Denver, Colorado is known for mountains, snow and winter actives like skiing and snowboarding. But there are also quite a few ghosts and legends in this capital city. Let’s talk about 10 creepy haunted places in Denver.
1. the Molkery
Also spelled ‘Molkeri,’ this building was constructed in 1898 as either a health spa or tuberculosis hospital — different sources said different things. It was bought by the city of Denver in 1908 and is now the Montclair Civic Building.
During its hospital days, the Molkery was reportedly a site of patient abuse — and those patients are still not very happy about what went on there. Visitors report lights flickering on and off and secret tunnels under the building. People dressed as surgeons are said to roam the building, as well as people walking around in abandoned areas.
I’ll be transparent with you guys — I’m a bit skeptical of these particular stories. People go into abandoned areas all the time, and there are probably a lot of surgeons in Denver. Still, I couldn’t resist sharing the story of a creepy old hospital, a timeless cliché of horror.
2. Denver Public Library
The history of the Denver Public Library stretches all the way back to 1889. Today, it contains over two dozen branches across the city, but the haunted one seems to be the Central Branch, located at 10 W. Fourteenth Avenue Parkway.
The library’s basement is said to be haunted by an unknown person (though some versions say it’s a former librarian). A security guard there reportedly quit after working a shift in the basement and getting too scared. This paranormal entity is a bit of a schoolyard bully, who tries to push people down the stairs. Personally, my theory is that these people accidentally tripped while going down the stairs, but were too embarrassed to admit they tripped over their own feet and made up the ghost story as cover. But who knows. Maybe there really is a phantom librarian down here who has some sinister motive.
3. Colorado State Capitol
Colorado’s State Capitol sits at 200 E. Colfax Avenue and has been in operation since the late 1890’s. Unsurprisingly, it’s located in Denver’s Capitol Hill — an area which, as you’ll see soon, already has a pretty high level of paranormal activity.
One of the more interesting Capitol ghost stories involves two serial killers who were killed themselves in a shootout in 1883. After their deaths, their severed heads were taken to the Capitol and stored in the treasurer’s office for awhile before being burned. Now, phantom hoof beats are attributed to the men’s ghosts, roaming the building on horseback and looking for their heads.
There are also a couple of stories about politicians engaging in infidelity that ended in tragedy. In the first story, the male politician was caught in an affair but chose his wife over his mistress. The mistress then took her own life, and now reportedly haunts the Capitol, causing electrical problems with the building’s elevators. In another story, a senator’s wife shot her husband at his desk after learning of his affair, then turned the gun on herself. Tour guides claim they’ve seen her apparition on the building’s third floor.
4. Cheesman Park
Just down the road from Capitol Hill sits Prospect Hill Cemetery. Wait, that’s not right…is it?
Prospect Hill was founded in the 1850’s on the grounds that would later become Cheesman and Congress Parks. The grounds became a park in 1890, and the family members of people buried there were asked to move their loved ones’ remains. They were initially given just a few months to do this, and less than 800 bodies were removed.
The process apparently still wasn’t finished by 1893, because an undertaker only known as McGovern was hired to move the remaining bodies. But McGovern wasn’t exactly an ideal employee; he used child sized coffins for adult bodies to save money, sometimes shoving two or three adult bodies into one casket. He also left remains — both wooden and human — scattered throughout the park. He stopped his work with roughly 4,000 bodies still left behind.
Needless to say, the ghosts of Prospect Hill — if ghosts do, in fact, exist — are said to haunt the park, unhappy at the treatment they received after death. Guests have reported phantom shadows and mists, disembodied voices and moans and unexplainable feelings of sadness or dread.
5. Riverside Cemetery
Denver’s oldest operating cemetery was founded in 1876 and has a lot of paranormal sightings typical of cemeteries. Phantom whispers and voices have been captured over the years via EVP’s, and orbs, mists and apparitions have also been spotted. Interestingly, the mist is said to come out of the ground in a spiral shape.
But why is Riverside haunted? There are millions of bodies buried in cemeteries all over the world, but not all of them have ghost stories attached. What’s so special about this cemetery?
Back in the late 1890’s, when the bodies of Prospect Hill Cemetery were being exhumed, a lot of them were moved to Riverside. Is this what the ghosts of Riverside are so upset about? Are their restless spirits just as miffed about McGovern’s work — or lack thereof — as their Prospect Hill counterparts because that’s where they came from? Perhaps someone will just have to ask the ghosts themselves.
6. Molly Brown House
You’ve probably heard of Molly Brown, the wealthy philanthropist and activist who famously survived the sinking of the Titanic. But before she became “unsinkable,” Margaret Tobin Brown lived in a house in Denver’s already quite haunted haunted Capitol Hill.
Molly and her husband, J.J., bought the house at 1340 Pennsylvania Street in 1884. J.J. transferred the house title into his wife’s name in 1888, and it remained in her possession until her death in 1932. Today, it’s a museum that receives over 40,000 visitors a year and has been restored to look the way it did when the Browns lived there.
Molly and J.J. Brown are still said to roam their former home. Phantom smoke has been attributed to Mr. Brown, since his wife didn’t let him smoke in the house during life.
People have also reported seeing Molly’s ghost as well as other apparitions in Victorian era clothing. The ghosts of Molly’s mother and a rather angry looking butler have also been spotted on the premises. Is the butler upset because he feels robbed of an afterlife and just wants to be able to rest in peace? Or was he underpaid in life and is still bitter about it?
7. Denver Children’s Home
The Denver Children’s Home was founded in 1876 as Denver Orphans Home. As the story goes, the building caught on fire in 1888 and several children there were killed. Visitors now report apparitions of children as well as phantom voices, crying and whispering.
There’s also a story of a woman in a wedding gown who has been seen on the stairs.
But are these stories true? There’s usually a dose of skepticism that comes with any ghost story, of course, but this is one of the most vague legends I’ve ever researched. For starters, nobody can seem to figure out where the phantom bride comes from and there are no stories associated with anyone who could possibly be her. And did the 1888 fire even happen? I found no solid historical evidence of it — no newspaper articles, documentaries or any other solid confirmation. I even contacted the Denver Firefighters Museum to see if they could give me some more information. Unfortunately, I got an e-mail back saying they were short staffed and couldn’t look into it.
So what really happened here? Was there really a fire at the Denver Orphans Home that killed innocent children? Have the records of it just been lost to time, at least on the internet? Or is the entire story nothing more than a legend?
8. Denver International Airport
Flying is already pretty stressful. You’ve got delays, security checks and worrying that you might get stuck sitting by a crying baby or a motion sick guy who vomits all through a 12 hour flight. But the customers at Denver International Airport have to deal with a lot more than that.
Sitting at 8500 Peña Blvd, the fifth busiest airport in the country has more conspiracy theories than hauntings attached to it, but it was way too interesting to leave off this list.
Rumored to be built on Native American burial grounds, the airport has been rumored to be the site of everything from Illuminati headquarters to secret underground bunkers for alien experiments.
The airport is also the home of a 32 foot tall horse statue officially called ‘Blue Mustang’ but better known by its nickname, ‘Blucifer.’ The sculptor died when a piece of the statue fell on his leg and severed an artery, and he reportedly haunts his statue. I don’t know if this statue is really home to a ghost, but can you blame people for wondering? Those eyes alone are pretty creepy.
There’s also a story of Native American chants being played on a loop at the airport, during which people reported being pushed and having their luggage knocked over. Apparently there was no living person within arm’s reach who could have done it.
There are plenty of other stories about the airport that might not make it seem like the best place to fly through. Fortunately, though, airport staff seem to have embraced the rumors, even holding ‘haunted Colorado’ exhibits there.
9. Patterson Inn
The 14,000 square foot Croke Patterson Mansion was built in 1890 by Thomas B. Croke on Denver’s Capitol Hill. Just two years later, Croke sold the house to Thomas Patterson. Rumor has it that Croke sold the mansion so quickly because he’d angered nearby spirits by building it and had experienced some terrifying supernatural activity as a result. Whether that’s true or not, the stories don’t end there.
The most well known Patterson ghost is that of a baby girl reportedly buried in the walls. As the story goes, a medium holding a seance in the house in the 1980’s sensed the presence of a dead child and a crying mom in the basement. The baby had seemingly died of unknown causes and her mother, in a cloud of grief, buried the baby underneath the floorboards. (Another version says she exhumed her baby’s body and re-buried it in the basement walls.) After this, people went down to the basement to look for the baby’s remains. Some versions of the story said they found ashes, others said they found sand or nothing at all. From what I could find, no human remains have ever been found in the house, even during extensive renovations that turned it into the boutique hotel it is today. Still, people will report crying coming from the basement.
Most of the inn’s other hauntings are contributed to the original owners. Mrs. Patterson is said to mess with the fire alarms and turn the lights on in the Biltmore suite — her old room — whenever couples staying there start getting, um…romantic. Phantom voices and the sounds of loud parties going on when the inn is otherwise quiet have also been reported.
10. University of Denver
Founded as Colorado Seminary in 1864, the current University of Denver sits at 2199 S University Blvd. And some of its former students may have never left campus.
Dunklee Hall, in the Lamont School of Music, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a student who took their own life there. A door close to the elevator is always open, and if you enter the room, the door closes behind you after you leave.
Butchel House is reportedly the home of the ghost of Henry Butchel, a former Colorado governor and chancellor of the school’s chapel. Butchel was a staunch prohibitionist, and students claim to hear loud thumps on the walls and slamming doors when alcohol is served there
The school’s Mary Reed Building is said to be haunted by a ghost woman named Mrs. Dupont, an alumnus and major donor to the school in life. She likes to sit in the Dupont Room, which was named for her, and read in the dark. Hey — doesn’t she know that will hurt your eyes? Well, I guess it doesn’t matter that much. She’s dead.
Mary Reed Hall is said to house the ghost of its namesake. Random cold and warm spots, doors opening on their own and “electrical anomalies” have all been reported there, as well as the ghost of Mary Reed herself.
But some people believe the apparition is actually of Mary’s daughter, Margery. The story of Margery’s death is an odd one. A DU alumnus and assistant professor of English, she reportedly died in 1925 of a disease she contracted in Peru. But another version of the story says Margery was killed by her husband, who wanted her money. Margery Reed Hall was opened on campus in 1929, and people report strange sounds and whispers there that are attributed to her.
So those are all the haunted places in Denver I have for you today. Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever been to any of these places and believe you experienced paranormal activity.