Friday, October 28, 2016

The Wild West Ghosts of Colorado

When we think of Halloween, certain images come to mind. Ghosts, jack-o-lanterns with spooky eyes, dark clouds surrounding a full moon, children trick-or-treating, and cemeteries are a few of this holiday's historic icons. For anyone interested in the paranormal, this is an exciting time of year - and I absolutely agree. 

Ever since I was a child and watched Charlie Brown's The Great Pumpkin, I have had a fascination for the paranormal ( I just watched it again this week with my son). And so this month I thought I would bring you a post that represents the "spirit" of Halloween - but with an Old West twist. 

In this article you will be introduced to two towns in Colorado that host the classic icons of Halloween through intense paranormal activity throughout their locations. 

In the first stop of our journey, we head into the mountainous town of Ouray, Colorado and visit the Beaumont Hotel and Spa. If you are a subscriber to our newsletter, then you will already have had an opportunity to watch the video and get a sense of the beauty of this town. If not, here is the link: 

This hotel, located on Main Street, is riddled with paranormal activity that covers nearly all of our Halloween icons. Here you will also meet Mark Todd and Kym O'Connell-Todd. He is a professor and she is a graphic designer by day who also are recently-converted paranormal investigators. Together they have published a travelogue book, Wild West Ghosts, that documents the 14 different locations they investigated in the Colorado area. The Beaumont is one of these hot spots.

On our second and final stop of our Wild West Halloween, we travel southeast to the even smaller town of Antonito, Colorado and get a haunted Old West feel for an area that is credited with having 11 cemeteries within its jurisdictions. Inside its borders, as well, exists an incredible amount of paranormal activity, specifically at two locations - the Steam Train Hotel and the Rivers Inn Bed and Breakfast. By the time you finish experiencing all of these sites, you may want to find a local watering hole and order up a cold one!

Beaumont Hotel and Spa

505 Main St, Ouray, CO 81427
Phone: (970) 325-7000

Mark and Kym live in the Centennial state area and have taken on an amazing project. In their book Wild West Ghosts (click title for Amazon link), they visit fourteen different locations in the Colorado area - documenting the history, physical description, and paranormal claims of each site. They also have brought along with them some basic ghost hunting equipment so that they can document some of the claims by the owners and guests. 

The Beaumont Hotel was "built in 1886 of bricks fired from the mud of local hot springs. The hotel began as an enterprise to entertain railroad and mining investors to the area and claims the distinction as one of the first in the country wired for AC current." (pg. 166)

The site was also known as a place for the ladies of the night to work from - with "[t]he hotel's lounge...[being]...named after Luella Huey, the last known prostitute practicing out of the Beaumont." (pg. 167) It had been shut down for nearly forty years after tourism died out in the 1950's and 60's. New owners purchased the property in 1998 and remodeled it towards its reopening in 2003, restoring it beautifully.

In the photo on the left you see the Luella Bar, named after Ms. Huey, that reflects the grandeur of the hotel's remodeling. I can certainly imagine Luella and a possible client leaning on elbows and having some small talk. You can fill in the blanks for the rest of the conversation....

The Beaumont has had its fair share of controversial activity that stems far from just entertaining guests. Many of these events have shaped the ghostly activity found on the grounds:

"At least one murder occurred on the premises through the early years, involving a hotel waitress named Eller Day in 1887. A jealous pastry chef shot her four times in the Luella Lounge. Authorities incarcerated him for a pending trial, but the jail burned down at the hands of enraged vigilantes that very night with the chef still inside."    

The action at the Beaumont is wildly intense and certainly exhibits many of the spooky aspects associated with Halloween. The site's activity spans a broad range, almost in its entirety, of paranormal events:
  • Doors throughout the hotel lock and unlock by themselves.
  • Smells permeate the entire site ranging from perfume to the scent of burning tobacco.
  • One area of the dining room is reported to drop 23 degrees in temperature for no apparent reason.
  • Ghosts have been seen multiple times a week reflected in the bar room mirror.
  • Poltergeist activity ranges from workers' tools being scattered around overnight to bottles of skin and body care being relocated in different positions.

In the photo to the right you see the third floor balcony where a full-bodied apparition has appeared in the doorway on the far side. On this same floor in the atrium "another guest witnessed a full-body apparition wearing a long white dress." There have been a couple reports of other apparitions, one in particular was a "nurse ghost," being seen throughout other parts of the hotel.

"One source relates the story of a ghostly woman said to walk the halls at 2:15 a.m. on every quarter of the moon. Some say her husband murdered her, and she continues to look for him. Supposedly the ghost scene replays [the sign of a residual haunting], but only with her and not her killer husband."

