I had the pleasure of spending five days with my friend, Barbara, of Denver, Colorado. She was kind enough to also indulge my interest in paranormal investigation. While there, we saw three haunted locations: the Colorado State Capitol Building, the Buckhorn Exchange, and the Brown Palace. Upon returning home, I discovered that I had been to two other allegedly haunted locations: Denver International Airport is built upon Native American grounds and alleged to be haunted (I remember seeing a show about that, possibly the new Ripley's Believe it or Not from the late 1990s) and University of Denver (though I did not go far into the campus and I don't think that I saw the buildings mentioned). During my time there, we also went to Evergreen, a small mountain town that I later learned is packed FULL of ghosts (we even popped into the Little Bear Saloon), and Boulder, Colorado, also filled with entities. We even toured University of Colorado reputed to be haunted (though, again, as much of the campus was closed I did not get into the buildings mentioned).
When I first arrived in Denver, it was post holidays. I was coming down from a nasty sinus cold at Thanksgiving, wrapping up a horrendous semester of teaching, and had just become adjusted to my status of PhD candidate (meaning I have my dissertation left to complete before becoming "Doctor Stark"). This year, 2008, has been one of great challenge for me. Paranormal investigation has become one of the most challenging fields out there. Leading a team has become tiresome, though I have found, after some turn-around with the SPIRITS and the installation of two strong officers, some relief in that. It is my hope that the theme of "Paranormal Unity" will become a reality in 2009. In the meantime, however, it was nice to simply strike out and see what I could see on my own. I brought with me only the Ovilus, a new device that I am still learning to work with (it is portable and converts EM fields to a word bank. It actually "talks" and in Denver this little oval shaped box was very very chatty!), my digital camera, and myself. It was a little bit of the old and a little bit of the new mixed together.
Buckhorn Exchange Saloon:
Established in 1893 by Henry "Shorty Scout" Zietz, the Saloon retains some of the original paintings on its western wall. It was (is?) the roost of miners, law men, and ruffians, especially as it holds liquor license Number One in the state of Colorado. Over the years, Buffalo Bill, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhwer, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope, Chareton Heston, and even Princess Anne have eaten in the Saloon. Today, it houses over 500 stuffed and mounted animals (though I have heard anywhere from 300, 400, and 500 animals are in there), and serves as both a bar, eatery, and music hall all in one.
The building, itself, retains the slender lines of the architecture of the time. The only bathroom is located on the second floor near the bar. The menu boasts so many types of meat that as a vegetarian I cringed (I remember rattle snake, elk, buffalo, beef, rabbit, venison, and a few others before I go into "animal death shock." I was initiated into the rather interesting knowledge that they serve "Rocky Mountain Oysters" -- which are bull testicles for the curious). However, they will accomodate and feed veggies to those who don't wish to eat meat (and their salads ARE good!) It is a little eerie eating under the lifeless staring eyes of animal heads that protrude from every wall; it was even stranger as I had arrived shortly after Christmas and many of them were still wearing Santa Clause hats. Nothing like being dead and cheerful for the holidays.
The brief amount of research that I had done indicated that tables moved on their own, and that people in the area could still hear the shuffling of unseen feet. Whispers and dismbodied voices also abounded. One first-hand account report stated that while alone in the bathroom, one of the faucet handles turned itself off without any assistance.
During dinner, Barbara noted feeling very drafty and cold. We looked around and, after I had taken a few photos, discoverd that there were two vents in the area. Photos showed nothing unusual until I got home and could examine them on a larger screen. In one image I have a reddish orb across the room from us. I took two pictures of the same spot, one after the other. The reddish orb appears in one, but not the other. However, this could well be dust caught in the IR beam, though it's the first time in my 12 years of ghost hunting that I recall such an image.
The Ovilus repeated several phrases on both the first and second floors. It liked the words: stair, upstairs, apple, remote, man, mask. It did talk about other words quite a bit but came back to those time and again. So, on the second floor, when I had several words repeated, I looked for apples and masks, I found only apples lodged within a Christmas tree. Above the tree was an image of a cowboy (Buffalo Bill, I believe) and I took that portrait's picture as well.
