Caribou Canyon--The Secrets of the Bolded Names

      Wondering what’s up with the bolded names and places? No, they're not typos. Caribou Canyon, the fictional setting for "City of Secrets", is your passport to the real haunted Colorado. Each bolded name refers to a real haunted legend in Colorado. I’ve taken the names of streets, places, buildings, and even ghosts and put them in Caribou Canyon to add an extra jolt of creep, because what’s creepier than finding out that fiction has a basis in reality? So, if you’d like to take a peek at just how many ghosts creep about the state of Colorado, take a look below. If you dare.
      Names and places are listed in order of appearance and will be added to the legend as they're mentioned. First, I'll explain what the name or place is in "City of Secrets", then I'll explain where it came from in real life Colorado. Beware.

Town Key
(In order of appearance)

Chapter 1

Fiction:

Caribou Canyon: The setting for City of Secrets. A small mountain town in Colorado. The only city in the county of Caribou and the county seat. The population is approximately 3,300. The elevation is around 8000 feet. It is located near Pitkin and Lake counties. Caribou Canyon’s residents like to tell ghost stories, mainly to attract tourists. No one actually believes these stories. Or do they?

Fact:

Caribou, Colorado: Caribou is a former silver mining town located near Nederland in Boulder County Colorado. It was named after the Caribou silver mine. Fires in 1879 and ’99 led to the town’s destruction. It is now a ghost town. It is known as the place where winds are born. There are currently two residents. (I think.)



Fiction:

Gertrude Miller: Caribou Canyon High School’s academic advisor and guidance counselor.

Fact:
Mount Saint Gertrude Academy: The first private school in Boulder. It was founded in 1892 by the Catholic Sisters of Charity by the blessed Virgin Mary. It closed in 1969. It was used by the University of Colorado as offices of continuing education until a fire partially destroyed the building in 1980. It was reopened in 1998 as a retirement community called The Academy. It is supposedly haunted by the ghost of Sister Mary Theodore O’Connor (more about her later), but actual ghost stories and sightings are very hard to find, so who know? I'd say it might just be an old building that got a bad reputation. On the other hand, it's pretty hard to find any information at all on this building, and considering that it's a historical sight in Boulder, that's a little suspicious. But what does it all mean? I visited the place in 1996, when it was still abandoned. It was definitely creepy, but what old, abandoned building isn’t? It remains a mystery. 




Fiction:

Fairview Woods: A section of woods inside the city limits of Caribou Canyon. Twenty years prior to the start of the story, Rosalind Miller (Sister of guidance counselor Gertrude Miller) was mauled to death by a bear in these woods. Rumor has it that her ghost can be seen wandering Fairview Woods. Or are they just rumors?

Fact:

Fairview High School: High School in Boulder, Colorado. It's said that in 1982 a student hung himself in a dressing room of the theatre. Ever since, people report hearing strange noises, flickering lights, and sets that were nailed down falling over. Simple pranks, or hauntings? Hey, the truth is it's probably a bit of both.




Chapter 2



Fiction:
Laurel Beaumont:  Senior at Caribou Canyon High School. Captain of the cheerleading squad and unofficial leader of the mean girls. 

Fact:
Beaumont Hotel:  Located in Ouray, CO., the historic Beaumont Hotel first opened in 1886. Rumor has it that on every quarter moon at 2:15 AM a ghostly woman walks the halls. She might be looking for her husband, who just might have killed her. On the anniversary of her death, the ghostly scene of her murder replays, yet only she can be seen. The killer is invisible! Freaky, right?


Fiction:

Emma Crawford: Senior at Caribou Canyon High School. One of the mean girls and friends with Laurel Beaumont.

Fact: 
Emma Crawford was a young woman who moved to Manitou Springs, CO. in 1889. She had tuberculosis. She was fascinated with Red Mountain, which she could see from her bedside, and insisted that the spirit of a Native American named Red Chief roamed the mountain. She made her fiance vow to bury her on the mountain. She died just before she was to be married, after a trip up the mountain sapped her of her energy. As promised, she was buried on Red Mountain, but a railroad project forced her grave to be moved. The railroad project was abandoned and rain eventually washed Emma's grave down the mountain and into the canyon. Today, her ghost can be seen in a wedding dress roaming Red Mountain. The residents of Manitou Springs honor Emma by holding yearly coffin races down the mountain in October.





Chapter 4

Fiction: 
Madison O'Connor: Senior at Caribou Canyon High School. Hangs out with Laurel and the other mean girls.

