Durango and the Haunted Hotel Hatrick

Durango and the Haunted Hotel Hatrick
Mick Zano

Durango, CO—Reaching the fabled city of Durango could mean only one thing, we’ve arrived at the last installment of this important four part Colorado series on the para-abnormal. Durango literally means “water town”—which recently spurred Watertown, NY, to officially change its name to Durango, because the Mayor said, “It sounds way cooler.” Besides, Durango has like, what? four brewpubs? What the hell does Watertown, New York have? Water? Yeah, I wouldn’t’ drink that.

Truth be told, I imbibed waaaaay too much my first night in town to do any proper para-abnormal investigating. Damn you, Lady Falconburgh’s and your thirty some-odd taps of malty magic! But I’m going to let you in on a little secret, that’s never really stopped me before. Thus the Body Shot Banshee Debacle at the Dubliner and the infamous Jagermeister Yahtzee séance over at the Weatherford Hotel.

After some research at the Embassy Irish Pub (good Guinness pour), the Google Gods revealed three haunted hotels in Durango…looks like, surprise, surprise, they may all have bars. And I am going to bet all three have a menagerie of dead animals hanging on the walls as well. For those of you not familiar with my work, check out my three other Rocky Mountain stops on this important quest, here, here, and here. Remember, my theories involve either taxidermically emanated manifestations or beer-related-apparitions also known as ecto-pilsner formed phenomena. Confused? Go back and hit here, here, or here like I told ya’s, and try to keep up! I have been hard at work pushing the boundaries of known science…down an elevator shaft.

Day 1 of the investigation:

Bodyless Cemetary

At nightfall, after my Lady Falconburgh’s barely experience, I decided on hitting the General Palmer Hotel. I marched up to the front desk and demanded to see the General, thus ending any chance of gaining access to the premises. Okay, maybe I’ll hit the Palmer tomorrow. I then approached the front desk of the Strater Hotel more tactfully and demanded to see General Palmer! Thus ending any chance of a proper investigation there as well. That’s when I decided to go to bed and pick up the investigation first thing in the morning—when hopefully a different staff started their shifts.

On the way back to my hotel, however, I discovered an old creepy cemetery on the edge of town and decided this was the perfect place for an EVP session (electronic voice phenomenon). I hoped some local ghosts might make their presence known. Then, after about three hours, I realized this is the place that manufactures the tombstones. No one is actually buried here.

For F&*^’s sake!

Playing back my EVP sessions, I did manage to catch the haunting sounds of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn…and the rest of the second set of the band playing over at Steamworks Brewery. For those new and aspiring para-abnormal researchers out there, never Guinness and ghost hunt.

The Palmer Hotel:

Off to a slow start in Durango, for sure, and I didn’t want to repeat the mistakes of the previous night. After making use of the hotel exercise room and a breakfast consisting only of Wheaties and vegetable juice…Okay, I’m lying. I can’t do this to my reader (that’s not a typo; there’s only one of you). Suffice to say, I behaved…ish.

First stop was Carver’s Brewery—a truly great way to start the day. Then, when they take away your breakfast plates away, you can go, “I’ll have a stout please.” Talk about the breakfast of champions.

The day was spent doing typical tourist-like-things (TLT), but as soon as the sun went down I headed back to the General Palmer. Good, the young lady from last night isn’t working the desk. This time I used something called couth. I approached the front desk inconspicuously and then demanded to see General Palmer! Kidding…not this time. I asked politely if I could take some pictures…but I never said what floor, heh, heh.

There are a couple of stories on line about the General Palmer. One couple allegedly checked out at 2 AM after being awakened to a ghostly apparition hanging in the middle of the room and yet another staffer kept hearing someone calling her name in one of the rooms. Ask your doctor if Zyprexa is right for you.

The Palmer Peacock

No ghost orbs around any of the peacocks in the lobby. This further supports my theory that orbular manifestations are mammal-specific-phenomenon (MSP). I checked the painting of the elk on the second floor landing, just be sure…

The Palmer Elk

Nope, nothin’. Okay, I really didn’t think I would find an orb around a painted elk, but there’s such a thing as a control in scientific experiments. And they are the group always fighting the diabolical schemes of Chaos (sorry, a Get Smart flashback). No other taxidermically emanated manifestations appeared in my images of the lobby or the upper floors.

The image below is another intriguing piece of evidence. It clearly shows the ghostly image of the guy who couldn’t gain access to this hallway on the third floor. The damn door was locked.

The Palmer Hotel through glass

Back at the Discord Paranormal Research Center (aka, Winslow’s basement), we were able to digitally enhance this picture and solve this intriguing puzzle. Boo!

