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Paranormal Investigations and Research
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.
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.
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
During the same investigation where the MPPIR group spent time talking to a little ghost girl the sounds of a music box are recorded.
As a rule MPPIR members are not allowed to touch, move or play with anything in a Museum. We consider museum artifacts an important part of history and anything that would put them at risk is not something we condone. So when this music box started playing, to the astonishment of the investigators they thought it was the greatest thing.
Little did they know that not only was this a great piece of recording but it went beyond that! As we found out later, there is only one music box in the Museum. Its not located in the room in question and it is believed to be non-functional. If it was working, researching into the broken box has lead us to believe this maybe the wrong tune.
Also the investigators swore up and down they saw the music box on the mantle place (see picture). There is no music box on that mantle. I will admit I took the picture a year later, but the Museum director swore that there has never been a music box displayed on the fireplace mantle. Odd I say, because not only do the investigators see the music box, they can hear it too.
And now you can without headphones:
©2009, MPPIR, Blog: Frank C, EVP: Ric RCripple Creek District Museum P.O. Box 1210 ~ 500 East Bennett Avenue
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
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.