Mountain Peak Paranormal Investigations

Paranormal Investigations and Research

Monthly Archives: July 2011

July 2011 Investigations at the Jail Museum

July was a busy month for MPPIR as we are doing 4 different paranormal investigation tours.   From the District Museum to the Jail Museum in Cripple Creek, to the upcoming Prison Museum in Canon City.

What makes our “tours” unique is that they are not just tours.  We bring in the public to join us on actual investigative work.  This allows a person to get a hands on feel of paranormal investigating.  This approach is unique in many aspects as you are not lead around and told “Ghost stories”.  We show you how to look for and record possible paranormal events.

To give you a look at what happens during our tours I decided to share some pictures of these public investigations. (click on the images to make them larger)

I will start with how we began all of our investigations public or private.  The Site Briefing.  We always have a briefing at the beginning of each investigation.  At public tour/investigations, because we travel into dark and sometimes hazardous places we always make sure we give a safety brief to our guests.  While looking for things that go bump in the night we don’t want to stumble around and cause bumps and bruises.

Yes I did notice the young lady with the crutches.  But don’t worry she is ok and she acquired the injury during cheering practice.   I did not inquire as to how exactly.

We don’t always investigate in the dark.  The Jail Museum has been shown to have activity during the day and night.  We do go well into the night with our investigations and sometimes until the sun rises.

This picture shows a typical setting early on in the evening.  Surrounded by equipment the investigators start with checking readings and getting a good baseline of temperature, EMF and a general feel for the area.  Starting just before sunset gives an investigator a good idea of the area they are working in and prevents accidents.  This is a good idea when investigation a new site for even seasoned ghost hunters.

Getting down to the fun and exciting side of a ghost hunt is always the best part.  MPPIR has a lot of experienced investigators that are open-minded to trying new techniques.  We take from both the normal and paranormal to find new ways to conduct research.  Cameras and digital recorders are good for documenting evidence but you also need measure tools.

We allow for any device to be used as long as it’s not destructive to the environment.

Here we see dowsing rods being tried by a Ghost hunter.  It’s quite fascinating when something as simple as a flashlight or bent copper rods seem to react to your questions.

This 15 min exposure does show what appears to be a ghostly face over the lady in the picture.  This is one of my early photo’s.  It’s not considered to be paranormal.  At closer examination you can see that the 2nd face is actually the woman’s face.  Though brighter the features match.  It did set my back when I first saw it though.

Though normally we place men in this chair.  As the Matron (as we call her) tends to “touch” men when they sit in that chair.  Ask Ric about it sometime… if you want to hear a strange story.

Speaking of strange fun; during our “tour” on July 23, 2011, I had the chance to lead this group around and look for paranormal activity.  We did get some interesting results.  While in the Matrons room I typically have a male investigator sit in the above mentioned chair.

Now this chair is not believed to be original to this room.  Neither is the bed you see or any other furniture in the room.  Because of this fact I find it curious that when males sit in the chair they tend to get the feeling of being touched.  Typically having their hair pulled or moved in some fashion.  Males also have reported having their neck or cheek brushed against by some unseen person or force.

As happened on this night.

This gentleman (shown left) actually reported feeling his hair lifting slightly on his left.  Than he said that it felt like something brushed his left cheek.  After being a rather good sport and sitting in the chair for around 10 min he got up and check the area around the chair with his hand.  Apparently feeling the air for something.  He never explained to me what he was feeling for.  I would have to believe his experience while sitting in this 100-year-old piece of furniture.  His reaction was very typical of someone who gets touched from the beyond.  His wife (picture right above on the very far right) was amused by his reactions also.  She did mention to the entity that this was her husband and the entity could not have him.  I would have to say that their experience in with the Matron was one to remember.

I would like to leave of with thanks to the City of Cripple Creek, the City employees and the MPPIR team that put in many hours to make these investigation tours possible.  With that I will leave you with one very dark picture of Michelle R., the Museum Manager and Historian, whose work has led to many new discoveries about the history of the Outlaws and Lawman Museum.

©2011  MPPIR,  Frank C, Blog and Photo’s (photo’s are from July 16 and July 23 2011)


The Elks Club Cripple Creek’s Hidden Architectural Gem Right Before Your Eyes

Everyone sees the sign: B.P.O.E. emblazoned on the 4th Street side of the Elks building at 375 Bennett Avenue, Cripple Creek.  But they are practically by the entrance before they realize it.  That’s because, the entrance is a double door that opens onto a staircase.  The first floor is occupied by Nana’s Nook on the corner and an empty retail space that was the Newport Saloon and the sight of the famous shooting of millionaire mine owner Sam Strong on August 22, 1901.

The Benevolent Protective Order of Elks is an old and wonderful organization that provides  many groups with necessary elements that enhance the lives of children. The Order has about 450 members who uphold time-honored values of community and family. They do this without fanfare or self-aggrandizement.  There is a rich history of the organization in Cripple Creek.

The building that houses this organization is one of Cripple Creek’s architectural gems.  Starting out as the Mining  Exchange Building which handled all the financial business for the huge gold strikes not only in Cripple Creek, Victor, Gold Field, and Altman, but for the rest of the state as well including the booms in Leadville and Breckenridge.  The three-story brick building was built after the 1896 fires and continued as the Mining Exchange until the Elks purchased it in 1911 when the gold boom started to wane. The first floor was always retail space, housing a pharmacy owned by G R Lewis, a successful pharmacist as well as gold mining investor and The Newport Gambling Hall. It is here that the more  dramatic history of the building took place.

The entry speaks of private membership itself.  The double doors open onto an interior staircase that climbs to the second story where either a key card, received at initiation, or the door bell gains you admittance to a lobby that is dominated by a 100-year-old Elk. Dark Victorian wood railings, staircases, finials, and molding and plush carpeting create the hushed atmosphere of the Victorian era that is the foundation of the construction.

The walls are lined with history. Photographs of groups, members, and the building itself along with lists of members during the years of existence, create a history rich in personal voluntarism. Private is the word that describes this hallowed hall. The rooms are a maze of old and new as much of the building is exactly the way it was constructed while adding new necessities over the years.

Until about 12 years ago, the Order was a men’s only organization. The building provides sleeping rooms which can only be occupied by Members and their Wives (not girlfriends) with bathrooms down the hall. With the admission of women, two Ladies Rooms have been added, changing walls and floors. These renovations, along with the addition of a new furnace upstairs and the state of the art kitchen, have moved walls and floors which makes the building Cripple Creek’s version of the Winchester House.    Windows extend up into the ceiling of the Ladies Room, a window that opens to nothing, doorways that create hallways through rooms.

 The Grand Hall at the back of the building was added around 1950. With its lighted stained glass over the head chairs, its seats around the walls and the presence of seating in the balcony, the Grand Hall is exactly that. Under the balcony is an atmospheric bar complete with Art Deco mirrors and mahogany paneling.

The empty retail space to the left of the entry housed the Newport Gambling Hall before the Elks purchased the building. On August 22, 1901, Sam Strong was shot to death by Grant Cumley, part owner of the Newport over a gambling debt dispute with Strong. Crumbly raised a shot-gun and fired, killing Strong.  Strong died a few hours after the altercation. Crumbly was tried and found innocent. The presence of the Newport brings a completely different energy to the first floor of the building.

The building is well worth a tour for its Victorian architecture, its history and its quirky original construction and renovation. Like many buildings in Cripple Creek with their dramatic and sometimes violent past, the Elks Club has an ambiance of Victorian stability and a hint of the mysterious.

District Museum Assay Office Investigation Suspected Picture

On July 10, 2011 MPPIR held its first public ghost investigation at the Cripple Creek District Museum.  This museum consists of 3 buildings, the Midland Terminal, the Assay Office and the Trade and Transfer Company.

