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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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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Monsoon Rain Quiets the Fire Danger.

Good news! In part due to monsoon season, my garden is doing phenomenal! We are harvesting lettuce, snap peas, kale, loads of tomatoes on the vines, and carrots about ready.

It’s monsoon season in Colorado, massive amounts of rain, thunder, lightning, hail, and more rain. Don’t get me wrong, the rain keeps us from having catastrophic wild fires like we had in 2012 and 2013.  But the worry for flash floods is real on the burn scars.  After the unbelievable softball hail storm July 27th 2016, when storm clouds gather now I worry rather than revel in them. Along with most of our community we still haven’t completely recovered, roofs and fences are still being replaced.  The upside, lots of work for contractors.

Any way I digress.  With the monsoons come the overnight appearance of two to five foot tall weeds in all shapes and sizes.  I pull ‘em up one day and the next morning two take their place.  How does that happen? On the flip side it gets me out of the house away from my computer as I fight the never ending weed battle. You know what I mean?

My utility bill, grass and flowers are loving the moisture, except for when the hail comes and we haven’t had much of that so far. Fingers and toes crossed.  For only the second time since we’ve lived here (going on 23 years) we know the sump pump works cascading water out of our rock retaining wall. Good to know. LOL

However, this year my outside plants are portable, on a little red cart and I haul them into the garage. An all-purpose fabric screen is rolled on the side of my garden waiting to be hauled over the garden for hail protection. All this works IF we are home at the time the storm is predicted or occurring.  But it’s all we can do in Colorado, land of the frequent hail and lightning storms. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, Colorado is still a great place to live.  How is you summer going? Did you plant a garden? I’d love to hear from you!


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