A tragedy occurred in the Brook Forest Inn in 1943. Echoes of the horrible act still haunt the Inn after over 80 years. More haunting guests came with supposed positive intentions but were really sinisterly reporting back to their WWII generals back in Germany. The Brook Forest Inn is undoubtedly haunted, but the question remains if the hatred matches the tragedy of the location.
The Inn was originally built in 1909 during yet another Colorado gold rush, this time in the foothills of the Rocky Mountain range near Evergreen, Colorado. It began life as a small cabin built by prospectors on 350 acres gained through the homestead act. Two years after the current owners were forced out by deep snow conditions, Edwin and Riggi Welz decided to take over the property and establish an Inn on the site, starting with building onto the original cabin. The hotel would eventually open in 1919, and the haunting stories began not long after.
The first ghost in the rustic Inn is said to have been the son of the first proprietors; the Welz family experienced a tragic loss to the influenza illness during the early 1920s. To this day, guests report the sounds of young children running up and down the hallways and giggling as they play. Opening the door to the hall, the sounds stop and the hall is completely empty and silent. Mentioning this occurrence to the manager, one guest was told “This happens all the time.”
The most tragic and deadly source of a haunting, however, would occur in 1943. A stable hand named Carl is said to have caught his wife being unfaithful and in a blind rage, he strangled his wife to death in the stables. Shortly after, he fashioned a noose and took his own life in the barn. The tragedy was a source of mourning in the small community of Evergreen, always thinking a horrible act like that could not have occurred in their beloved mountain town.
Reports of the dead couple still haunting the Inn are numerous. Guests have experienced apparitions of both Carl and his bride, strange smells in the barn and stable, and even screams in the night. Objects move of their own accord and the quiet of the halls can still be interrupted by sounds of footsteps, both with heels and without.
Another occurrence at the Inn is a little less haunting and a lot more disconcerting. Just before the outbreak of WWII, several German tourists checked into the Brook Forest Inn, claiming to be on a bicycle tour of the US. It was discovered later that these men were actually spies for the German military, preparing and scouting the US for a potential invasion. Thankfully, the information they gathered never ended up being used by the Axis powers, but the story of their stay still haunts the local community and the Brook Forest Inn specifically. Legend says the short term guests painted a swastika on the floor in the dining room, today covered with carpet. Another legend says that “Hitler’s Gold,” may be buried somewhere in the surrounding mountains, but no evidence of this burial has ever been found.
The rustic inn in the middle of nowhere is proud of most of its history, proprietors saying the real ghosts in the building are not cruel- more playful and mournful than the malicious specters expected in old hotels. Guests at the Brook Forest Inn still claim they experience the full haunted gamut while staying, but the beautiful surroundings and hospitable hotel keeps them coming back year after year. Would you explore the stables where Carl made his eternal mistake? Would you look for the German gold supposed to be hidden in the Rocky Mountains? Today the hotel welcomes you to come stay a night and test your nerve in the haunted location.
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Born in Death Valley and raised on the prairie, Deborah is a Wyoming-based paranormal researcher and a senior at the University of Wyoming, studying Communication. Her interests lie in folklore, history, rhetorical analysis and research. With an obvious love for ghost stories, frequently those interests combine with her work on Ghostlandia.