From the highest peaks of Colorado to its lowest elevations, historic tales of restless spirits and haunted places abound. In the second part of a two-part series, we’re sharing our favorite ghost stories from across the state.
John B. Hindry House (Denver, Colorado)
Soon after gold was discovered in Colorado in 1858, lumberman John B. Hindry arrived in Denver from New York. He opened a sawmill in Bear Creek Canyon, and by 1870 had amassed enough wealth to purchase 110 acres of land north of Denver in the Globeville neighborhood. There he built an impressive Italianate mansion for his family. He planned to develop the neighboring land into an exclusive subdivision as well.
All did not go as planned. When the Argo Smelter opened in Globeville eight years later, the toxic fumes and pollution devastated Hindry’s pasturelands. That same year, his son Charles died, followed three years later by the death of his wife. Then came the horrid stenches from the Globeville meatpacking plant. Life there seemed intolerable, but Hindry refused to move.
Rumors began to circulate that Hindry had stashed large quantities of money in his mansion. Following several robberies, Hindry devised a trap to stop thieves in their tracks. It worked too well, resulting in the death of a man on his front lawn. Hindry himself was injured after triggering his trap. This was the last straw. Hindry abandoned his mansion and left the state.
It didn’t take long for people to deem the Hindry House haunted. They claimed to have seen the ghost of the man killed on Hindry’s front lawn roaming the grounds. The home sat vacant until the 1920s, when it was used as a hospital for tuberculosis patients. In the 1940s, it was converted back into a private residence. That family lived there until the early 1960s, when an unexplained fire destroyed the old mansion. Today, a humble food market sits on the land once dominated by the elegant Hindry House.
Weld County Courthouse (Greeley, Colorado)
The Weld County Courthouse was built in Greeley in 1917. This Classical Revival-style building, grand in design, replaced the original courthouse—a small log cabin. People who’ve passed through the halls of the limestone courthouse over the past century have recounted numerous ghostly experiences. Perhaps most notable is the dark-hooded man seen in the courthouse attic. Many believe it’s the ghost of W.D. French, a murder suspect who was hanged outside the jail once located near the modern-day courthouse.
Another ghost said to appear in the courthouse is that of a little boy named “Jonathon.” His favorite antics include running up and down the stairs, materializing in the jury rooms, and peeking out from behind the judge’s bench.
In the Division 12 library, people have described a ladder creaking despite no one standing on it. Officers in the Probate Water Office have recounted hearing a female voice without a source. And throughout the building, there have been reports of wall pictures tipping themselves crooked, items on desktops rearranging themselves, and unseen hands ruffling women’s hair.
Hotel De Paris (Georgetown, Colorado)
The iconic Hotel De Paris in Georgetown was built in 1875 by Frenchman Louis Dupuy. A cook, journalist, and miner, Dupuy hosted guests from across the nation in his Norman-style inn with elegant French restaurant. Dupuy was once described as one of the best cooks in the Colorado Territory by the Colorado Miner.
When the Silver Panic of 1893 hit Georgetown, the Hotel De Paris fell into steady decline. Dupuy died in 1900, followed by his heir, Sophie Gally, in 1901. Under new ownership, the hotel continued operating for several decades until it was converted into a museum in the 1950s.
Over the years, hotel guests, museum visitors, and building staff have reported a number of bizarre encounters. Smells with no apparent source have been experienced, as have indistinct sounds of people talking and moving about the unoccupied second floor. The clattering of dishes has also been heard in the old dining room, and some say the doorknob in the laundry room rattles persistently. There was also a report of the velvet ropes surrounding a cordoned off area swinging wildly about.
In 2018, a team of “paranormal investigators” visited the Hotel De Paris. After doing what paranormal investigators do, they deemed the building a peaceful location with residual hauntings from the hotel’s glory days.
Phantom Canyon Road (Florence, Colorado)
The windy, mountainous Phantom Canyon Road in south-central Colorado began as a narrow-gauge railroad in 1894. Built by the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad, it connected the mining districts of Cripple Creek, Cañon City, and Florence. Climbing over 9,500 feet across 40 rugged miles, the railroad was plagued by weather disasters and accidents from the get-go. After a train derailed on its first day of service, the life of a man was lost. Countless times the railroad required reconstruction following floods and washouts.
At the turn of the century, the railway began offering public passenger service for tourists. It was then that stories of ghostly sightings along the route emerged. Most eerie was the apparent sighting of the restless spirit of a murderous criminal, who was executed at the state prison days before his ghost was spotted on the tracks in 1890.
In 1918, the railroad was dismantled and turned into a dirt road open to automobiles. Passing over narrow bridges and through dark tunnels on its way from Florissant to Florence, the road today offers motorists stunning views of the secluded canyon and the abandoned mining towns along the way. Legend has it the ghost of the executed prisoner still appears at the edge of the narrow, twisting road.
Morley Ghost Town (near Trinidad, Colorado)
The ghost town of Morley was once a small outpost near the summit of Raton Pass by the border of Colorado and New Mexico. Established by the Santa Fe Railroad Company in 1878, Morley was used as a railroad stop and place to house railroad workers. When the land was taken over by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I) for coal mining in 1916, the town really took off. At its peak in the 1920s, Morley boasted a population of over 600 residents, along with a post office, grade school, church, and supply store.
In the 1950s, CF&I closed the mine supporting Morley. They demolished many of the buildings, but chose to leave the church and a few structures standing. With the passage of nearly 70 years, these remaining structures have slowly crumbled and toppled to the ground.
Today, motorists who stop near the summit of Raton Pass to explore the ghost town of Morley claim they feel the presence of old coal miners wandering the ruins. Some even say they’ve heard their haunting voices as an indistinct chattering in an otherwise quiet place.
Avery House (Fort Collins, Colorado)
The historic Avery House was built in Fort Collins in 1879 by Franklin Avery, founder of First National Bank. In the Victorian sandstone home, Franklin and his wife raised their three children. Franklin’s brother, William Avery, often visited the residence with his wife, Mary Avery.
When William Avery died of an apparent stomach ailment in 1890, the first bricks of the hauntings of the Avery House were laid. Only 12 days after William’s death, his wife married his business partner, Frank Millington. People in Fort Collins believed the circumstances of the events were suspicious and foul play was suspected. William’s body was exhumed and death by arsenic poisoning was determined. Mary Avery and Frank Millington were tried for the murder of William Avery in 1891, but to the surprise of everyone, they were acquitted.
It’s said the betrayed ghost of William Avery now roams the halls of the Avery House, unable to find peace in his eternal slumber. But William’s ghost isn’t the only presence people claim to encounter in the majestic home. After the Avery House was turned into a museum nearly a century after William’s death, visitors began reporting the troubled spirit of a child in an upstairs bedroom. They also experienced strange sensations in the pantry and the parlor.