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Shooks Run Ghost of Colorado Springs
A Moring Like Every Other
It was a morning like any other morning. Almost six o'clock and I was running late. However, there was one tiny difference. This time I could not be late!
I had been forewarned. Not wanting to lose my job, I hustled out the front door, jumped into my car, and gunned the pedal. I wasn't too worried about heavy traffic being that it was Sunday morning, and most folks were still in bed, lazy or hungover. So there I went, taking my shortcut as usual.
I took the winding route through an older part of town, alongside the beautiful Evergreen Cemetery which sits atop a hill overlooking the downtown area. Looming in the background are the white-capped sentinel, the never-ending presence of Pike's Peak. I never get tired of this incredible view, especially when the road leads on a long downturn, and slowly, you descend into the old part of town of Shooks Run. When you get to the bottom of the hill, you come to a dip, and you must come to a stop because of the old railroad tracks at the corner of south Wasatch street.
A Curious Sight
Why am I telling you this?
This is the part where I want to smile.
Little did I know, as I looked both ways before crossing the railroad tracks that I might soon approach a curious sight. Near a clearing opened up in the trees, and a few feet away from the tracks, sat on a stool, an African American woman.
In the back of my mind, I knew I am running late, but even still I slowed down if not for a few seconds because my consciousness told me there was something wrong.
I remember her face the most.
She had a high forehead, long neck, and a very noble face. Perhaps at one time, she had been beautiful to look upon, but her light-skinned complexion seemed sallow, and eyes sunken with helplessness. I immediately noticed the way she held herself, hunched over as if in pain, rocking herself as she grasped a shawl around her shoulders. I also noticed the weird way in which she looked right past me as I slowed my car, not seeming to care.
Something that I was feeling made me want to stop.
Was she homeless? Did someone beat her up? Was she sick? I wanted to help this woman, but the last thing I needed was to lose my job. There was a mortgage and car loan to pay off. I remember telling myself I will come back and try to help this woman after I get off work.
Sad and Lost
Luckily, I had made it to work just in the nick of time.
As I sat there in my peaceful Sunday morning mode with nothing to do but wait for the phone to ring, my mind kept going back to that poor woman. It bothered me, the way she looked the sorrow in her eyes, and the painful emotion on her face as she wept.
Something else bothered me ...
Why was she wearing a shawl, and a white turban on her head? Then again, why was she wearing a woolen skirt, long below bent knee.
Perhaps she was so poor that this was all she could afford.
Slowly, my mind replayed the event. Over and over, until; finally, my heart skipped a beat, and I felt like catching my breath. In my worrisome, and erratic rush to get to work, had I overlooked the obvious?
Suddenly, everything came together at once. The old fashioned clothing, the emaciated face, and greyish look of death, and those soulless eyes, sad and lost.
I never saw that woman sitting on the edge of the railroad tracks again.
A few years later, a co-worker and I were in a discussion about the history of Colorado Springs, and its spiritual essence. Colorado Springs, and the surrounding towns of Manitou Springs and Old Colorado City are known to be extremely spiritually active. There is a ghost story in just about every old house, and recently, a mecca for Ghosthunter reality shows.
Many people I know claim to have known someone who had a story, or have experienced something themselves. Being that my co-worker was African American, born and raised as a native to the city, I figured she might know about the city's cultural history, and so, I told her my story about coming across the woman sitting on the stool on the railroad tracks at the bottom of Shooks Run.
I remember her reply ...
"You saw her?"
I repeated my story again, when I was finished she shook her head, and confirmed what I had been wanting to hear. Shocked that she knew the story, I wanted to know more about this spirit's story because of course I felt personally connected.
The full-bodied apparition of an African American woman has been seen sitting on a stool for many a witness over the years. Always in the same position, and crying despondently. As the story goes, she was once an emancipated slave who moved to Colorado Springs during the old days. At one time, there were shanty houses aligned next to the railroad tracks, and this woman was slowly dying of consumption, and so she spent her last days, sitting on a stool in front of her shack, staring off at the mountain range until the day that she died. Little did I know this story has been carried down in the African American community for many years. Whenever I pass along along old Wasatch street, I still look out for her.
- Middle Shooks Run Association
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Eerie tales have been part of the city's history from the beginning: Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain are the subjects of several spooky Native American legends, and Anasazi spirits are still seen at the ancient cliff dwellings outside town. In the Old North End neighborhood, the howls of hellhounds ring through the night, and visitors at the Cheyenne Canon Inn have spotted the spirit of Alex Riddle on the grounds for over a century. Henry Harkin has haunted Dead Mans' Canyon since his gruesome murder in 1863, and Poor Bessie Bouton is said to linger on Cutler Mountain, hovering where her body was discovered more than a century ago. Ghost hunter and tour guide Stephanie Waters explores the stories behind Little London's" oldest and scariest tales."
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