Thursday, May 14, 2020

HGB Ep. 336 - Haunted Manitou Springs

Moment in Oddity - Fernand Arbelot Gravesite
Suggested by: Mike Streibel

In Episode 256 featuring Haunted Cemeteries 9, we covered the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. We completely missed one very interesting burial and unfortunately, there is not much known about the man who is buried there. His name was Fernand Arbelot and he was said to be an artist, architect and musician. Belgian sculptor Adolphe Wansart made this sculpture and it features Arbelot lying down on his back with his arms raised holding a replica of his wife's face and head. Legend claims that it was his desire to always be able to see her face. Due to environmental impact, her face is now streaked with what looks like tears. The monument is really kinda creepy. The memorial also features the following lines, "They were filled with wonder at the beautiful voyage, Which carried them until the end of life." Arbelot never got to see the monument as he died four years before it was completed in 1946. He had been in Paris while it was under Nazi occupation at the time and was in his early sixties and no one knows what took his life. The idea that a man so loved his wife that he wanted to gaze into her face for all eternity is touching, but to actually have that sculpted atop your burial, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Adolf Eichmann Captured

In the month of May, on the 23rd in 1960, Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was captured. Eichmann joined the Nazi's elite SS in 1932 and he rose through the ranks quickly and once Germany annexed Austria in 1938, he was assigned the duty of ridding Vienna of all its Jews. He facilitated this through a deportation center and after he was successful there, he moved onto Prague. By 1942, Hermann Goring was masterminding the "final solution of the Jewish question" and Eichmann was put in charge of coordinating the effort. He was in charge of identifying and transporting millions of Jews to Nazi death camps. After the war, Eichmann was brought in by U.S. troops, but he escaped from the prison camp and made his way to Argentina. Agents of Mossad were tipped off about his location and they kidnapped him and took him to Israel, knowing that Argentina would not extradite him. His trial would be the first to ever be televised. He was found guilty, sentenced to die and he was hanged on May 31, 1962.

Manitou Springs (Suggested by: Stacy Skelton)

Manitou Springs is a touristy town found south of Denver in Colorado that became popular in the 1890s as a health resort, with its clean mountain air and mineral springs. This was a sacred area to the Native American tribes there. Many of them believed this was a gateway to the other side. There are so many interesting legends and ghost stories connected to this town that it's hard not to believe that they might have been right. Join us as we explore the history and haunts of Manitou Springs, Colorado!

The name Manitou Springs itself just screams supernatural. Manitou means "spirit" in Native American. Aashaa monetoo means good spirit, while otshee monetoo means bad spirit. The Algonquian used Gitchie Manitou for the "Great Spirit." So it is reasonable to assume that the natural mineral springs found here must have meant something spiritual to the Native Americans who bathed in the healing waters. There are legends that the Native Americans believed that there was a vortex here. Manitou Springs is located south of Denver, just outside of Colorado Springs. Dr. Edwin James is the person credited with bringing attention to the mineral springs, outside of the Native American community, and eventually the very people who named these springs and treated them as sacred were run off. The first white man to write about the springs though was explorer Stephen Harriman Long in 1820. In 1868, men like General William J. Palmer and Dr. William A. Bell were visiting and making plans to build a resort. People from various backgrounds were flocking to the area in the 1890s. These included doctors, nurses, celebrities, tourists and tubercular patients. They built there homes in the valley here and many of them are still around today. There is so much history in this one area that it is one of the country's largest registered historic districts. 

Our listener Stacy had suggested Manitou Springs back in 2018. She wrote, "I live in Longmont, CO and grew up in (technically) Colo Springs on the far west side of the Garden of the Gods and 1 block from Manitou Springs. I LOVE the local history and would suggest a possible broadcast about Manitou Springs. It was sure creepy back in the 70’s when I was hanging out there and has certainly maintained that aura. My brother and I believe that our family home was haunted- or something otherworldly was going on there. My parents built it on a beautiful hilltop among the red rocks and overlooking Manitou. Over the years we guessed it was an ancient Native American sacred site due to the amazing views and occasional springs that would temporarily burst forth around the property.  No doubt we were probably offending someone or something...!  I remember lots of ghost stories about various Manitou Springs locations circulating while I was in high school. Manitou Springs was a Native American meeting/trading center as well as a western mecca for wealthy eastern vacationers to 'take the waters.' I’m sure the intersection of those cultural opposites would make for some colorful tales!" Stacy is right! This town is full of haunts and fun stories. The first one we want to start with would have made a great Moment in Oddity, but when we found a ghost attached to it, we decided it needed to be part of this episode.

