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Paranormal Investigations and Research
I will start this one out with a short Ghost story as I (Frank C) remember it.
On one particular evening in 2010 while at my first paranormal investigation at the Cripple Creek District Museum while taking a break two of the Museum staff, Jan and Missie, started telling us a few of the ghost stories about the building. Always loving a good ghost story I had to commit this one to memory.
Missie started out this story by telling me of a man who had been visiting the museum in the upstairs area. Upon returning from the upstairs he stopped and informed Missie of a little girl who was running around upstairs.
Missie informed the gentleman that there was a little girl ghost that liked to play upstairs and that he should go over and tell Jan about how the man had seen the little girl. Mind you there where no children present in the museum, living ones that is. The gentleman proceeded out the door over to the Transfer Station building. While the man walked towards the other building presumably to tell Jan about seeing the little girl upstairs, Missie phoned Jan to tell her about the man who saw the little girl.
Jan while on the phone with Missie looks out the front window for the man who Missie still sees walking towards the Transfer Station building. The two buildings are not far apart and you can see the front door from one to another.
Jan watching for the man tells Missie she does not see the gentlemen walking towards her. Missie exclaiming, “He’s right there!”. Just as the man fads out passing the Transfer Station, vanishing right before her eyes on an empty sidewalk.
Jan never saw the man walking.
I just have to say you have to love it when one ghost tells on another!
Now on that note. I don’t have the exact date and time on this EVP but I know it’s from the Cripple Creek District Museum from sometime in 2009. Listen for the little girl. It was after museum hours and MPPIR does not bring children along for investigations.
You might need head phones.
©2009, MPPIR, Blog: Frank C, EVP: Ric R
Jan is the Museum Director
Missie is a Museum Tour Guide and Historian
Cripple Creek District Museum
P.O. Box 1210 ~ 500 East Bennett Avenue
Cripple Creek, Colorado 80813
719-689-2634 ~ 719-689-9540
When news of the gold that was discovered in the area now known as Cripple Creek and Victor spread like wildfire, people flocked to the area in record numbers. To accommodate these new arrivals and profit from the needs of the new arrivals, three railroads serviced the area. They were the Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad, the Colorado Springs & Cripple Creek Railroad, and the Midland Terminal Railroad from Divide.
Needing a terminal in Cripple Creek, the Midland Terminal Railroad built their Depot at the east end of Bennett Avenue. The first train arrived on December 18, 1895 at the Midland Terminal at the east end of Bennett Avenue.. The building was designed by an architect named Murphy.
The Midland operated 10 trains a day, some of which included a parlor car, with sleepers, champagne dinners for overnight excursions from Denver. The freight trains hauled lumber, explosives, machinery, fruit, groceries, dry goods, and luxuries for the needs of the community of new miners and businessmen. The building was built with every modern convenience of the day including being wired for electricity, phone service, and indoor plumbing.
The terminal is built on the side of a hill that accommodates the usage of the building. The 1st floor is for freight and the entrance for passengers who went directly upstairs. The 2nd floor is ticket sales, waiting rooms and train access. The waiting rooms were divided into two rooms: one for the men and one for the women and children. Tickets were purchased on the second floor at the Freight Office window. The 3rd floor was first offices and later the station master’s home.
There were three station managers that lived in the Depot with their families. The first was W.L. Trout Felter, who lived at the Depot in 1915-16. The second was John Evans, his wife Laura and their children from 1917 until 1942. Mrs. Evans tried to make the depot more homey by putting pieces of tissue paper on the transom to look like stained glass. The third station manager was Dudley Duncan from 1942 until 1950. The terminal closed in 1949 with the last train departing on February 6, 1949. The Duncan’s lived there for another year after the terminal closed.
Besides the station managers and their wives, the ticket and freight clerks, and other railroad workers, there was another person who spent time at the depot on a regular basis for many years, working for the Duncan’s as a housekeeper, and continued to work in the building in that capacity after the Duncan’s left and for several years after that. She was a small African-American woman, about five feet tall, with very short, close-cropped hair. Molly is the last regular employee in the building until it became a museum.