Many times hotels have certain rooms that exhibit more paranormal activity then the others. This generally happens because intense events have occurred in the rooms and the residual energy lingers on, embedded in the atmosphere and in many of the objects contained in the room. The Beaumont is no exception to this rule.

Room 304 is credited with regular poltergeist activity ranging from a bathtub mysteriously filling with water to strange lingering aromas. The photo on the left shows the luxurious bed in this room. It is here that Mark and Kym decided to do a flashlight session to see what they might discover. 

The 1-minute video below is a snippet of their experiences and the responses they received: 

Oh Little Town of Antonito

Antonito, Colorado is a very small town - 0.4 square miles to be exact - that hosts approximately 780 residents. It is located in Conejos County and began as a sheep herding camp previously named San Antonio Junction. It is one of Colorado's 160 statutory towns, which simply means they are run by a mayor and four to six additional members who are elected. It's kind of like the Old West towns we might see in the old television westerns.

Steam Train Hotel
402 Main St, Antonito, CO 81120
Phone:(719) 298-8908

Even though this town is a mere speck on the Colorado map, it hosts an amazing amount of paranormal activity. The Steam Train Hotel is one that offers up perhaps one of the most notorious of our Halloween icons - the dark and mysterious clouds. 

To give a little background history - this small brick hotel was built and completed in 1911 and hosts nine guest rooms. It is named after the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad that runs through Antonito. The town's geography is prime for hunters, anglers, hikers, and anyone who loves to snowmobile. When enthusiasts come for these sports, they stay at the popular Steam Train Hotel. And, from the stories told, they get more than what they bargained.

"[the hotel is] haunted by a hovering cloud, which has been observed making its way between rooms before disappearing into the inoperable elevator shaft."

You might first say that this claim of a "cloud" floating from room to room sounds ridiculous, but there really is such a phenomenon. It is very rare and most paranormal investigation teams will not have encountered this black mass. From my own personal experiences I know of at least one location where this has happened. The feelings with this cloud tend to be dark and I believe that it is an entity trying to manifest itself in a very grandiose manner. It takes a lot of energy for a spirit to attempt the cloud manifestation and that is why it is seldom seen. Here at the Steam Train Hotel the source of this energy is open for speculation. Perhaps a few of its guests brought a few ghosts of their own!

Rivers Inn Bed and Breakfast
317 River Street
Antonito, Colorado 81120 USA
Phone: (719) 376-6029

The next location in Antonito that is even more active with supernatural happenings is the River's Inn Bed & Breakfast. This site has an amazing amount of paranormal craziness on the premises. It has 5 rooms available for a comfortable stay, although you may be a little on edge when you learn about its incredible spectrum of ghostly happenings.

If you have 20 minutes to check out this video, I encourage you to watch an investigation done by Krystal Leandra. She was a host investigator on Zak Bagans' Ghost Adventures and is now doing her own work. I don't normally put videos this long in an article, but she and her friend Blake have done a great job with this production.

Krystal's team has quite a few experiences at the Rivers Inn that seem almost unbelievable because of how intense they were. The Inn owner, Ursula, mentions some of the other strange things that are tied to the property. Sightings of Chupacabra, Bigfoot, and a local entity known as "La Llorana" have been reported. UFOs are claimed to have visited the area and they even have installed a tower to keep watch. Cattle mutilations, which have been reported all over the country, have been found here as well.

The ghostly events in the Rivers Inn discovered in this video can be summed up:

  • Black shadow on the stairs leading to the second floor can be seen reflected in the downstairs mirror.
  • Mr. Jordan, the original 1907 owner, is claimed to have committed suicide in a barn out back, although he was found shot. The suspicion is murder. His spirit is believed to still haunt Rivers Inn. One paranormal investigation team has claimed to have made physical contact with Henry Jordan. (from Facebook link:
  • Knocks and loud bangs have been heard on all floors of the hotel.
  • In the basement Krystal had a rock thrown at her. In order for this poltergeist to happen, a large amount of energy must be used. The innkeepers believe there is a vortex in the basement that would fuel this kind of activity.
  • Perhaps the most interesting capture by Krystal and Blake is the plasma that can be seen in the doorway. It travels downward just like a spider, and yes, this is another Halloween icon - the creepy spider!
Colorado has proven itself to be far more than just stories of the Wild West. The state hosts a myriad of paranormal activity that embodies nearly everything we might think of when the word Halloween comes to mind. Mark and Kym have done a fantastic job of capturing evidence in their own neck of the woods and I definitely encourage you to check out their book. Wild West Ghosts is a reflection of what the Centennial state is all about - a rich history, a plethora of paranormal activity, and many locations for you to visit and have a great stay!

Here's the link again to lasso up your copy - Yeehaw!!

Works Cited