Emma Crawford and the Coffin Races

Emma Crawford was a musical prodigy who could play multiple instruments and started practicing almost from the moment she could walk. But that is not why Emma Crawford is a well known person around Manitou Springs. Emma is famously known as the Ghost of Red Mountain and every year, the town hosts coffin races in her honor. Emma was born on March 24, 1863, in Massachusetts to a music teacher who started her daughter early on the piano. It has been said of Emma that she "liked no play thing better than to sit on the piano cover and to listen to her mother practicing Beethoven’s sonatas." By her teens, she was playing every piece of music composed by the great masters and not only played the piano, but also the mandolin, cello, viola and violin. We hear about these musical prodigies often, but Emma's story was the first in which we heard her talent credited to something supernatural. Upon Emma's death, the local paper, the Colorado City Iris wrote that Emma "is said to have acquired her remarkable masterly control of the piano from spirit instruction and is said to have never taken a lesson at mortal hands in her life." Was that true? Well, the Crawfords were Spiritualists.

While Emma seemed to be supernaturally talented with the music, she was not gifted in the area of health. She had been a sick child and that is how she ended up in Manitou Springs. Her mother had heard of the curative mineral springs there and the crisp mountain air was said to be good for the lungs. And Emma needed that air because she had tuberculosis. So Emma and her mother arrived in 1889 and rented a small frame house with a gable roof and bay windows. Emma lived on into adulthood and became engaged to William Hildebrand, an engineer from New York who was helping to build the Pikes Peak Cog Railroad. While he worked, she would go hiking on Red Mountain to build her lung strength. She loved that mountain and nicknamed it "Red Chief," in honor of American Indians and she told her fiance that she wanted to be buried there beneath a pinion pine tree on the mountain when she died. Legend claims that she tied a scarf to that tree and that she had met her Native American spirit guide up there. Emma died shortly thereafter on December 4, 1891. Her funeral was held four days later led by Reverend A.R. Kieffer, the rector of Grace Episcopal Church, who followed the desires of the Society of Progressive Spiritualists of Colorado Springs. Emma’s mother played some melodies on the piano that were described as "sweet" and "weird."

Emma's gray casket with silver handles was taken by hearse to the base of Red Mountain and twelve pallbearers carried her casket to the top of the mountain. She was buried under a tree there and her grave was covered with rocks. The burial was not deep and that would prove to be a problem. A bad rainstorm caused the mountain to break away and Emma's coffin went sliding down the mountain. Her burial was moved to Crystal Valley Cemetery and she remains there today. At least in body. Her spirit is said to have remained on Red Mountain and she continues to haunt there. And Manitou Springs honors her in a very unique way. Every year they host the Emma Crawford Wake and Coffin Races. A bunch of teams compete against each other in these races. There are five members on each team, they build a coffin, decorate it, dress in costumes with one of them impersonating Emma and four team members push the coffin in the race.

The Craftwood Inn

The Craftwood Inn was built in 1912 by Roland Bautwell in the English Country Tudor style. Bautwell was a jack of all trades working as a photographer, a coppersmith, an architect and builder. This was not a hotel when Bautwell owned it. He used it as his coppermith shop and called it Craftwood Shops. Some cool carryovers can still be found in the hotel. These are the fireplace hood and a couple of lamps. The Craftwood transformed into a restaurant in 1940 that was a real hotspot and boasted patrons like Lawrence Welk, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby and Liberace. The Craftwood was then renovated to become a hotel in 1988. During this renovation a door that had been sealed shut was opened and some really interesting stuff was found. There were old photographic plates, a mirror, metal works and engravings. It was almost as if the opening of that door set free an old pioneer spirit. This presence has been experienced by guests who feel it roaming the halls.

