Moment in Oddity - Cricket Fighting (Suggested by: Scott Booker)
We've all heard of cockfighting, bullfighting, dog fights and other such animal cruelty for sport. But there is a form of animal...or well...bug fighting in which animals don't get hurt. Cricket fighting! This started more than 1,000 years ago under the Tang Dynasty, but soon moved down to the commoners, which caused the Chinese Communist government to ban cricket fighting in the 1960s. But young people have been bringing it back. Only male crickets are fought against each other. These crickets have pedigrees and a specialized diet incorporating red beans, goat liver, shrimp and uh, maggots. The night before a fight, female crickets are dropped into the clay pots that hold the crickets to invigorate their spirit. The crickets fight according to weight classes. A cricket loses when it stops chirping or runs away or is thrown from the fighting container. Some crickets are so prized that they become famous and have elaborate funerals when they pass and are buried in carved coffins. The sport is so popular that in 2010, $63 million in American dollars was spent on crickets. The sport of cricket fighting, certainly is odd!
This Month in History - Haiti Wins Independence
In the month of November, on the 18th, in 1803, Haiti won its Independence. The Haitian Revolution had started in 1791 as an attempt to break free from French rule. As is the case for all revolutions, there were many reasons that this rebellion erupted. Steep tariffs caused planters to look to independence as did the fact that they had no representation in France - sound familiar? At the same time, the slave population was planning another uprising, so they were the first to strike with a fight against the planters. The French tried to squelch things, but they lost traction and the British came to help. The slaves were able to push back against both. The final major battle of the war was The Battle of Vertières. The French had been so decimated that they had only 2,000 men to face 27,000 Haitians. The French army had 1200 casualties from that conflict and they decided they were done and left the island. Historians say that the man who led the fight and became the first Emperor of Haiti, Dessalines, had accomplished something not even Spartacus could and that was a successful slave uprising. One of the things that helped the Haitians with their victory were mosquitos. They helped spread yellow fever to the French troops and about 20,000 died. Haiti would get its name at this time and emerged as the first black republic in the world.
Cripple Creek (Suggested by: Jon Venezia)
This episode has it all! Cripple Creek is a spooky old mining town with a ton of history and many haunts, leading it to be thought of as the most haunted Colorado mining town. We have haunted hospitals, hotels, jail, schools, brothels, saloons and even Nikola Tesla. Diane grew up visiting this mountain town long before it became a haven for gambling. Cripple Creek is on the south side of Pikes Peak and was once considered the "Greatest Gold Camp on Earth." Many people would find their fortune here, but some would find tragedy and death. There was a murder nearly every day. Violence, mining accidents and natural disasters plagued the town. And that may be why spirits plague the town now. Join us as we share the history and hauntings of Cripple Creek.
Cripple Creek got its start in 1891 when gold was discovered by a cowboy named Bob Womack. This was in an area where the Ute tribe had lived called Poverty Gulch. Eventually homesteaders moved in with their livestock, but when gold was found, this peaceful area went crazy. Two men named Horace Bennett and Julius Myers bought land in the area and platted a town they called Fremont. This would eventually be called Cripple Creek, which got its name from a frightened calf that jumped over a fence, landed in a gully and broke its leg. So Womack found gold and got an investor interested and soon people were moving to Cripple Creek. The hotels were filled up quickly and they even started setting up chairs and renting them for the night for one dollar. Lots that used to cost $50 soon were selling for $5,000. By 1892, the population had risen to 5,000.
The town was built from wood which would prove to be a bad idea when fire broke out in April of 1896. This fire started at the Central Dance Hall when a bartender and his girlfriend got in a fight and knocked over a coal stove. The fire burned down the south side of Bennett Avenue and took out three parlor houses or brothels, the opera house, a big chunk of the business district and the Topic Hotel. Another fire broke out later that week and burned up many residences. It was decided to rebuild everything in brick. The early 1900s would bring mine disputes and some ended in death, one in which 13 miners were killed in an explosion. One of the largest gold mines in the country, the Portland, was here and it mined out $62 million in gold. By the time the mines had been run out, more than 22,400,000 ounces of gold was extracted from more than 500 mines in the Cripple Creek and Victor region. Interestingly, the former Cresson Mine was reopened in 1995 and produces annually over 250,000 ounces of gold and is the largest mining operation in the continental United States. Before this, Cripple Creek had really dwindled, but 1991 brought legalized gambling and reinvigorated the town. Many of the original buildings still stand today. Let's look at some of these locations that are reputedly haunted.
The Colorado Trading and Transfer Building is today part of the Cripple Creek District Museum. You'll start getting a feel here that these old buildings have either transformed to casinos or museums. This is one of the oldest buildings in Cripple Creek because it survived the fires even though it was built from wood. The museum features mining artifacts, mineral displays, western firearms, maps of the mines and rare photos. Originally, this building was erected by Albert Carlton and his brother Leslie in 1893. They used this to run their business of moving freight that included gold and they also sold coal and wood. The brothers eventually sold the building to the Midland Terminal Railroad in 1899. Blevins Davis, Richard Wayne Johnson and Margaret Giddings founded the museum in 1953 and it not only includes this building, but also an assay office, a one-room home owned by French Blanche LeCroix -a lady of the evening, a miner's cabin and the Midland Terminal Depot.
There have been a few experiences in this location. A man standing in the gift shop watched a book fly off a shelf all on its own. Linda Wommack wrote, "Haunted Cripple Creek and Teller County" and she shared an experience she had at the museum, "My mother and I were taking a quick tour of the museum grounds after having spent several hours doing research in an upstairs room in the depot building of the museum. While we were inside the [building], I walked toward a bookshelf that held extremely old books. Just as I knelt to read the volume titles, I instantly became chilled. I looked around for some sort of explanation." She experienced it again several years later while there with a friend and this person felt the same icy chill. Many people have claimed to experience this same phenomenon. Another weird thing is that strange stains and markings on the wall will bleed through anytime the walls are painted. No one knows what these spots are from. Could be something natural. Diane once lived in an old apartment that seemed to bleed brown stuff from the top of a couple of walls.
The Midland Terminal Depot is today also part of the Cripple Creek District Museum. This train depot operated from 1895 to 1949 and received an average of ten passenger trains daily. The rail line was started in 1895 after several mine owners decided they needed to bring down the cost of shipping their ore to smelters. Harry Collbran was the general manager of the Colorado Midland Railroad depot at Hayden Divide and he was the one to go out and seek financial backing for the rail line and he found it with millionaire Harlan Lillibridge who gave him $100,000. That money ran out before the line was finished and Collbran brought on another man named W.G. Gillett and they got more funding. They also decided that their initial idea of building this as a narrow-gauge was not a good idea and they ripped up the line and replaced it with the standard-gauge. They were able to expand as well when the Carlton brothers offered up land next to their building and the depot was built there. It has three floors with the top floor being used for offices, the second floor was for passengers with separate rooms for men and women and children and the bottom floor was for loading and unloading freight. Passengers paid $2 for a round-trip ticket. Some trains offered Pullman service.
Employees and visitors both have reported strange things. Much of the activity centers around the spirit of a young girl wearing a white dress who has been seen playing on the third floor. Her voice has also been captured on EVP by paranormal investigators. People also claim to catch the scent of cigar smoke in the air. One of the teams who has investigated here is Mountain Peak Paranormal Investigations and one time they heard a music box on the mantel started playing on its own. They set up a recorder to capture the sound and also took a picture. Later, they reported the experience to staff who were perplexed. They said that the museum did have a music box, but that it was not in that room. When the investigators played their recording, the staff claimed that the song playing was not the song the music box played. Everyone went to the room and there was no music box in there and even weirder, when the film was developed, there was no music box in any picture.
Carr Manor is a boutique hotel and bed and breakfast that had once been the town's high school. At the height of its mining success, Cripple Creek and the surrounding mining district had 17 schools. The former Cripple Creek High School is one of only two original schools still standing. Construction was finished on the first phase of the school in 1896 and the second was completed in 1905 in the Romanesque style. The parking lot had once been a pool that was added in the 1940s. The school closed in 1977. Ted Heiliger and his family bought the school in 1982 and converted it into a hotel that opened in 1983. They ran it for twenty years and then sold it to Gary and Wini Ledford. They restored the hotel and expanded it, so that it now has fourteen rooms and suites, a Grand Ballroom and a conference center. There was a Carr Avenue, two Carr families that had lived in town and governor of Colorado was Ralph Carr whom had graduated from the school, so they named the hotel Carr Manor. The lobby is glorious with a wood burning stove, exposed brick, antiques and statuary of children. There are not many paranormal experiences described in regards to this place, but guests claim to see weird orb anomalies and strange lights particularly on the second floor landing and they feel as though they are being watched and like there is a presence that they cannot see.
Gold Mining Stock Exchange Building was built in 1896 from red sandstone following the fires. The exchange ran from 1896 until December 1909, when the Cripple Creek Stock Exchange was combined with the Colorado Springs Stock Exchange and moved down to Colorado Springs. The vacant building was bought by the Elks who had been meeting on a top floor of another building in town. They remain in the building to this day. When this was first opened it was considered one of the most elegant lodges around with oriental rugs, call buttons for staff, velvet draperies, polished hardwood floors, electric lights and lamps and hot and cold running water. There was also a bar, a banquet hall, a room for cards and billiards, a cigar and brandy room and a reading room. The Newport Saloon that had once been on the first floor was the scene of the murder of Sam Strong in 1901.
The former Newport Saloon is the scene of most of the paranormal activity in the building. Objects fly around the room and orbs have been witnessed. Objects are seen and then disappear. The lodge has hosted ghost tours and people on these tours have claimed to see shadowy figures in doorways. People claim a man has been seen walking through walls and a female spirit is heard laughing in the lounge.
Johnny Nolon's Saloon & Gambling Emporium is the oldest bar in Cripple Creek. The place is named for Johnny Nolon who had relocated here from St. Louis, Missouri. He opened his first saloon in 1890 and like many of these buildings, it burned in the fire. Nolon partnered with Jacob Becker and they rebuilt a two-story building on the same spot. Johnny's saloon and gambling place was on one side of the first floor. The Cripple Creek Bank was in the other half. Nolon had an office on the second floor as well. In 1903, Nolon moved to Nevada and Becker took over operations. Not much is known about the history from that point until gambling came to town. When that happened, Nolon's reopened.
The main spirits in this location seem to belong to children. They run up and down the halls. A little boy has been seen holding a red balloon...really, like It? Little girl spirits are seen wearing Victorian dresses and standing near the stairway. Another little girl was seen in white buckle shoes and a blue dress. An employee asked if she was lost and she responded that she was waiting for her father. The employee held out her hand and offered to go looking with the girl and she just faded away.
Mousie wrote on the Legends of America website in 2011, "I just started working at Johnny Nolon’s in the restaurant. One night when I was closing up I saw a little girl with a blue dress and white buckled up shoes just standing by my supervisor’s office holding a stuffed animal of some kind. I believe it was a bunny or something like that, it was really old and cheap looking. I asked her what she was doing over here since it was apart from the main floor where guests would normally be. She said she was looking for her daddy. I thought maybe the supervisor was her dad, I didn’t know. I put my hand out and asked to her come with me and I’d help her find him. She just looked at me and said she couldn’t leave or she would get into trouble. At that time, my supervisor was walking up behind me so I turned around and asked if this was his daughter. He looked at me and laughed. I didn’t get what he was laughing at until I turned back to the girl, that wasn’t there anymore! My supervisor asked if I was ok. I started rambling confusingly about what had just happened and he asked me if I wanted to hear a story. He then told me about a man that had owned the building back in the early days. He had lost his wife to some disease and was very protective of his daughter. He would go to work every day and leave his daughter home alone. He had told the girl that it very dangerous to go outside without her father and that the only way she would be safe was to stay inside and play with her toys until he came home. Well, she did that every day of her life. Then, one day there was a couple that lived in the same building that got into a huge argument and somehow a lamp got knocked over. The lamp broke and started a fire. The whole building went up in flames. The little girl never made it out because she was told the only way she would ever be safe was to stay inside until her father came home. To this day she has never left. That was the one and only time I had ever seen her while working there."
The Turf Club was a place started by William Bonbright and was set up as a club for the wealthy businessmen of Cripple Creek. The first floor had rooms for meetings and billiards, while the second floor had smaller meeting rooms and rooms for rent. The building was completed in 1896 and was done in the Italianate architectural style. This had a rounded edge design and was the first in town to use brown brick to accent the center window, which would be duplicated in other buildings. In 1897, the club was bought by John Harnan who had just become "new money." He ran the club successfully until 1909. And then we don't know much else about the history other than it mostly sat vacant until legalized gambling and then the building got a refurb and is today Buffalo Billy's Casino.
We don't know of any deaths at the Turf Club, but one thing seems to be pretty certain to people who have had weird things happen to them in this building. The ghost of a little girl haunts the place. They call her Lilly because an employee claimed to have a conversation with her and told this woman that Lilly was her name. She appears about the age of six-years-old, carries a rag doll and is very friendly. An employee who saw her asked if she was lost and she said, "No, I’m not lost, I live here." Clearly, this was not a home so he went to get a security guard and when they returned, Lilly had disappeared. People will leave balloons for Lilly and if it is purple, they will see it float around the casino. If the balloon is blue, she will pop it. She has a favorite color apparently. Lilly has been seen peering from an upstairs window. She occasionally leaves her handiwork on the walls with pens and crayons. The drawings sometimes reappear after being washed off the walls. A tourist sitting at a slot machine lost track of her daughter, as one does when gambling, and she later found her perched on the staircase appearing as though she were talking to someone. She asked her daughter what she was doing and she said she was playing with Lilly. She was alone on the stairs.
The Imperial Hotel is today the Christmas Casino and Inn at Bronco Billy's. This is the oldest hotel in the city. The three-story building was constructed from red brick and completed in 1896. A widow named E. F. Collins leased the building and opened the Collins Hotel. She ran that until 1906 and then a Mrs. M.E. Shoot bought the hotel and the building next it, remodeled, connected the buildings and opened the New Collins Hotel. This place boasted innovations like steam heat, electric lights and porcelain bathrooms. It was a grand hotel, but not very successful and she went into foreclosure. The owner of the note moved to Cripple Creek with his wife and they ran the hotel for nearly forty years. These were the Longs and George Long received a stipend from the British Crown, so he had some money to burn and he poured it into the hotel turning it into a Victorian Hotel he called the Imperial Hotel. After thirty years of running the hotel, George fell down the basement stairs to his death, His wife continued running the hotel for four years, but she finally gave up in 1944 and padlocked the doors.
Perhaps she was uncomfortable with the rumors that her husband haunted the place. People claimed to see a male spirit in the windows. People suspected that George had actually been killed by his daughter Alice, but it was never proven. Could that be why he roams the stairs and basement? Alice is said to haunt the place because she was often locked away in her room because she had mental challenges. Wayne and Dorothy Mackin bought the building in 1946, refurbished and reopened the hotel. The hotel hosted a melodrama group out of Idaho Springs, dubbed the Imperial Players, who performed in the hotel's Gold Bar Theater. They've performed for over fifty years.They also opened a restaurant and bar called Red Rooster Room. This area had been Alice's room and staff claimed to hear weird noises, especially scratching.
Once gambling was legalized, limited-stakes tables were added and the name was changed to Imperial Casino Hotel. George likes to play with the slot machines and flirt with women. A chambermaid claimed that her bottom was pinched by someone she could not see. Security guards hear the sound of the machines paying out when the place is closed. No malfunctions are ever discovered. The Gold Bar Theater is said to be haunted by former performers too.
The Palace Hotel started as the Palace Drug Store, but it was renovated into a hotel in 1892. This burned in the fires and Sam Altman who owned it rebuilt with brick. He decided to go with lavish and it was more successful than its first run. We've read a couple of things about the hotel. One seems to indicate that the hotel was on the upper two floors while the bottom level had a pharmacy and soda fountain. This was owned by Dr. William Chambers and his wife Kitty. Another version that I read said that the doctor and his wife took ownership of the hotel after the turn of the century. We're not sure which is true, but the key to remember is that Chambers had a wife named Kitty. She left Cripple Creek in 1903 and sold her interest in the pharmacy to the doctor. The doctor himself left in 1910. Shortly thereafter, the hotel burned to the ground. Other stories on the Internet claim that Kitty died in the hotel in 1908. Mary Hedges took over ownership of the hotel until 1918. We're not sure what happened after that, but in 1976, Robert and Martha Lays bought the hotel and they eventually passed it on to their sons. When gambling was legalized, the hotel became a casino that eventually went bankrupt in 2001. It reopened under the Century Casino Corporation, but this also bankrupted in 2003. There have been efforts to renovate, but as far as we know it is still vacant.
There were stories that Kitty haunted Room 3, but since she didn't die here, that probably is not true. Ms. Hedges lived in that room, but she also didn't die here. Whomever it is, she is a hospitable host who would turn down beds and light candles in rooms. At least while the hotel was open. The Lays reported table candles relighting themselves when the hotel closed for the night. There are other spirits here too. People claim there is a blind piano player, a short fat man and a tall woman. Some people claimed to be pushed when on the stairs. Strange anomalies appear in photographs and crashing sounds are heard when no one is in the area where the noises come from. The History Channel featured this location and a paranormal group captured EVPs.
Mousie wrote in 2011 on the Legends of America website, "My first experience happened at the Palace Hotel. The women’s restroom is where I saw my first ghost. I would always get a weird feeling when I went in there and never went in alone. On one occasion while my sister and I were in there, I was washing my hands when I saw in the mirror behind me, a woman sitting in the old antique full back chair that sat in the corner of the restroom. She had on an old-style black and green full-length dress and had her hair done up on top of her head. I knew instantly that this was Miss Kitty that I had heard about from stories. I was standing there frozen when I heard my sister calling my name and realized the woman was gone."
Probably one of the coolest looking buildings in Cripple Creek is the Teller County Jail, which still has bars on the windows. It was built in a "T" shape out of brick and rises two stories. Today, this is the Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum. This jail had a long run, opening in 1901 and closing in 1991. The reason for it finally closing is that the requirements for a modern jail were not met here including no exercise yard. The receiving area and office was built from wood and serves as a gift shop today. Both men and women were housed here and there was a female jailer to oversee the women. She had a room on the second floor. The women's cells were on this level too. The cell system was set up in the middle of the building with upper and lower steel 14 cell units stacked on top of each other. This was state-of-the-art at the time. The building was very secure with jail breaks a rarity. Each cell held four to six men, a bed and a heater. Prisoners were issued a standard uniform that was white and black striped. The jail once held a member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch and a man named J. Grant Crumley, who blew off half of Sam Strong's head, who was a wealthy mine owner.
There were two deaths in the jail. One was a prisoner who fell over the railing of the catwalk at the top of the steel stairway on the second level. No one knows if it was an accident, a suicide or a murder. This person's spirit may still be here at the jail. Heavy breathing is heard in the spot where this prisoner fell. All different types were thrown into this from criminals, people who needed to sleep off a drunk and the criminally insane waiting to be moved to another facility. This is where the second death comes in. A woman named Olga Knutson was placed in a cell in a straightjacket. She screamed all night, but at some point she went quiet and when the matron checked on her in the morning, she was dead. There are spirits of former jailers who seem to think they are still on duty. They present themselves through disembodied footsteps and dark shadowy masses. These, of course, could be former prisoners too. These figures are most often seen in the last two cells of the first floor cell block. For some reason, the spirit of a little girl has been seen in the jail. People think this could be because she died while one of her parents was in the jail and she is looking for that parent.
A docent at the museum claimed that she was getting ready to lock up for the day when she saw a man's face looking through a window at her. She opened the door to talk to him, but he had disappeared. She described the man to a co-worker and he said it matched a former night jailer. Employees also tell a story about a main security door that is between the gift shop and the jail, which has flown open all on its own a few times. A spirit identifying herself as Rosie has been encountered in the female jailer's room and she claims to still be watching over her prisoners. Michelle Rozell was a paranormal investigator and director of the museum and she told the Ghost Adventures crew that they think a spirit named Joe hangs out in solitary confinement and that he had been a child molester. He threw two of her team members against the wall. Her team also heard an audible voice say something like "Get me out" that was also caught on a recorder. The GA crew picked up a figure on the SLS camera that they asked to wave and it did. That was it for their evidence there, so Zak said they could not conclude that the jail is haunted.
The Old Homestead Parlor is on Myers Avenue, which was Cripple Creek's red light district. Pearl DeVere was the madam who ran this brothel. She was thirty-one and ran her place as a high class establishment with ladies who wore fine clothing. Pearl paid them very well. She was described as a fun woman with a kind heart who regularly rode sidesaddle down the street on her horse or sometimes she was on her single-seated phaeton driven by a team of black horses. The fires of 1896 burned down her first parlor and she rebuilt in brick. Today, this is the only parlor that still remains. It had been decorated with expensive European furnishings, velvet drapes, lace curtains, crystal gaslights, electric chandeliers, hand-painted French wallpaper and hardwood tables. There was running water in two bathrooms. Clients needed references to even get inside the door. Pearl would not enjoy her success for long. She hosted a grand party on June 4, 1897 and was so amped before going to bed that she needed a little help to sleep so she took some morphine. It was too much and one of her girls found her unresponsive and breathing very shallowly and called the doctor. He tried to help her, but it was too late. She was declared dead the following morning.
Pearl's family was ashamed to find out about her profession and they would not bury her, so Johnny Nolon held an auction to raise money for the funeral. She was buried with a bunch of pomp and circumstance with the fire department band leading the procession. Her former brothel is now a museum, only one of three in the country. Many of the fixtures and wallpaper are original. Pearl still seems to be at the place she built and people claim she is heard crying. The chandeliers sway when no wind is blowing in the house. Objects move and sometimes even disappear for days.
Hotel St. Nicholas was the St. Nicholas Hospital, which opened in 1898 under the Sisters of Mercy. This not only served as a hospital, but the nuns lived there and a small school ran out of it. A ward for the mentally ill was added later. The hospital closed in the mid-1970s and sat vacant for several years. Then some business owners tried opening up businesses inside, but nothing seemed to stick. Then Noel and Denise Perran and Susan Adelbush bought the property and refurbished it into an inn they named it for the former hospital. There are fifteen guest rooms and great views of Cripple Creek as it sits atop a hill. There is a bar and restaurant called Boiler Room Tavern, which serves Mexican food and drinks while live music plays.
The hotel is said to be haunted by the former nuns and the children who used to be here and, of course, some of the patients. A spirit nicknamed "Stinky" is seen lurking near a back staircase and he got his nickname because he gives off a raw sewage smell. The lower part of a miner's body is seen as a ghost too. A little boy spirit named "Petey" likes to steal cigarettes and move objects in the tavern.
Fairley Brothers & Lampman Building is today the Colorado Grande Casino and Hotel and its one of the locations investigated by Ghost Adventures. The building once housed the town's mortuary, so it is no wonder that people claim there is paranormal stuff going on inside. There is also a restaurant inside called Maggie's Restaurant. The Fairley Brothers were C.W. and D.B. and they opened a furniture store at 300 East Bennett Avenue in 1894. The Lampman part of this name came in after the fire that burned part of the city. The Fairley Brothers were nearly ruined, so they asked Oscar Lampman to partner with them. Lampman was an undertaker and the three men built a three-story brick building that covered the block. The brothers reopened their furniture store, Lampman had his mortuary and several other businesses moved in like a millinery, a lawyer and a drug store. The Elks opened a lodge on the third floor. In the 1960s, the first floor was remodeled and turned into an ice cream parlor called Sarsaparilla Saloon.
The owners of the ice cream parlor were the first ones to claim that there were ghosts in the building. They would hear footsteps at night coming from the upper floors. This could be residual as a ballroom was eventually built on the third floor. The Spanish Flu swept through Cripple Creek in 1918 and bodies were stacked up inside and out of the mortuary. Possibly some spirits go back to this moment in history. There are some other people who had been at the mortuary that could be haunting the place. Pearl DeVere, who was the madam at the Old Homestead Parlor, lied in state for a couple of days before her funeral because she had been so beloved. There was also a rich mine owner named Sam Strong who had half of his head blown off while he sat at a saloon drinking who was brought to the mortuary. The owners of the ice cream parlor decided to have a seance to find out who was haunting their building. They saw a group of men sitting in a corner in dark suits. They also saw the apparition of a woman who claimed to be named Maggie.
Maggie usually appears on the top two floors of the casino. She appears to be twenty-five years old, wearing high heeled shoes and a dress from the turn-of-the-century. She leaves the scent of rose perfume in her wake. Maggie has an Irish accent and is heard singing with a soprano voice. She often dances as well and it's possible the disembodied footsteps are from her high-heeled boots. One of the owners of the ice cream parlor saw Maggie wearing clothes that she described as something a Gibson Girl would wear. She stood on a stairway above her and there was a strong scent of roses. An artist named Charles Frizzell rented the third floor and he said, "After a long day in the studio, I would climb the wide staircase to the third floor. The double doors would almost always be open, even though I had locked them every morning. So my friend Jerry Hollings and I would lock the doors each morning and then fasten a wire coat hanger around the door knobs. Still, the doors would be wide open when we arrived back on the third floor." The security cameras at the casino have caught what looks like ghostly images and security guards claim to have seen the apparition of Maggie, sometimes even accompanied by a male spirit after hours. The restaurant is named in honor of Maggie.
The Tesla Brownstone is a legit haunted house in the city. We call it by that name because we don't know what else to call it and Nikola Tesla once lived there. The home is located at 315 Carr Street. The house was built in 1898 by an accountant from New York looking to work for some of the rich mine owners. It is pretty obvious that this was a home designed by a New Yorker because this two-story brownstone would fit right in in Greenwich Village. Eventually, the mines started to dry up and the accountant rented out the home to none other than Nikola Tesla who it is said worked on some of his experiments in the home. He was a century ahead of his time and his research still fuels scientific projects today. Tesla had a lab in nearby Colorado Springs. While Tesla was in Colorado Springs, he experimented with the production of man-made lightning bolts and conducting electricity using the Earth itself. In 1907, the home seems to have been operated as a bordello. It changed ownership several times and then was purchased in 1968 by historian Leland Feitz. He fixed up the place and lived in it as his home. In 1978, he met author and famed astrologist Linda Goodman whom he invited to move to Cripple Creek and live in the house. She visited and loved the solitude the mountains brought versus her busy New York life. She bought what she called her "crooked little house on a crooked little street," which had been Feitz's brownstone. Goodman lived there until her death in 1996. The house was bought by Rick and Janice Wood and they turned it into a bed and breakfast, connecting it to the boardinghouse that was next door with a walkway. They sold it to Jason and Sofia Balas in 2013 and the home was sold again in 2017 and we believe it is a private residence now.
There are some whom claim this place is haunted and others who have experienced nothing here. When Linda Goodman lived in the house, she claimed to have several odd things happen. Like big things! Music would lithe through the air in every room when no radios or other music players were going and it was an older variety of music. She also heard disembodied voices and she saw apparitions in Victorian clothing. Some claim she was an eccentric woman who practiced a weird cosmic religion and this is why she had these experiences. But friends who visited also claimed to hear voices and even the cries of a baby. People on the street would see lights flickering in the windows. There are people who believe that Goodman herself haunts her former home. Objects move on their own, cold spots are felt and a child's ghost is seen in the early morning hours.
On the website Legends of America, Mike Warden wrote in 2006, "This encounter occurred during the summer of 1973 in Cripple Creek, Colorado. My father had fallen in love with the town, and consequently moved all six of us kids, lock, stock, and barrel to the high country of Colorado. We found a back door that was almost too easy to move and sauntered in. This house was a two-story Victorian, turn-of-the-century brick, with some of the original antique furniture still inside. We began to roam around the house, laughing, and making jokes. When I opened the door to the cellar...that’s when we heard it. I want to point out that all of this was occurring in broad daylight, with the sun shining bright, in the middle of the afternoon. It wasn’t midnight or the typical 3:00 a.m. 'ghost hunt.' At first, we heard the sounds of silverware clinking on plates, then a cacophony of voices, combined with music from a bygone era. I should also mention that there was no electricity being provided to this residence at the time. The sounds began to swell and before long, the entire house was filled with the din of what we later thought to be a party or a ball of some kind. The three of us then proceeded to set a land speed record for exiting a home during a crisis.
Months later, this very same house was purchased by a wealthy writer, whose name I can’t mention. Afterward, several parties were held there. One night, during a particularly raucous evening, a young woman ran from this house screaming. Once her friends caught up with her and asked her what had happened, she told her friends that the 'figure' of a miner had materialized by the fireplace. Others later reported seeing a 'distinguished' looking Victorian-era gentleman at the top of the stairs. Years later, when I was researching the eccentric inventor Nicola Tesla, I came upon an article that described how the unconventional electrical genius had conducted a number of experiments in Cripple Creek. The same writer who had purchased and was living in the house at the time confirmed it was, in fact, Tesla’s residence at one time, where he had conducted experiments. Despite his prolific inventiveness and eccentric lifestyle, Tesla was known to maintain a rather high social profile. His experiments in physics also upheld the belief and possibility of life after death. Could it be Nicola Tesla, himself, that remains in this house?"
Cripple Creek is clearly full of a rich history that could lend itself to many haunts. Are these locations haunted? That is for you to decide!
Haunted Cripple Creek and Teller County by Linda Wommack, published by Haunted America, 2018