Originally Published October 20, 2010
NOTE: Most of the properties listed here are PRIVATE PROPERTY. Those locations that allow visitors by appointment have been listed by the town they are in. Please follow their guidelines if going to visit. Otherwise, this list is not an invitation to trespass; it is for fun and for history.
While reading up on the haunted places and ghosts of Colorado, it seems as if nearly every home is haunted; certainly it seems like every mansion is. While this is not a comprehensive list, and while some places are less well known than others, here are some of Colorado’s haunted dwellings, in no particular order.
Redstone Castle in Redstone, Colorado
Originally known as Cleveholm Manor, it was built in 1897 for the coal and steel magnate, John Cleveland Osgood and his family. The rather large mansion has been guest to many of the big names of history, as well as been in the movie “The Prestige”. Osgood also built the town of Redstone for his coal miners and coke furnace operators. The mansion is now run as a resort and does allow for tours on specific days. http://redstonecastle.us/Tours.htmfor full info.
Redstone’s ghosts are mainly sounds and smells; in particular, the strong smell of cigar smoke. Mr. Osgood was inordinately fond of cigars and smoked them often. Guests who have stayed on the property have spoken of being touched while they slept, and the smell of fresh lilacs in the dead of winter. Housekeepers have reported seeing reflections of people who are not there, and of footprints on freshly cleaned floors.
Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs
The land itself as prestigious history; owned first my Colonel John Chivington, it was sold to The Colorado Springs Company founded by General William Palmer, who owned the land from 1871 to 1882, who then sold it to the city of Manitou. Father Francolon obtained the land and began building the mansion in the fall of 1895. He donated his first house, also on the same property, to the Sisters of Mercy, who ran a sanatorium, getting their first patient in 1895, and expanding their facility in 1897. Sadly, that facility burned down in 1907. The Francolons – the priest and his mother – left Manitou Springs unexpectedly in 1900, leaving the house fully furnished except for artwork. The nuns, convinced to buy the property by a doctor in 1904, moved their patients into Miramont, using the place as a hospital and sanatorium for the next 20 years. In 1928, they turned the former hospital into a hotel for the wealthy, and in 1946, the castle was sold to private owners. Today, it is a museum.
Miramont’s ghosts are numerous, likely because of the sanatorium. Several are seen about the grounds and in the mansion itself. Most notoriously is the ghost of Sister Henrietta, who hung herself on the property. Unsubstantiated rumor has it that Father Francolon got her pregnant and that her pregnancy is part of the reason he and his mother left so suddenly.
Also seen are a Victorian couple on one of the grand staircases, a Victorian woman in Father Francolon’s mother’s room, and a little girl in clothing reminiscent of the 1900s is often seen on the first floor. The spirit of an American Indian is often spotted on the grounds.
Yes, the museum is open, and you can go on tours of the property.http://www.miramontcastle.org/index.html
Not to be confused with Glen Eyrie Castle in Colorado Springs, which is open to the public (and has no ghosts – sorry) Castle Eyrie resides in a different part of Colorado. This mansion, built about the same time as all the other big silver barons of Colorado were building their grand homes, also resides in the mountains, and was the home built for Thomas B. Bryan and his family.
Castle Eyrie’s ghosts are few, but there. Most prominent is a ghost called Mary, who showed herself to a guest in the dining room one evening, engaging him in conversation before disappearing. This ghost is conjectured to be that of Mr. Bryan’s daughter, who was mentioned in various newspaper articles about her family, but is only ever mentioned as “Miss Bryan”, so there isn’t currently any confirmation that Mary and Miss Bryan are one in the same. The other ghostly happening is gusts of wind in the music room while all the windows are closed.
Sorry, but Castle Eyrie is privately owned, and the owners are not inclined to conduct tours of their home.
Springer Castle in Highlands Ranch
The castle was originally built by John Springer in 1891, when his ill wife Eliza required a move to a dryer climate. Springer built about 60% of the structure as it currently stands – 17,000 square feet of building- but in 1904, his wife died. When he remarried, he renamed the mansion “Castle Isabelle” in honor of his second wife. In 1913, Springer sold the house to his first father in law, Colonel Hughes, who renamed the property “Sunland Ranch”. In 1920, his heirs sold the castle to one of the founders of Phillips Petroleum, Waite Phillips. Frank Kistler acquired the ranch in 1926, and he finished the construction on the property, giving it a classic Tudor style look. The property changed hands – and names – several more times over the decades until now. Plans to turn it into an historic site and park are underway.
