Haunted Aspen: Ghosts at the Hotel Jerome?

by Chris on May 30, 2010

Do you believe in ghosts? My supposed paranormal experience at Hotel Jerome, a haunted hotel in Aspen, Colorado.

Lobby of the Hotel Jerome, Aspen

Have you ever stayed at a haunted hotel before? After a night at the Hotel Jerome in Aspen, I can consider myself in that number.

I moved into the Hotel Jerome – Aspen’s most historic hotel, dating back more than 120 years – after two nights at the Aspen St. Regis, where I stayed courtesy of PRSA Travel & Tourism conference.

J Bar, Hotel Jerome, Aspen

Immediately I fell in love with the hotel’s western charm, antique furniture, spacious rooms and the infamous J. Bar restaurant, where Hunter S. Thompson used to drink.

Hunter S. Thompson's spot, J Bar, Hotel Jerome, Aspen

But then I went on the Aspen Dark Side tour, a night walk led by Aspen Walking Tours. The tour, which runs Friday nights June through September and also Wednesday nights in July and August, leads you through Aspen’s small downtown, as well as the courthouse where serial killer Ted Bundy escaped in 1977.

Aspen Dark Side walking tour, Aspen, Colorado

As one of Aspen’s oldest buildings, I figured Hotel Jerome would be on the tour. But I didn’t know that the hotel is allegedly one of the most haunted buildings in Aspen!

Our guide Dean Weiler had numerous stories to tell about ghostly going ons at the hotel. One guest saw a little boy shivering in the hallway with a towel. After she spoke to him, he disappeared, leaving only a wet stain on the floor. When she asked the front desk about him, they told her that no kids were currently at the hotel – and that the boy she saw matched the description of a child who drowned in the pool years before!

When I heard this, I shuddered: our room, 117, was located right above the pool. But at least we weren’t on the third floor: staff members have apparently had so many incidents with ghosts playing tricks on them that they don’t like to work up there!

Haunted ballroom at Hotel Jerome, Aspen

After hearing all these stories, I saw the hotel in a new light when I came back. The long gabled hallways, so picturesque, now seemed creepy And the charming 19th century piano bar, where we had taken photos earlier in the day, appeared dark and malevolent

I walked quickly through the building, trying not to catch a reflection in the mirrors. Turns out I should have been more worried about the room. When I entered, my friend Kathryn – who had skipped most of the ghost tour – had some questions for me.

“Why did you put the heat back on?” she asked. “When I came back into the room, it was on. And I know I turned it off before I left.”

I didn’t touch the heat, I told her.

“Hmm, that’s weird,” she answered. We had both been in the room during turndown service, and specifically told the maid not to touch the heat. But that wasn’t the end of the weirdness:

“And why did you leave the left sink full of water? Did you wash your face before you left?” Kathryn said. “Because it was filled with soapy water when I came in.”

Let the record show that I had not used that sink all day. We examined the soaps in the dish. They were unused.

We looked at each other in horror, then Kathryn dove into my bed with a shriek. “Creepy!” she shouted.

“Omigod, I am not going out in that hallway by myself again,” I told her.

Eventually we did fall asleep in our own beds. But we kept the TV on all night, as well as a light on in the bathroom.

Hotel Jerome, Aspen, haunted hotels

I would stay at the Hotel Jerome again in a heartbeat, as it’s one of the most atmospheric places I’ve been in the West. But next time, I’m avoiding any tours or books that could possibly remind me of paranormal activity. Because no matter how many times I tell myself that there’s no such thing as ghosts, a little part of me still believes.

Have you ever experienced weird activity at a haunted hotel? Tell me where!

| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Dena Woerner June 1, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Yes I have…The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. You did a fabulous job of explaining the metamorphosis of a beautiful historic hotel from charming to creepy. The Crescent is one of my favorite hotels and before I read the stories about the hotel, I was OK (two stays and two non-paranormal experiences). However, once I knew that someone had a story for every creak, pop, smell, and flicker I started jumping every time I saw my own reflection.

Built in 1886, The Crescent is still one of my favorite hotels. If you ever get a chance to visit Arkansas, it is definite must see.

The 1905 Basin Park is also located in Eureka Springs and is also supposed to be haunted. I just got back tonight from staying in the Basin Park. I did not read any stories about that property and plugged my ears when friends tried to tell me about the ghost tour they took. I am happy to say that I was not scared of my own shadow on this trip. So, Chris, I think you have it figured out. No ghost tours until AFTER you leave.

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RobertKCole June 2, 2010 at 12:35 pm

You left the TV on? Are you crazy? Didn’t you ever see Poltergeist? :)

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Chris June 2, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Hahaha, Robert. This comment cracked me up! You’re right, we didn’t think about that! :)

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jjones444 November 17, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I have always wanted to stay in a supposedly haunted hotel just to see what it’s like! There are some in Arizona that my family has stayed in, and they have all kinds of stories. I dont know if I believe in all that stuff, so I’d have to see for myself. I’d probably be like your friend and skip the ghost tours so as not to freak myself out more. I want to know if all these people saw ghosts before or after they had the tour and were expecting to see something scary.

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brian October 30, 2011 at 5:51 pm

i think that it is true one time my mom saw a women that looked like ghost because she looked really pale and then when she touched her she just disapperd

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