I did go into the bathroom and, while alone, asked any entities in there with me to turn on the faucets. Nothing happened. I turned the faucets on and asked any entities to turn them off. Nothing happened. As I heard folks coming into the bathroom, and feeling a bit odd at taking pictures and talking to the sinks, I wrapped it up and left.
I was unable to interview any of the employees. Websites indicated that most people there have not had any experiences so this may be the stuff of legend.
Colorado State Capital Building
Once again, I had the Ovilus and my trusty camera with me. Barbara and I went into the building on the 30th. They ahd two tours going that day -- one of developmentally challenged adults and one of architecture students. We were not able to get into either tour but walked on our own.
According to the booklet, Visitor's Guide to Colorado's Capitol, Denver was first populated by gold miners around 1858. Colorado (Spanish for "colored red") was originally part of the "Pike's Peak Region" (p. 1, paragraph 1), and was given the status of a named Territory. Its original assembly met in Denver in 1861. This eventually established Denver as the capital city (after Colorado City, then Golden City were used as Territory capitals). Denver achieved statehood in 1876.
The Guide also explained that originally the government did not have an official building in which to meet. Henry C. Brown offered land for this project and thus, starting in 1886, the building of the capital was started. The structure was designed by E.E. Meyers; it mimics the design of the nation's Capitol.. Much of the material used was taken from parts of Colorado itself (granite from Gunnison, sandstone from Ft. Collins, marble from Marble, rose onyx from Beulah). The building is designed to form a Greek cross and measures 383 feet long by 315 feet wide.
The building sports old gas light fixtures as the builder did not trust the newness of electricity. (Currently all run on electric). There are a series of eight murals by Allen True featuring the verses of Thomas Ferrill, completed in 1940 on the first floor that depicted the development of the state. The building also hosts several stained glass windows instailled in 1900, featuring 16 pioneers who contributed to the development of the state (Guide, p. 6 - 7).
I had heard that the building had tunnels underneath it that were haunted by a lady in blue, but no more than that. As I walked through the first and second floors with the Ovilus, it did, once again, come up with a series of words. These included "land," "protect," "angel" "Jesus" "apple" (?!?), and a few other words. These were repeated at both the Brown Palace and at the Capitol building.
The pictures proved nondescript. However, when I took the dome tour (which is guilded in gold on the outside and takes and additional 99 steps on the inside to reach after makeing it to the attic floor), I was able to interview a volunteer docent and a person who works at the Capitol. The woman who worked there was not comfortable talking about ghosts. She had good reason for this: 13 years ago she saw an employee shot to death in front of her when an armed man burst into the building shooting. The other person died nearly a century ago. However, she knew of the Blue Lady, the two (or three) headless fugitives, and the man who guards his silver (or gold) coins. There were a few differences between the stories, but I will add the video footage of the first volunteer to the site so that you can hear the stories for yourself.
Incidentially, if you are a "Perry Mason" fan -- as is my mother -- they filmed several courtroom scenes in Denver. Some were filmed at the Capitol, some were done at the Federal Courthouse some blocks away.
Brown Palace Hotel and Spa
The Brown Palace was teh least visited of all of the tours. This was due, in part, to the lateness of the visit. Another aspect was the parking issue. Also, we were only allowed to walk on the first and second floors of the hotel. I tried to talk to the staff about the hotel and was told that I could google it. One desk man said that he had heard guests say a few things about the ghosts in the hotel, but he would not elaborate.
According to rumor, the "Blue Lady" who is in the tunnels of the Capitol building also comes to the Brown Palace. Other rumors include a haunted elevator, a crying baby, and noises, including a string quartet, from long ago.
Perhaps the most striking element of the hotel is the beautiful light fixture central to the main entranceway. This phenomenal structure is just breathtaking and has to measure at least 15 feet tall. However, the booklet lists no information on this marvel.
What A Walking Tour of the Brown Palace Hotel & Spa does describe is a building completed in 1892 in the style of Victorian architecture modeled after the Italian Renaissance. (Indeed, having been to Italy the corner-building style is quite familiar). The hotel was named for Henry C. Brown, a carpenter and archietct from Ohio, and was designed by architect Frank E. Edbrooke.
The building is made of Mexican Onyx. It hosts a clock sculpted by Robert Shure (1999), as well as older memorabilia (photographs, menus, silver, china, etc.). This is one of my personal favorite (Brandy, Perfection -- I KNEW it!).
