Colorado Hauntings – Happy Halloween

IMG_5623Celebrating a spooktacular Halloween all month on My Say What Blog, so check back for haunting articles about Halloween.  What’s not to love about Halloween?  One day out of the year you can dress up and pretend to be anything you want and people don’t think you’re crazy.  Okay, well, not as crazy as if it wasn’t Halloween!

One of the highest haunts in Colorado is the Stanley Hotel at an altitude of over 7,500 feet. Bawawawa!  You know the one that claims to be the 2006-estes-park-the-stanley-hotel-008inspiration for Stephen’s King’s The Shining (REDRUM – MURDER) .  The Hotel was built in 1909 by Freelan and Flora Stanley of Stanley Steamer fortune.  Originally, they came to Colorado in an attempt to alleviate the symptoms of Freelan’s tuberculosis. They fell in love with Colorado and purchased property and built a home. The Stanley was built as a summer resort for guests Freelan and Flora entertained during their extended vacations in Colorado.

2006-estes-park-stanley-hotel-2It’s believed Flora haunts the hotel to this day, enjoying one of her favorite pastimes of playing the piano late at night when no one is around. Tales abound of visitors claiming sounds of revelry occurring in the empty ballroom.  Room 217 is purported to be haunted by the ghost of a long-term housekeeper. If you gain her favor, she’ll help you unpack. If not…. Well…. It is the room allegedly occupied by Stephen King at one time. Inspiring The Shining?

I don’t know about that, but the hair on the back of my neck stood up as I took photos of The Stanley Hotel outside in broad daylight.

Want to know more about haunted places in Colorado? Click on the link.

Speaking of Hauntings!

Did you know, most present day Halloween traditions are traceable to the ancient Celtic day of the dead? Halloween consists of mysterious customs, buthalloween image each has a history, or at least a story behind it.

Take wearing costumes, and roaming from door to door demanding treats. This behavior can be traced to the Celtic period and the first few centuries of the Christian era, when it was thought that the souls of the dead were out and about, along with fairies, witches, and demons. Offerings of food and drink were left out to placate them. As the centuries wore on, people began dressing like these creatures, performing antics in exchange for food and drink. This is where the practice of trick-or-treating began. To this day, vampires, witches, ghosts, and skeletons are among the favorite costumes.

Our Halloween also retains activities from the original harvest holiday of Samhain, such as bobbing for apples and carving vegetables, (pumpkins) as well as the fruits, nuts, and spices for cider associated with the day. Although at my house, hot chocolate is pretty popular, since Halloween almost guarantees the first snow of the year.

AWitchsJourney_w10497_medLooking for a fun Halloween Read? A Witch’s Journey is full of meddling ghosts, shapeshifters, sexy witch, a ruggedly-handsome Navy SEAL. An exciting story of redemption, wildlife rescue and Halloween festivals. Available at Amazon.com, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.  And I let you in on a little secret.  A Witch’s Journey will be available in audiobook soon, so watch for it!  After you’ve read A Witch’s Journey, you’ll want the sequel, A Witch’s Holiday Wedding,  available at Amazon.com, Kobo.

greenwitch

Well, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to don my vampire costume, custom fitted fangs and pull up a stool in the shadows. With a candy bowl beside me, I sneakily turn on the fog machine. Out of the mist, I’ll greet the little trick or treaters or scare the bejeebers out of the older ones with bats hanging over head and screeching on my command. Won’t you join me? Happy Halloween!

 

 


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Halloween Hauntings – Part Two

With its wild and turbulent past, Cripple Creek has a history of unexplained, supernatural occurrences, no wonder it’s earned the reputationmining structure of one of the most haunted towns in America. Tales of haunted Cripple Creek hotels, casinos, and homes flourish.
ImperialHotel1970-275The Imperial Hotel at Third Street and Bennett Avenue known originally as the Collins Hotel, was built after most the town burned to the ground in 1896. As a young man, George Long emigrated from Europe and eventually made his way to Denver. He married his first cousin and together they ran the hotel. The union produced two daughters and a son. The eldest daughter, Alice, was mentally disturbed and the parents were forced to keep her locked in their apartment next to the lobby for her safety and the safety of others. Soon after George fell to his death while negotiating the narrow stairs to the basement. Or some say Alice escaped, waited for him at the top of the stairs, struck him over the head and he crashed to his death from the stop of the stairs. It’s rumored his ghost haunts the hotel to this day.
My experience at the Imperial Hotel was at the performance of Dracula by the Imperial Players in early 1990’s. The performance was excellent, but the strong feeling of someone watching, icy patches and pressure on my arm and lower back, when no one was there. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up. After meeting the cast in the lobby for an autograph session, my family and I quickly exited the hotel and raced to the safety of our vehicle, thankful that we hadn’t booked a room. Looking back on the experience, was it the performance725A0143 of Dracula in the supposedly haunted hotel that caused my imagination to run wild, or was there really something there? I admit to having an overactive imagination, but not that time. In the years since, I’ve visited Cripple Creek on numerous occasions, to explore old buildings andIMG_1485 mining shacks. My husband and I drive up Hwy 67 to enjoy the turning of the Aspens in autumn, used to camp at the Lost Burro Campground but I haven’t set foot in the Imperial Hotel since that night.
** Next week, more Halloween Haunting with traditions, legends and spooky fun. You don’t want to miss it.

