Five Colorado Haunted Hotels - and My Ghostly Encounter!
The state of Colorado is filled with glorious old hotels evocative of the Old West. And there's a reason for that - many of them were built when gunfighters were still having shoot-outs in the street outside. These hotels, besides being fascinating architectural structures, often have very colorful histories, filled with gunfighters, gamblers, madams, murderers, houses of ill repute, and assorted other sundry characters of the Old West.
Some of these colorful characters, apparently, really liked these hotels - because they've never left.
Colorado is filled with old hotels in which guests - many guests - have sworn they've encountered ghosts. And I'm one of those guests!
But let's start at the beginning of my list... 5) Hotel Colorado, Glenwood Springs
- Built in 1891, the Hotel Colorado was modeled after the 16th century Villa de Medici in Italy. And it was the glamour spot of its time - it was the first building in town with electricity, had a 180-foot fountain in the courtyard, had a spa and a pool, and hot springs. Presidents and gangsters and celebrities all stayed here. And some of the guests never left. Among them is a young girl in Victorian dress, a gentleman who met an untimely end because of his involvement in a lover's triangle, and a woman who hovers over guests as they sleep.
Here, lights turn on and off by themselves. Hotel staff have reported locked doors opening by themselves, televisions changing channels by themselves, and knocking on their doors but no one there. In 1982, wallpaper that had been applied to one locked, unused room was found torn off the next morning. A few years ago, guests reported that the lights kept going on and off all night.
4) Historic Onaledge, Manitou Springs
- This is a bed & breakfast that's listed on the National Register of Historic Places...and has a long record of ghostly nighttime visitors. Manitou Springs is an old Western town that's full of colorful legends, and it seems only right that some of them are about ghosts. One story about this lodging concerns a woman who heard voices in her room in the middle of the night. She ran out of the hotel in her pajamas, saying if she didn't leave that minute, she was afraid she never would. Other guests have seen spirits hovering over their beds, or spreading pennies around on the floor. (Remember the part about the pennies!). TV reporters from nearby Colorado Springs have investigated - and they've found some paranormal activity.
3) The Brown Palace, Denver
- The stately Brown Palace - still a Denver landmark - opened its doors in 1892. Since then it's been visited by Presidents, international dignitaries, and movie stars...as well as ladies of the evening from an across-the-street bordello in the old days, who transited the busy street via an underground tunnel, so as not to be seen!
There've been a couple of mysterious murders here, as well, by jealous lovers. Ghosts? Sure! One of them apparently lived in Room 904 for 15 years (while she was alive). After she died and the room was closed up, the hotel switchboard began receiving calls from 904. Another time, an employee, hearing music coming from a nightclub in the hotel after the clubs was closed for the evening, walked in to find a ghostly string quartet playing. One of them looked up from his instrument and said calmly, "Don't worry. We live here." 2) The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park
- Most hotels wouldn't want the word to get out that they're haunted by guests who checked in, but never checked out. But not The Stanley! This white Victorian lodge revels in its reputation. The hotel offers a variety of ghost tours, and the gift shop is filled with items related to ghosts and "The Shining," which Stephen King was inspired to write after staying here (and the movie was filmed here!).
You might want to visit the Concert Hall, which is said to have several permanent "patrons of the arts." Or, if you'd like to experience sleeping with one eye open, sit in on a ghost stories presentation right before going to bed.
The hotel was built by F. O. Stanley, creator of the Stanley Steamer automobile. He and his wife Flora are among the permanent guests, no doubt to ensure that things run smoothly. Elizabeth Wilson, a staff member who was injured in a gas leak in 1911, is said to "hang around" so she can care for current guests. Guests claim they've seen items moving around in their rooms, and lights turning on and off. And some fourth-floor guests have heard children running in the hallways in the middle of the night...and opened their doors to see empty hallways.
And now, for my personal ghostly experience... 1) The Boulderado Hotel, Boulder
- This is another one of the glorious old Western hotels - with ornate 1890's chandeliers and an elevator in which the operator has to slide the "cage" door open - which looks pretty much the way it did in the Old Days.
My wife and I stayed there last year. One night, I was reading about the hotel's history, and read about the ghostly spirits inhabiting the place. When we went to bed that night, I tossed down my coins - a lot of them, perhaps as many as 20 - on the old Western nightstand, which had a glass top. Because of the glass, my coins rolled all over the place, which didn't bother us in the least; we just drifted off to sleep. But there must have been at least one obsessive-compulsive, neat-freak visitor in the room - because when we woke up seven hours later, my coins were piled up in a neat vertical stack! (And, no, neither of us did it!)
We looked at each other in disbelief. But, from that point on...we did believe!
What do you think? Have you ever had a ghostly experience?