The ghosts on the property are more of sight and sound – the smell of flowers is strong at times throughout the house and a broken grandfather clock in the hallway chimes on occasion. Julia Kistler is the ghost who manifests; daughter of Frank Kistler, she often appears in the window of what used to be her bedroom when no one else is in the mansion, and is always seen from the outside.
Now known more often as the Highlands Ranch Mansion, this mansion is rented out for events and the occasional tour. For more information on this site, please contacthttp://www.highlandsranchhistoricalsociety.org/
South Broadway Christian Church in Denver
S. Broadway Christian Church has an interesting beginning story; The Suttons and Reverend Craig were responsible for its forming; Henrietta through her death, John Sutton through his desire to build a church in honor of his wife, and Reverend Craig, who gave up his plans to go to California in order to stay and minister this new church. In 1891 the new church was formed and the building erected. The church was formally dedicated on June 5, 1892. In continuous use ever since as a church, it has gather a few ghosts of its own through time. The unusual part is this – John Sutton gave the rest of his assets to the church with one request; that he be allowed to use two of the tower rooms as his residence until his death. Known affectionately to all as “Uncle John”, Sutton passed on in February of 1901.
The hauntings only happen in the old, original part of the church, and of course, “Uncle John” is considered one of the ghosts. Another ghost could be a long time caretaker of the property. When under the tower, floorboards can be heard to creak as Sutton walks on the floor of his rooms, the organ is heard playing when no one is around, and being tricky, and sometimes doors are held shut and then suddenly released.
The church still holds regular services and events, and the church tends to be open during regular business hours. Even if you don’t see or hear a ghost, the building is worth seeing for the architectural details and the stained glass windows, restored over the past several years through a partnership between the congregation and the Colorado Historical Society.
If the name sounds familiar, it is. Richthofen Castle was built in 1887 by the uncle of the famous “Red Baron” and fashioned after the ancestral home in Germany. Not only is it famous for the family name, but it gained infamy due to the murder of Charles Patterson by his wife Gertrude in 1911. The 21 room mansion is designed like a fortress, with its own forest planted around by the original owner, who reportedly disliked the look of the plains the house was built on.
In the 1970s, the then owners told that lights were regularly seen on in the tower, when no one was there and the tower had been closed up for some time. Upon investigation, thought the lights were indeed on, there were no footprints in the snow outside or in the dust on the floors. Sounds of all different sorts have reportedly been heard throughout the house.
The mansion is currently for sale, if you happen to have a few million just laying around. However, the home is NOT open to the public, and I doubt the real estate agents (or the owners) are willing to give ghost tours.
Molly Brown House in Denver
Now a museum thanks to the efforts of Historic Denver, Inc in the 1970s, this lovely house was the “city” home of the Browns after James Brown managed to strike it rich in his gold mine, hauling up 135 pounds of gold per day. (The Brown’s “country” home is located on Wadsworth near the Belmar area.) Originally built in 1887 for another family, the Browns ended up buying it instead, and it continued to be their home even throughout their travels in the world. Having survived everything but time, Molly herself is reported to haunt the home still, and is seen in her rooms. The odors of James Brown’s cigars is said to permeate the back of the house in his room and study on the second floor. Another transparent female is said to be seen in the house, especially in the dining room, and is attributed with moving the chairs about. Cold spots, occasional sounds and the raising and lowering of blinds are all attributed to the house ghosts. You may also have the “luck” of seeing an angry spirit in a mirror in the foyer.
Molly Brown House is open for guided tours for a small fee; if for no other reason, this property is a must see for the beauty of the property and its history, and how the upper upper class of Denver lived. Some of the most beautiful features of the property- at least to me – are the foyer with its fireplace and grand mantle rescued from the property that used to be next door, and the butler’s pantry.
Grant Humphreys Mansion in Denver
This mansion was built by Governor James Grant in 1902 and was his primary residence. Grant died in 1911, and in 1917, his widow sold the mansion to Albert E. Humphreys. Humphreys gained and lost several fortunes throughout his ventures. In 1927, Humphreys died if an accidental gunshot wound on the third floor of the home. The mansion was named a Denver Landmark in 1976 after having been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
According to lore, there are at least five ghosts on the property, but whom and what they are is not really known, though the ghost of Mr. Humphreys is suspected to be one of them. The building is open for special events, weddings and other rentals, and is on the Doors Open Denver list of places that you can tour in March. Séances and ghost hunts have been held there before, but if you wish to conduct your own, you need to contacthttp://www.coloradohistory.org/ghm/rentalsgranthum.htm