Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Denver Ghost Stories

In honor of Halloween, Kerry Hammond takes us ghost hunting in Denver....

Most cities have haunted sites where ghosts have been spotted. Many times it’s where multiple or famous deaths have occurred. I decided that this year I would do a self-guided ghost walk in the city where I live, to find out just how haunted Denver really is. I chose the self-guided tour because the guided tours were full, which just goes to show how popular these things really are (and makes me realize I’m not alone). 

I started my tour in downtown Denver at the recently remodeled Union Station, located on Wynkoop and 17th Street. Built in 1881, Union Station was the first railway depot in Denver, and to this day is still home to Denver’s Amtrak train line. There have been several ghost sightings at this location, one being a little girl dressed in clothing that dates back to the 1800s. Some believe she died in a fire that destroyed a huge part of the station back in 1894. 

My next stop was the Oxford Hotel on 14th Street, which opened for business in 1891. Perhaps passengers stayed here after their rail journey while visiting Denver. One such couple, as the story goes, stayed in room 320. While on the premises, the husband caught his wife cheating and killed her prior to committing suicide. This room is still believed to be haunted by the woman’s ghost. The Cruise Room is the bar located inside the Oxford Hotel, and I have stopped here many times for a martini. I have never encountered the postman who some have seen sitting at the bar talking about delivering Christmas gifts. In the early 1900s, the body of a postman was found next to a pile of undelivered Christmas gifts, he is believed to be the ghost who visits the Cruise Room for a beer now and then.

Every city seems to have its very own red light district, and in the late 1800s in Denver there was an area known for prostitution and general debauchery. Market Street was the hub of this activity and there were three reported stranglings of young working women in the fall of 1894. All three murders happened on the same block and the murderers were never found. This area was known as Stranglers Row and some think these three women still haunt Market Street.

My last stop was the Brown Palace Hotel on 17th Street (photo at the top of the page). This hotel was opened in 1892 and is well known for its afternoon tea events, high-end spa, and beautiful rooms. It is also known for its ghosts. Some of the sightings have been: a waiter riding in the elevator, the sound of a string quartet where none is playing, and a train conductor who hangs around where a railway ticket office used to be.

I have never come across any of the ghosts that I discovered on my tour, but I can always hope that next time one will show itself.

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