A former waitress at the Craftwood named Karen Deeds said, "There's definitely, absolutely, positively something there. I don't see it, but I feel it and most of the people who have worked here over the years have had some sort of experience with it. Our chef, who's 300 pounds, is totally afraid of this ghost. Everyone who feels it says it's friendly but if I need to go up by the attic alone, I run. There's two flights of stairs and I come down without touching a stair. I get goose bumps from the tips of by toes to the top of my head and I can't stop it. My heart rate goes up. It's intense. One night, everyone was feeling it. We have five phone lines and they were all lit up but there was no one there. We're all trying to shut them off and they wouldn't go off. Everyone was looking over their shoulders all night."

Onaledge Bed and Breakfast

Roland Bautwell built this beautiful Arts & Crafts style estate also in 1912 as well. This is where he lived. Frank Yount became the next owner of the property. He was a millionaire who made his money in oil and a greenstone quarry. He used the house as a guesthouse for his other house, The Rockledge Estate. Eventually the Onaledge became a Bed and Breakfast and from my searching, it seems to be permanently closed at this time. The main sitting area has a fireplace with several exposed wood ceiling beams running along the ceiling. The dining room was gorgeous with a full wooden ceiling and fireplace that looks like it belongs in a mountain lodge. 

Brett Maddox had been an Executive Director of the property, he told the Huffpost, "The Onaledge House is the one that has the greatest amount of activity and the most interest. We have anywhere from five to I’ve heard as many as a dozen entities down there. The common threads are a little boy in a little blue suit, the lady in a pastel Victorian dress and there’s the older gentlemen, as someone described to me as ‘wearing a jacket and a puffy tie,’ and I get the visual of a smoking jacket and an ascot tie, and from time to time you will smell pipe tobacco in there."

A former housekeeper shared her experiences with Odd Inns, "I was working as a housekeeper. One of my jobs was cleaning the Onaledge Bed and Breakfast in Manitou Springs. I was told by several Manitou Springs residents about the 'Ghost of Stu,' who resided at the Onaledge. Stu was a happy ghost. I was skeptical of Stu's existence. That is, until one day when Stu made himself known to me in a most peculier way. He whistled a tune, but I can't recall what it was, only that it didn't scare me. It just sort of startled me and I stopped dead in my tracks. The following week when I returned to Onaledge I had my second, and what would turn out to be my last, meeting with Stu. As I was mopping the kitchen floor, all of the sudden my bucket of mop water was kicked over and the contents were spread across the floor. It didn't take me long to realize it was Stu and I high-tailed it out of their. I jumped in my car as quickly as I could and never returned. I don't know if Stu finished mopping the kitchen or not. To this day I am believer in Stu. From what I understand, Stu died in the house in the 1930s from tuberculosis. The owners of Onaledge claim to have had several experiences with Stu as well. Stu appeared on their daughter's wedding photo. They also claim that Stu liked to whistle when they were in the house. I have been told that Stu is one of many ghosts in Manitou Springs. But not all of them are as carefree as Stu."

The Avenue Hotel 

The Avenue Hotel, which is located at 711 Manitou Avenue is a Queen Ann style Victorian B&B that started off as a hotel built in 1886. The hotel started as two stories and eventually became three stories and features a beautiful fireplace made from the unique green sandstone from the area. This location later became a boarding house, apartment building, a lodge and then a private residence. Grays Avenue Hotels bought the property in 1984 and renovated it into the Bed and Breakfast and it was the first in Manitou Springs. The B&B is currently owned by Innkeepers Gwenn David and Randy Hodges. Former Innkeeper, Kevin Abney claims that the place is haunted and he has heard several unusual stories from guests. He said, "This old house has lots of odd noises. Several guests have expressed different events. The most noted was a long term guest that said every time his girlfriend came over the tapestry in his room would fall off the wall. We also had a local ghost hunter come and do his thing here for a book he is writing. He said we have one lady ghost that spends most of her time in the kitchen but travels all over the B&B. He said she was a friendly ghost and that she wants people to be comfortable. He felt because of her strong desire to comfort that she may have been a previous innkeeper. This was built as a railroad hotel in 1886 so who knows. Manitou has a big reputation on its ghostly reputation and it is just an over all wonderful place to visit." Other investigators claim to have found that a young boy and girl spirit are here as well as a former coachman who had worked at the hotel.

