occasional sign of disapproval from her husband. But her presence does beg the question of what makes her stay. Maybe she feels as if her work of fighting for the rights of others is not yet over. More than likely, of course, we will never know.

About the author: Kailyn Lamb looks at locations throughout the state and dives head first into the history behind the ghosts and what makes them stay.

Join her in investigating the history of some of Colorado’s most haunted locations, and you might find more than gold in those hills.
Pre-order your copy NOW.

 

Hotel Boulderado

Boulderado HotelWhen the hotel originally opened, Boulder was a dry county and would be until 1967, when the ban on liquor was repealed. Two years later, the hotel had remodeled its basement to open the Catacomb Bar (now called License No. 1). It was the first organization in the city to obtain a liquor license after the law was repealed.

Like many old hotels, the Boulderado is thought to be home to a number of spirits of a different kind, and many staff members have had paranormal experiences in the building. Many of the stories center around rooms 302 and 304, which are next to each other. When guests complain to the front desk about haunted activity, these rooms are the culprits most of the time.

The rooms have a connecting door that makes them a popular option for some guests, and room 302 has a porch, again making it a desirable room. Many haunted-tour guides and employees think that paranormal activity in this particular room is caused by an attempted double suicide (although I have not seen any record of this story). According to the story, a man killed himself on the bed using chloroform while his wife was taking a bath. When the woman entered the room and found her husband dead, she attempted to take the rest of the chloroform herself, but there was not enough left for a fatal dose. There are also some who say the room has hosted “multiple suicides” over the years, another one supposedly being a death by self-inflicted gunshot, but this tale is not as widely told as the one of the chloroform suicide.

Reports of activity in the adjoining suites claim that the lights and televisions will turn on by themselves. The old grandfather clock in the room has also been known to act strangely from time to time, and it will wildly spin its hands before landing on the correct time. According to the Boulder County Paranormal Research Society, a staff member was taking an American Indian guest to room 304, the only room available that night, and that visitor would not even touch the door. That person claimed to feel a spiritual presence in the room and left to stay at a different hotel, even though it was very early in the morning.

Because of all this, the hotel has been known to keep the rooms open to the public on occasion for ghost tours. One of the other spirits believed to cause activity in the building is a woman in a white dress who has been seen walking around the hotel’s hallways. Kitchen items have been known to move around for no reason. Sometimes windows and doors will open on their own, despite being locked. One staff member said that while staying in room 306, he woke feeling like something was holding him to the bed so that he could not get up. There are also unexplained scratching sounds on the walls.

Boulder has long attracted visitors looking for a mountain getaway in Colorado. The city lies at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, is a short drive from several skiing hot spots, and is right in the middle of a drive from Denver to Estes Park. Paranormal enthusiasts looking to hit as many haunted locations as possible (and still make it to the Stanley Hotel) can use this as an in-between location for their route.

Ghosthunting-ColoradoGhosthunting Colorado is the latest book in the popular America’s Haunted Road Trip Series. The guide covers 30 haunted locations in Colorado. Each site includes a combination of history, haunted lore and phenomena, and practical visitation information.

About the author: Kailyn Lamb holds a degree in journalism from Mississippi State University. She has always had a fascination with otherworldly things, and she devours horror movies, Stephen King novels, and ghost stories as often as she can. Kailyn lives in Denver, CO.

Photo credits
Hotel Boulderado: By Hustvedt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons