It’s been reported that both jailers and inmates roam the halls of the building that served as the Teller County Jail from 1910 to 1991, and is now The Outlaws & Lawmen Jail Museum in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Guards have been heard walking the halls and staircase of the two-story house of incarceration, folks have experienced cold spots, seen dark masses, and heard heavy breathing, and even a possible sighting of an actual apparition have been reported. Of course, I had to pay a visit to see for myself this historic haunted location.
The building has an interesting history. Originally, the Teller County Jail, used to house to house those awaiting trail in the nearby courthouse, serving also as a hold-over for hardcore felons and murderers waiting to be shipped to the prison in Wyoming to serve out their time, and a stp-over for criminally insane prisoners on their way to the State Hospital in nearby Canon City. In 1991, a new jail was erected in Divide, Colorado and the building was retired, now serving as museum housing a plethora of the history of this Colorado mining town.
The women were housed on the second floor of the brick building, with a female jailer who stayed on premises to watch over her charges, who were housed in small rooms furnished with wooden bunks. There have been claims of feeling and seeing the female jailor, Rosie’s, apparition in her room at the top of the stairs. And someone claimed that she ‘communicated’ to them that she was still watching over her charges, although I could find no account of the method of communication from beyond that was used.
The men’s cellblock was seperated from the recieving area in the front of the building by a steel cell block door, and the cellblock itself was fashioned from a ship’s interior; a two story metal framework housing 14 cells, 61/2 feet by 9 feet, 10 on the lower level and four on the upper, which each housed 4 to 6 inmates on hammocks and a single chamber pot, until such treatment of prisoners was deamed inhumane and double bunks were installed. The whole cellblock is situated in the middle of a spacious hall with large windows to allow sunlight into the gigantic steel cage which is cold and dark. Bars on the outer walls allowed observation of inmate activities, and the cell doors open into a corrider that runs through the lower block.
Dark shadowed masses have been reported near the two cells at the far end of the first floor cell block and the steel door seperating the cellblock area from the reception area has been said to fly open of its own accord. Footsteps going up the stairs and back down, as if a guard was still on duty and making his rounds have also been reported. And the apparition of a night jailer has been seen, trying to get in, although he disappeared as soon as the caaretaker opened the door.
The catwalk on the upper level of the cellblock had only a thin iron pipe for a railing, and at least one man fell, or was pushed, to his death. One might expect there to be more such occurances in a cellblock housing the wild and rowdy occupants of the mining town along side hardcore murderers and the criminally insane. It is near that spot, that cold spots and heavy breathing have been reported.
The solitary confinement cell is located at the far end of the upper level. This was the only place where I sensed anything strange. I stepped inside the solitary cell, which is four steel walls and a small bench, with only a narrow doorway through which to enter, and unlike the regular cells with barred doors, this one is solid metal, allowing no light to penetrate into the cell when closed. In the photo below we see the light coming in from the open door from the catwalk.
Once inside, I immediately felt an oppressiveness and anxiety and became cold; a feeling that the door would swing closed and an urgent need to get out coming over me with force. Even with the door open, there was very little light in this cell, and I could only imagine how awful it would feel to be locked in utter darkness for hours or perhaps days at a time. But the feeling I had in that cell was more than just the expected claustraphobia. It was a feeling as if someone were there, standing right outside, ready to slam the solid metal door shut.
Linda Wommack (12/29/2022) Cripple Creek’s Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum Puts Visitors Behind Bars. HistoryNet Retrieved from https://www.historynet.com/cripple-creeks-outlaws-and-lawmen-jail-museum-puts-visitors-behind-bars/.
Amber. Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum. Denver Terrors. Retrieved from https://denverterrors.com/outlaws-and-lawmen-jail-museum/
Seth Boster (10/21/2019) Eight Haunted Spots in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Out There Colorado. Retrieved from https://www.outtherecolorado.com/adventures/8-haunted-spots-in-cripple-creek-colorado/article_f0819728-13f3-59b7-a5e2-6506ebaea72a.html
Cripple Creek Jail. HauntedHouses.com Retrieved from http://hauntedhouses.com/colorado/cripple-creek-jail/
For Kaye Lynne Booth, writing is a passion. Kaye Lynne is an author with published short fiction and poetry, both online and in print, including her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction; and her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets. Kaye holds a dual M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing with emphasis in genre fiction and screenwriting, and an M.A. in publishing. Kaye Lynne is the founder of WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services and WordCrafter Press. She also maintains an authors’ blog and website, Writing to be Read, where she publishes content of interest in the literary world.
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