Boo-tiful BoCo

26 Oct 2022

Our county is home to many ghosts and at least one possible vampire.

By Brad Weismann Photos by Bonnie Chaim


Twenty years ago, local authors Roz Brown and Ann Alexander Leggett combined historical research and psychic inspection to produce a series of Haunted Boulder books. “The people who told these stories had nothing to gain by telling them,” Brown says. “They opened themselves up to ridicule. They believed their stories so much they wanted to share.”

One of the most prominent haunted buildings in Boulder County is the Hotel Boulderado (2115 13th St., Boulder). Since it opened in 1909, people have claimed to hear ghostly voices and see a female dressed in white walking the halls on the top floor. A Native American leader once refused to stay in one of the rooms, claiming to have seen a malevolent spirit there.

At the Boulder Theater (2032 14th St., Boulder), theater manager George Paper accidentally hung himself in the lighting rig in 1944. Reports of his ghost were so prevalent that the theater’s lounge was, for a long time, named George’s.

Columbia Cemetery (1201 9th St., Boulder) is another prime spirit-watching spot. Since its founding in 1870, the graveyard has become a veritable who’s-who of prominent Boulderites, including Andrew Macky, Mary Rippon, Eben G. Fine and the controversial Old West figure Tom Horn. An angry spirit said to reside in the far northwest corner of the cemetery has been known to chase people out of the graveyard when disturbed during the night.

American dining saloon 740 Front (740 Front St., Louisville), once home to the Old Louisville Inn, is said to harbor a restless spirit named Samantha, a prostitute who was murdered there in its earliest days, when it was a speakeasy. 740 Front’s owner Fred Burns is well aware of the legend. “I’m not worried about dying from a ghost,” he says. “Of course, you may have the hell scared out of you.”

The Empire Lounge & Restaurant (816 Main St., Louisville) is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young woman who was shot and killed while breaking up a fight when the restaurant was a gambling hall at the turn of the 20th century.

Dickens Opera House and Tavern (300 Main St., Longmont) is said to be haunted by multiple spirits, including a sobbing woman whom some historians believe to be the ghost of an opera singer who died on stage.

One of the strangest tales of all involves an infamous “vampire grave” in the Lafayette Cemetery (111 E. Baseline Road, Lafayette). In 1918, 43-year-old miner Fodor Glava was buried in the cemetery with a rudimentary concrete headstone that says, “FODOR GLAVA BORN IN TRANSLVANIA.” According to legend, Transylvania is the home of Dracula and his kind, so it’s easy to see how rumors and legends sprang up around the site. People still leave mementos there.

Should you happen to run into any of these restless spirits, don’t be afraid. Getting rid of them is quite easy, Leggett says. “You just tell them to leave.”

Boulder County has plenty more ghost stories to capture the imagination this Halloween. Check out Haunted Boulder, Haunted Boulder 2 and Ghosts of Boulder for more spooky tales.

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