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When you enter the Briggle House in Breckenridge, you’d better close the gate behind you and say “hello” when you step through the door. Otherwise you could upset Kathleen (Katie) Briggle, and she might just follow you home.
Katie, a music teacher, and her husband William, a banker and one-time mayor of Breck, lived in the Victorian house at 104 North Harris Street for more than 25 years in the early 1900s. Although Katie moved to Denver after William’s death in 1924, her ghost allegedly still haunts the home, which is furnished in authentic detail befitting the era and filled with antiques—including an ornate piano similar to the one Katie played 100 years ago. Many visitors say they have felt a presence in the house—and others report that Katie has identified herself from beyond the grave.
“It was a while ago, this lady was on the walking tour and she felt the presence of Katie Briggle,” says Niki Harris, tour guide for Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, which hosts history tours throughout the mountain town, including one that takes a look at haunted places, like Briggle House. “She lived in another state and a few weeks after she’d gone home I got an email saying she had Katie at her house creating disturbances. The message was that the Heritage Alliance was bringing in tours, and we were being disrespectful to her by not saying hello. We now dutifully get all of our tours to say hello.”
Breckenridge is said to be fraught with ghosts. Founded in 1859 by gold miners, the town boasts a rich (and dark) history involving an interesting cast of characters. So, if you want to get spooked at a higher elevation this Halloween, here are six ways and places to make it happen.
Breck Heritage Alliance Haunted Tour. Hosted every Wednesday and Saturday, as well as a special event on Halloween night, this tour features a lantern-guided journey through the town’s darkest moments and haunted places. Tickets are $15–$20, reservations required
Country Boy Mine. Once one of Breck’s most prolific gold and silver mines, Country Boy offers historic tours and gold panning for children, but is allegedly haunted by ghosts of the men and children who died there. Several visitors have reported misty figures in their photographs, including, Harris says, a man with a photo showing a figure wrapping its arms around his child. For the first time ever, the Mine is hosting a haunted Horror in the Mine event on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through November 3. Recommended for ages 12+; tickets start at $24.95 and are available online
Tombstone Tales at Twilight Tour. Take a stroll through Valley Brook Cemetery, housing the 140-year-old graves of many of Breck’s pioneers and early residents, as well as eery burial grounds marked “the unknown dead.” Spooky surprises lurk among the headstones. The tour is offered at 5 p.m. every Sunday and on Halloween. Tickets are $15–$20 and available online
The Briggle House. Katie’s old residence will be open to the public for a free haunted house (donations appreciated; don’t forget to say hello) on October 31. There’s also a Halloween edition of kids’ trick-or-treat tea on October 20 (1–3 p.m.; $10 for kids, parents are free; reservations recommended) and Victorian Tea at the Briggle House on November 2 ($20–$30; reservations required).
The Brown. Established in 1868 and once a hotel, this vintage bar is reportedly haunted by Miss Whitney, a woman shot in one of the upstairs rooms. There have been reports of the faucet turning on by itself in the now-renovated women’s bathroom, curtains billowing and doors slamming while windows were closed. There’s no specific Halloween event at the Brown, but it is definitely a place to saddle up to the bar or play a game of ping pong or air hockey and get spooked.
The Milne House. This residence dates back to 1880 and retains many of its original features, including a root cellar and newspaper insulation on all the walls. For Halloween, there’s a mourning display showcasing the fate of Ada Finding—who supposedly sat straight up in her coffin the day after being pronounced dead from diphtheria—Victorian mourning etiquette, a satin coffin, and artwork created with the hair of the dead. Free, donations appreciated