by Matt Miller
The spirit of a woman is said to walk the streets of Capitol Hill at night.
Strange noises have been reported in the abandoned buildings of St. Elmo.
The presence of doomed miners scares off visitors of Leadville.
In Colorado, the past haunts the present — a history of the Wild West, of mining and railroads, of wealthy socialites and outlaws. The spirit of Colorado lingers in the ghost towns, graveyards, mansions and mines across the state. To truly experience the thrill and the sometimes unpleasant history of the state, you must be brave enough to set foot on some of the most haunted spots in the Rocky Mountains.
Coloradans are already familiar with the Stanley Hotel's haunted past and its influence on Stephen King's "The Shining." So we've put together a trip for you brave souls looking to see some of Colorado's more obscure haunts.
1. Denver's Peabody-Whitehead Mansion
If you're starting out your trip of terror in the city, you might as well catch some of the haunted spots in your own backyard. Built in 1889, the Peabody-Whitehead Mansion, 1128 Grant St., was once inhabited by wartime surgeon Gov. James Peabody. Former residents and neighbors have reported seeing a woman wander the property — possibly the ghost of a bride who committed suicide in the basement of the red-brick building. The basement even gave the "Ghost Adventures" crew the chills when it filmed there for an episode that aired in 2012.
2. Central City Masonic Cemetery
High above Central City, after walking up a trail and passing through a creaky gate, you find a series of gravestones scattered in a field. This is the Masonic Cemetery in Central City. A YouTube search of the name will bring up a series of night-vision videos of adventurers trying to contact the spirits lingering in the the graveyard. One of the most common stories is that a woman dressed in black will visit the grave of John Cameron and leave flowers. To get there from Interstate 70, exit at Central City Parkway, then take a left at the sign that says Nevadaville and your next right at an unnamed road. The cemetery is at the top of the hill about three minutes from I-70.
There's something inherently terrifying about mines — the many tragic deaths in the dark and claustrophobic underground. Located above timberline, run-down, pointed, wooden buildings dot the treeless landscape around Leadville. They're monuments to the town's mining boom, which peaked in the 1880s before the big silver bust of 1893. Beginning on Monroe Street, the Route of the Silver Kings takes you to 13 stops in a 20-mile loop where there were battles between strikers and mine guards, murders, accidents and more scenes of horror.
4. St. Elmo
Located 25 miles southwest of Buena Vista, St. Elmo is considered one of the most well-preserved ghost towns in the country. Dozens of wooden, empty buildings line the streets of the now-abandoned town. At its peak when thriving from mining, it boasted a population of 2,000. The train stopped running to the town in 1922, and the Mary Murphy Mine closed in 1936. By the mid-20th century, St. Elmo was deserted, save for reports of strange noises, cold spots, mysterious figures appearing in windows, and doors opening and closing on their own.
5. Onaledge Bed and Breakfast, Manitou Springs
They call them permanent guests: a little boy, a man smoking a pipe, a woman in a Victorian dress. These are the entities that have never left the Onaledge Bed and Breakfast in Manitou Springs. Considered one of the most haunted places in the country, Onaledge was built in 1912 and is still maintained today as a working bed and breakfast — for those brave enough to stay there. Onaledge is on El Paso Boulevard just off U.S. 24.