Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"To understand the living, you have to commune with the dead"-Minerva, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

From convicts and criminals, to a local hero turned villain, and a deadly event regarding one its early occupants, this building has a frightening and haunted past… and ghostly PRESENT.  According to ghost whisperer and tour guide of Haunted History After Dark, Grace, except for one benevolent and gentle spirit, who protects the area around the bell tower, this structure has seen its share of grizzly tales and still has many angry entities that refuse to leave.  No wonder.  It was fiery and fatal incident in 1880, in the heart of Old Town, that caused this building to constructed in the first place.
This structure rose in this busy district of the city in 1881. It housed the first Hook and Ladder boys of the town, what we know now as the Fire Department. It was not only the fire station, but it was also the town hall, drunk tank, and jail. Horse thieves, an occasional “soiled dove” , and after 1896, a bootlegger or two, may have spent some “thinkin’ ” time behind its walls. But, one of the most infamous occupants of the jail not only worked there as one of the first Hook and Ladders boys, but made Larimer County and Colorado history, as one of the most murderous, while “in his cups” on a Wednesday afternoon in April of 1888. The lights of the city went out that day. And when they were turned back on at 9 P.M. that night…
Walk with the spirits who are dying to meet you on the Haunted History After Dark tour and learn the rest of this frightening tale. You’ll be crossing your fingers they leave the lights on for you!  Discover what deadly and tragic event on a chilly Saturday night in February of 1880, stirred the grief stricken town to build this structure.  With Grace’s talent and gift, experience up close haunted Old Town through the words and emotions of its spirits who speak to her while on the tour. Minerva from John Berendt’s novel,  Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil said it best, “To understand the living, you have to commune with the dead.”
Tours run Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights at 8:30pm. Contact hauntedhistoryafterdark@yahoo.com for more information. Come prepared to be scared.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Old Town Harperland USA rumor true! Take the tour and learn the story including the mysterious past of one it's building...

While on a Haunted History After Dark tour this last week, Becky and Hailey from Fort Collins (at left), really got into the Harperland USA spirit! Way to go girls!

As a Fort Collins historian, a lot of early settlers are my heroes. Their courage, tenacity and faith in something yet unseen, began a tradition of enterprise which continues today and helped make our wonderful town of Fort Collins what it is now.  Joe Mason, who Mason Street is named after, was the first sheriff, first postmaster, and first store owner. His Old Grout sutler store, where Green Logic is now on the corner of Linden and Jefferson, provided supplies to the cavalry which was stationed across the street in the 1860’s. Before his death in 1881, he suffered many setbacks and disappointments, but he kept on and is called “The Father of Fort Collins.”  William Stover, one of the two famous Stover brothers, started the second bank in Fort Collins, along with Charles Sheldon,  with only a borrowed safe and a desk on Linden Street in the 1870’s. It is now well known as Poudre Valley Bank.  But, one of my most admired heroes is a boy born right here in Fort Collins in March of 1911, and christened the name Ralph Harper Goff. So, for you new and old timers to Fort Collins history who already know the story…dust off those black eared-caps, hold tight to your Tinkerbell wand, and relive the story for those new comers to this magical tale.
Picture this. A boy is born in the late winter of 1911, Fort Collins, Colorado.  His father runs the local newspaper, the Express, which at the time was located above where La Creperie is now, at the corner of Mountain and Mason.  As a boy, Harper sits in the offices of the Express above Mason Street, watching as his father adjusts and reorganizes important news of the day, as the Colorado and Central Railroad tumultuously and noisily rumbles its way through town below. Harper exhibits enormous artistic talent as a young adult, and when the family relocated to California, Harper attends an art institute.  His talent provides him opportunities as an illustrator for Esquire and National Geographic. Eventually, this home town boy is using his talents as set director for such mega hits as Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Casablanca, and the African Queen, as well as designing the Nautilus for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Picture This. Bassett-Lowke Ltd. Shop in London, 1951. Our home town born and raised, Harper Goff, but now very famous, is visiting this shop.  Perusing model trains which remind him of the Colorado and Central that brought back memories of his youth in Fort Collins, Colorado, he reaches for a model train.  Another man is interested in that same model. Harper looks to see it is none other than Mr. Walt Disney himself.  Recognizing Harper’s talent, Disney asks him if he might be interested in helping him design a theme park he is trying to get started in Anaheim, California. Harper agrees.
Harper eventually took photographs and used 10 structures in Fort Collins as the models for Main Street U.S.A. for Disneyland. Out of those ten, only five survive in Fort Collins. Three of those surviving structures are on the Haunted History After Dark tours.
Learn about all of these buildings and how one of those undisclosed and mysterious structures, was “THE place to be seen…” in the 1880’s and according to ghost whisperer, Grace, it wasn’t candy corn and tickets to the Tea Cup ride they were sellin’ at this location!
Email hauntedhistoryafterdark@yahoo.com to book your reservation. Tours start at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


