The most haunted house in Durango is located on 15th Street. At least, that’s according to Ghost Walk Durango guide Joe Nelson, whose daughter grew up visiting a friend who once lived there.
After weekend sleepovers, Nelson would pick his daughter up and ask her how her stay was. Often, she would casually mention “the children who lived there before” and their penchant for wanting to play with Lincoln Logs. The children would sometimes play tricks on his daughter and her friend, shutting them in rooms and not letting them out or making messes of her friend’s toys. Not wanting to bring too much attention to the matter, Nelson didn’t press his daughter too hard on the subject.
Stays at the house stopped abruptly, however, after one evening when Joe received a frantic call from his daughter asking to be picked up. A woman’s voice could be heard yelling in the background. When he pulled up to the house, his daughter, her friend, and her friend’s sister were all outside in their pajamas, despite the cold, waiting for him. According to the girls, their parents had gone out to see a movie when a disembodied woman’s voice started screaming at them to get out of her house. The family moved not long after.
This is just one of many tales you’ll hear during Nelson’s tour of the haunted houses, churches, and businesses in downtown Durango.
There’s Robert, the nice ghost who haunts Elks Lodge and doesn’t like it when people stay too late. He’s known for protecting the females who visit or work there, knocking men off their stools or whacking at their hats if they act unruly toward the women.
There’s the cowboy and sex worker who haunt the Rochester Hotel – the cowboy wanders the halls and messes with his gun belt, while the woman is known to show up in guests’ rooms dressed only in lingerie. It causes quite the stir, as visitors tend think their rooms have been double booked. Not to worry, though. She won’t show up if children are around. If you’re a couple or a single man, though, you might be in for a surprise.
There’s also the sound of children’s playful laughter at First Presbyterian Church – a noise that no one can pinpoint the source of. When Nelson served as a Boy Scout leader, the group met at the church, and he too heard the children. When he grilled his scouts about the noise, no one knew what he was talking about. Other parents and groups have reported hearing the noise as well. Once, during an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, a member was speaking to the group, and the talk was repeatedly interrupted by the sound of children laughing and playing. When the group leader called the church to ask if they could meet at the church on a night when the scouts weren’t also meeting, the church staff member replied that AA was the only group scheduled to meet at the church that evening.
Then there’s mansion turned Hood Mortuary on Third Avenue, where Nelson said he’s been told by multiple people that if you walk by one of the rooms upstairs, you can hear the sound of a rocking chair creaking and a woman crying. When you look inside, no one is there.
Durango is filled with these creepy ol’ stories and more, so be sure to follow Nelson around as he makes his downtown rounds…if you dare.