Cripple Creek, with its wild and turbulent past, has a history of unexplained, supernatural occurrences that has led it to be called "one of the most haunted towns in America". Tales of haunted Cripple Creek hotels, casinos, and homes abound. Maggie, who inhabits the top floor at the Colorado Grande Casino, may be the best know of Cripple Creek’s ghostly residents, but many of the area’s turn-of-the-century businesses and homes have a history of strange sights and sounds that offer no apparent rational explanation.
The Hotel St. Nicholas is no exception. Since its reopening in 1995, a number of unexplained events have happened at the hotel, and it seems that at least two friendly, but mischievous spirits, call the hotel home.
One has been identified as Petey, who on some occasions has moved small items or hidden cigarettes in the bar. Petey is believed to be the spirit of a young boy, possibly an orphan, who was cared for by the Sisters of Mercy in the St. Nicholas’ early days. A second ghost, dressed as a miner, has been reportedly heard and seen walking down the back stairways, or seen sitting on a stool in the hotel office. While these two spirits seem to be the most common, an occasional report of other sightings or 'feelings' comes in from other areas of the hotel. Regardless of the number, the St. Nicholas’ spirits seem to be a friendly and playful, if elusive, group.
The Hotel St. Nicholas has hosted a number of ghost hunting groups. The Southwest Ghost Hunters Association has visited and reported on the hotel a number of times.
Cripple Creek often offers entertaining and informative ghost tours of the town during the summer and fall. Visit Cripple Creek's town web site to learn more.