Friday, July 22, 2011

Old Town ghosts get caught up in the party spirit!

"The Captain", Asaph Allen with the 9th Kansas Cavalry. First at Camp Collins.
This day in Fort Collins history. Today is July 22nd. This is the official birthdate of Camp Collins which was built by the 9th Kansas and 11th Ohio Cavalry's in the town of La Porte way back in 1862. That was 149 years ago!
Camp Collins remained in this location for almost two years until a disastrous flood sent enormous amounts of melted snowfall from the winter previous, rushing down the Poudre River and taking out the camp. Two months later a new fort location, 4 miles downstream, was inspected and found suitable for a military reservation. Today we know that fort site as our own wonderful town o’ Fort Collins, named after Lt. Col. William Oliver Collins who was THE MAN and the guy who inspected the new fort and by Special Order No. 1 gave the “A Okay”  or  "thumbs up" to start building on it.

Lt. Colonel William Oliver Collins.

 As one recent guest to Haunted History After Dark commented or rather exclaimed enthusiastically, "You mean to tell me...that if there had never been a flood in La Porte in 64...we wouldn't be here?!!!"
And the answer is, well, yes, sort of…
To hear the rest of this amazing story and learn what was found to be “unfit for humans” during an 1865 inspection of the fort and may have caused the deaths of many young cavalrymen and at least one civilian who all NOW haunt a popular Old Town party spot, you will need to take the Haunted History After Dark tour.  Beware, at this spooky site it’s not just humans that are caught up in the party spirit
Come Walk with the Spirits who are dying to meet you!
For reservations please email Cost is 10 big ones per courageous ghost buster or 35 clams for an extra brave group of four.  
Kate and Grace
 Stephen Stills begged Suite Judy Blue Eyes long ago, “Will you come see me…Thursdays and Saturdays…” What a coincidence! That’s when our tours are.  Will you come see us…Thursdays and Saturdays.  Or by reservation. 7:30 p.m.  Tours start at 136 W. Mountain Avenue home of Boutique Bravo and Mother Lode Gallery where owner Kate has been in business for a whopping 33 years! Check her out.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ken Burns newest documentary hits close to home for Haunted History After Dark

A haunting full moon and many ghostly tales entertained this courageous group from Fort Collins on a Haunted History After Dark tour last Thursday night.  The streets of Old Town were alive with activity as we began our tour and added to the excitement. Grace and I unraveled the extraordinary early history of this colorful town and the MOST haunted locations for our brave tour participants.There are many historical and haunted gems along our route and some those treasures we unveiled for our Haunted History After Dark guests were; ghost signs, a long lost cemetery in the heart of Old Town where cavalrymen of the past still lay forgotten beneath the bricks, and the nails on the side of a 1879 bank, where long ago a very famous Frontier man once posted his adventures for all the town to see.
At the first location on our tour, well known local ghost whisperer Grace, related to us that one of the spectral beings that regularly visits us on our tour (and usually sends goosebumps up and down the necks of our guests) had, with Grace’s help, reunited with her love interest in the after-life.  She stayed for only a short time on our tour, as she explained that she was “busy”.  But, definitely made an appearance.  One enthusiastic participant loved the story and said, “Cool! Shackin’ up in the after life!”  According to Grace, spirits don’t need to stay in the emotion and event in which they died. That after death, we are allowed to progress, grow and develop, even in the beyond. This particular spirit, who meets with our guests regularly on our tour, has taken that step and is a happy spirit.  But, this is not so true for many ghosts on route.
  One very enthusiastic (human) guest to Haunted History After Dark, Cory, related a great story to Grace and I regarding his decision to move to Fort Collins from Payson, Arizona.Cory (above with sister Christina) said that after graduating from high school he had applied to many colleges including Colorado State.  One afternoon, he was wondering which college to attend and happened to look at the beer he was holding in his hand. It was a Fat Tire, and the address for the brewing company said, “Fort Collins, Colorado.” That was the sign he needed. He enrolled here and it was love at first sight. Cory says he loves Fort Collins history and was drawn here for a reason.  We love stories like this.  Cory had an amazing resemblance to early resident, Joe Mason. Possibly a past life? If so, Cory would definitely be up for an adventure as Joe Mason was not only the early resident who helped choose the site for the Fort, but was the town’s first sheriff, first postmaster and first sutler owner.