BEWARE THE GARB OF A PEACOCK…THIS DAY IN FORT COLLINS. While doing research for our tour I’ve run across some interesting ads and information. The ad below is dated exactly 124 years ago today, Thursday, May 26th, 1887 and it was published in the Fort Collins Courier. It is a wonderful musing about Welsh Wisdom. The early Fort Collins community had a lot of Welsh immigrants who had come here possibly for the mining opportunities in Manhattan Creek west of Red Feather Lakes. During this time Manhattan held a lot of promise for prospective silver miners and an occasional and fortunate find would cause a lot of excitement with Fort Collins residents.  The Welsh were expert miners in their own country in the early 1800’s, and Manhattan Creek was fortunate to have their expertise and technology of the day.  The expected fortunes of Manhattan Creek didn’t “pan” out, and the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of the 1890’s didn’t help the miner’s plight as well.  By the 1930’s Manhattan Creek was non-existent. As I know from stories of my own great-great grandfather, who was a Welsh miner, they were most likely a lively group and I have run across literature regarding Celtic festivals they would have in the streets of early Fort Collins to celebrate their wonderful heritage. Enjoy the ad below. Thanks for all of your support Fort Collins!  Join Haunted History After Dark for a guided walking tour tonight! Email hauntedhistoryafterdark@yahoo.com for more information, or visit our facebook page at hauntedhistoryafterdark. YOUR HAUNTED JOURNEY STARTS AT DUSK!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ARE YOU BEING WATCHED BY SOMEONE OR SOME "THING"? Haunted History After Dark can tell you...read the blog below...