Fact:
Sister Mary Theodore O'Connor was a nun who came to Boulder in 1888. Like many with tuberculosis, she came to Colorado for the dry mountain air. She also came to establish the Sister's of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary's first school in the state, Mount Saint Gertrude's Academy (see above listing). She never got to see it's completion. Her wake was held inside the school, even though it was late October, and the building had no door. Though she never set foot in the school while alive, she is said to roam the school after her death.


Chapter 5

Fiction:
Brook Forest: Caribou Canyon resident. Friend of the Harpers. Like a grandmother to Penny. She helps out a lot after Richie's death. Loves cats.

Fact:
Brook Forest Inn: Inn located in Evergreen, Colorado. It was originally built in the early 1900s. Many ghosts have been sited at this historic location. The top floor is said to be inhabited by a chambermaid named Jessica and her stablehand lover. Jessica was murdered by the stablehand, who later killed himself to atone for the awful deed.
Carl, a man who killed his wife after hearing tell of her affair, lurks around on the second floor. The third floor gets rather noisy when the nice little boy ghost runs through the halls, getting his energy out.
Guests report cold breezes on the stairs and the surrounding woods are said to be haunted as well.



Fiction:
Dr. Macky: Victoria Harper's psychiatrist.

Fact:
Macky Auditorium, University of Colorado at Boulder: Macky Auditorium is home of the College of Music, the Jazz Studies department, and the choral department. It houses the art gallery and holds talks, plays, and concerts. In 1966, a female student was raped and murdered by a janitor. Students report hearing phantom organ music, seeing blood appear on the walls, flickering lights, and sightings of a man in brown.



Chapter 8

Fiction:

Maggie: A resident of Caribou Canyon. She works at the visitor's center. She is first mentioned in chapter 8. Maggie comes across a lot of tourists, so she likes to spread rumors of ghosts.

Fact:
Maggie:  A ghost so infamous she needs no last name. She haunts the Colorado Grande Casino in Cripple Creek. A turn-of-the-century Irish woman who smells like roses and plays the slots when the casino is closed. Hey, why not, right? It's not like she has anything to lose? 


Fiction:

Lumber Baron's Road: An extremely twisty road named after a wealthy lumber baron who moved to Caribou Canyon in the 1920s, but died two weeks later on that very road. It leads to Vanover Point, a scenic overlook where the teenagers go to park and "enjoy the sights." The posted speed limit is 20 MPH, due to the poor visibility when turning corners. This road gets very icy in the winter and has been nicknamed "Devil's road" because of the number of fatal car accidents that have occurred on it. Most notable to the story are the accident that killed Natasha's parents sixteen years ago, and the one that killed Richie Harper and a Sheriff's deputy.  

Fact:

Lumber Baron Inn:  Located in Denver. The Inn is the former home of John Mouat, a wealthy lumber baron in the late 1800’s. A 17-year-old was raped and strangled to death in the 1970s. Her friend stumbled upon the body and was shot. The murder is still unsolved. Hauntings and strange sightings are reported by guests of the inn and restaurant, which has changed has a couple of times over the years.




Fiction:

Deputy John Edward Cameron: A Sheriff's Deputy for the Caribou County Sheriff's Department. He was driving the police cruiser that went off Lumber Baron's Road, killing he and Richie Harper, which took place before the start of the book.

Fact:

John Edward Cameron: A handsome young resident of Central City, Colorado in the late 19th century. Many young women sought his affections, but it was rumored that he was seeing a woman in a neighboring town. He passed away of paralysis of the heart (that's what his death certificate says). He is buried at the Central City Masonic Cemetery. Twice a year, on November 1st (his date of death) and April 5th (rumored to be the day they would've married)  a woman ( rumored to be his fiance) in black appears and places columbines on his grave. Rumors state that she continues to do this today--meaning that she too is dead. 

 


Chapter 15

Fiction:

Patterson Croke: The homeless man arrested for the murder of Gertrude Miller.

Fact:
Croke Patterson Mansion: A residence in Denver, CO. built in 1890 by Thomas B. Croke. Rumors state that Croke was so disturbed by "the things in the mansion" that he only entered it once. It was later sold to Thomas M. Patterson, whose family kept the mansion for several decades. In the 1970s the mansion was renovated into an office space. Construction workers noted that tasks they had completed one day would be undone the next. They finally got guard dogs to watch the building overnight, but the next day found that the two doberman pinschers had jumped out of a third story window.
A seance determined that the building was haunted by a little girl whose body was entombed in the cellar. A hidden was indeed found, but no remains of a little girl.