Briarhurst Manor

The name really matches the look of this place. Briarhurst Manor seems like it would be right at home in a country glen, perhaps in the UK. This is a beautiful Tudor manor house built from the red rocks that are found here. The location was perfectly chosen as it offers views of the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. This original home here was built by Dr. William Bell for himself and his wife Cara and construction was completed in 1876. The doctor was from London and he decided to move to the West after visiting to conduct lectures. He initially worked for the railroad as a photographer and that is where he met General William Palmer. As you heard earlier in the episode, these two men would found Manitou Springs and turn it into a health resort town. They also established the Denver to Rio Grande Railroad. Dr. Bell and Cara had four children and they were becoming very wealthy as they invested in more businesses. But tragedy struck for the Bells in 1886 when their house burned to the ground. They decided to move back to England, but eventually returned and rebuilt their home and that is what stands on the site today. They went bigger and more decorative with this one and it is fun to wander around the manor to find all the unique elements that include gargoyle rain drains outside and a bubbling brook inside. The interior was constructed from carved wood - the staircase is gorgeous with carved inlays and banisters - and featured a schoolroom, library and conservatory.

The Bells lived here until 1920 when they returned to England for good and a son named Archibald was left in charge and he eventually sold it. The manor then had a bit of a sordid period where it served as a bar and brothel. Vida and Robert Ellison bought the house next and filled it with their collection of Southwest Indian artifacts that included Native American mummies that were stored in the basement. You know, the cellar were the fruit and other dried goods were kept. An RV park wanted to demolish the house later, but it was saved by a restaurateur. This house was a social center in its heyday and today it continues to be a place that hosts social events like weddings and parties. The restaurant that is located here features the finest in Colorado Cuisine with wonderful views, surrounded by gardens.

The manor also features ghosts. There are many stories from both employees and guests and they have been telling them for years. The most amazing one came out of a presentation that had 100 in attendance. Nearly everyone in the room watched as a vase flew off of a table across the room and breaking apart. There was no one near the vase, so it was not thrown or hit by a living human. When the second floor underwent a complete remodel, it was also wired with a security system. One evening, the system went off and the police showed up to search the manor. They found no sign that anyone had broken inside and no one was inside, but the motion sensors definitely revealed that something had been traveling through the rooms. The strangest stories claim that there is a female skeleton that floats through the garden. There are no reports of malevolent activity, more mischievous. Silverware spins on plates and one night when a manager was locking up, she had a weird experience with the lights. She turned them off as she made her way to the front parlor. When she got to the parlor, all the lights turned back on by themselves. What makes this really weird is that the lights are on different circuits and it would take ten different people working in unison to make that happen.

The Bell children had a playroom in the attic and people still hear children up there playing. There is laughter and the sound of running. When Ghost Hunter's investigated, they captured an EVP of a child's voice. A red-haired girl's apparition has been seen playing on the front lawn with a ball and she is wearing period clothing with a bonnet on her head. Another interaction with a child-sized ghost happened during a renovation in 1973. A contractor came in the early morning hours and found dusty white footprints the size of a child's shoe with high heel and pointed toe similar to something worn in the Victorian era. It was as though a child had walked through the plaster dust and left the footprints, but the house was locked up tight, so it was not a living child.

A TV station joined a paranormal investigation group named PURE around eight years ago to investigate the manor. The video features an EMF detector going off, a flashlight turning on by itself and the sound of a glass breaking. When the group went to see what caused the crash, they found broken glass on the bar next to the wine glasses, but no broken glass. As the reporter tells the story, he says that a team member thought he saw a hand near the bar at the time that the sound of the broken glass was heard. The reporter's camera that had a fully charged battery went dead at the same time as they heard the breaking glass. Erik Wright, a local historian, claims that in 2008 he had a weird experience. He said, "I had something come up next to me when I was in the office. It kind of grabbed a hold of me and pulled me down the hallway." People claim that the spirits seen here belong to Cara Bell and her daughter Hyacinth.

