Adventurous souls strive for the real thing: a haunted house, and not the kind filled with seasonal employees in masks. We’re talking about actual buildings with sordid histories, where the restless spirits of the dead walk among us, right here in Colorado.
1. Croke-Patterson Mansion/Patterson Inn, Denver.
On the corner of 11th and Pennsylvania, sits a bed-and-breakfast with a story to tell. The original owner, Thomas Croke, allegedly only entered the home once, and whatever he experienced convinced him right then and there to get rid of the place. He sold it to Thomas M. Patterson, who maintained ownership for decades. Witnesses have heard baby cries, knocking noises and footsteps, as well as sightings of Patterson’s spirit. For a time the building was used for office space, and residents claimed that typewriters, copiers and telephones would start up all on their own. Book your overnight, if you dare, online: www.pattersoninn.com.
Each of these gambling houses has their own ghostly mascot. A little girl is said to roam the halls of Buffalo Billy’s, and guests claim to have seen her drawing on the walls and flinging drinking glasses through the air. At the Colorado Grande, the spirit of a turn-of-the-century Irish lass, nicknamed “Maggie” plays the slots after hours, leaving the scent of roses in the air. Learn more about the casinos and plan your visit here: www.visitcripplecreek.com/gaming
3. Central City Masonic Cemetery, Central City.
Not surprisingly, this graveyard is the site of several supernatural sightings. A little boy follows visitors around, only to vanish behind trees when approached. A beautiful woman, dressed in black, appears twice a year to place a bouquet of columbines on the grave of legendary firefighter John Edward Cameron, then disappears. Glaring spectral orbs have also ruined many a photograph taken on the grounds. Learn more about the cemetery online at
4. The Boulder Theater, Boulder.
In the 1940s, theater manager George Paper was accidentally hanged in dangling electrical wires and died. These days, Paper’s ghost has been seen rushing past visitors, turning lights on and off and playing with the bathroom doors and faucets. Paper’s spirit is so renowned that the pub next door, George’s Food and Drink, took its name from him. Book your visit online at www.bouldertheater.com.
5. The Hotel Colorado, Glenwood Springs.
The lesser known of Colorado's haunted hotels, this 19th-century grand hotel that is rumored to house more than travelers and tourists. Invisible spirits are said to turn on the lights in guests’ rooms after they go to bed, only to turn them back off after the weary visitors get up. Numerous apparitions have been sighted, including a little girl in Victorian-era clothes who plays with a ball. Book your sleepless night at www.hotelcolorado.com.
6. The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park.
Most of us have heard about the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park made famous by Stephen King, who used it as the basis for his novel “The Shining.” The Stanley Hotel first opened in 1909 after being built by Freelan Oscar Stanley. The two most promintent ghosts are F.O. Stanley and his wife Flora who continue to go about the business of running their hotel. It's rumored that you can hear Flora playing her Steinway grand piano in the dead of night. You can make reservations for this historic landmark at www.stanleyhotel.com
Have ‘fun’ checking out these locations for yourself on a frightening Friday or wicked weekend, if you’re brave enough.