Everyone knows about the famous Stanley Hotel, but Colorado has a long list of haunted accommodations to choose from. Those at the top of the list are right here in Denver. The spirits are soaring in the Mile-High City and we’ve got the scoop on the spookiest sleeps!
This elegant, red sandstone castle was built in 1890 by Thomas B. Croke. This Denver Haunted Hotel has earned its place at the top of this list. From the beginning, the mansion has been wrought with death and fear. Croke built it for his family but his wife died just after it was completed. He moved his parents, then his mother died. Just six months later, Croke traded his seemingly cursed home for Thomas Patterson’s land. Some say he vowed never to return because the mansion chilled him to the core. Patterson moved in with his family but shortly after, his son in committed suicide, then his daughter, Mary died from complications of a chronic illness. His wife also died in the house so he gave it to his daughter Margaret and stayed with her and her husband until he, too, died in the house.
The next lucky owner converted the mansion into apartments and office space. The doctor’s wife killed herself by inhaling poisonous gas. Tenants of the building didn’t stay long. Most of them packed up and left after one too many spooky experiences.
One tenant was brushing his teeth in the second-floor bathroom when the shower curtain started to rattle. He checked behind it to see if it was his cat, but the tub was empty. This happened regularly, but the last straw was when the shower rod came flying straight at him.
Another tenant lived in what was once Patterson’s library. He would come home all the time to find the room in disarray, but it was the morning that he awoke to find that the large, heavy fireplace insert had moved from its rightful place under the chimney to the middle of the room, a feat that was impossible to do without a lot of noise and destruction. It freaked him out so much that he called a priest to perform an exorcism. As the priest began praying, plaster fell from the walls and a huge puff of black smoke blew out of the fireplace. The priest stopped praying and took his exit and the tenant moved out.
One tenant was pregnant with twins and she was having some pain as she sat down to rest. She said a woman suddenly appeared at her bedside, held her hand and helped her get comfortable. Then the woman just smiled before she faded away.
The office tenants had to put up with these encounters as well. Typewriters would clack away by themselves, copy machines printed stacks of nothing, the phones rang constantly with no one on the other line, and brand new light bulbs would go out as soon as they’d been installed. One secretary recalls just watching in shock as the drawers of her desk would sometimes open and close by themselves.
By the time renovations began for the inn, rumors of the hauntings had been swirling for years. Paranormal activity increased during construction. It was slow going because tools constantly went missing and the workers would sometimes have to redo all of their wor because it had been torn apart in the middle of the night. A high fence was put up around the property three Dobermans were left inside to guard the place from vandals. One morning, two of the dogs were found dead on the sidewalk, apparently having jumped from the third floor. The other dog was in the third-floor tower room, whimpering and scared to death. Once construction worker believed whatever evil had frightened those dogs lived in that tower room. He refused to go in there claiming, “It sucked the life out of me.”
He may be right. Terrible noises come from the tower room and there is a definite chill that isn’t felt throughout the rest of the mansion. A medium spent some time in the home, and she said the dead and sadness that she felt in that room stayed with her for days. She was able so sense each room that held a suicide over the years because she had a hard time catching her breath when she entered those rooms. She also felt a lot of negative energy in the basement.
There is no doubt that this Denver Haunted Hotel is rife with spirits. Even the biggest skeptics who step foot inside are soon true believers. Once again, the Patterson Inn is now a luxurious bed-and-breakfast and only time will tell if the forever tenants will play nice with their new guests.
The Oxford Hotel was built in 1891 and is the oldest grand hotel in Denver. On September 8, 1898 though, it was the site of a grisly murder/suicide. Florence Richardson shot her married lover before turning the gun on herself. The man was found in the hallway clutching his stomach and pleading “Don’t shoot again!” Florence died in the room, but it took her lover three agonizing days to succumb.
The room was quickly cleaned up and ready to be rented out again. The only evidence of the tragedy was a bullet hole by the door. Florence was a twenty-four-year-old beautiful woman with blue eyes and chestnut hair. Not a bad ghost to be haunted by, huh fellas. Well, if you are a single man staying in Room 320, you will learn that though she be beautiful, she is but horrifying!
Hotel staff have reported many incidences of half-dressed men fleeing the room in terror. They say they felt an unseen presence sit on the bed next to them as they slept. Then their arms were tugged, the covers ripped away, and they were violently shoved around the room. Florence’s reflection has also been seen in the room’s mirrors. Guests will get a creepy feeling and see a female figure reflected in the glass!
Don’t worry ladies, you also have a ghost. Women using the facilities in the lobby are sometimes startled to see a scruffy miner leering down at her with a gigantic grin. He vanishes when someone starts to scream. He is known as “the peeper ghost”, however this could be an unfair because the restroom used to be the barbershop. Perhaps this poor gentleman just wants a haircut!