The terminal was empty for only 3 years when, in 1953, Blevins Davis who was a Broadway producer, asked his friend Richard “Dick” Johnson to find him a museum to own. That assignment brought Johnson to Cripple Creek and the Midland Depot. Davis purchased the museum and Johnson opened it in June 14, 1953. Dick was a very popular man in town, handsome, driving a late-model sports car, sporting a large ring and a gold tipped cane, dressing in expensive suits, and charming the wealthy widows of the town. Johnson is credited as being the museum’s founder and enjoyed life in Cripple Creek for many years in the 1950s.
The Cripple Creek District Museum is the cornerstone of the museum complex at the east end of Bennett Avenue, which includes the Assay Office, the Colorado Trading & Transfer Company and two cabins. One cabin belonged to Blanche LeCriox. The other cabin served as a home on West Masonic Avenue in Cripple Creek. Both cabins were purchased by the City in about 2005 and donated to the museum in 2009. The head-frame next to the museum is from the Pinnacle Mine. Some of the artifacts in the Museum are original to the Depot; other have been donated from area pioneer families.
From: Dr. Richard E. Reason II Bsc D.C.
It would be my professional opinion poor Olga suffered from ‘post postpartum Psychosis’. This diagnosis includes paranoia. In this syndrome the patient often thinks the life or, safety of their new infant is at risk. This frequently manifests by accusing those closest of horrendous deeds; such as molestation, attempting to steal or kill the infant.
As a Coroner; I would look carefully into her sudden and unexpected death.
The loss of bodily functions might be related to her reported extremely deep depression. Remember her worst fears had manifested, they took her baby.
However, we must consider many factors when evaluating this or any untimely death.
First is the possibility Mrs. Knutson suffered a cerebral vascular accident, a stroke. It would account for the swift onset of symptoms and rapid deterioration, both mental and physical. Stress is easily understood in this case and clinical correlation straight forward; the hormones regulating vasodilation and heart rate (Cortisol, adrenalin etc.) are released when the body needs to survive under trying conditions. It was designed to help stupid cavemen escape the saber-tooth looking for lunch. Unfortunately, the brain, does not know the difference between the lion chasing you and your delusional belief the neighbor is trying to kill your newborn. It reacts the way it is programmed. This is commonly referred to as “Fight or Flight” and initiates a cascade of biologic activity.
First in this roller-coaster of hormones the pituitary and adrenal glands wake up the entire endocrine system, which immediately causes the arteries to constrict increasing the blood pressure. Next, the heart rate increases; now you have high pressure blood moving through the lungs, brain and heart; brain an important thing to remember. Now, comes the fun stuff, the smooth muscles relax and the striated muscles engorge.
Basically, since your colon is covered in smooth muscle, you void your intestinal tract oh; yes your bladder is also controlled by smooth muscle so you piss yourself too. Now, it is time to increase the respiration to keep all of that blood well oxygenated so you can run!
The increase in inter-cranial pressure caused by all of this does not have to burst a blood vessel; just the dilation of the venous structures can lead to the brain swelling, pushing the brain-stem into the foramen magnum causing the victim to cease breathing. Of course by then they would have most likely suffered an aneurism or full stroke, the effect would be the same.
Another condition we must consider involving the brain would be a tumor. Olga may very well have had a brain tumor slowly growing somewhere in her cranium. My guess would be in the frontal lobes where personality and behavior are located. This may have remained asymptomatic until her pregnancy; when growth hormones begin to rage stimulating not only ‘baby Knutson’ but the mass to also grow. Eight months after delivery there could have been a significant amount of growth in both the infant and her cancer.
I would like to know if she complained of headaches, eye pain, ringing in her ears, black or lightning spots in her vision. Did she have difficulty sleeping and if so what kept her awake or did not allow her to sleep? Any of these symptoms could indicate some form of compromise to the brain.
Now, let me be the death investigator for a moment; skeptical by both nature and training. There is the distinct possibility that the unseen Mr. Knutson was an abuser. If she were struck in the head, shoved, hit, pushed down or suffered a concussion the same symptoms might be observed.
In any of these conditions the use of a narcotic sedative would be contraindicated; giving an individual something like Morphine or Laudanum would exacerbate any cardiovascular issues by being respiratory suppressants. Not to mention that the effect on any neurological conditions which might be present.
