Shadow figures and a bent neck lady: Ghostly hotel guests check in from the other side

by Amanda Push

Most people don’t get to work side by side with apparitions from days gone by, but that’s not necessarily the case for hotels, where spirits are known to loom for much longer than regular guests.

There are plenty of hotels and lodgings in the Four Corners where the dead, spirits, energy, or whatever you want to call it, are still ghosting about, reminding us every now and then that they’re still here. Watching. Listening. Opening doors. Moving things. Appearing in mirrors. We can’t stop shuddering.

And, despite what we hope are mostly pleasant intentions, sharing space with the long since passed is still unnerving. So freak yourself out and get ready to hide under your blankets with these unnerving haunted hotel tales. And maybe avoid looking in mirrors for a while.

Creede Hotel, CreedeSo it’s one of the oldest hotels in downtown Creede. It was built, I think, in 1892, and it was originally called the Zang’s Hotel was when it was established. We’ve had people, like some Wild West characters like Poker Alice, who is actually one of my favorite characters. She was an old lady that would sit with all the guys around the poker table in the bar area just chewing on a fat cigar. … Calamity Jane has been through the Creede area as well. Soapy Smith has been one that’s stayed with us as well. It (the hotel) used to be a brothel.

One of the stories I have is (about) my husband. We just moved here this past May. When he was moving back and forth between Telluride and here, he would stay at the hotel. One night, he left in the evening, and we’d been doing a few renovations over the summer, so all the ladies (who were working) had all gone and locked up after painting and what not. Then, when he came back late at night, all the lights were on. All the hotel room doors were open. He could actually hear people chatting and glasses clinking. He was terrified and ran into his room and locked the doors.

Our bartender, Paul, he has experienced a few things here and there throughout the summer. He said when he went into the kitchen to close everything down, it was just him and it was dark outside. He went into the kitchen and heard what he described as a spoon hitting a metal pan, just like a loud CLANK, and there was nobody around. He said that there’s been noises coming out of the dish pit area. Then, he said he couldn’t tell what it was – it was something small, like maybe a child or a pet – but he saw something run across our dining room. It would start from the front door and then run into the lobby area. He said it happened pretty frequently and sporadically throughout the day, but he said it was almost consistently every day that he was there.

Our most famous story has to do with this mirror that hangs up behind our front desk. Years ago, one of the staff members was just randomly taking photos of the lobby and the dining room. He took this picture of the mirror and you could clearly see this woman from her shoulders up – you know, long hair, big collar. Everything was in detail except for her face – her face was blurred out. Another thing was that her neck looked like it had been stretched and kind of broken. So, he showed it to the staff members and they all tried recreating the photo, and they couldn’t get it. They went to a historian of the town and they found out that – and I don’t know exactly the date – but a long time ago, a woman had fallen into the flume right behind the hotel and broken her neck.

Sarah Efthim, guest service managerSpruce Lodge, South ForkIt was built in 1926 as a hotel and boarding house. There used to be a big sawmill across the street that operated from roughly 1890-1999. And you know, the hotel was built by the people that own the sawmill out of all local lumber.

When we bought the hotel in May of 2006, the owners told us it was haunted and we didn’t believe in any of that.

We said, ‘Sure, sure, it is. Yeah, it’s an old building.’ It took about six months for things to start happening. It’s not like it happened right away. But just little things that we started noticing after about six months at that point. We had very young children and they started noticing things before we did. We were out pushing our son on one of the swings one day, and he wanted to know who the girl was in the window upstairs. He was two or three – not at any age where he could make anything like that up.

We usually don’t get any kind of activity when it’s really busy. Or, if we do, we don’t notice it. You know, it’s just part of the chaos that is our life, right? But we had a college group in the house and my husband went downstairs to get something right after dinner. He walks into our basement living room and … there’s a woman sitting on a pool table. We don’t have a pool table, first of all. But she was there long enough for him to notice that she was blonde, about 20 years old, and sitting on a pool table wearing a blue dress. And then she was gone. And he had enough time to think it was one of the college kids that got down here and isn’t supposed to be here.

And then my other basement experience would be … I had to get up super early because we were serving a group. So we would have been busy, probably Christmas or spring break. We were serving breakfast. My husband had already gotten up, The alarm had just gone off, and he had left the room. I was trying to go back to sleep but I had to go to the bathroom so I was like, ‘I’ll just get up.’ So I get up and I’m walking out of our bedroom and there’s a man standing there right by our alarm clock. And I thought, ‘Well, what’s he doing just standing by the alarm clock?’ I thought it was Rob (my husband). Then I said ‘Good morning.’ I’m heading for the bathroom and he turns around and walks away. So I stop and watch him, and it’s dark and shadowy and whatnot. I see him walk down in front of the bed, and then turn and go down Rob’s side of the bed. He didn’t say anything to me. And this isn’t just a flash and it’s gone. It was probably 20 seconds or so. And I’m standing there thinking, ‘What the hell is your problem?’ and I’m thinking, ‘Well, we didn’t have a fight. Why is he not talking to me? What is his deal?’ And so I go into the bathroom and Rob is in there shaving. He’s not in our room. Both the kids are still asleep. We went and checked on them and we turn all the lights and there’s nobody there. But it wasn’t just a quick flash kind of thing. There was definitely somebody there.

Dee Plucinski, owner and operatorAmanda Push


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