Colorado sits almost in the middle of the continental United States and has the highest average elevation of any state. Home to the Rocky Mountains and their evergreen forests as well as lush, rolling plains, the region has attracted many settlers and has a rich history that was sometimes violent.
The Anasazi inhabited Colorado as early as 1500 BC, and built magnificent cities, cliff dwellings and even a system of roads. But the Anasazi were also known to brutally kill their enemies and anthropologists like Christy Turner, who wrote “Man Corn – Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric Southwest”, have offered evidence of atrocities including charred and possibly butchered bodies. The Spanish were the first Europeans to begin settling Colorado, establishing the oldest European settlement of San Luis here in 1851. A few years later the discovery of gold brought nearly 100,000 new settlers to Colorado and ushered in an era of oftentimes violent and deadly conflict with the Native Americans who called the area home. Murder and suicide were common occurrences during the heady rush of mineral mining, and aside from that the work itself was dangerous and deadly. As a result Colorado is full of historical haunts and strange occurrences of the paranormal variety.
In recent years Colorado has also become a beacon to cryptozoologists interested in alien contacts, Bigfoot sightings and other supernatural phenomena.
2951 US-50, Cañon City, CO 81212
The Holy Cross Monastery was built in the 1920’s by Benedictine Monks. The property is approximately 60,000 square feet and was built in gothic style architecture. The Monastery offered a boys school, a college and a winery. The Benedictine Monks sold the property in 2005 but it’s said that the spirits of the monks who were once caretakers still watch over. The building is rented out for private events and also allows overnight ghost tours. Guests can search all of the rooms, labyrinth-like corridors and the basement in the property and sleep in the old dormitories.
2705 CO-165, Rye, CO 81069
Open to the public, free admission
Jim Bishop has been building a castle for over 50 years in the small mountain town of Rye, Colorado in the San Isabel National Forest. The population is just under 200 people and about a 45 min drive from Pueblo. The castle is 160 feet tall and has a metal fire breathing dragon at one of the top windows, powered by a hot air balloon tank. The castle is beautiful in its own gritty way. A hand painted sign warns visitors to “Enter at Your Own Risk”. Signs are all over the property with anti government rants. Definitely unique but this is not a typical roadside attraction- parking is on the side of an unpaved road, and there are no restrooms. The building is a bit treacherous and leaves visitors wondering, “has anyone ever died here?”. The answer is yes, a woman suffered a fatal heart attack but it was not due to the castle. And tragically in 1988 Jim Bishop’s 4 year old son Roy passed away from a tree falling on him.
If you ask someone from Central City, Colorado which buildings are known for being haunted, they will pause, smile and tell you “I’m not sure which ones aren’t”.
Central City was founded in 1859 during the gold rush and is next to the town of Blackhawk (now known for gambling and casinos). Central City also has casinos but has been well preserved and is quite charming even if you’re not looking for ghost.
The Teller House is a historic hotel built in 1872. It’s known for it’s “The Face on the Bar Room Floor” also known as “The Mona Lisa of the West”. The restaurant and bar is open to the public. The hotel no longer operates but has been preserved by the Central City Opera Board and they offer historical tours. A resident and member of the Opera House told us that a room used for a costume wardrobe closet in the upper floor of the Teller House has a dark spirit that stays in there and has been heard growling.
The Opera House was originally built in 1878 is still currently operating. Tours are offered and they leave a light on the stage at all times for the resident spirits. Orbs are commonly seen, and a touch on the shoulder and cold spots are often reported.
The city has several sites where bodies were buried and only the headstones were moved when the area was built over. Coffins and skeletons were often exhumed during construction. They also have several marked cemeteries including the Masonic, Catholic and Knights of Pythias and Central City. During the Gold Rush many people died in the area from mining accidents, disease, floods, fires and harsh winters.
The Masonic Cemetery has a tale of a young man named John Edward Cameron who died on Nov 1, 1881 at the age of 28. The legend says he was courting a woman in a neighboring town. When he passed, it is said she came to visit his grave regularly, wearing black and leaving flowers. She has been reported to have been seen in a full body apparition on November 1st and on April 5th. The reason for the April 5th visit is unknown, some speculate it was to be their wedding date.
The other Central City Cemeteries have so many headstones for babies and young children. Someone had taken the time to walk the cemetery and leave small toys at each one.