The Palmer Hotel through glass, enhanced

It was me all along. Meanwhile, the young lady at reception said she never had any weird experiences during her employment at the hotel.

“Oh, really,” I said, and then chose that moment to dump my beer on my head and drop my trousers.

Okay, I didn’t really do that but I thought about it. She also said her colleagues were just discussing the sheer lack of interesting ghost stories in their hotel. Curious. This establishment had animals, but no bar that I could get to. There were also no ghostly orbs anywhere. Hmmm. My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative para-abnormal theories…What movie?

The Strater Hotel:

The Strater Hotel

The Strater is a 112-year old hotel in the heart of downtown Durango. The upper floors are allegedly the most haunted, which makes absolutely no sense as the bar, the Diamond Belle, is down on the first floor. There are no hanging animal heads anywhere to be found, but the bar is really cool. If I were ghost …

Diamond Belle aparitions
Diamond Belle aparitions

Two ghostly orbs behind the bar. Check. Right about now, you might be wondering if I’m getting hinky again and PhotoShopping this stuff…nope. These were two orbs captured over the bartender’s head. They’re within easy reach of the liquor and some very nice microbrews as well. I guess people just need to know where to look for ecto-pilsner type poltergeists.

Strater Hotel aparitions
Strater Hotel aparitions

There was also one orb in the lobby. Maybe it was trying to check in and hadn’t made it to the bar yet. Shit, there’s one up on the second floor too! That’s a nice one. I don’t know what this ghost thinks it’s doing, but it’s nowhere near an animal head or any kind of alcohol…hold the phone, I do have a flask of gin in my right breast pocket. Hmmm. Is it manifesting via the energy from my gin? I’m going to have to start carrying booze on all of my ghost adventures. It’s so obvious— the spirits need a spirit medium.

I think the two social orbs in the bar have the right idea. It was about 9 PM on a Friday night and the Diamond Belle was hopping. I looked again at the very distinctive orb on the 2nd floor and frowned. Maybe this spirit wasn’t 21 when it died? So sad.

I questioned a couple of the staff in the lobby, but it sounded to me like the official word for the Strater staff is on’tday entionmay ostsghay. Man, I love that Pig Latin Generator. How did we ever carry on all the important work before the Google? I headed back into the Diamond Belle to get some Ska Stout and contemplate my para-abnormal thesis.

The Rochester:

The Rochester Hotel

The Rochester Hotel turned out to be the least accessible to non-hotel guests. The bar is only open to the public for two hours a day and bartender was too busy during that time, so I never got a chance to interview her. To make matters worse, she was positioned right by the stairs as well, like a guardian cherubim. So I had to wait for her to hit the bathroom before I could continue my investigation upstairs.

Rochester aparitions

This orb appeared in an upstairs room. Yikes, there’s no bar and no animal heads. Yet, keep in  mind, the orb appeared during the day when the bar is open for business. Hmmm. We have found some orbs to support my ecto-pilsner theory, but I did not find any taxidermically emanated manifestations during this entire investigation.

Despite completely striking out back in Silverton, the bar room at the Grand Imperial Hotel certainly contained the most hanging animal heads. Staff there felt it was the most haunted room in what sounded like one of the most para-abnormally active hotels on my trip. I found orbs all around the animal heads at the Western Hotel in Ouray. The General Palmer had animal heads on the walls, but no alcohol for them to manifest. Even the staff claims the hotel is very inactive. Also notice the one interesting story from the Palmer (from online). A ghost showed up, so a couple checked out of their room at 2AM. When do the bars close in Durango? 2AM. Hold the phone! What if the animals themselves are the entities using the ecto-pilsner to manifest? Ecto-pilsner is energy, not yet recognized by science, created during the brewing process. (I thought you said you were going to go back and read my other posts?) This combines both of my important theories into what I now call my taxidermically emanated ecto-pilsner manifestations theory. I used the Google again to see if any other research suggests ghosts are simply animals that like booze.

As it turns out, Dr. Seuss, years ahead of me, actually summarized both of my theories in one para-abnormal masterpiece.

The Deer Needs a Beer

It’s from one of his lesser known works: The Deer Needs a Beer, a Brew that is True. Remember the chug-me  puke-me from that one? Consider this case solved…ish.

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Mick Zano

Mick Zano

Mick Zano is the Head Comedy Writer and co-founder of The Daily Discord. He is the Captain of team Search Truth Quest and is currently part of the Witness Protection Program. He is being strongly advised to stop talking any further about this, right now, and would like to add that he is in no way affiliated with the Gambinonali crime family.