The Blake Street Vault. By all accounts, Denver’s most historic pub – and perhaps, it’s most haunted. Just after 1860, around the very time that the city of Denver itself was being founded – the Blake Street Vault (or as it was known then as simply – The Charles Eyser Saloon) was also coming into existence in its first incarnation.
The Saloon served not only as the local watering hole – but also as a boarding house in the heart of Denver’s very first business district. As such, the business and leisure activities of men and women of all classes and creeds came together in a sort of beautiful amalgam of societal bliss, allowing for the working class to mingle with the genty, the whores to masquerade alongside the ladies of fine standing. This little slice of society served as not only a fantastic platform for amusement and profit for the entire city – but also, perhaps unfortunately for goings on of ill repute.
Due to the nature of the place, and the lawlessness of the time, many a lady of the night had made the Charles Eyser Saloon their nest of choice in which to partake in their particular brand of entrepreneurship. The nature of that business is such, that unfortunately, it is all too common for malevolence and violence, and greed to make their way into the beds of these particular women, accompanied with alongside them by ill-tempered men, wanting nothing more than to feel for a moment again. And so, in placed such as this – on nights when the mood was dark, and the memory quite, it was not unheard of for great acts of darkness, and evil to be done – at the hand of – or under – what could be anybody – or anything – at all.
It was surely on one such night, of evil and malcontent, that the woman now affectionally referred to as Lydia came to meet her untimely demise in that dank and musty frontier town Saloon. Until recently, she had been referred to as simply the Brown Ghost, or the Lady in Red. This due to her overt appearance – of bows, and bonnets, and frills. Some say that she died when a coal miner, upset that her body was not for sale threw her headfirst down the Saloon stairs. Others contend that she was a prostitute after all – and was killed by a john after he had been unable to adequately perform before her.
Whatever the case, by all accounts, Lydia did indeed walk the floors of the Charles Esyer Saloon, both in life and in death – just as she still walks them today, only under a different sign out front. The current owner of the place says she just likes to hang around – popping up to say hello after the general rabble has managed to die down for the night. One of the less malicious spirits I’ve ever heard of – which is surprising, considering how she may well have met her end.
The other fascinating spirit reported to me in this place, was that of a supposed mariner, who has haunted the Blake Street Vault storage area for over 150 years. Having allegedly arrived in the mid-nineteenth century, this mariner had supposedly passed away while residing secretly in the Saloons basement. As the story goes, if the wind is high, and the hour is just right, you can still hear that ancient mariner speaking gently out across the mountains, towards the ocean, in his salty Irish brogue. The only evidence of this event seems to be a couple of authentic Irish Ginger Ale’s that were found by his body. And interesting – and mysterious – little tidbit, if nothing else.
One of the more remarkable aspects of the Blake Street Vault is the prohibition era tunnels that lie beneath it. Far be it from being related only to the paranormal, these tunnels serve as a stark reminder of one of the most fascinating times in American history. Prohibition, Al Capone, the Teamsters – all of the wild stores that you read about now, years later – of people whisking crates of whiskey back and forth right under the noses of the dumbfounded authorities – that was all happening right here, in the Vault itself.
But ghosts and spirits are certainly never far behind when the shady underbelly of society is overturned, and almost certainly, the Blake Street Vault bears no exception. It was common practice to move not only liquor through these secret tunnels, but women and weapons, as well. When such wicked deeds are done, such as the trafficking of our fellow man, it is of no surprise that a dark light would be cast on the place that had held them. Some say, in fact, that the very preeminence of evil that had surrounded the tunnels and the establishments of that original Denver drew the paranormal to the city like a moth to a flame.
It is undeniable even now, setting foot in the places such as this, that hauntings do occur – and that ghosts are undeniably real. Who can deny it, that feeling of tension in the pit of your stomach when you walk into a hallway, and you can just feel that something is off. The way, for a moment you wonder – why are my hairs standing on end – before you realize that surely it’s because you are not alone.
The Blake Street Vault is a glimpse into the rich and vibrant tapestry that is the history of the United States of America, and in far more ways than one. The architecture is gorgeous, the beer is great, and most importantly – the ghosts are active as hell. Quite frankly, this place is amazingly cool – and is one location any paranormal believer would be highly remiss to miss out on.