With this in mind, I would not consider syphilis. The tertiary or late stage of this disease takes decades to manifest within the central nervous system. Since she was in her early thirties she would not have been infected long enough for her to exhibit the delusions and paranoia. The use of mercury as a treatment would also take a good deal of time to have neurological effects. I assume the people of her time would be well familiar with syphilitic symptomology and would have reported it as so.
As for toxic poisoning, I would question the health of the baby. Had the child been breastfed and the mother exposed to sufficient levels of a poison (especially levels to make mom nuts) would most likely be in the child’s system as well. Since mom is much larger, titers in her blood sufficient to make her koo koo for coco puffs would be more than enough to harm the child FIRST.
Since the reports refer to her not having control of her bodily functions. I wonder what this is code for. Was she vomiting or emptying her bowels; if so for how long. Was she given sufficient water for someone in her condition? Prolonged vomiting or as my mom says ‘the revenge’ can lead to a loss of electrolytes in the blood. These are necessary for the body to regulate your heartbeat, out of balance the patient can suffer cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and die.
Lastly, I would really look at what the doctor gave her to sedate her. I would bet my reputation that I know what happened. She is out of control, yelling and screaming, generally making Hell for everyone else. So, the matron calls the doctor, who arrives later in the evening. Since it’s late and everyone wants to get some sleep. The doctor gives her a ‘good dose’ of Morphine or Laudanum; either intravenously (if she was uncooperative) or, orally. Alone, tired and now overdosed or, incorrectly medicated; she lay down and stopped breathing at some point in the night.
Colorado law requires an autopsy and Coroner’s inquest for any person who dies in custody of law enforcement and I do believe this was also the law then. So, somewhere there might be record or notice of the Coroner’s inquest. During this procedure the Coroner will summon qualified citizens as jurors, there might be record of these summons.
However, claiming she committed suicide would get everyone off the hook; if there had been an investigation (which I doubt.)
My thought on a cause; I believe a frontal lobe neoplasm was the primary cause of Olga’s delusions & paranoia. However, not the cause of her death; I believe she died of cardiac arrest due to dehydration combined with and exacerbated by a narcotic sedative overdose. Negligent homicide by the good physician who should have known better.
Pictures of the unexplained are well-loved by most paranormal investigators, so I bring you one more of mine.
I place this one in the unexplained pile of photo’s.
During this session we where listing for audible disembodied voices and movement in the main cell block area. Events and pictures containing strange shadows have been taken in various spots in the cell block.
Footsteps have been heard, sounds of the cell doors opening and closing and conversations of persons unseen all are reported in main block of the Jail Museum.
This picture was nearly missed as it is a bit dark and hard to see the mist. After the discovery of this photo I decided to lighten it up and take a look at whatever was floating in the southwest corner of the building. This is what I saw in the enhanced photo:
On occasion we bring props or trigger objects. What better ones to bring to a jail than smokes and other items that inmates would love to have that are not easy to get when locked up.
So just out of sight and around the far corner to the right was sitting MPPIR investigator Ric with an electric cigarette, right in front of him on the floor. Nobody is permitted to smoke in the building and Ric has sworn that he did not take a drag off the electric smoke at anytime inside the building that night. Ric would not have had to, if he needed a drag he could have gone outside. As a side note Ric has quit smoking since then.
So I have to ask the questions;
Who was smoking? Everyone claims that nobody was smoking and nobody reported smelling smoke.
Was that water mist in the air? The closet object that it could have come from is a e-cigarette that does work by giving off a water vapor. I have personally used a product similar and have not seen this effect in pictures of the smoke from the e-cigarette.
Is it even smoke or a water vapor mist? The climate of Cripple Creek, CO is dry most of the time. It was dry that night.
Clueless is what I am on this one. A few people have told me that it looks like energy. Others simple say it looks like smoke or mist.
I leave this one perplexed. I can’t in a mundane way explain the mist based on the reports I have. Please let me know if you see anything else strange about this photo.
Editors reference note: This is the same corner that the picture Shadow of a Man was taken. Though this picture was taken facing east and is older than the Shadow of a Man photo.
