Mountain Peak Paranormal Investigations

Paranormal Investigations and Research

History Brief of Cripple Creek’s Outlaws & Lawmen Jail Museum

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Cripple Creek’s Outlaw & Jail Museum is the home to Mountain Peak Paranormal Investigations with the group’s monthly public “Ghost Hunts” with the MPPIR investigators as hosts to the public on the exciting search for those who stay at the jail. Cripple Creek has many residents who still live in the confines of the jail walls and cells who have not lived here for a long time.

The Teller County Jail came to life in 1901. This part of Colorado was originally part of Kansas Territory, lopped off when Kansas became a state.  Then it was part of El Paso county with law enforcement coming from the Colorado Springs area and minimal facilities at the City building on Bennett with a few cells in the basement.  After the gold boom in the early 1890s, the town went from 15 residents to 37,000 overnight.  Law enforcement was sorely needed in the town of claim jumping, drunkenness, prostitution, gambling, and murder.  After a late night session of the State Congress, Teller County became its own governing entity and the County Jail came under construction.  Competed in 1901, it was a welcome addition to the town, along with its own cadre of law enforcement officers.

Its residents, the jail’s that is, were of a lesser criminal element.  Since it is a county jail, their stays were of shorter duration, only a few days or months usually, the longest being a year. Their crimes were also of a lesser nature: prostitution in the turn of the last century, theft, vagrancy, cheating at cards, drunk and disorderly, claim jumping, abuse, and murder but only until the defendant was convicted.  The energy of more violent crimes and violent criminals was sent to facilities in Buena Vista and Canon City.

Children have made up a part of the jail population over its history.  The first was a four-year old boy who was found lost in town and to be a ward of the state.  The youngest was eighteen months (yes months) brought in with her mother who was serving time for prostitution. Other children spent time in the jail while their mothers spent time in the cells.

However, the jail has been used as an insane asylum.  Many people were taken to the local hospitals with the sudden onset of insanity and put in the “Strong Room”. When nothing could restrain the acts of these people, they were taken to the jail.  One woman, Olga Knutsen, became insane almost overnight, was taken to the hospital, then the jail where she died in a cell.  No cause was found for her mental illness or death.

The town has gone through cycles of boom and bust its whole history. The bust of the gold boom in the early 1900’s, the downturn during WWII with better paying jobs elsewhere, the settling of the local economy in the 1980s before the legalization of gambling.  With each of those, the population dwindled and so did the population of inmate

Until is was closed by the ACLU as being inhumane in 1992.  There is sat, empty, until it was turned into a City museum in 2007.

Lights have been seen by residents, especially the neighbors across the street, only to find out later that not only were there no fixtures in the jail but no electricity at all. Children have been seen walking or peering out of the windows of the upstairs, especially the matron’s room.

Since MPPIR has been investigating the jail, many pictures, EVP’s, and of late shack-hack  information has been accumulated as evidence of continued in habitation. Names have been verified by the museum’s manager, Michelle. Much of the  information is also provided by visitors to the jail and participants in the MPPIR’s monthly public investigations. Voices, whispers, shadows, apparitions, both while there and later on tape and pictures, have been evidence of paranormal activity.

Hotspots include the Ice Room and the commissary and other spots in the basement, the Matron’s room and Cell 3 in the Women’s Block, solitary and cell 4, 7 and the catwalk of the upper story along with shadows seen through the center aisle of the main cell block.  Outside, children have been seen in the front upstairs windows, especially the Matron’s room.

Editors Special Addition:

EVP from Teller County Jail, Cripple Creek Colorado. MPPIR Group leaves to go eat dinner. We walked down the road and no one entered the building after we left. Well no one we saw. Clearly something did.  It should have set off the alarm and did not.  Best listened to with headphones on.


©2011 Photos: Nancy, EVP: MPPIR 

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One response to “History Brief of Cripple Creek’s Outlaws & Lawmen Jail Museum

  1. Pingback: Shadow of a Man « Mountain Peak Paranormal Investigations

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