Let us know what you think. If you would like a past life reading contact Grace at
 When Grace and I show this fun treasure (at right) to visitors on our tour many say,"I walk on this everyday and never knew it was here!" Two of our guests really wanted a closer look.
Nearing the end of our tour visitors were taken to the exact location where a "night on the town" in 1881 at one of the most popular watering spots in early Fort Collins ended in one of the most tragic and ghostly incidents in Fort Collins history and was the last straw for many residents before enacting prohibition in the city.

Learn the tragic reason why Fort Collins decided to prohibit the sell of alcohol for 73 years, as well as the locations where popular beer bottlers in the city were turned over night, literally, into bootleggers!
One of our wonderful guests, Jan (at left), said, “I cannot believe that Fort Collins was a dry town for THAT LONG!”
Producer Ken Burns is scheduled to release a documentary regarding prohibition this fall. His film will discuss the economic,political and social problems that arose from prohibition. Our own town of Fort Collins was not immune to those same conflicts caused by prohibition. But the short lived scandals and events that resulted from it helped to create the amazing, extraordinary and HAUNTED stories of early Fort Collins. Burns link is
Check out Ken Burn’s current production and take the Haunted History After Dark tour to learn more about our wonderful town’s haunted history connection regarding the event of prohibition which included crime, conflict, persecution and often times death.
Can any of our readers recognize where this is? It is a building in the heart of the city, was the home of a bootlegger after June of 1896 and was also the site of a "most distressing tragedy".
As famous songwriter Stephen Stills writes in “Suite Judy Blue Eyes”, “Will you come see me. Thursdays and Saturday’s ?” Haunted History After Dark offers tours to brave guests Thursdays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Or by reservation. Please contact us at YOUR HAUNTED JOURNEY STARTS AT DUSK!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Early cultures and clashes make Fort Collins a location of extraordinary haunted and historical past.

Last Saturday night Haunted History After Dark welcomed four courageous visitors to the tour. John and Lisa (at right) are proprietors of a well-known business in not only a busy district of Old Town today, but in Fort Collins early history, was the heart of the city. This was an area of much activity especially in the late 1870’s and 1880’s as the town grew south and west from the new Fort site. Churches, hotels, blacksmith shops, and the first fire house in Fort Collins inhabited this historic area. We thank John and Lisa, and their brave friends, Zach and Susan for their generosity in sharing their own stories and for taking our tour.

Fort Collins is a very interesting city with an extraordinary past. Early in its history, our town attracted not only educated, well to do Easterners, but it also lured those working for the railroad, miners, cowboys employed by large livestock company’s, homesteaders, and others looking to start a new life in the American Frontier. Even as early as the 1860’s the protection of the Cavalry at the new fort brought in many new residents which included brave entrepreneurs like Judge Stone and Joe Mason, bankers and mercantile men like William and Frank Stover, land owners like Abner Loomis, as well as livestock ranchers and Cavalry men like Norman Meldrum and Asaph Allen. You might notice that these names look very familiar, as we travel down their streets every day.

Joe Mason Street, is always a crowd pleaser right about 3:00 p.m. as the Colorado and Central journey’s through Fort Collins and halts travel for miles. The traffic jam it causes usually ruffles a few feathers, understandably. But, this may ease your mind a bit, the next time you are stopped on Mason Street as the train goes lumbering by, remember that without Joe Mason and the other names mentioned above, we might not even have had a town as wonderful as Fort Collins to call home. Joe actually helped the 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry pick the site for the new Fort back in July of 1864. He was the first postmaster, first sheriff, and first store owner in Fort Collins.

If it weren’t for these few courageous settlers who decided to stay after the Cavalry left in 1867, Fort Collins may have been just another ghost town on the prairie. And when the Colorado and Central tracks were laid in town in 1877 (it was then called the Colorado and Southern) the town population tripled in size. This inconvenience for us today actually put us on the map 134 years ago!

By the 1870’s and forward we had many new residents from all walks of life looking for freedom and fortune in the West. This wonderful complex mix of demographics, cultures, and backgrounds created a colorful landscape for an early town. By 1883 Fort Collins not only had a new fire station on Walnut, a reputable and expensive financial institution on Linden and Walnut, an Agricultural College of the west (now Colorado State University), as well as many reputable homes and stores on College, but it also had 5 brothels, 13 saloons, and various gambling houses with only a population of 1356! This blend of goals and aims of residents for this new town of Fort Collins occasionally caused conflict, persecution, crime and often time’s death.
Through Grace’s natural intuitiveness and my historical research we can take you back in time and put you in touch with one of the most famous locations where those two early cultures clashed, as well as the site where an early resident met his demise and the social political outcome of his death that altered the city for 131 years!

