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Ghosts get a bad rap: Sure, some want to devour your everlasting soul, but others are just trying to make it through their afterlives in peace. In honor of Halloween, we ranked five Colorado apparitions from congenial to downright evil so you know what sort of story you’re walking into.
The Water Boy
Hotel Jerome, Aspen
Legend has it that a 10-year-old child drowned in the Jerome’s former pool (what’s now a garden terrace) in the 1930s. There’s no record of the incident, acknowledges Dean Weiler, who leads Aspen Walking Tours’ Ghosts, Murder, & Mayhem trip, but guests have reported visions of a wet, shivering child who leaves behind puddles of water and is responsible for confounding disappearances of toys.
Headless Hotel Guests
Victor Hotel & Restaurant, Victor
During brutal winters in the early 1900s, the hotel’s fourth floor served as a temporary morgue until the ground thawed enough for burials. Even then, the departed seem to have had a difficult time, well, departing: Kitchen staff at the hotel have seen utensils thrown about, and guests have witnessed misty forms accompanied by inexplicable footsteps. The apparitions seem to abstain from violence, but given that they’re often missing appendages or even heads, they’re certainly unsettling.
Après Handcrafted Libations, Breckenridge
In the late 1800s, Miss Sylvia was living in a boardinghouse and searching for a second husband when a smallpox outbreak claimed her life. Now, says Gail Westwood, author of Haunted Breckenridge, Sylvia spends her days tidying clutter for the mixologists who occupy her former residence. It’s only men, though, who report feeling the lovelorn wight’s breathy whispers in their ears.
Sheriff William J. Thompson
El Moro Spirits & Tavern, Durango
While savoring the tri-tip bulgogi, keep an eye on the lightbulb on the back wall. When you notice it pulsing, raise a glass to Sheriff William J. Thompson, who died in the restaurant’s doorway more than 110 years ago after losing a battle of bullets to the local marshal. Fortunately, unnerving evidence of this lawman-turned-specter—new equipment dying suddenly, doors banging inexplicably—seems to have subsided now that the staff keeps a shot of Old Forester on the bar’s top shelf.
The Man In The Black Hat
Tacos El Tapatio, Salida
Dozens of the Mexican restaurant’s employees have described doors slamming, voices screaming, and sightings of a top-hat-wearing figure dressed all in black. Local historian Steve Chapman of Salida Walking Tours has had guests struck by sudden headaches and nausea, always after standing near the building’s western corner. It’s no wonder: The place was a mortuary from 1911 to 1961, and a medium passing through town revealed that the ailments are symptoms associated with portals between the worlds of life and death.