Ghost Stories of Colorado


Join Active Minds as we tiptoe through the haunted houses and ghoulish graveyards of the area. We will tell the ghost stories associated with the Stanley Hotel, Cheesman Park, the Molly Brown House, and more as we visit the past and the past visits with us a bit.

Key Lecture Points

  • Ghost stories appeal to all cultures and age groups because of the titillation of fear they provide and the connection we feel to the past in hearing them.
  • The genre of ghost stories and the popularity of spiritualism were at a height in the last half of the 19th century, the same time Colorado and Denver were being settled. Violence often gave rise to ghost stories, making Colorado’s mining camps a fertile source for ghost stories.
  • Some of the ghost stories of Colorado originate from the various cultures that descended upon this area beginning in the Colorado Gold Rush era of the 1860s. One example of this phenomenon is the Cornish legends of the Tommyknockers. Highly coveted miners from Cornwall, England brought their belief that gnome-like sprites knocked on the walls of mines (either warning miners or dooming them.
  • Other ghost stories spring from the clash of cultures that ensued when European peoples flooded the area that had been previously inhabited predominantly by Native Americans. The ghost stories of Sand Creek arise from this era.
  • Many frequently visited locations in the Denver area and throughout Colorado claim to be haunted. These include such well-known historical spots as the Brown Palace and the Molly Brown House. Ghost stories associated with these familiar places remind us of the state’s colorful, but sometimes troubled history.

Exploration Questions

  • Why are we so fascinated with ghost stories?
  • What are the elements of a good ghost story?

Reflective Questions

  • Have you ever taken a ghost tour while visiting another city? Which city? What did you learn from the stories of the city’s ghosts?
  • Does your family have any ghost stories that you tell from generation to generation?
  • Have you been to any of the places claiming to be haunted in Colorado? Did you experience any supernatural feeling while you were at them?

More to Explore

Books For Further Reading

  • Grafton, John and Wilkie Collins. Classic Ghost Stories by Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens and Others. Dover Publications, 1998. 176 pages. 11 stories from masters of the genre.
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  • Aykroyd, Peter H., Angela Narth, Dan Aykroyd. A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Séances, Mediums, Ghosts and Ghostbusters. Rodale Books, 2009. 264 pages. The authors recount the history of spiritualism in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The experiences of Augustus Aykroyd, a noted spiritualist of his time, are featured. Aykroyd was also the grandfather of Dan Aykroyd who used his family’s story as inspiration for the movie, Ghostbusters.
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  • Dallas, Sandra and Kendal Atchison. Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps. University of Oklahoma Press, 1988. 264 pages. An overview of early Colorado settlements.
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