©2011, Blog and Photos by Frank C
A question we are asked a lot: where there any deaths in the jail? For years we heard about them through remarks made by visitors and MPPIR members. Now, with our new jail museum manager we are finding out about them another way. One is from the research that the current Jail Museum manager does by combing through old newspapers that are mostly on microfiche and looking at jail records year by year. The other way we “know” of deaths in the jail is through our paranormal research and information we get from psychics and sensitives, some of whom are visitors to the jail and some are members of MPPIR.
One of the deaths that occurred in the jail was that of a woman who had been put in jail for the crime of insanity. Olga Knutson would have died no matter where she was, but she was in jail when it happened. The date was February 3, 1907.
Here’s the story and it is a bizarre story at best. Olga Knutson was a 30-year-old mother of an eight month old baby boy. She lived with her husband, a miner, and her new baby in Altman. Everything seemed fine until Olga became paranoid. First she decided that the neighbors were intent on doing her baby harm. Then she said that the sheriff came with a posse and a rope for her. She became so paranoid, that her husband took her to the doctor. He found nothing wrong. A short time later, she became so irrational, that she was taken to the hospital where a short time later, she was put in the Strong Room . The local hospitals had a “Strong Room” for patients suffering from mental problems and became uncontrollable, even violent.
When Olga became too irrational to be handled even in the Strong Room, she was sent to the jail, which was standard practice for the restraint of the mentally ill. She had to be transferred to the Insane Ward of the jail. This Ward was the three cells at the front of the building. It didn’t take long for Olga to totally breakdown, both physically and mentally. She lost all control of her bodily functions and lost her mental faculties. In the middle of the night, the doctor managed to give her a sleeping potion to sedate her and she sank to the floor, apparently asleep. When the Matron checked on her at 5 am, she thought something was amiss and summoned the doctor. By the time the doctor arrived Olga was dead. It was one week after the onset of her mental disturbance transforming her from a sane functioning young woman to an irrational violent inmate of the jail.
No cause was ever found. But then forensics of the day were pretty primitive and autopsy were seldom done. What caused this young woman to deteriorate into madness and death? Does Olga still inhabit the jail cell where her life ended? Are some of the EVPs and actual whispered voices those of Olga? Apparently Olga was not buried in Mt. Pisgah cemetery. She may be buried in Victor cemetery or somewhere near, or she may have been taken elsewhere for reasons only her husband knows.
A clue may come by reading Michael Lesay’s “Wisconsin Death Trip” which chronicles many such people who suddenly become mad and either harm themselves or others, only to have to be incarcerated due to their own violent behavior. Death often came suddenly. The picture you are about to see is of a person who was once alive.
The book dispels the popular myth that cities were hot beds of moral turpitude and industrial madness and rural areas were Edens of happy people. Not so. The sudden madness and death of Olga was not an uncommon thing. Jail records show a large number of people put in jail for insanity. Then, they were sent off to larger insane asylums. What caused this sudden madness? Poison? Environmental exposure to toxic substances? Lead and dyes were used for stained glass windows which were prevalent not only in Cripple Creek but across the old west. Long dark cold winters?
There is another explanation that is cloaked in secrecy. Many men visited Meyers Avenue, the Red light District in Cripple Creek, and contracted syphilis which they took home to their wives. Due to the social stigma associated with this, many people did not seek treatment and tried to treat themselves. The treatment was mercury which in itself would cause madness and death. Whether from the disease or the treatment, many people ended up with insanity and death.
Jail records show that the reason for incarceration was often insanity. If anyone has any information that might enlighten us on this, please comment on this blog. We’d love to hear from you.
But back to Olga. Perhaps the doctor who gave her the sleeping potion recognized her symptoms and helped her on her way. Perhaps he just gave her too much. Perhaps she was dying anyway.
The information on Olga was discovered in the usual way. Research. It was reported in one of the half dozen newspapers that published in the day,and in the jail records. It has also been reported in the unusual way. There have been sensitives who report a feeling of sickness and death in those cells in the Women’s block. Now we have a name and when we investigate the Women’s Block, we can ask Olga if she is still here.
@2011, Story Nancy B, MPPIR
If you like this you should read the follow up: Olga Knutson — A Coroner’s Opinion and Report