While in the Assay office 2 guests, Jan, Ric and me where investigating the front part of the building.  During this time Ric and Jan (the Museum Director) where discussing feelings they had concerning the front door way.  They had the feeling that some-one was going in and out the door.  I began to snap off a series of photos of the direction of Ric as he was standing near the door.

This is one of the 5 pictures that I took.  I have trimmed this pictured down to show you what I saw.

Suspected Picture

To the left of Ric and a bit taller is a white figure reflected on a plexiglass wall behind Ric.  I would normally just throw this picture out but I found some oddities with it.

One is that the reflection is facing Ric.  Two the Reflection is white.  There should be a red shift in the reflection.  If it was a reflection of Ric it would be a mirror of him.  Its not.

The picture itself gives me the creeps.  I have yet to explain this picture and why there would be a figure in the plexiglass wall like that.

To see the full image click on the image and a slide show should come up that has the original image and the one I posted.

For those who would like it here is the camera info for the original picture.

File Name    Frank Copley_07_10_2011_IMG_0955_SUSPECT.JPG
Camera Model    Canon EOS REBEL T2i
Firmware    Firmware Version 1.0.9
Shooting Date/Time    7/10/2011 8:55:49 PM
Author    Frank Copley
Copyright Notice    Frank Copley
Owner's Name    Frank Copley
Shooting Mode    Program AE
Tv( Shutter Speed )    0.6
Av( Aperture Value )    3.5
Metering Mode    Evaluative Metering
Exposure Compensation    0
ISO Speed    12800
Auto ISO Speed    OFF
Lens    EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
Focal Length    18.0 mm
Image Size    5184x3456
Image Quality    Fine
Flash    Off
FE lock    OFF
White Balance Mode    Auto
AF Mode    Manual focusing
Picture Style    Standard
Sharpness    3
Contrast    0
Saturation    0
Color tone    0
Color Space    sRGB v1.31 (Canon)
Long exposure noise reduction    0:Off
High ISO speed noise reduction    0:Standard
Highlight tone priority    0:Disable
Auto Lighting Optimizer    3:Disable
Peripheral illumination correction    Enable
File Size    10540 KB
Drive Mode    Continuous shooting
Live View Shooting    OFF

©2011, Blog and Pictures Frank C, MPPIR

Colorado Prison Museum, Canon City

The former Women’s Prison is the home of the Colorado Prison Museum, which is located at 201 N 1st Street, Canon City, Colorado.  The sage green building was constructed  in 1935, 61 years after the construction of the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility, which is still an active prison to this day and was in operation until 1968.  For the next twelve years, it housed male inmates in the honor system and for training.  It opened as a museum in 1988. The museum displays information on the prison system from its opening in 1871 to today, highlighting penal information, inmates, interesting information such as visits by the movie industry, and displays depicting live in prison – both for men and women.

The Colorado State Penitentiary was built-in 1868 on 25 acres of land donated by Jonathan Draper of rough-hewn stone and consisted of 44 cells. The first prisoner was John Shepler incarcerated in 1871. The first female prisoner was Mrs. Dr. Mary Solanden (#60) of Boulder in 1873 for manslaughter in the abortion death of a patient.

Women at that time were housed in the men’s facility. The arrival of women to the penitentiary caused some consternation. There were 44 cells  The prison had an iron sink, a toilette and a slop sink.  No one knows where the women were originally housed. In the 1880’s the warden requested money for a female facility since female prisoners now numbered 10-12, which was granted and a facility was built for the women of 6 cells over the laundry and bath houses. In the 1890’s money was requested and granted for a workroom and a matron. This was still inside the prison walls.

The Women’s Prison outside the wall was constructed in 1935 and operated until 1968. During that time, there was a prisoner Mrs. Vandenstahl who was in cell one for two years with a sentence of 25-40 years. Her twenty-two year old lover shot and killed her husband and told police that it was her idea.  After an appeal, she was released.

Women were allowed to decorate their cells, participate in cosmetology classes and did their own laundry. Two women escaped by climbing over the fence while no one was looking. They were apprehended in a few days, tired and apparently ready to come back.

