After the Ghoul Rush

From its notorious gunfights and shady ladies to its gold-mining glory days to the “Face on the Barroom Floor,” Central City has more than its share of legends for being such a small town. And their ghosts are said to still linger in the present-day gambling haven. A psychic who once visited the old Belvidere Theatre, an 1874 precursor to today’s Central City Opera House, reportedly sensed as many as 45 spirits wandering under its roof, just for a start: There’s the madam, Big-Nose Kate, whose face was disfigured in a barroom brawl, and one of her wards, a soiled dove named Flora, who chills in the balcony. And a grouchy stagehand of yore allegedly spooks all who come near his corner, and used to mysteriously run projectors in the darkness during a period when the Belvidere screened films.

Those are just a few of the scary tales you’ll hear during the Central City Creepy Crawl, a lantern tour of Central City haunts hosted by the Gilpin County Historical Society. The tour, a reprise of a similar event that was discontinued ten years ago, will be offered today and October 24 beginning at 7 p.m.; sixty- to ninety-minute excursions will leave every five minutes or so until 7:30 from the corner of Lawrence and Main streets, in front of the Century Casino. “Ten years was a long time ago, so they’re kind of reinventing it, with hopes of bringing it back again next year,” notes spokeswoman Allison Johnson of the tour, which also relates the tale of the “Columbine Lady” who visits John Cameron’s grave in the Masonic Cemetery twice a year and other creepy chronicles.

Admission is free, but reservations are a must; visit or call 303-345-6315.
Saturdays, 7 p.m. Starts: Oct. 3. Continues through Oct. 24, 2009

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd