Deb Sheppard, one of the Denver area's best-known mediums, says there are plenty of metro-area places with a high degree of spiritual activity accessible to visitors around Halloween, or any other time of the year. Moreover, she sees no reason to be afraid of such haunting locations.
"People ask me, 'Are these spirits stuck?'" Sheppard notes. "But I think that we as humans are more stuck than anyone in the spirit world. Maybe these spirits are hanging out, maybe they have unfinished business. But they're not as scary as people think. It's just something unknown."
Sheppard grew up in northern California and lived in Indiana and Ohio before moving to Colorado 24 years ago, and she stresses that her current profession "isn't mainstream in my family. My husband, who's been deceased for about nine years, was a vice president of an insurance company, my father was a minister who served in the Marines, my father-in-law was a general and I was in corporate America until my daughter was born and I decided to be a stay-at-home day-care provider."
Then, eighteen years ago, something changed. "I was studying meditation and Feng shui and all of a sudden, I felt a girlfriend's father who I'd never talked to," she recalls. "So I gave her a call and the floodgates opened. At that point, I didn't know anything about mediums. I didn't know people who were mediums or who went to mediums. But I did a little research, and I also went to see John Edward, who's a pretty famous medium — and afterward, I got into my car and turned on the radio to KOSI 101, and they had a psychic on."
A few months later, shortly after 9/11, Sheppard was behind the microphone at the very same station, doing on-air readings during an evening program helmed by DJ Rashke. She appeared on KOSI semi-regularly for the next fifteen years, until the outlet was purchased by Bonneville International Corporation, a firm owned by the LDS church. "They're Mormons, so I'm not really their flavor of the month," she concedes. However, she's continued to guest at assorted media outlets, including Fox31, and work pro bono for law-enforcement agencies. "If I'm given the name of the victim, I'm able to profile the crime scene," she allows. "One time, I got an old case and told the detective, 'This is a serial killer.' I drew a map of another crime scene in another precinct — and they were able to link the same DNA to both of them, and they realized it was a serial killer."
In addition, Sheppard is regularly hired to check out private homes or businesses that are suspected of boasting an otherworldly aura. "I have no information about a place when I have a client," she says. "I have assistants, so I don't hear anything about it, and I don't even know the address; someone will drive me. Then I look at the energy of the building or the land and look at what happened there. If there was something tragic that took place in the family or the business, it helps people to understand what's going on."
As for spirited public spaces in this part of Colorado, Sheppard mentions "Fairfield, just past Morrison. I've stayed overnight there, and there was a lot of Native American energy. It kept me awake all night long."
She gets a similar vibe "on Parker Road from Parker or Elizabeth up toward I-225. If you drive around that area, there have been a lot of deaths. This was the Cherokee Trail, where some Native American battles took place. I've gone there with some other psychics and done some work there. And there's also a lot of Native American energy in Idaho Springs, at the hot springs there, and in Glenwood Springs at the hot springs and the old hotel" — the Hotel Colorado. "In places like that, you can sometimes feel more than in a very busy area. People especially feel it at night, when there's less technology, less chatter."
In Denver proper, Sheppard personally had one of her strongest experiences at the Molly Brown House Museum.
"This was probably ten-plus years ago," she points out. "I was taking my children there to see a historic place, and after we did the tour, I could feel there was a lot of energy. I went to the back, in an area that used to be the carriage house, and where they've got a little store now. I was in the back of the store, and I saw this little woman who was very short — like four feet eight — and all dressed in period clothes. She went to the restroom in the back, and later on, I realized she never exited there. Afterward, I called the house and asked if there was anyone in character who would dress like that, and they said no. So that was the first time I saw a true apparition. I usually see spirits and energy, but not like that. It felt like a real person dressed in that period of time, which was kind of cool."
Spirits aplenty can also be found in Cheesman Park, she maintains. "It used to be a Potter's Field, where poor people were buried, and when they built the gardens in Cheesman, they had to move the bodies — so there's a lot of activity there and over by the Botanic Gardens. I've taken students to the Botanic Gardens to feel the energy in that area. For years and years, I've mentored people, helped them develop their intuition and to learn to trust their feelings, and that's a great place for them to get a sense of spiritual things."
For more about the graveyard history of Cheesman Park and the Botanic Gardens, check out our recent interview with former Denver auditor Dennis Gallagher about threats against historic Denver cemeteries and more.
Broadway is another street brimming with psychic energy, Sheppard says: "There have been a ton of things that have happened there, a lot of deaths. And when there have been things like that, there'll be more energy."
This sensation definitely comes through to Sheppard when she's in the area of East 18th Avenue and Washington, as captured in the image at the top of this post.
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According to Sheppard, "the first crematorium in Denver was in that area, over in Uptown, and they built some condominium apartments where it was. My girlfriend and I went over there, and there was all kinds of activity. You could feel the spirits around the outside of the building, the spirits of people who'd been cremated. It's pretty close to Cheesman Park and the Botanic Gardens, too, so that whole area has a lot of energy."
These places represent only a handful of spirited spots in Denver metro, Sheppard maintains, and she loves to discover new ones. For instance, she's heard haunting rumors about a stretch of Ralston Road in Arvada that she's eager to check out.
"This is my theory about haunted places," she says. "I think our loved ones are everywhere in spirits. At my house, there are a lot of spirits there, and it's the same in a lot of older buildings. And I don't think we should be afraid of them. I'm more afraid of the living than the deceased."
Learn more about Sheppard at debsheppard.com.