There are 32 cells on the upper level and offices, including the Matron’s Office.  The lower lever contains the kitchen, cafeteria, class room and storage. Most women were incarcerated in the early days for performing abortions, prostitution, larceny and conspiracy. Today, women are mostly incarcerated larceny and drunken driving. The female population varies from year to year and has been declining. The facility also housed male prisoners who were in the Trustee program and was used for training.

The museum shows a part of prison life and a part of prison history in each cell and displays along the central hallway. Life in prison in the early days was much different from today. Prisoners were subject to corporal punishment using the “gray mare” a large saw horse that they were bent over. executions were by hanging, than gas chamber, than lethal injection, the last of which was Gary Davis in 1997. Interestingly, capital punishment was outlawed in 1897 and reinstated after a riot in 1901. Originally, there were no walls around the prison had only 4 guards. Work crews were sent out with no guards to work on roads and other municipal projects. No women have ever been executed. The male population today stands at 700 with available work programs for the inmates.

During the tour, you can hear the guards next door projecting their orders through loud speakers. The ancient prison wall topped with two tiers of coiled razor wire glints in the afternoon sun a few feet from this building that is surrounded by green grass, tall trees, and a wall topped with a fence ten feet high.

One of the prison’s most famous inmates was Alfred Packer, Colorado’s famous cannibal. With a party of five men, he left Montrose for Breckenridge and encountered a fierce snowstorm. Lost and low on provisions, Packer was the only man to survive the ordeal. His story was that one of the other members of the party, Shannon Bell, was the killer and consumer of the men. Packer said he killed Bell in self-defense. Packer was tried for murder in 1874 under Colorado laws but the crime had been committed in 1873 Colorado Territory. He was incarcerated in Colorado Territorial Prison, Canon City.After an appeal got him a new trial in 1896, he was convicted of manslaughter and got 40 years. Paroled in 1901, he died in 1907.

Joseph Corbett Jr was convicted of murdering Adolph Coors III in October 1960 for Coors murder in February of that year. Coors remains wer found in September 1960 around Pikes Peak. Corbet had kidnapped Coors and sent a ransom note. He subsequently killed Coors and was apprehended in Vancouver, tried, convicted and incarcerated in Canon City in October 1960 until 1978. He committed suicide in 2009. The Coors family refused to respond to the ransom note.

Antonne Woode was incarcerated when he was 11 years old in 1893 for murdering his neighbor for his gold watch. He was paroled when he was 23 in 1905. During that time, after killing a guard and taking two more employees captive, Woode escaped with Thomas Reynolds, C.E. Wagner and Kid Wallace. Woode and Wallace were found three days later, Wagner was never found and Reynolds was found by a mob and hanged outside the prison where his body was left until the next morning. Despite that, Woode was not suspected other murder of the guard, Captain Rooney, and was paroled in 1905 at the age of 23.

Of the more interesting women prisoners was Angeline Garramone, received at the prison for Forgery & Uttering and was then received during her stay in January 1912 for murder. She was paroled in 1922 and discharged in 1972.

The main prison was also home to several riots, the worst in 1929 and 1947, and 77 executions, several escapes both successful and unsuccessful. No sentence of execution was ever given to a woman.

©2011, MPPIR, Blog Nancy B, Photos; Frank C and Nancy B

The Assay Office – Cripple Creek District Museum Complex

The Assay Office depicts and explains the assay operation, vital to the gold mining industry.  Samples of ore were brought to the assay office to ascertain their  value in price per ton which was calculated from a small amount of rock.  It was a complicated but necessary process to find out if a location was profitable enough to file a claim. Men were made millionaires or paupers from the information from this process. This was the first place a miner took his find.

The Assay Office

The building on the Cripple Creek District Museum property, between the District Museum Building and the Colorado Trading and Transfer Company Building was a garage in Victor that was moved to the property over 40 years ago.

(Author’s note: The picture on the right does not depict a ghost.  It does depict the photographer.)

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