“Sometimes I feel like I’m being watched by someone, or some “thing”, “We feel like we are always straightening the wall hangings and pictures.”  These are just a couple of the many comments from guests and residents Grace and I have received while researching and conducting our tour Haunted History After Dark. Many people have no idea of the extraordinary early Fort Collins history regarding and surrounding their home or business.  Home owners or new and ambitious business venture owners will reside or set up shop in a location and make it their own.  Restorations, new furniture, or paint reflect their own energy and positivity and make it an inviting place for themselves, guests or customers with much success. Grace and I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet and be a part of the “new history” developing in Old Town and Fort Collins.  But, occasionally we have found that there are personalities and events and secrets that even the new paint can’t cover over.  Grace would call some of these imprints.  
For those of you who haven’t taken our tour yet, you will learn that Fort Collins actually began as a military reservation which was eventually abandoned in 1867. If it weren’t for a few courageous settlers who decided to stay after the Cavalry left, Fort Collins would be a just another ghost town on the prairie.  That’s why I like to call it the “jewel of the Frontier”.  It survived!  And here we are enjoying it today because of them. Our wonderful town literally could have died without the ambitious early pioneers like Joe Mason, Norman Meldrum and the Stover brothers. We celebrate the new pioneers today who continue to embody the energy and spirit of those early settlers.  One of those motivated people is Kate, the proprietor of Boutique Bravo! and Mother Lode Gallery located at 136 West Mountain Avenue.  She has weathered many storms to successfully continue her store for 33 years!  Kate is a resident and business owner who has expressed curiosity in her various store locations in Old Town.  She has come to the right people! I cannot disclose all of the information we have gathered regarding Kate’s location. But through many hours of research we have discovered her store was once the location of an indoor skating rink, as well as a surgeon’s office, whose doctor lived on the premises!
Through the various booms and busts, developments and depressions, we have learned that many businesses set up shop, only to be replaced by another soon after. Who are these early settlers that placed their own hopes and dreams in your location? Was it someone as notable as ambitious as Joe Mason who is called the “Father of Fort Collins”? Lucky you, if it was! He was the most ambitious man in town before he died a grizzly death at an early age in 1881. Do you travel the same steps every morning to open your shop that Mr. Miller would have to open the same shop? Only 121 years earlier? Is Mr. Miller still trying to set up shop?
Grace and I can tell you this. Through our collaboration we can provide a detailed historic portfolio of your location, as well as a spiritual house clearing.
Contact hauntedhistoryafterdark@yahoo.com  for more information.  Haunted History After Dark tours run Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. YOUR HAUNTED JOURNEY STARTS AT DUSK.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Sally and David (far left)) enjoyed their spooky evening with Haunted History After Dark on Saturday. Originally from Michigan, the couple, who now reside in Fort Collins, have taken haunted and historical tours all over the world including Edinburgh and England.  The pair asked a lot of fun questions both about the hauntings in the area as well as the history.  Grace and Suzy were able to shed some light on many structures and their stories in Old Town and there were lots of “Aha!” moments.  Real life haunting experiences and the mysterious history surrounding the early brothels were some of the items that interested the pair, but they enjoyed the entire tour and gave it a thumb’s up at the end. 
Regarding real life haunting experiences, while researching the tour locations and going to those places with Grace, I had my own first experience which shook me up pretty good at the time. And now that we are actually giving the tours, I continue to have my own personal encounters both off and on the tour nights, but I feel like I'm getting a little more used to them now. And until Grace can make relative peace with one particular angry entity, we have decided to provide the haunting and the history information for this undisclosed location from across the street. It seems to be working. This last Saturday, Grace had some very fascinating observations to share with the guests regarding the characters who provide the stories for our haunted locations. Those early settlers, business owners, and residents that we talk about during the tour are really the stars of the program.  And some of them appear to be very aware of and really enjoying their new found fame, even in the afterlife! Grace let us know that some of the characters are now showing up to her in different locations than where we talk about them. She will be walking through a part of town, not on a tour day, and there pops up one of our “stars” wanting to talk to her. Grace says she tells them, “You need to get back to your place...!”  Thanks Grace! Because it wouldn’t be a very “spirited” tour without our ghosts.  
You too can walk with the spirits who are dying to meet you!  YOUR HAUNTED JOURNEY STARTS AT DUSK. Email hauntedhistoryafterdark@yahoo.com.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Spirits of Old Town, Fort Collins, CO

Since we have started doing our haunted historic tours, I am constantly amazed at the 'haunted' aspect of Old Town, Fort Collins, CO!  I've lived here for years and been a Ghost-Whisperer (GW) for most of those same years, but seldom tuned-in enough while downtown in Old Town to pick up on the ghosts.

Now, of course, as an experienced GW, I often block that sort of energy when I'm not 'on duty' or doing a reading for someone. I have learned it can be overwhelming to constantly be open to that sort of thing. And I am amazed every time we do our tour that so many energies and entities remain in Old Town.

As Suzy begins talking about a place or building, I start tuning in to who and what is in that space. I like to treat each tour as if it were the fist one, and as if I am tuning in for the first time to that building/space. I listen with half an ear to Suzy, as I start talking to the ghosts and picking up on the energy. I am constantly amazed that so many personalities and so many 'imprints' are still available for the reading.

My definition of 'imprint' is:  An energy where ghosts are in a time-loop of sorts. They appear to be reliving, over and over, some sort of event from the past. They usually are unaware that Earth time has passed/changed. They usually do not see me - or anyone in the present tense. They are stuck in a loop - or stuck in a time period where nothing has changed for them. Their perception of the space and what is occurring there is what it was when they were alive (had physical bodies). Often, the loop is of a traumatic event in which they were involved.

