The top 10 most haunted places in Aspen take us back to the indigenous tribes that settled the land well before our pioneer ancestors. From bloody massacres fighting over the land to barroom brawls between drunk miners, the haunted hot spots were once home to several famous gun-slinging outlaws. The silver boom brought wealth and then took away the wealth just as quickly, leaving booming towns mere ghost towns with empty (and sometimes haunted) mines.
The Hotel Colorado
In 1893 Walter Devereux cashed in on the silver boom before the bust. He built a luxurious, grand hotel to cater to the needs of the rich and famous.
In the Hotel Colorado’s early days, prominent guests such as Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and William Taft, “unsinkable Molly Brown,” and Al Capone frequented the hotel.
In 1943 the hotel was used as a naval hospital complete with a legally required brig for prisoners. Many lives passed behind those walls, from injury, disease and executions.
The hauntings at the Hotel Colorado include the troublesome tale of a chambermaid caught in a love triangle between herself, a patient, and a miner. She was murdered by one of her jealous lovers in room 454. The paranormal activity is so intense in the room it’s no longer rented to guests.
The third and fourth floors carry the most hauntings, and paranormal investigators captured several clear EVPs stating that the two floors are definitely haunted, filled with spirits.
The spirit of a carpenter who helped build the hotel made it clear that he disapproved of their wallpaper choice by removing it after it was applied and left to dry.
A little girl fell to her death off of one of the balconies while chasing after a ball. Her ghost is seen throughout the hotel with her ball in tow.
The dining room is haunted by Devereux himself, and kitchen staff report sounds of dishes stacking and candles being lit when no one is in the room.
These are just a sprinkling of the hauntings of the hotel today, what else lies within the walls of this grand hotel?
The Hotel Jerome
A few years before the Hotel Colorado was built, Jerome B. Wheeler built the Hotel Jerome. The hotel didn’t quite make it through the silver bust and changed hands several times. It was used as a boarding house, and campaign headquarters before the economy turned around and Aspen was back on the map. The changing of hands continued, along with several renovations. We all know what renovating a building causes in the paranormal realm!
A young boy drowned in the hotel, but his spirit stayed on at the hotel. He is seen dripping wet in the hallways leaving wet footprints as he walks through the walls.
A maid died from pneumonia after being tricked by other maids to retrieve a kitten in the snow. Her ghost sticks around to turn the table and plays tricks on maids and other hotel staff. She messes up rooms that have been cleaned, leaving the staff scratching their heads in confusion.
A forlorn prospector who drowned his sorrows in a bottle of whiskey is seen wandering the hotel wandering the halls and sobbing for a lost love.
The Red Onion
The Red Onion building managed to make it through the prohibition and the great depression, unlike most businesses.
Famous performers like Billy Holliday and John Denver performed at the Red Onion when it became a nightclub. Many spirits linger on at the old hot spot, including Billy, a chef killed in an argument with another chef.
Ghostly music, footsteps, a murdered madame, and a little ghost girl are all common occurrences at the Red Onion.
From a brothel, gambling hall to a nightclub, this famous building has plenty of paranormal tales to tell!
Aspen Art Museum
The Aspen Art Museum was once operated in an old power plant home to a tragic death. A man was electrocuted on the job. His spirit hangs around the old building, and many believe he even knows he died.
The real ghosts lie within the spirit photography at the new museum. Though many hoaxes discredited ghosts in photos in the past, there are still valid claims out there.
The museum even capitalized on the ghost towns in the area, bolting iPads to the backs of three African sulcata tortoises. The tortoises were let loose and wandered around the ghost towns filming their every move.
The Aspen Music Festival
In 1903 silver mine owner Colonel George Newman built a “bungalow” at the base of the Rocky Mountains most scenic area. A luxurious accommodation, Newman threw lavish parties and lived life high on the hog.
Having more money than God didn’t satisfy Newman completely, and he reportedly cheated on his wife. Mrs. Newman vowed revenge and said she would haunt her husband’s beloved homestead after she died.
“Mad Bess,” as she has come to be called, is never seen but moves things around to capture your attention. Her energy permeates the property that is now a music school and spot where the annual Aspen Music Festival is held.
Gillespie Ghost House
Although the house was torn down years ago, the Gillespie Ghost House was once an exciting part of Aspen for its dilapidated disrepair.
When silver boomer Henry Gillespie built his mansion in 1881, he spared no expense. Trimmed with decorative gingerbread, the house was beautiful yet creepy at the same time. It was nick-named the “ghost house” due to its presence as a house straight out of a haunted house story. When the house burned nearly to the ground in 1944, people strolled by just to look at it. Imaginations ran wild of possible hauntings within. The house was torn down in 1951, but the haunted history forever remains.
Ashcroft Ghost Town
Like most small towns surrounding the Aspen area, Ashcroft boomed one day and became a ghost town the next. In less than a decade, a rich silver boom town went from full and rich, to abandoned and desolate.
Although no ghosts are reported per se, the land is rich with a haunting history of massacres, disease, famine, and death. These events lay as contributions to the town’s inability to withstand the harsh way of life in those pioneer days.
Today the ghost town is a historic tourist park that you can walk through, amidst the decrepit old buildings, and listen to the whispers of days long ago in the winds.
Independence Ghost Town
Like Ashcroft, Independence Ghost Town went from boom to bust in less than a decade.
Independence had more history because of the Ute Indians being forced from the land after European settlers came in to claim it. Massacres ensued, and many lives ended there. Some accounts say the entire area was cursed by the Indians, and that’s why the town didn’t last. In all practicality, it was from the silver mine running dry and the harsh winters. Rather than utilize the land and start new ventures, people migrated to Aspen — the bigger and more fruitful city.
Independence Ghost Town carries a haunted feeling in the remaining structures left behind from long-ago lives and hardships. Dreamer’s blood, sweat, and tears for a better and easier life echo throughout the Roaring Fork Valley to this day.
The Linwood Cemetery
All cemeteries have history, but the Linwood Cemetery holds the stories of two infamous gunslingers. Doc Holliday and Kid Curry.
Kid Curry ran with Butch Cassidy’s gang and survived being gunned down, but later committed suicide in jail. He lingers around the cemetery, looking for another robbery to take part in. Many believed the man they captured and claimed to be Kid Curry was a case of mistaken identity. Whoever it was, their ghost permeates the Linwood Cemetery today.
Most famous of all, Doc Holliday was a dentist by trade who crossed over to the dark side of the law due to his incessant gambling addiction. He ran with Wyatt Earp and his brothers off and on until his tuberculosis took a turn for the worst. Moving to Glenwood Springs in hopes of the sulfur hot springs helping his ailment, in all actuality, it only made it worse. Regardless, he loved the Colorado mountains and remained until his death in 1887 at age 36. He was initially buried at Linwood cemetery, but his father had his body exhumed and moved to Georgia so they could rest in peace side by side.
The Henry Webber House
A sad story of a love triangle gone wrong, the ghosts of the Henry Webber House have a definite reason to be there.
Henry Webber built the house for he and his wife Harriet in 1880, and they lived together until her mysterious death in 1881. Rumors spread of Henry’s possible involvement in Harriet’s death, apparently an overdose of tranquilizers.
The news came out that Henry was having an illicit affair with Harriet’s niece Julia who he married soon after her Aunt’s death. After some time, Julia fell into a depressive state herself. Whether it was guilt or the fact that the couple began experiencing strange happenings in the house, she soon went insane.
Harriet remains in the Henry Webber house in spirit, literally. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Henry Webber House is protected from being torn down. Harriet can live happily in her afterlife until she decides to move on, if she ever does!