The Cruise Room Lounge is the favorite haunt of another ghost. Countless witnesses have seen and even chatted with a man in an old-fashioned postman’s uniform. He settles himself on the third barstool and orders a beer. He will chat with other patrons as he drinks but anytime someone looks away, the turn to find him gone and a full glass of beer on the bar. Just don’t sit on his stool or you’ll feel a harsh cold wash over you until you move over. He’s seen every December. A couple of years after the bar opened, the living Postman stopped by the Cruise Room to have a beer before his route. He died in a car accident that night.
In 1860, Henry Brown left St. Louis with his wife and son, travelling to California in a wagon but they fell in love with Denver. Henry had a head for business and soon, he was one of the wealthiest men in Colorado. Always fully decked out in true cowboy fashion, one day, he walked into the Windsor Hotel and was escorted out because of his attire. This lit a fire under his boots and Henry built his own hotel, even fancier than the Windsor, right on top of his cow pasture.
This Denver Haunted Hotel has had numerous paranormal encounters over the years, like lights that turn on and off by themselves, and what looks like something live crawling around under the carpets. In the restaurant, a waiter was closing for the night and was surprised to see four men in tuxedo’s with string instruments. He told them they were closed, and their response gave him chills. “Oh, don’t worry about us, we live here.” Then they vanished.
In 1911, Mrs. “Sassy” Springer, a beautiful divorcee and socialite, kept a suite at the hotel for “entertaining.” She found herself the affection of two different men who happened to run into each other in the hotel bar. A brawl ensued and one man shot and killed the other man and a bystander. The trial brought up quite a scandal centering around Sassy and her lovers. Now, whenever this topic of conversation comes up, the front desk receives non-stop phone calls from Sassy’s old room. Every time, the room is either vacant, or the guests swear they did not make the calls. Clearly, Sassy does not like being talked about.
A train conductor has been seen running through the lobby and straight into a wall. A pretty woman in a long, pink ball gown will walk through the closed door of room 804, which used to be part of the grand ballroom. Children voices are heard along with the persistent crying of a baby in the boiler room. A maintenance man was called into room 523 by a pale, elderly woman to fix the heat. He adjusted the thermostat and turned to find that she was gone. He reported the work order to the front desk, and they informed him that room 523 was vacant.
This Denver Haunted Hotel began as the Denver Tramway Building, that once housed the cities streetcars. It was also used as the downtown campus for the University of Colorado, and then it was part of the Denver Center for Performing Arts. It wasn’t until 1997 that it became luxury boutique hotel that it is today. Paranormal activity includes objects being moved around in people’s rooms, the sound of disembodied voices, and the feeling of being watched in an empty room.
The most notable ghost is the “Tool Man.” He is the spirit of a mechanic that used to work the rails when the streetcars were in commission. He died on the job and never left. He is seen walking the hallways carrying his toolbox. He is actually a great ghost to have around because he’s been known to fix things when they break. Guests have reported maintenance issues only to have them magically corrected before staff can get to the room. One guest was having trouble with the plumbing in her room and she spotted the Tool Man in the hallway. She called to her room and he went into the bathroom. She felt as though he had been in there for an awfully long time, so she stuck her head in to find that no one was there. She had been in the room the entire time so he couldn’t possibly have slipped by her. What’s even more mysterious is that the pluming issue had been fixed. Everyone needs their own haunted handyman!
The Lumber Baron Inn is so spooky it has made the cover of the magazine, Haunted Times. It has been the sight of many paranormal investigations and Ghost Hunters University has held several seminars at this Denver Haunted Hotel. The neighbors have dubbed it the “haunted castle,” mostly because in 1970, two young women were murdered inside. When the mansion was used as apartments, a young woman named Cara lived there, when someone broke in and raped her. The attack was interrupted by one of Cara’s friends who had stopped by to visit. Both girls were found dead the next morning and their killer was never caught. That room is now the Valentine Suite and it is not known for being very romantic. Guests of that particular room often feel like they are being followed. Strange images have been caught on film and the face of a young woman will sometimes appear in the mirror. They are very restless spirits and that is likely because they murder has yet to be solved. They have been know to whisper nonsense in peoples ears, perhaps trying to tell their story. A ghostly black cat has also been seen in their room.
The Inn is also home to a few other permanent residents, including a woman in a Victorian dress with her hair in a tight bun, who always has her arms crossed and a disapproving look on her face. There is a Protective male spirit referred to as “the General,” who makes his presence known by the aroma of tobacco smoke. Then there is a flirty, young flapper in a blue dress who is seen in the ballroom sipping champagne. The last spirit is only seen by children. He is described as a teenage boy with a funny nose. One boy told his mother he was the “Nicey Nice Ghost,” that said hello every morning.
The owner of the Lumber Baron Inn embraces his long-term guests. The hotel often holds Murder Mystery Dinners and Seances. When asked how he feels about sharing the Inn with so many spirits, he says “What’s fun is that even when we’re alone, we never feel alone.”
Rest in Peace, Denver!
These Haunted Denver Hotels are sure to make you scream. If you’re brave enough, you might even want to extend your stay… forever! Get more ideas on what to do on the Denver Travel Guide.