Top 10 Haunted Places In Aspen
These days, most people head to Aspen to enjoy skiing on the snow-capped mountains, and possibly some of the haunted places in Aspen as well. The city of Aspen began as a mining camp when there was a big silver boom in Colorado. It got its name from the many aspen trees growing in the area.
While the boom died down when the silver market collapsed in 1893, the city got its groove back in the 1950s with the assistance of Walter Paepcke. The industrious man purchased many of the properties for redevelopment and helped bring people back. Not only is Aspen a skiing destination, but it is also home to the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Before shifting your sights to the snow-capped mountains of Aspen, it’s important to take a look at a couple of the hauntings in nearby Glenwood Springs. While there’s about an hour drive between the two, Glenwood has some great spooks to offer, like the ghosts at the haunted Hotel Colorado.
Reading accounts of the ghosts at Hotel Colorado on the hotel’s website may have you believing that some guests who check into the rooms at this beautiful overnight stay don’t always check out – some of them hang around haunting rooms and halls forever. Some of the ghostly signs include flickering lights, doors that lock and unlock themselves, smells of cigar smoke permeating the air when no one is smoking, and chandeliers swinging on the ceiling. While no specific ghosts are names, some folks believe the hotel was once a morgue and that possibly a murdered hotel guest is hanging around as well.
Another Glenwood Springs haunted “attraction” is the Linwood Cemetery. This sprawling cemetery even has a hiking trail. Aside from being a good place to get some exercise, it’s also home to the burial place of John Henry Holliday, better known as Doc Holliday. Holliday was a dentist and a notorious gunslinger.
Doc Holliday isn’t alone when it comes to gunslingers and gamblers. One other famous name buried in the Linwood Cemetery is Harvey Logan, also known as Kid Curry. Because both men had a fondness for Glenwood, some believe they both are still haunting the area. Perhaps their ghosts have hung around because no one is sure where Holliday’s body truly rests, and Logan’s body was too mutilated after death to know for sure if it was actually him!
The Ghost Town of Ashcroft
While ghost towns get their spooky names from the fact that they are abandoned towns, often with ruins left remaining of what buildings once stood there, they aren’t always harboring spectral ghosts left from the human occupants who once resided there. But, then again, who’s to know what apparitions lurk in the crumbling and decaying buildings of ghost towns – who’s there in the deep, dark night to witness them.
The area around Aspen is home to a couple of interesting ghost towns, including Ashcroft. Rife with gems to mine, the 1880s were good for Ashcroft, but when the shallow deposits were depleted, people moved on, leaving the town a shell of itself. In the 1930s, Ashcroft was given life again with the Highland-Bavarian Lodge, which was soon taken over by the military during WWII. While the town made it into a TV series in the 50s, that wasn’t enough to keep it from deteriorating. The Aspen Historical Society preserves the area. People can go for self-guided tours through the ghost town, looking for the ghosts of miners still searching for their riches and those lost during gunfights at one of the former saloons. Some people have felt a presence when visiting this empty town.
Independence was another mining town that popped up in 1880. Miners looking for gold traveled to the area to dig up those nuggets, but once the boom was over, most of the residents moved to Aspen, where there was more going on, leaving Independence nearly a ghost town.
By 1899, Independence was a ghost of its former self, but a few structures were left as skeletal reminders of a time past. There may not be any actual ghosts haunting the remains of this boom town, but as one blogger put it, the place has a feeling like an old miner is hanging about welcoming you to the place – calling you to visit and explore.
Henry P. Gillespie’s house was referred to as the “haunted house,” with its spooky facade. Unfortunately, the home no longer stands, having sat for a while as a burned shell after a fire. When it was still erect, it attracted those looking for a haunted house prop – even Gary Cooper is said to have posed with his family in front of the spooky residence for a spread for Life Magazine.
In this case, the Victorian house itself is the ghost. With images of it living on in vintage magazines and guides to Aspen, the house lives on even if it is no longer visible to those driving by the lot where it once stood. Some tried to save the dilapidated home, but it would cost too much to reconstruct and was demolished to make room for a gym for the school. The rest of the property had been donated to the schools earlier.
Henry Webber House
There are definitely some haunted sights to see in Aspen proper as well. One interesting place to visit is the sight commonly referred to as Pioneer Park. Here stands the Henry Webber House, which is also sometimes referred to as the Webber–Paepcke House.
The home that sits in Pioneer Park was built sometime in the 1880s and still stands on West Bleeker Street. Henry Webber was a shoe merchant whose wife died in the house – she’s one of the likely ghosts in the home. It’s said she died under mysterious causes, one of those things that always leads to some great ghost stories.
Aspen Music Festival
The Aspen Country Day School not only shares its space with The Aspen Music Festival, but an otherworldly presence seems to hang out there as well. There is a legend about a ghost named Mad Bess who hangs about the school.
Mad Bess is a presence felt, but no one sees her as being scary – rather than startle people with her presence, the ghost has a penchant for moving things around. Why is she still hanging around? Rumor has it her husband had a wandering eye, so she stuck around after death to pay him back for his indiscretions.
Aspen Art Museum
While the Aspen Art Museum resides in a new “home” these days, the building it was located in prior to 2015 was haunted, according to some. A director at the old location, while having admitted to not having an experience herself, said that others talked about feeling a presence in the building or feeling cold drafts.
It’s believed that the ghost belongs to a man who worked at a power plant that was once housed in this same building. The man is said to have died on the job, and now he’s hanging around the place, maybe still trying to do his job.
The Red Onion
The Red Onion is a hugely popular local restaurant with a dedicated clientele. Of course, not all of the regulars at the Red Onion are still living, though they have no problem fitting in when the place is packed. There have been at least a couple of ghosts sighted, as well as other ghostly experiences.
Reports have come in from many about a little girl ghost. There was a man named Billy who was stabbed in the building sometime in history – he also haunts the Red Onion. Aside from those two ghosts, people have experienced ghostly music and footsteps.
It’s possible that the Hotel Jerome is the most haunted place in Aspen. The hotel remains home to a multitude of ghosts, some more famous than others. Some are also naughtier than others.
There is a popular spirit known as the Waterboy, named so because he drowned in the pool at the hotel sometime in the 1950s. One freaky sign the kid’s ghost leaves behind are wet footprints around the pool and in the hallways when there are no other kids around to leave them. There’s also a ghostly maid who plays tricks on the living maids by doing things like flipping the blankets on freshly made beds.
The ghosts of Aspen don’t seem to mind when a building they haunt no longer has living inhabitants. From mysterious ghost towns to haunted museums, you’ll enjoy the trek into the past with some haunting tales.