Manitou Tales: Legend or Legit?

Published: September 20, 2022

Debunking the ghost stories

Manitou’s tallest tales get taller as we head into the spookiest season. Founded in 1872, our eccentric mountain town has been home to some peculiar residents—alive, and dead. But which tales are legitimate and which are mere legend? We’re creepin’ it real and attempting to debunk Manitou Springs’ most ghastly of ghost stories.

the show must go on:

Former owner haunts the halls of the Iron Springs Chateau

Legend. It’s not unusual for costumes and props to go missing and then suspiciously reappear days—or even months—later. A previous owner of the building which now houses the Iron Springs Chateau just can’t seem to let it go. Since his death in 1916, JG Heistand, former owner of the Ute Iron Springs, has been seen sauntering around the theater as if he owns the place. 

Unafraid of a few “boos” at the theater? Catch the Rocky Horror Picture Show playing at Iron Springs Chateau this haunting season. 

she's on a roll:

The coffin of Emma Crawford raced down Red Mountain

Legit. We wouldn’t believe it—except for the children who happened upon Emma’s remains and found only the casket handles, a nameplate, and a few bones. In 1929, after years of harsh winters and spring rains, Emma’s coffin raced down the mountainside and through town. 

Today, we honor her journey in a commemorative race of our own. Join the frighteningly good festivities this October!

the castle's oldest residents

Miramont Castle hosts a high tea that's to die for

Legend: Since its completion in 1895, Miramont Castle has worn many hats—home, sanatorium and, now, eclectic museum. With such a rich history, it’s no surprise that some residents simply never left. Accounts from visitors and employees suggest the castle is full of ghostly guests, including a little girl in the castle’s doll room, spirits who roam the chapel, and the priest who originally built the castle. Witnesses have frequently recounted wrinkled sheets in the priest’s former bedroom after the bed was freshly made.

This year, attend Halloween High Tea with the Pumpkin King himself. 

that's a wrap:

A mummy went missing in Cave of the Winds

Legit. In 1881, George Snider purchased the Manitou Grand Caverns in hopes of turning the caves into a world-class tourist attraction. To stir up interest and curiosity in the cave, George purchased a real mummy from one of his brothers—dug up in a rock quarry just a few miles from the caves. As word spread of a real mummy in the caves, business picked up. One day, George went to move the mummy to a more optimal location for scaring, but the mummy was gone. George was the only person with access to this cave. And yet, the mummy has never been found again—as if it simply walked off all on its own.

Stay awhile, if you dare

murder at the inn:

Hauntings at The Cliff House

Legit. In 1913, a night watchman named Albert lost his life while on duty at the Cliff House. Two armed men came storming into the inn one night and demanded that he open the safe. When he refused, they shot him and he died two days later. He hasn’t left the Cliff House since. Some say they still see Albert on the anniversary of that fateful night.

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