One of Glenwood’s popular haunts |

One of Glenwood’s popular haunts

Post Independent Photo/Kelley Cox

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park has them. So does the Brook Forest Inn in Evergreen. Glenwood Springs’ own Hotel Colorado is the subject of a book based on them.Ghost stories are as much a part of Colorado’s history as gold rushes and gunslingers. But as creepy as apparitions may seem to some, hauntings aren’t always so scary.”It’s not the big bad Boogie Man,” said Kathy Rippy Fleming, of the ghost stories associated with the Hotel Colorado. “It’s not so bad – it’s just things that move, doors that open on their own, lights that turn off and on, seeing people out of their peripheral vision. It’s not evil or that kind of thing.”These days, the Hotel Colorado isn’t necessarily publicizing the decades-old tales of ghosts appearing – and disappearing – in its hallways. Or the earthy scent of cigars near the front desk and ladies’ perfume in the Devereux Room. A representative from the hotel said management would need to comment on the topic. No calls were returned to the Post Independent.But that doesn’t mean hotel staff, service workers, and visitors haven’t recounted their own unexplained experiences at the historic 113-year-old hotel.Jerry Butler, of Blue Sky Ski Rentals, has a few stories of his own from the 16 years his shop was housed in the hotel’s basement. The shop has since moved, but the memories still linger in Butler’s mind.”There’s a cigar-smoking ghost, and one time in the ski shop we could smell it in the middle of the room,” he said. “But if you moved to the corners of the room it wasn’t there. We were like, ‘He’s right there.'”Butler also recalled once when he and the bike shop owner who occupied the same space during the summers were making their seasonal phone-line switch.”There’s a teeny little room where all the phone lines are and it’s locked. No one would ever know it’s there,” Butler said. “We were in there making our switch and we shook hands – it was like our official changing of the guard. There were two of us who looked at it and said OK. The next morning the lines did not work, and they had been switched back to how they were.”Such paranormal accounts were the foundation for Fleming’s 1995 book, “Apparition Manor: True Ghost Stories of the Hotel Colorado.””Just the other day I was talking to someone who goes to the coffee shop everyday and she smelled the cigar smoke at the front desk and the sweet perfume,” she said.Fleming, of New Castle, grew up in Glenwood Springs and has visited the Hotel Colorado since childhood. In years past, the hotel hosted tours incorporating ghost stories, and Fleming said her book once sold at the front desk.”The hotel is gorgeous, it’s a wonderful place,” she said. “It was a beautiful place 100 years ago, and it’s a beautiful place now. The history is part of why it’s got what it’s got going on.”Fleming’s experience with spirit activity at the Hotel Colorado has not been negative, she said.”I’ve never gone ghost hunting, this is just something that has happened to me and other people who worked there,” Fleming said. “I think it’s just an interesting little bit of history there that happens to take place on the hill.”Each year, Fleming said a group studying nonphysical realms from Virginia visits the Hotel Colorado to delve deeper into reported sightings. The group, which Fleming preferred not to name so members may be able to return for future investigations, spent the last weekend successfully capturing images.”They caught a lot of orbs on their digital cameras,” Fleming said. “And they caught a face of a man in a mirror.”Fleming said one theory discussed in paranormal circles is that Glenwood’s geothermal energy from the hot springs, along with its history of the Ute Indians presence here, has created a vortex of energy.”It’s not really a haunting so much as being stuck in that vortex,” she said. “Time has overlapped in that space, and we’re witness to that.”The Hotel Colorado may be on the radar nationwide for paranormal investigation, but it’s the Stanley Hotel that’s on the haunting forefront. The Sci Fi Channel is airing a live ghost hunt tonight from the historic hotel, which opened in 1909 and was the inspiration for Stephen King’s “The Shining.”Fleming said she wouldn’t mind seeing similar exposure in Glenwood Springs.”I just thought that was interesting,” she said. “They’re willing to promote their hotel through that. It doesn’t stop it from happening just because you don’t promote it.”Butler said he doesn’t doubt the presence of ghosts.”I think there’s something there,” he said. “It’s an old building, and there’s lots of history in there.”Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext.

Look for history of Colorado hauntings across the state online at A live ghost hunt from the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park airs at 9 p.m. tonight on the Sci Fi Channel.

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