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Ghostly Tales

If you’ve got ghostbusting on the agenda this fall, then you need not travel far to increase your chances of a paranormal encounter. Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Cripple Creek, and Canon City all have legendary haunted locales.  

Colorado Springs

Starting close to home, one of the most infamous haunted locations in Colorado Springs is Evergreen Cemetery. Burials took place at the cemetery well before Colorado Springs was founded, giving it a history of its own–but it’s the on-site chapel that is of special interest. Many have felt a presence in the building, especially in the basement morgue where workers have reported seeing apparitions on numerous occasions. In addition, a few years back a cemetery volunteer, working in the chapel, saw a crypt door quickly open and close on its own. The occurrence, caught on camera, was featured on cable’s “My Ghost Story.” Perhaps if you’re at the cemetery at night, you might even see the headless woman in black that reportedly haunts the grounds. 

Manitou Springs

Manitou Springs has its share of historic tales dating back to the Native American Indians who believed it was a spiritual place of healing, but the town is also known to have one of the most revered haunted hotels in the state, Onaledge Lodge. Built in 1912, there have been numerous ghostly experiences at the hotel over the years, with some saying there might be as many as a dozen ghosts residing there, including a woman in a Victorian dress and a young boy in a blue suit. Sadly the historic lodge is permanently closed. However, when it was operating as a bed and breakfast, one woman reported hearing five different voices in her room in the early morning hours, while staff and additional guests also reported seeing ghostly figures in their rooms and finding pennies spread about the hotel. Cave of the Winds is also a hotbed of paranormal activity since the reopening of the section that was closed to the public until 1980. Lighted lantern tours take tourists through the cave system, Grand Concert Hall, Lover’s Lane and gift shop. But beware, visitors and staff have reported seeing apparitions, experiencing unexplained sounds, unusual lights or strange mists, hearing phones ringing from non-working extensions and witnessing intercom calls from within Cave of the Winds when no one was inside. 

Cripple Creek

In the late 1800s when prospectors headed for Colorado and their share of gold lurking in the hills, Cripple Creek became a bustling town with hotels and saloons, and of course, a town jail. The building housing the Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum was the county jail for nearly 100 years. There have been numerous accounts of eerie activity including sightings of children who quickly disappear, as well as laughter coming from the solitary confinement cell. The museum offers “lock-ins” for visitors who wish to spend the night in hopes of having a ghostly encounter. The Imperial Hotel, featured on “Ghost Hunters,” also has its share of apparitions including original hotel owner George Long and his daughter, Alice, who had a mental disorder. Over time, Alice was so disruptive she had to be locked in George’s apartment next door. Eventually George fell down the stairs and died. Naturally, people believe Alice had something to do with the accident. Staff at the hotel say when the door to Alice’s old room is closed, scratching noises can be heard from the other side. And George apparently likes to play the slots after hours. 

Canon City

Canon City is home to numerous correctional facilities and the Museum of Colorado Prisons plays host to their history. You might not experience any paranormal activity when visiting, however your stay may be a bit creepy just by experiencing the artifacts, reenactments and exhibits, including the last hangman’s noose and the gas chamber used in executions. Greenwood Cemetery is the burial ground for inmates who died in the prisons and didn’t have family willing or able to claim their bodies. It is nicknamed Woodpecker Hill because the grave markers were made of wood and destroyed by woodpeckers over time. There are some 600 gravesites and those who have walked the grounds reported feeling cold spots or seeing orbs and ghostly figures. Care to try?