Haunted Silverton: A Grand Imperial Poltergeist

Haunted Silverton: A Grand Imperial Poltergeist
Mick Zano

Silverton, CO—Onward to part three of my epic four part series on the Ghosts of Colorado. My wife and I pulled into Silverton after surviving the treacherous “million dollar highway.” They probably should have spent a little more than that and put up some flippin’ guardrails! In some spots, veering your car just a hair beyond the fog line means certain death. Silverton, meanwhile, is a quaint little place…at least from a distance. When you get closer it starts to look like Sanford & Son decided to go into the western town business. I tied the old Impala to a hitching post and found the first brewpub for some much needed “research”.

I only had a few hours to spend in Silverton, so I had to work fast. I remained confident, after all, I am a professional. I keep repeating that over and over again, so people will start believing it. Hey, it works for Fox News. After eating a terrific bratwurst and downing a nice hefe over at the Silverton Brewery, I Googled Silverton and Haunted. There were no ghost stories about the current establishment and, Steve, the barkeep, suggested I hit the Sheridan Inn in Wyoming (sorry, flashback joke).

The main place in town sporting spooks was reported to be the Grand Imperial hotel. Upon entering the lobby, I immediately felt a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. It turned out to be the bratwurst. Sometimes it takes the trots to connect the dots. Kidding, that was the best brat I’ve had in a long time! Must have been the hefe.

The hotel receptionist’s name was Cathy. During her many years of working the front desk, she reports having many strange encounters (present company excluded). She’s convinced the place is haunted. Some nights, while working alone, labels disappear only to be returned later, pens go missing, and lights flicker on and off. Cathy denies any illicit drug use, but, when I handed her a cup, she refused to submit to a urinalysis.

Apparently, a three day investigation by a group called Haunted Dimensions discovered 16 separate entities haunting the building. Since I am now making a name for myself in certain small paranormal circles—dots really—I should be able to find at least that many. Heck, this was going to be like shooting wolves from Palin’s helicopter!

The ghost of a doctor named Luigi is said to still haunt the room he shot himself in, and the ghost of actress Lillian Russell is said to hum her way through the historic halls. Russell died in Pittsburgh, but it actually makes sense she isn’t there. Do you blame her? When I asked about the most haunted spot in the building, Cathy pointed to the bar/restaurant adjacent to the lobby. One night, while completely alone, she thought the ghosts were moving all the furniture around the restaurant. After absorbing this new information, I handed her a small Ziploc baggie and a scissor, but she refused to submit to a hair follicle drug test as well.

For those of you who haven’t read my Telluride or my Ouray installments of this important series, please read them now. There’s going to be a test. What Cathy told me was not surprising. It fit nicely into both of my two main theories regarding the para-abnormal. My first theory involves a strong correlation between ghost sightings and alcohol, or the sudsular apparitions theory (SAT). The main premise involves ghosts manifesting through a grogular energy as yet unknown to science. I refer to this substance ecto-pilsner. My second, equally compelling theory, suggests that animals tend to haunt places where they were viciously decapitated and then hung on walls like trophies. This phenomenon tends to only occur in species beyond the evolutionary development of fish and birds. Mysterious orbs appeared near a bear, a mountain lion, and a deer during my last investigation in Ouray. But you know that, because you went back and read it, right? Right? Would you pee into this cup?

According to Cathy, the most haunted room in the Grand Imperial Hotel happened to contain most of the dead animals and all of the booze. This fits snugly into both of my theories. Hmmm. Just like the Flying Wallendas, things were really starting to fall together.

Imperial Hotel Aparitions
Imperial Hotel Aparitions

Upon further questioning, Cathy does not believe the elk head in the lobby is one of the 16 spirits who reside in the hotel. I took several pictures of the beastie, but came up orbless. I’m still not giving up on that theory; it’s sound, well, no less so than any of my other theories.

She also told me one of the ghosts is named George Foster, which also happens to be the current owner’s name. How convenient. When he starts haunting the place, the ghostly pair can have a great time messing with mediums. No, really, the other George gave you the astral wedgy. Honest.

After completing my interview, Cathy was nice enough to let me explore the rest of the hotel and take as many pictures as I wanted—provided I put away the breathalyzer.

Imperial Hotel Aparitions

The image above is an intriguing picture. There’s an inexplicable white beam shooting diagonally across the frame from the third floor. Our research team back in Philadelphia later identified this anomaly as something called light, which entered through a window in the form of a stream of photons that originated from our sun. Wow is right! This beam of photons reached the Earth in about 7 minutes, traveling at the speed of…er, I danno sound? I failed science. This is important stuff, though, for sure.

Imperial Hotel Aparitions

To the far left of the image above, the clear outline of an apparition can be seen. It appears to be of a woman dressed in contemporary clothing and cleaning room six. After re-checking in with reception, Cathy informed me it was actually just one of the employees cleaning room 10. Whereas she is not a dead spirit haunting the 2nd floor, we can’t rule out that she won’t be haunting the building some day. I’m running wraiths round you logically.

As I’ve already explained, I did not have a lot of time in Silverton, but I was determined to give this important investigation my best effort. The Grand Imperial Hotel is allegedly teaming with ghosts and it’s teaming with dead animals on the walls. There had to be a connection. I reviewed all of my images, but no ghosts or orbs were evident in any of my pictures. Cue up the PhotoShoppers, Mr. Winslow. They’re going to be needed back on the job soon.

Also, there’s tons of activity in the barroom. Remember, 16 ghosts are said to roam these halls. So I counted all the animal heads on the wall between the restaurant/bar and the lobby. There are 22 in all. I subtracted the one fish and the five birds—as I’ve determined only mammals have souls—and what did I come up with? Sixteen. 16 animal heads and 16 spirits. Eureka! Damn…I forgot to DVR that shit.

Alright, so 16 and 16. The dead animals are at it again, just like in Ouray. This would be irrefutable para-abnormal evidence…er, if I had counted correctly. I was one off…F*&^ing hell!

I never did find these ghost hunters from haunted Dimensions online, so either I got the name wrong or they were rank amateurs without a proper website. In their defense, not everyone can be as sophisticated as The Daily Discord’s para-abnormal research team. But I really felt back in my element during my investigation in Silverton. I’m used ghost stories completely devoid of any and all evidence. Whew. I was beginning to worry I was becoming a real ghost hunter. Then I headed to Durango, where doubts and (gulp) evidence would resurface again like the Ghetto Shaman on To Catch a Predator episodes.

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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. 

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