Thursday, April 30, 2015

Colorado Haunted Hotels - The Twin Lakes Inn

We're sharing the history and haunted legends associated with each of the hotels and B&Bs in our book:

Note Mt. Elbert in background
(highest peak in Colorado)

an amateur ghost hunting guide
to Haunted Hotels
in southwest Colorado

Available now as a trade paperback from Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Also available as a Kindle e-book.

This week, we feature the Twin Lakes Inn in Twin Lakes, Colo. (If you missed the earlier account of our own paranormal investigation at Twin Lakes, click here.)

* * *
Historical Context

Twin Lakes is filled with Colorado extremes – tallest mountain, largest glacier lakes, one of the worst avalanches, and maybe even its own monster. Read on.

Once a stop along the way between Leadville and Aspen, Twin Lakes was a mining transportation hub during the Colorado Gold Rush starting in 1860. 

Built in 1879 by Maggie Webber, the facility that ultimately became the Twin Lakes Inn once served as a stage stop, a hotel, and even a brothel. A few years later, mining magnate James V. Dexter built the Interlaken Resort across the lake from Twin Lakes, attracting wealthy tourists who boated in the summer and skied in the winter. At one point, a storm sank the connecting ferry, and many passengers drowned. After a dam expanded the lakes and cut off easy access to the resort, interest started to fade and it eventually closed.
One of the twin lakes just a
mile before you reach the inn

An onslaught of tragedy befell the community starting in August 1961, when Twin Lakes suffered a heavy snow storm. Earthquake tremors and strong winds followed in November. Another storm hit that January, accompanied by 70 mph winds. An avalanche struck three days later, killing seven people as the snow freighted at speeds between 150-200 mph and reached the village limits. Rescuers found at least one victim under twelve feet of snow and rubble.

Through tumultuous and prosperous times, the Twin Lakes Inn continued business, even though its name and flavor changed according to each owner. The establishment, in turn, operated under such various names as Twin Peaks Inn, Twin Peaks Hotel, Sportsman’s Lodge, Inn of the Black Wolf, and Twin Lakes Nordic Inn.

During the “Black Wolf” era, the owner kept a kennel of wolves behind the hotel, allowing a couple of favorites to frequent the inside of the premises. They usually lay quietly in the dining room. But one day, a waitress dropped a tray of dinners in the vicinity of the wolves. The owner quickly commanded everyone in the room to freeze while the animals scarfed down the spilled meals. (As far we heard, that’s the only thing they ate.)

The Red Rooster Tavern & Brothel
used to be the inn's competition -
now it's the village visitor center
Even though the hotel has undergone several renovations, the town itself has changed very little since its inception. The general store, hotel, blacksmith shop, schoolhouse, and vacation homes of the early miners are still there, now part of the National Historic Register. Even the Red Rooster Tavern and Brothel still remains across the street from the Twin Lakes Inn but currently functions as the village visitor center.

Interlaken Lake holds one more secret. According to locals, the waters hide a lake monster affectionately known as “Bessie.” If you tire of ghost hunting, you might stroll the banks and keep an eye out for her.

Legends, Stories, and Guest Experiences
The Twin Lakes Inn has a reputation for guests hearing the invisible footfalls of heavy boots tromping up and down the hallway, and sometimes even the clanking of chains! Housekeeping sometimes finds the impressions of hands and fannies on freshly made beds. Another staff member told us about a music box turning on unexpectedly in the downstairs bar.

Stay in the Mt Elbert Rm
if your dare - a former
owner witnessed an
apparition in this doorway
A previous owner of the inn once saw an apparition standing in a guestroom doorway. She was fluffing pillows in Room Two when she witnessed a cowboy leaning against the doorjamb. She tossed the pillow on the bed, taking her eyes off the figure for only an instant. When she straightened up, the cowboy was nowhere to be found.

In the mid-1980s, one former guest recounted attending a séance in the second-floor room during a Halloween party. Hands joined in a circle with six others, she witnessed the vision of an apparition coming into the room to accost a shadow woman – not one of the attending participants – in a dress printed with pink polka dots. When the session concluded, the guest couldn’t wait to share her experience, but the woman sitting next to her spoke first, describing the same scene right down to the dots. Other attendees of the séance also reported the same vision.

Another guest reported seeing a ghost in the upstairs corridor, and still another saw shadowy arms in one of the rooms.

* * *
In the past twelve months, we conducted twenty paranormal investigations (including follow-ups) as part of our ghost book project.

It's time to take stock of the mass of evidence we've collected and analyzed. In the next article, we offer the first in a four-part series that presents our best evidence for the supernatural at the fourteen locales we investigated.

Did we succeed?

Oh yeah:  imprints appearing on beds,  cups flying off tables, pillows off beds, cold spots, invisible footsteps, ghostly touches, flashlights winking on request, EVP voice recordings, interactive conversations through our spirit box, off-the-charts electromagnetic field fluctuations during our interactions, swirling angry orbs, and on and on.

Who knew Colorado was so haunted? But you be the judge!

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