Miramont Castle

The land where Miramont Castle is located was owned by a company run by Manitou Springs founder General William Palmer. The company owned it from 1871 to 1882 and sold it to the city of Manitou. But even before that, the property reputedly belonged to an infamous character named Colonel John Chivington. You may recognize that name if you know the history of the Sand Creek Massacre. This guy was an ordained Methodist pastor who lead his U.S. Army troops against what he described as a revolt by Indian foes. Congress' Joint Committee on the Conduct of War described it as such, "As to Colonel Chivington, your committee can hardly find fitting terms to describe his conduct. Wearing the uniform of the United States, which should be the emblem of justice and humanity; holding the important position of commander of a military district, and therefore having the honor of the government to that extent in his keeping, he deliberately planned and executed a foul and dastardly massacre which would have disgraced the veriest savage among those who were the victims of his cruelty. Having full knowledge of their friendly character, having himself been instrumental to some extent in placing them in their position of fancied security, he took advantage of their inapprehension and defenseless condition to gratify the worst passions that ever cursed the heart of man. It is thought by some that desire for political preferment prompted him to this cowardly act; that he supposed that by pandering to the inflamed passions of an excited population he could recommend himself to their regard and consideration." Chivington apparently owned this plot of land from 1862 to 1867. The massacre took place in 1864.

The land was eventually purchased by Father Jean Baptist Francolon and he decided to build a grand home for himself and his mother here. And this place is certainly grand stretching out over 14,000 square feet and four stories. This castle is really unique in that it features nine different styles of architecture. These include Byzantine, English Tudor Revival, shingle-style Queen Anne, domestic Elizabethan, Flemish stepped gables, Venetian Ogree, Moorish, half-timber Chateau and Romanesque. Construction was started in 1895 and completed in 1896 and was designed by the Father himself. He loved architecture and that is why so many elements were incorporated. He contracted the Gillis Brothers, Archie and Angus, to build it along with William Frizzell who quarried the native green sandstone from which the castle was built. This is the only place where you can find that and it looks much like red stone, but it has green incorporated in it, which is sometimes hard to see.

The east section of the castle was added in 1897. The castle had indoor plumbing and electricity, which was very unique at the time, and the walls were two feet thick. The interior doors feature archways and there is rich wood trim throughout. The name Miramont means "look at the mountain." Eventually the Sisters of Mercy joined Father Francolon in starting a tuberculosis sanitarium here called Montcalm Sanitarium where they offered good food, fresh clean air and relaxation. TB huts were used throughout the property and they still have one there on display. When TB was eradicated, the Sisters of Mercy used Miramont Castle as a high-end boarding house. This ran from 1928 to 1946. The castle is today owned by the Manitou Springs Historical Society and they offer historical tours of the museum and special teas in their tea room. There are many different artifacts here including antique firefighting equipment, Victorian furniture, an exhibit on the Nuremburg Trials and other military memorabilia.

Miramont Castle hosts a re-enactment wake for Emma Crawford and it is an opportunity to share Victorian grieving customs. That's very appealing to us, but even more appealing is that this castle is reputedly haunted by up to ten spirits. Two of those ghosts are said to belong to a couple dressed in Victorian era garb who have been seen coming down the main staircase. There is a little girl spirit who hangs out in the gift shop near the porcelain dolls and one day a cashier saw her holding one of the dolls and when she told the little girl to put down the doll and go get her mother, she simply disappeared. Another spirit is said to belong to a nun who is rumored to have hung herself in the castle. She tied a noose to a radiator and threw herself out the window. Interestingly, her spirit usually shows up missing the head.

There is a creepy antique doll room up on the fourth floor and the disembodied voice of a little girl has been heard in this area. Jennifer Walters, an employee at the castle, told Fox 21 News in 2014 about an experience she had in a guest room that has, get this, sixteen walls. She was flipping off lights in the hallway and she noticed a figure standing outside of a door to this room that has a window in it. At first she thought it was a board member or even her husband and she looked again and noticed that it was a gentlemen with dark hair and a red and white checkered work shirt that she did not recognize. The reporter she was telling the story to asked what she did then and she said she just kept on walking down the hallway. She said she has never gotten a bad vibe from anything there.

Employees tell stories of mopping floors and when they turn around, they find items sitting in the middle of the floor that they had just cleaned. Made beds are rumpled by something not seen. Two spirits belonging to nuns who had worked here are said to wander the halls and there are also claims that a Native American spirit has been seen on the property.

Manitou Springs seems to have an innate spiritual essence to it and clearly the Native Americans in the area believed that. Are these locations in Manitou Springs haunted? That is for you to decide!

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