As we walked through the hotel it was hard not to notice the clinete as they were at a high tea. A harpest played softly in the background.
These photographs did reveal a little bit more to us. One image, in particular, caught my attention. After few images showed up, this one had multiple orbs (I know, I know, ORBS...sigh), floating down a stairwell from the 2nd to 3rd floor stairwell. The connection of these multiple orbs, however, is unique to this camera and it captured no other orb shot like this during my trip. The Ovilus repeated most of the words it said at the Capitol, so please see my entry above.
Barbara took me to a little mountain town called Evergreen. I looked it up when I got home and, lo and behold, it's frippin' haunted! The hotel there, which I looked into but didn't go in, is said to have several apparitions. Numerous entities also include men and women with half their heads, no heads, gory drippings, and skeletal beings (see links at the end of this site). Maybe I'm just as glad that I DID NOT see these entities. However, Evergreen was beautiful. As a Floridian, I am not used to snow. In fact, I have not seen it, until now, in my adult life. So, I appreciated the beauty of Evergreen. See for yourself with this partiall frozen creek (which has also shown entities, apparently) peacefully lapping along.
I also captured a picture of Homer, my surrogate pug (hey, I really miss my pugs when I travel!) in Evergreen.
Here is the historic boardwalk and Little Bear Saloon (which I did go in). I believe that you can see the hotel as well:
House built for the moutnain side -- with some of the forest said to house the spirits of prior residents.....
For your viewing pleasure, I have included a few links in case you would like to follow up with additional research of your own:
Evergreen, Colorado links:
Other impressions of Denver:
I loved seeing the Rocky Mountains...they were beautiful. These lovely giants loomed in the backdrop of the state and could be seen from Barbara's house and I looked for them every time we went out. (Florida's flatness can be rather boring). Riding in a car out there at night was almost like a roller coaster to me...flat lander that I am! ;)
I was worried about the dry climate and the altitude. I have grown up in Florida with humidity and sea level consciousness for as long as I can remember. The last time I was in mountains was in Italy, and that was only in Sorrento/Capri. After a headache on the second day which migraine meds and Advil wouldn't touch, and one returning here, it really wasn't so bad.
I was disappointed to not see actual snowfall. Three days after my return it started to snow again (my luck). However, I did see snow and that was wonderful. I did not know snow was so crunchy -- like a snow cone! -- which is an indicator of older snow. New snow, I understand, squeaks. Interesting. I did get to experience a wind storm while out there. Winds reached 95 miles per hour -- hurricane strength. Barbara's house lost power for several hours.
I liked University of Colorado and Boulder, Colorado. I was able to watch a man in a hand made and very colorful sheep (?) dog suit posing for pictures with little children and adults. He had the dog act down pretty pat. I was also serenaded by a trumpet player ("Happy Birthday" -- even though I need to wait a few more months on that). He did say that he liked my hair. ;) UC and Boulder reminded me of Madison, WI, though more upbeat and with bluer skies.
Denver, itself, is fanatical about sports. The entire time I was there it was "Broncos". When they got bumped from the playoffs...it was analyzing why. THEN -- and this even got me -- they fired the head coach. Things there are a slower pace than here, I think. The news covered the same events for three days. These included a "Gun buyback" that turned into a gun "give back" because promised money was never donated, then the actual evnet, then the failure of the event, then why the event failed. There was the birth of the 14 pound 7 ounce baby (to which even I say "ouch" and I have no -- and lack desire for -- children. That was on the news at least 3 days as well. High school sports are covered more there than they are here. Avalanchs were covered for days, and there was one ski lodge shooting (which seemed to get less coverage than the rest). There were filler stories on make up and lobster preparation. It was pretty different.
They do have a nice art district up there. I saw some found object artists as well. Ski lodges are a big part of the economy near Denver; I wonder if they have been hit like Florida with lack of tourism? I heard that real estate is down as people are not buying second homes, or are selling them off. This hits small towns like Evergreen harder. I did learn, though, that there will be a 24-hour Ski Channel coming out fairly soon. Hmm.....
I saw no Miatas and no pugs while there. What to make of that?! ;)
I will include my last couple of videos for you to consider as well....these are of Boulder (first) and Denver University (second).