1599 E 8th Ave, Denver, CO 80218
Formerly Mount Prospect Cemetery, which opened in 1858. In 1890 the city decided to turn the cemetery into a park and only relocated approximately 700 of the 5,000 bodies buried there. Families of the deceased were only given 90 days to move the bodies. Some of the unclaimed bodies of the poor and forgotten were to be moved by a city contracted undertaker, E.P McGovern. On March 19, 1893 the Denver Republican newspaper headline read “ The Work of Ghouls!” Describing the horrific scenes of McGovern hacking up bodies to fit them into child sized coffins instead of each body being placed into a fresh, adult size coffin. McGovern was fired and the rest of the bodies were never moved. In 1907 the city filled the graves and leveled the cemetery. To this day, bodies are still being uncovered under Cheeseman Park and Denver Botanic Gardens, kind of like the story in the 1982 film Poltergeist “You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies, didn’t you? You son of a bitch, you left the bodies and you only moved the headstones!”
Mile High Comics
4600 Jason St, Denver, CO 80211
Hours: Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm, Saturday 10am -6pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm
The largest comic book store in the entire world with a collection of over 10 million comics and a size of 65,000 sq feet. The store also sells all things pop culture including books, posters, collectible toys and Funko Pops
420 E 11th Ave Ste 12, Denver, CO 80203
The Croke-Patterson Mansion was built in 1891 in a French Chateauesque architectural style. The mansion has a dark history and is recognized as one of Colorado’s most haunted buildings. The original owner Thomas Croke had the house built but decided he did not want to live there and within 6 months traded the house to Thomas Patterson. In 1894 Patterson’s daughter Mary died from chronic illness and in 1902 his wife Katherine died. Thomas Patterson died in his home in 1916. His daughter Margaret and her husband Richard Campbell lived in the house until 1924. The ownership of the mansion is unclear between 1924 until it was purchased by Dr Archer Sudan in 1947. In 1950 his wife Tulleen allegedly committed suicide in one of the bathtubs by filling it with water and a chemical making a cyanogas. The suicide wasn’t public knowledge but a subsequent owner found the death certificate, and the actual cause of death is now shrouded in mystery. Dr Sudan was an eccentric who kept medical items in the basement such as wet specimens including human fetuses, brains and other human remains. The house was sold again in 1958. In the late 1970s it’s said that dogs were brought to the property to protect the construction project. One dog was reported to have jumped out of a glass window and another dog was found catatonic in the basement. The documentary film, “The Castle Project: Colorado’s Haunted Mansion” goes over the history as well as the building’s renovation into its current state as a 9 room bed and breakfast.
Sasquatch Outpost & Museum
149 Main St, Bailey, CO 80421
Hours: Monday – Saturday 9am – 4pm, Closed Tuesday, Sunday 9am – 3pm
Admission : $5 per adult, $2.50 per child
The Sasquatch Outpost was opened by Jim Myers in 2014 and he added the Sasquatch Museum in 2016. Jim had originally opened a general grocery store in 2013 but later converted it into what it is today after talking with Bailey locals about Sasquatch sightings in the area.
Jim is a believer and stated he has seen Sasquatch during a camping trip at Wellington Lake. Inside the small museum is a map of Colorado dotted with Sasquatch sightings, forest themed with life size Sasquatch figures and various articles and artifacts related to the illusive cryptid.
The shop has a large variety of Sasquatch themed novelty items such as shirts, patches, socks, stickers and camping accessories.
333 E Wonderview Ave , Estes Park, CO 80517
The Stanley Hotel was built in 1909 in Colonial style architecture with 140 rooms, a beautiful historic property nestled in Estes Park. The hotel is renowned for inspiring Stephen King’s most successful horror novel “The Shining”, published in 1977 followed by a movie adaptation by director Stanley Kubrick with the same title in 1980. In 1974 Stephen King and his wife spent one night in room 217. The hotel was closing for the season and the Kings were the only guests in the hotel. That night Stephen King had a bad dream- “I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in a chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind.”
The hotel is said to have the “spirit” of its founder Freelan Oscar Stanley and his wife Flora. In 1911 a gas explosion blew up room 217 and injured a hotel maid Elizabeth Wilson. She recovered and worked at the hotel until her death in the 1950s. It’s said that her spirit continues to keep the hotel in order.