If you either believe in ghosts and love to experience haunted places, or if you don’t believe and are looking for some proof, staying the night in Cripple Creek greatly increases your chances of experiencing the paranormal.
Cripple Creek is full of stories of ghost sightings. I have personally had more paranormal experiences there then any place I’ve been. When it comes to choosing a haunted hotel, you have many wonderful choices.
Hotel St. Nicholas was originally built as a hospital in 1898 for the many prospectors and families here who came searching for the gold. It was also expanded to include a ward for the mentally ill. In the 1970’s, when the population had dwindled to just a few hundred, it was closed. It sat empty for twenty years, until it was restored and refurbished and turned into the hotel it is today. I’ve stayed at the hotel several times, and each time sensed a ghostly presence. During my last visit, my friend and I stayed in room number 11. We did not know that there had recently been paranormal investigators there due to all of the activity in that room. As we were getting ready to go to bed, we decided to leave the TV on as we felt nervous about being in that pitch black room. I could not sleep. I felt somehow frozen under the covers and just laid there with my eyes open. Sometime later, I felt something sit on the bed near my legs. I pulled the covers up over my head and tried to sleep. I felt the presence get up and then sit back down again. About 2am, my friend got up and turned the light on and went back to her bed. I continued to lay there, still wide awake and unable to move. In the morning, I asked my friend how she slept. She said that she really didn’t sleep, and that she didn’t want to scare me, but she had seen the figure of something sitting on the bed by my legs (and pointed to the exact place I had felt it), and get up and sit back down. That was the reason she turned the light on. At the time, I said I would never stay in that hotel again. As some time has gone by, I am interested to go back and find out what would happen next. It is common knowledge that it is haunted by nuns, children and former patients. I feel the presence in our room was either a Nun or someone’s Mother calming her child. I never felt threatened, it felt like a calm and loving personality.
At the Palace Hotel a woman wearing a nightgown and holding a candle has frequently been seen. I have not stayed here; however, a picture I took of the Palace Hotel sign shows a strange fog hovering near it. My friend took a picture at the same time and in the same place, and it is nothing is there. Nothing like that appeared on any of my other pictures, and there was nothing on the lens.
The Homestead House Museum was a brothel from 1896 to 1917. Every time I have taken a tour of the house, my pictures will come out perfect in all of the rooms but one. The room where the former Madam died (Pearl de Vere) always comes out black. Pearl used to love to paint and her art work is still hanging in the room. The tour guides often smell fresh paint in her room, and some have had the sensation of being touched by an unknown presence.
The Imperial Hotel was built in 1896 as the Collins Hotel and was run by George Long. George had married his first cousin, and their oldest daughter, Alice, was severely mentally disabled. Alice was kept locked in an apartment next to the lobby that is now the Red Rooster Bar. It is said that Alice hit her father George on the head with an iron skillet- he then fell down the stairs to the basement, and to his death. George was apparently quite a flirt, and he continues to do so. He likes to play the slot machines at night after the casino is closed. The security guards can hear them, but when they check, no one is there. If the door to the Red Rooster bar is closed, the sounds of scratching can be heard on the other side.
Maggie is a resident ghost at the Colorado Grande. There have been many sightings of her- she appears to be about 25 years old and dressed in Victoria era clothing. She is sometimes heard singing in a beautiful Irish-accented voice, and she smells of rose perfume.
The Turf Club, now known as Bronco Billy’s Casino, was an exclusive Men’s Club in 1896. An employee at Bronco Billy’s noticed a little girl sitting on the stairs, holding a rag doll. The employee asked her if she was lost, and the girl answered, “No, I’m not lost, I live here.” The employee then turned to get a security guard but when she came back the little girl was gone. When a customer who was playing the slot machines lost track of her daughter, she found her on the staircase. She asked her what she was doing, and her daughter answered, “I’m playing with Lilly.” Sometimes Lilly can be seen peering from an upstairs window to the street below.
Although I have not had a chance to stay at the Last Dollar Inn, I have heard it is one of the most haunted. It is the former home of Linda Goodman, famous author and astrologer and also famous inventor, Nikola Tesla. A man who was greatly “spooked” as a teenager, writes that he snuck into the supposed haunted house in the 1970s. When he opened the cellar door, he heard sounds of silverware clinking on plates, loud voices and music from a bygone era. At the time there was no electricity being provided to the residence, yet it sounded like the entire house was filled with sounds of a party or a ball of some kind. Some months later, Linda Goodman moved into the house. One of her friends ran out of the house screaming after seeing the figure of a miner materialize by the fireplace. Others have seen a distinguished looking Victorian gentleman on the stairs. Could it be the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla?
Victor Hotel (in nearby Victor, Colorado) was built in 1899 as the Woods Brothers Investment Company and the First National Bank. I have stayed at this hotel quite a few times, and brought some friends there who were visiting the area from The Netherlands. Unfortunately, my friends did not sleep at all the night they stayed at the Victor Hotel. There was so much electricity in the room, they wore a glove to turn the light on and off (and no, they were not Michael Jackson fans…sorry, had to throw that in!). The lights kept going on by themselves, the TV turned on by itself twice, and there were strange footsteps heard walking near the bed when no one was there. They finally called the lobby to ask to change rooms, but everything was full. In my room, I saw a strange misty figure walk by the foot of my bed and disappear into thin air. After that, nothing else happened. We were told that in the middle of the night, the old bird cage elevator starts going up and down with no one activating it. It always stops on the third floor, the room where a man named Eddie frequently stayed before he died at the bottom of the elevator shaft.
Your odds of seeing or sensing a ghost in Cripple Creek are infinitely better than winning at the slots!