Learn more on the Haunted History After Dark tours which run Thursday and Saturday nights at 7:30pm or by reservation. $10 per courageous visitor or $35 for a brave group of four. Contact or call 970-690-7986. Tours begin in front of Boutique Bravo and Mother Lode Gallery at 136 West Mountain Avenue. This location is also haunted and the business of Boutique Bravo has found its home in many haunted Old Town locations for over 33 years!
Historical photos courtesy of Fort Collins museum and Poudre River Library.

New Old Town haunted locations causing trouble and making spirits upset!

We want to give a HUGE thank you and welcome to our youngest and most courageous guest to Haunted History After Dark tours, Dillan , along with his mother Becki, her brave boyfriend Justin, and his Aunt Hali, from Fort Collins, Colorado, for participating on of our Wednesday night tours. Eight year-old, Dillan, demonstrated enormous talent in his Fort Collins history and tremendous courage in joining our haunted historical tour of Old Town Fort Collins. It was an interesting night, and we thank you all for participating!

As a passionate Fort Collins historian and journalist, I am constantly researching, digging, and prying into new stories, new events and new characters that are a part of our town’s extraordinary historical past. To me, this is all very exciting. I learn the history, the location, the event, and the “who, what, where, when and how”. But, sometimes, unknown to me, I resurrect people of the past who don’t always want their stories to be told. And sometimes, as I’m learning, the spirits get very upset. This very thing happened this last Wednesday night.
A week earlier, I had been looking into a Dec. 1881 death that had occurred on the Haunted History After Dark’s traditional route. I researched the location, the people involved, and the result, and spent hours writing the script. I was excited to offer it to our wonderful guests Wednesday night as this event had to do with enormous historical social and political changes that occurred in the city after this crisis, which altered the make- up of the city for 131 years!
However, even on the first location of our tour on Wednesday, this spirit (early resident) that I had been researching immediately interrupted our tour, at a completely different location than where we were going to talk about him, and was NOT happy. Somehow, spiritually, he had clued in that we were going to talk about his story. Grace picked up on it immediately, and said to me, “We cannot talk about this person…he is very upset, give me some time.”
Old Town Fort Collins is filled with an abundance of spiritual entities connected to historical events that they are a crucial part of. Through my researching and writing I sometimes resurrect them. Some are okay with this. Many are not. Until I began doing these tours with Grace, I did not really realize how powerful human thoughts are. What we as humans put our energy towards, manifests itself. Even simple thoughts, writings, and emotions can re-create those same emotions, fears, desires and heart-break of our early residents, and raise them from their spiritual slumber. Many of those Grace and I put our focus on do come alive for us and our visitors on our tours. A beautiful young, bookkeeper, who perished in a horrific fire in February of 1880 often visits us on our route. An angry proprietor of an early Speak –Easy on College Avenue attempts many times to interrupt our tours but is discouraged after assertive protection from Grace. And an 1880’s mercantile and miner owner, who inhabits Old Town Square, often manifests himself through goose-bumps and strict words for our tour guests.

Through my research, when I historically resurrect a person or place for our tours, and they emerge confused as why they were brought back, Grace will often times intervene psychically and either communicate to the spirit that we are conducting a tour, or send them to the “other side”, Heaven or “Home” as she has responded to a recent guest on our tour, if they so desire. Many times she will send entities to the other side even if they don’t “desire”.
I do need to tell you that Grace is an extraordinarily gifted medium and ghost whisperer, and before all of our tours Grace envelops everyone in safe light, and after our tours she makes certain everyone leaves spiritually cleaner or cleansed and safer than before they took the tour.

As for our recently resurrected ghostly historically 1880’s tour participant, and his amazing story, Haunted History After Dark is conducting some clearance and construction. You won’t want to miss his tale, as it happened right on the streets of Old Town, and changed the history of this town we call the “Jewel of the Frontier” for over a hundred years!
Tours run Thursday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. $10 per/courageous guest or $35 for an extra brave group of 4. Tours begin at Boutique Bravo and Mother Lode Gallery located at 136 West Mountain Avenue. This site is also haunted and the business of Boutique Bravo has found its home in many Old Town haunted locations for over 33 years!
Contact for tour details, or call 970-690-7986. Visit our blog at