 


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A Fun & Exciting Road Trip Rambling Toward Disney!

You’ll remember back in March we experienced the Road Trip from Hell.  Bravely we hit the road again in September, hoping Mother Nature was through with us and that Murphy’s Law would take pity on us.  They did and we had a wonderful time. 

Spent a night in Las Vegas, NV with friends who threw a quick get together for us then it was on to Los Angeles.  What is in LA you ask? Disneyland where they start celebrating Halloween September 20th, my kind of place, and Universal Studios of course! First we took off on the Monorail to get a bird’s eye view of Disneyland, then rode the Star Wars Experience. What a rush!

At Disneyland, my hubby and I negotiated our way through the ghosts, ghouls, fairies, the Beast and Maleficent at Micky’s Halloween Party. Did I mention dancing with the Pixar Pals at the Halloween Dance? Then it was on to the Headless Horseman Rides Again pre-parade, the Frightfully Fun Electric light parade and topped off the evening with A Villainous Surprise in the Skies Fireworks display over the castle.  Yep, we’re just kids at heart and Halloween is my favorite holiday!

The next morning, it was off to Universal Studios and Wizarding World of Harry Potter where we selected our wands, were sorted into Gryffindor, and got Tee Shirts to prove it.  LOL  Transformers was next then onto Jurassic Park where we avoided being eaten by a dinosaur.  By that time a ride on the Universal Studios tour tram looked great. Though I wasn’t too sure about slowing down at the Psyco house or sorting through the plane crash scene but the back lot sets were incredible!

Family obligations were next on the agenda and we left our fantasy land gliding into the reality of Northern California for a few days.  As we began our trip back to Colorado, we rendezvoused in the enchanted land of fellow Wild Rose Author, Mary Morgan, and lunched at the Black Bear Café.  Not a Fae warrior in sight. Darn it!

But Mother Nature was not to be ignored.  We encountered a bug storm of epic proportions in Northern Nevada, 20 miles of smashed bug guts covering the windshield until we had to stop and clean off the bugs so we could see where we were going.  I kid you not the truck and trailer were covered.  Wish I’d taken pictures that night.  Anyway, it was snow and sleet in Wyoming, but we made it to our destination in Riverton, Wyoming where the morning dawned in bright sunlight. Spent a day with friends and left the next morning to arrive in Colorado totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “WOW what a ride!”


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Halloween Hauntings – Part One

IMG_3685Cripple Creek Mining District of Colorado is extremely rich in history and it is also touted to be one of the Most Haunted Places in the United States.
On Highway 67, at the base of Pike’s Peak, southwest of Colorado Springs, Cripple Creek sits at an elevation of 9,500 feet. cabin and out buildingThere are mine shafts, head frames, miner’s cabins long abandoned tumbling down. A lonely stone fireplace may be all that’s left of a miners home. Standing among the rubble might cause the hair on the back of your neck to stand on end. A brief visit to one of the abandoned cabins still standing, gives you a window into what it was like back in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s.

Covered Wagon Pikes Peak Or BustCripple Creek, Colorado was the land of opportunity beckoning men from across land and sea to claim their fortune in the gold fields. Most of the men came from the east where they were farmers and had little knowledge of gold mining. Pikes Peak or Bust was their battle cry, it was painted on covered wagons and carts. But the Rocky Mountains didn’t give up its gold easily, buried deep in the mountain, it was fifty years after the first wave of gold fever hit that the mountain gave up its gold.

Many prospectors lost everything they had, some even their lives in the pursuit of gold. With the tales of fires, (Cripple CRIPPLE-CREEKCreek burned to the ground in 1896) floods, mining accidents, general lawlessness in the beginning then bloody battles between mine owners and labor unions, it’s no wonder stories abound of ghosts haunting this historic town that once boasted one murder a day.

Hotel St. Nicholas

Hotel St. Nicolas

So let’s take a closer look at those ghosts. First up, The Hotel St. Nicholas boasts a colorful history. Today its spectacular view of Cripple Creek, 15 guest rooms, furnished with elegance of a bygone era and one restored historic miner’s cottage still includes tales of the supernatural and unexplained. Originally built as a hospital that served the flood victims in the region in the late nineteenth century, it also served as a home for the Sisters of Mercy. As time went on, the hospital served prospectors and their families and then expanded adding a ward for the mentally ill. The hospital closed in the 1970’s. St. Nicholas is rumored to be haunted by several spirits including children, former patients of the mental ward, nuns and an old cantankerous miner. For more information see Hotel St. Nicholas.

** Next week we’ll take a look at more hauntings in Cripple Creek including the Imperial Hotel where I once attended a theater production of Dracula during the week of Halloween. That was a hair-raising experience I can’t wait to share with you. Until then Happy Haunting! Bawahahaha

 


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