Denver has always had its share of haunted locations, from a singing woman, vanishing children and formless shadows wandering Cheesman Park to the countless reports of voices, footsteps and moving tables at Denver's oldest restaurant, The Buckhorn Exchange. But it's the haunted hotels that attract ghost hunters, paranormal experts and visitors to The Mile High City all in hopes to catch a glimpse of the unexplained apparitions. Hope you're not afraid of the dark.
THE OXFORD HOTEL
1600 17th St.
Denver's oldest boutique hotel, The Oxford, offers top-notch amenities, a luxurious spa and is located in the trendy LoDo neighborhood. This 123-year-old hotel is also known for its haunted past, from tales of locked bathroom stalls to sinks that turn on and off during the night. But the real mystery lies behind the door of Room 320. In 1898, a woman named Florence Montague shot and killed her lover before taking her own life in that room. Since then, single male guests who stay in Room 320 have reported sheets being ripped off the bed and their arms being pulled by an unseen force. But the unexplained terror doesn't end in Room 320.
The hotel's Cruise Room bar is known for its martinis, Art Deco style and a mysterious postal worker. Bartenders routinely report a man walking into the bar wearing an old post office uniform. He always orders a beer before muttering "the children, I have to get the gifts to the children." He appears to drink his beer and leave - but when the bartender picks up his bottle, it's always full. Research has revealed a story of a postal worker from the 1930s who was on his way to deliver Christmas presents to nearby Central City, but the gifts were never delivered. That spring, his decomposed body was found on the way to Central City with all of the Christmas gifts still with him. That single beer at the Cruise Room may have been his last.
THE LUMBER BARON MYSTERY MANSION
2555 West 37th Ave
Shortly after the current owner of the Lumber Baron first purchased the rundown mansion, he described it as a "haunted house on a movie set." Known around the neighborhood as the "haunted castle," the Queen Anne Victorian style mansion was the site of a 1970 murder of two young women. Paranormal activity is a weekly occurrence at the Lumber Baron, with reports of strange voices, furniture moved in rooms, windows closing and cold spots throughout the property. Visions have been reported of a woman in a flapper style dress holding champagne followed by a rush of cold air. The pyramid-shaped roof atop the third floor was supposedly built as a portal to another dimension. Throughout October, the mansion offers a Haunted House Hunt mystery dinner for those who crave an evening of fright.
THE BROWN PALACE HOTEL AND SPA
321 17th St.
Downtown Denver's Brown Palace opened its doors on August 12, 1892 - and hasn't closed them for a single moment since. For more than a century the luxurious hotel and spa has stood as an anchor to the bustling financial and cultural district, playing host to presidents, prime ministers and celebrities.
The Brown Palace Club, occupying a 45-degree angle of the right-triangular hotel, is the source of more spooky stories than any other part of the building. Examples include reports of lights that turn on and off by themselves, and of carpet that crawls underfoot like something alive. Often spotted in the Club entryway or just outside of it is a man in a dark suit or uniform and a cap, which witnesses have described as looking like an old-fashioned railroad conductor's cap. When encountered and approached by the living, this specter silently retreats to the ground floor and into the wall of the 90-degree corner of the hotel. When the hotel first opened, the ground floor was encircled by retail shops and businesses - including the Rock Island Railroad ticket office in that same corner.
THE STANLEY HOTEL
333 Wonderview Avenue, Estes Park
Well known as inspiration for the Stephen King's novel "The Shining," this Colorado hotel has regularly been featured as one of America's most haunted hotels. In 1911, chief housekeeper Elizabeth Wilson was involved in an explosion that blasted her through the floor into a room one story below. The location of the explosion was repaired and converted into Room 217, the same room King visited when writing "The Shining." Guests staying in Room 217 often report unwanted housekeeping services, including having items put away or unpacked.
Most of the rooms in the hotel have had haunted experiences, including items moved, as well as lights turning on and off. In fact, the entire fourth floor of The Stanley Hotel (formerly the servant quarters) is quite active. Often, the sound of children playing in the halls of the Stanley can be heard, even when no children are present.
PATTERSON HISTORIC INN (FORMERLY CROKE PATTERSON MANSION)
420 E 11th Ave
"The Castle Project" is a documentary about the haunted history of the Croke Patterson Mansion in Capitol Hill. Filmmaker Brian Higgins documents his work as crewmembers work to transform the 124-year-old mansion into a modern bed & breakfast hotel. Most of the crew is skeptical of ghosts, but after sightings of apparitions, whispering voices and peculiar odors, they quickly realize they may not be alone in the house.
Built in 1890 by Thomas B. Croke, the red sandstone mansion is 14,000 square feet of elegant beauty. It is also said to be one of the most haunted buildings in Denver. Croke only owned the mansion for two years after selling it to Thomas M. Patterson. It wasn't until the 1970s that people began to experience strange occurrences. During renovations to the property, construction crews began to notice the work they had done the day prior was always in disarray when they returned. Thinking this the work of vandals, they left a pair of guard dogs to monitor the property overnight. When the workers returned the following day, both dogs were found dead on the sidewalk, having jumped from the third-floor window. It is said that the spirit that haunts the old mansion is that of a little girl who is buried deep in the basement floor.
Today the mansion has been transformed into the Patterson Historic Inn, an exquisite bed & breakfast hotel with modern luxuries and amenities. But the presence of paranormal activity may still remain within the walls of the old mansion and guests should think twice before taking a tour of the cellar. Sleep tight!