Ghostly Residents of Cripple Creek
Cripple Creek 1890
Out of all mining towns that cropped up in the Old West, Cripple Creek, Colorado may well be the most haunted. In fact, there are so many tales of spirits wandering this historic town, some say it is the most haunted city in the United States. Cripple Creek lies in the high country beyond Pike’s Peak.
But given the history of the town it should come as no surprise to hear of the many spirits who continue to inhabit it. At one time the city reported at least one homicide a day. Many establishments have their own individual spooks which call their place home, such as the Colorado Grande Casino and its’ in-house Maggie’s Restaurant. Today, it is located in the Fairley Brothers and Lampman Building at 300 East Bennett Avenue.
Palace Hotel 1894
Around 1900, the three-story brick building was home to a variety of businesses, including a drug store, an engineer, a lawyer and more. The historic building also housed medical offices, a Masonic Lodge ballroom…and a mortuary.
People have heard sounds of slot machines being played. Others have also heard the ghost of Maggie singing in an Irish accent. The sounds of her high heeled shoes are often heard echoing in the halls on the top two floors of the building. Witnesses have described her as about 25 years old, pretty and dressed in turn-of-the-century clothing. The smell of her rose perfume often permeates the room when she is present. Some have reported sounds of singing and dancing emanating from the old ballroom.
Security guards have
often reported seeing "Maggie” and a gentleman friend playing the slots
after hours. And she has also been reportedly caught on tape by security
cameras. However, after the tapes have been viewed and locked up, they mysteriously
Victor Hotel 1895
In 1901, a second hospital was opened by Teller County, located in another historic inn - the Hospitality House. This hospital included a ward for the mentally ill. However, when the mines began to play out the hospital eventually closed in the 1970’s.
Then there is the Hotel St. Nicholas, perched atop a hill overlooking the city. It was originally a hospital opened by the Sisters of Mercy in 1898. Today the Hotel St. Nicholas boasts 15 guest rooms styled in 19th century elegance.
The hotel’s Boiler Room Tavern is so named because the front plate off the inn’s original coal boiler is used as a back drop. You might also "find” a ghost or two. It’s said to be haunted by a number of spirits including nuns, children, and former patients of the mental ward. The apparition most often seen is one called "Stinky.” His appearance is usually accompanied by a sewage-like smell. The apparition of an old miner with no upper body has also been seen.
However, it was also destroyed in the 1899 fire. It was rebuilt with brick and stone as a four story building much larger than the original.
The "Bank Block,” as it was called, housed not only the new hotel, but also the Woods Brothers Investment Company and First National Bank.
The “modern” hotel also featured an elevator, which came in handy for a not so pleasant task. During the winters the ground was froze and it was impossible to dig graves for the many that died in the rapidly expanding city. Bodies were taken up the elevator and stored on the fourth floor of the building until the ground thawed.
Many of these long-dead residents apparently still haunt the historic hotel. Several people claim to have seen disembodied apparitions on the fourth floor and what appeared to be doctors and patients…sometimes without arms, legs, and even heads. In the kitchen, employees say utensils are sometimes suddenly thrown about the room.
But the most frequently seen apparition is that of a man named "Eddie” who is said to have died falling down the elevator shaft.
Eddie was staying in Room 301 at the time of his death, where he is often still seen as well as in the hallways and elevator. Though the elevator is regularly inspected and maintained, it sometimes activates itself when no one is near it.