At one location, a young woman's spirit was trapped in the loop of watching her murderer as he murdered first her, and then two other young women. She watched, as a ghost, in horror, as he did this - over and over. In this imprint, I did manage to take her out of the loop and take her to the Light, but often, imprints can be difficult to interrupt - with a successful outcome anyway. It takes some time and ingenuity on my part. :)

We have also come across a few ghosts who are very aware that things have changed in their space. Some of those don't want to leave, but are still very unhappy that things are not the same as when they were there in physical body. At one regular spot/building where we stop to share historical info, the ghost is actually hostile. He does not like that modern changes have happened and that everyone is invading his space. There is a very busy, popular restaurant and bar in his space now, and he is VERY unhappy that the noise level is more than he finds comfortable. He often complains to me about how rude people have become - not displaying the "genteel" (his word) manners of his time.

He finds us annoying, most of the time, and does not understand why we would tell our group about him. He seems to vacillate between wanting to talk to us and wanting us to "just move along" (his words).  As we approach his site each time, I never know in what mood we will find him. :) He is; however, always interesting.  I think he is beginning to get used to us - tolerate us, anyway. :)

There are so many more interesting and engaging spirits we meet each time! And it changes - which really surprised me at first. In all, it is so very fascinating to me - and I hope to you too - to see what they are up to each time we cycle through with a group. I am honored to get to meet them and honored to get to interact with them. They are all beginning to feel like old friends to me, as I get to know them better and better. I am finding them - and their stories -  endearing.

Remember:  Your haunted journey begins at Dusk! :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Occasionally, a passer- by will witness a light go on or off in the small upstairs windows of this pale structure in a busy district of the city. Party goers and Old Town revelers can be seen celebrating the end of a week with a beer and laugh in the restaurant and bar below.  The noise and excitement radiating from the building makes it a magnet for residents and visitors wanting to unwind, and the business has become a familiar haunt in the Old Town area.  But, this building hides secrets so tragic and heart-breaking that even a Guinness and a good Irish joke can’t bury them.
 Built in 1905, this structure was a place of much activity early in its day, as guests from Cheyenne and Denver would frequent its rooms. The bottom floor served as a “speak easy” and restaurant.  Classified ads at the time would continuously ask for “chamber maids” or girls to work on the upper floors.  A scandalous affair also took place in the second and third floor rooms which resulted in a very high profile divorce. By 1917, an army recruiting office and foot doctor had offices in the top floors.
This building has a very mysterious and haunted past. It is rumored that a murder took place in the rooms above.  And not only does the victim still haunts the premises, but several others as well…
Learn who those “others” are and their unfortunate stories as Haunted History After Dark takes you to this location and sheds a light on its mysterious and tragic past.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Hi everyone! Just wanted to thank you all for your interest in the tours. They are going to be enlightening, informative, spooky, and most of all a lot of fun. I have to tell you that while Grace and I have been researching locations for the tour and going through our route some very interesting things have happened that I hadn’t expected. I’m a historian and my fascination is in the stories, people and events that shaped early Fort Collins. My focus wasn’t necessarily on the spirits, but the stories of the spirits. What was life like for early residents? Who are the main characters? What did they do? It’s a fascinating subject.  I have to inform you though that while developing the tour with the wonderful talented Grace, I myself have had the opportunity to meet some very interesting characters who still work and live and are active in the Old Town community. Except for one thing, they have left their physical bodies behind. Initially, I  guess I wasn’t really prepared or expecting to experience anything. Just to participate with amazing Grace and relate some extraordinary historical stories to our wonderful guests. I want our visitors to really get a sense of how phenomenal this town really is. From the camp and the cavalry history to the booms and busts, and some of the scandals that were not only indicative of some of the times past, but also very interesting. BUT, Grace has brought this to a whole new level for me. With her, I have been able to not only experience the stories that I research and read about so much and that mean an enormous amount to me, but the emotions, the personalities, the struggles of the early residents.  Grace and I have chosen a route that we feel will be the most fun for our guests because it is filled with both historical and related haunting locations. However, between Grace’s talent and my research , we have many many stories we would like to tell which would take us off the beaten path a little.  If there is an interest we may eventually develop additions to this tour. But, in the meantime, we look forward to spending some fun summer nights with you, and remember…



HAUNTED HISTORY AFTER DARK is offering tours on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8:30 P.M. Learn the history surrounding  this tragic incident as well as many other haunted locations and stories.