State’s Urban Legends: Colorado

They call it the Centennial State, among other things. Colorado is also home to the Rockies – the mountains and my favorite baseball team – Pike’s Peak and lots more.

But it is also home to a few spine-tingling urban legends, including one that hangs out in the same hotel that inspired a book and a movie. So without further ado…


The Stanley Hotel

This hotel is haunted and was the inspiration for a classic horror novel.

The real Stanley Hotel.

This Estes Park hotel, located northwest of Denver, was once a one-night stay for Stephen King. From that stay was born, The Shining, and the fictional Overlook Hotel. While the Stanley Hotel was not used in the movie of the same name that starred Jack Nicholson, it still can be a scary place to stay.

You won’t have to worry about Jack using an axe to chop through your door – unless you turn the tv to channel 42 where The Shining plays 24/7. But the hotel appears to be haunted as guests have reported ghostly activity about the place. It seems the hotel’s deceased founders, former employees and guests couldn’t bear to leave the place.

If you visit the hotel, ask for Room 217 if you want to stay in the same room King was in. And while the hotel was not used in the film it was used to film the mini-series that followed years later.


The Ridge Home Asylum

The Ridge Home Asylum opened in Arvada in 1912 and it seems you didn’t have to be crazy to be committed there. Years of mistreatment of mentally ill patients followed. People dumped on the asylum by family no longer wanting, or able, to care for them fared little better.

The asylum was torn down over a decade ago but if you are in the area – it is said – you can still hear the tormented screams. Occasionally you can even spot the ghostly spirit of one of the asylum’s victims.


Riverdale Road, Thornton, Colorado

The road is barely a dozen miles in length. But Riverdale Road packs a lot of horror-filled punch in those few miles. The origins of the terrible legends date back to well before the state became a state.

A phantom car racing up and down the road, an assortment of demons and even a running specter that attacks cars parked on a nearby hill. These are just the show openers for the really terrifying legend.

The ruins of an old mansion are home to the ghost of a woman burned alive – along with her child – by her husband. She doesn’t wander the grounds alone though. She is joined by the ghosts of slaves hung from a tree on the grounds. When they are joined by a ghostly pack of dogs…well, it is probably time to depart the area.


Animal Kingdom’s Most Wanted

Okay, most urban legends have some age on them. They need to be properly aged to really develop into some good, old-fashion scary stuff. But what is happing to Dylan McWilliams of Grand Junction, Colorado is just too good to keep under wraps.

Bears are not your friend.

They don’t like you, Dylan. They really, really don’t like you.

If he invites you along on any outdoor activity that could possibly include the presence of wildlife, decline. As for why, it is simple: The animal world wants this kid dead and they have taken three shots at the 20-year-old already.

The most recent attack came while he was swimming off the shore of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. He was bitten by a shark. Last year, while camping in Colorado, he was sleeping when a bear bit his head. The bear then dragged him a dozen feet before letting him go. While the shark escaped, the bear was caught and euthanized.

The first hint Dylan should have had that animals are not his friends came a few years back. He was hiking in Utah when a rattlesnake let him have it.

Seriously, someone buy this man a PS4 and duct tape him to the couch for his own sake.

Previously: California

Next: Connecticut

About the author

Richard Paolinelli