Colorado’s Urban Legends Will Send Chills Down Your Spine

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Colorado’s Urban Legends Will Send Chills Down Your Spine

Aidan Chesemore, Nate Wright, and Hannah Quinn explore Garden of the Gods in search of the secret cave.

Aidan Chesemore, Nate Wright, and Hannah Quinn explore Garden of the Gods in search of the secret cave.

Aidan Chesemore, Nate Wright, and Hannah Quinn explore Garden of the Gods in search of the secret cave.

Aidan Chesemore, Nate Wright, and Hannah Quinn explore Garden of the Gods in search of the secret cave.

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It was a chilly Sunday morning during the winter of 1987. Budding lawyer Don Vsetecka lived in a little pink stone house in the mountain community of Cascade, Colorado. The house had several large windows in the living room. From one of them, Vsetecka could clearly see the Ferris wheel at Santa’s Workshop.

It had snowed several inches overnight, and there was a fresh blanket of snow covering the yard.  Vsetecka’s twelve-year-old daughter, Kristen Vsetecka (now Kristen Baldwin), was staying with him. When he awoke early one cold morning, she was still asleep in her room.

“I walked around my living room and was looking out the windows as I often did,” said Vsetecka. “When I looked out the window above the yard, toward Santa’s Workshop, I noticed what appeared to be very large footprints in the fresh snow and they came down out of the trees right up to that window and then went back off into the trees [in] a slightly different direction.”

Concerned that someone may have been looking in his window during the night, he went outside to investigate the prints. He was surprised to find that they were very large, very bare, footprints.

“They were about 14 inches long and maybe about 5 inches wide, very flat, no arches at all, with 5 large very discernible toes on each foot,” Vsetecka described. “I followed the tracks to where they’d come from the trees and also where they went back into the trees but no further.  I wasn’t dressed nor prepared to go tracking whatever or whoever made the tracks and, quite frankly, didn’t think that [it was] a safe thing to do.”

At the time, an article about a man named Daniel Masias had just hit the Gazette. Masias had been investigating Bigfoot sightings since 1982 and hoped to be the one to prove the urban legend was real.

After seeing his work, Vsetecka contacted Masias about what he had found. They discussed it, but because he was building a law practice and still new to Colorado Springs, Vsetecka didn’t want his name associated with anything so controversial in the press. He didn’t tell his story for several years, not even to his daughter for fear she wouldn’t want to stay with him in the mountains.

Bigfoot is one of the most well known urban legends out there. Sightings have been reported since American explorers began moving west. Colorado happens to be one of the sighting hot spots, likely because the mountains and forests seem like the ideal habitat for such an elusive creature.

However, Bigfoot isn’t the only urban legend Colorado is known for. Between haunted hotels and ancient Native American myths that have carried into modern tales, Colorado is full of mysteries.

One such legend is a blast from the past for most Air Academy students: Eagleview Middle School’s Haunted Pool.

As the story goes, a student supposedly drowned in the pool, so they filled it up and covered it with the small gym. Supposedly, the student’s ghost still haunts the school. The rumor was spread by current senior, Aidan Chesemore, who had heard it from his older brother, Timothy Chesemore. Whether or not there ever was a pool at Eagleview is a matter for debate.

“I have heard there may be one,” said Assistant Principal Anna Keilman, who formerly worked at Eagleview.

Schools aren’t the only haunted hot spots, however. Hotels, in general, have a tendency for ghost sightings and odd happenings. One of the most classic Colorado examples is the Stanley Hotel, located in Estes Park. Stephen King apparently got his inspiration for his 1977 bestseller, The Shining, while staying here. However, the movie, contrary to popular belief, wasn’t actually filmed there; it was filmed at the Timberline Lodge in Oregon.

According to stories, there are about seven particularly haunted spots in the hotel. One of these is room 217, where King stayed when he got his inspiration.  The room is supposedly haunted by Elizabeth Wilson, the former head housekeeper of the hotel who worked there until her death in the mid-1950s. Guests staying in the room have reported their luggage moved, lights flickering on and off, and objects moving around. It is also said that unmarried couples staying in the room will feel her crawling into bed between them, and even finding their luggage left outside the room.

The fourth floor of the hotel is the most haunted floor to stay on. Guests report hearing footsteps and furniture moving above them, but that isn’t actually possible because the only thing above them would be the roof.

But buildings aren’t the only mysterious sites in Colorado. With its mountains and plains, it’s no secret that the state is filled with caves. Famous ones like Cave of the Winds are flooded by tourists and explorers, but there are a few lesser-known ones, including some that not even the locals know about.

In 1848, a trapper named Jacob Spaulding went through a small hole near the Kissing Camels at Garden of the Gods and found himself in a large cave. The cave was recorded to be 15 feet wide, 200 feet long and 100 feet high, which, if true, would mean the Kissing Camels are hollow.

After a cave-in in 1935, the city apparently sealed the cave for safety and it was forgotten by most.

I took some friends and attempted to find this secret cave, or at least where it was sealed shut, but was unable to find it. If the cave is really there, the city did a good job of hiding it.

There are thousands of accounts of ghosts, Bigfoot sightings, and other creatures. Skeptics would argue that all things can be faked in one way or another, but believers would say the evidence is clear.

As writer and philosopher Stuart Chase said, “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.”

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