Grand Junction

Grand Junction- 5th & Main- 1900 -   Photo from

Grand Junction has a strong history that dates back more than 100 years. In the 1880s, the area was part of the Northern Ute Reservation,
although the Native Americans were later moved west into Utah.

In September 1881, the area experienced a landrush settlement and a townsite was staked. This town, located in the Grand Valley, was first
called Ute, then West Denver and finally came to be known as Grand Junction because of its location at the confluence of the Gunnison and
Colorado rivers.


                                                            Dolce Vita
                                                                              336 Main St.
                                                                            Suite 101-104
                                                                  Grand Junction, CO, 81501
                                                                          (970) 242-8482            

Article from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Ghost waiter, perhaps
Sunday, October 30, 2005
The Daily Sentinel

Have you ever had the feeling someone was watching you, but no one was there?

Patrons and employees of a local restaurant have reported such happenings.

Dolce Vita, 336 Main St., may have some ghostly guests who don’t want to leave.

Sharme Perucchini, former owner of the restaurant, said she thinks someone or something inhabits the building.

“I’ve never seen anything personally, but some weird things have happened,” she said.

In the eight years Perucchini and her ex-husband, Max, owned Dolce Vita, they experienced some unexplainable occurrences, she said.

Like the time Max and a friend were going over books late at night and heard two women talking and laughing near the restaurant’s atrium.
When they went to investigate, they couldn’t find anybody.

There also have been several odd happenings in or near the women’s bathroom.

“I always tell women to go to the bathroom in pairs because of all the stories,” said Megan Allyn, a server.

Perucchini told a story of an employee who quit after a scare in the women’s bathroom.

One morning, before the building was open, the employee went downstairs to clean the bathroom. The women’s room has two entrances with
a small foyer in between.

When the employee walked through the first door, she saw the second slowly closing in front of her. She proceeded through the second door
into the bathroom to see if someone was there.

When she entered the bathroom, she saw a figure of an elderly woman wearing turn-of-the-20th century clothing. The figure moved slightly,
but the worker didn’t wait around to see what she might do.

“She screamed and ran out,” Perucchini said. “She didn’t want to go down there after that.”

Patrons also have reported eerie feelings and sightings in the bathroom.

Rick Crippen, current owner of Dolce Vita, confirmed a story about why the full-length mirror that used to be in the bathroom’s foyer is now

Around this time last year, a customer entered the bathroom and saw something in the mirror.

The woman flinched and screamed and the mirror crashed to the floor and broke into pieces, beyond repair. Crippen didn’t replace the
mirror. The wall now hosts a mural of the Italian countryside.

Crippen said he doesn’t know if there are ghosts in his restaurant, but he said odd things have happened.

“I’ve been here alone at night and heard footsteps overhead, and I know no one’s here,” he said.

The building that houses Dolce Vita and other offices was built around the turn of the 20th century, according to records at the Museum of
the West.

The restaurant side was Treece furniture company from 1928 to 1973. It’s not known whether there were any unpleasant happenings in the
building during those years, said David Sundal, a museum volunteer.

“It used to be that furniture sellers were also undertakers,” Sundal said.

There are no records indicating the Treeces were undertakers.

But Bannisters Furniture, which was on the next block, was also a funeral parlor. Owner Big Kid Eames was murdered in the Reed Building
next door to Dolce Vita at the Biltmore Gambling Club in the early 1900s, Sundal said.

The presence of ghosts in Dolce Vita cannot be confirmed, and patrons and employees should not fear their presence, Perucchini said.

“I don’t think that they’re bad; nothing bad has ever happened,” she said. “I’d always made it a point to say good morning and night when I
arrived and left.”

Anna Beaty Kerr can be reached via e-mail at


Article from the Grand Junction Free Press:

Grand Junction hauntings fuel novel

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Shannon Hessel and her novel “Out There, In There, about hauntings based loosely on ghost stories of the Grand Valley.

                                                                  MARIJA B. VADER | FREE PRESS

Local legend has it that a woman who lived in Riverside in the last century took her two small children down to the Colorado River and
drowned them.

Then she killed herself, but her spirit didn’t quite leave the area.

Legend also says if you’re in Riverside late at night, you might just see the woman. Some call her Mary.

There’s also the story — local legend, mind you — about a young girl raped and murdered down by Connected Lakes.

“If you go down there late at night, she would drag you down there and drown you in the lake,” according to local lore, said Shannon Hessel,
a Grand Junction resident.

Hessel wrote a novel, “Out There, In There,” based on these and other ghost stories of hauntings in the Grand Valley.

Since moving here 10 years ago, people have just shared those stories with Hessel.

She started keeping a notebook with all the stories, and when they began repeating, she decided to turn the stories into a book.

“A lot of the stories kept reoccurring,” Hessel said.

Originally, she thought she’d write a true account of ghosts that live in the Grand Valley, but she said “it grew so big,” and evidence and facts
were elusive.

“There’s just not enough proof out there to make anything biographical,” she added.

So it became fiction.

“All the names have been changed. It is very fictionalized. We say none of it’s based on fact. A lot of it are the fun stories.”

Hessel spent more than four years researching stories and the history of the Grand Valley, much of the time at the Museum of Western

She taught herself about the founder of Grand Junction, George Crawford.

“He was supposedly elected governor of Kansas, but he cheated,” she said, and after finding out there was coal beneath the ground in
Cameo, he moved here.

“He was a cheater, a liar, a thief, a politician,” Hessel said.

And his grave is allegedly haunted, according to one local lore, she said.

“It’s been a really fun journey writing that book. I talked to a lot of fun people,” she said.

She illustrated the book too, including the ghostly figure holding a bloody dagger on the cover.

Hessel self-published the book and has sold around 900 copies so far, most to her coworkers at Halliburton, she said. She’d like to widen her

“I’d love for the valley to enjoy it because it really is about Grand Junction,” Hessel said.

In addition to working full-time, she is also a full-time wife to her husband, Duce, and mother to two sons, Andy and Kelly.

“They are so proud of me,” Hessel said. “My boys are so great. They love scary stories. They think it’s great mom wrote a scary book.”

She writes at night, after she puts the boys to sleep.

Hessel herself has been reading since age 3, enjoyed “Charlotte’s Web” and “Stuart Little,” but graduated to the tough works by age 8, when
she read J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series.

“I loved reading. I never thought I could actually turn it around to writing, but I did,” she said.

She went to college to study music and art.

“I feel very happy I’ve actually accomplished something. I finished a book and didn’t expect to do that.”

She’s reintroducing her first novel to Grand Junction as she completes her second one. Hessel is working on her second book, “Pu’ka,” a
story about an Irish creature in modern times.

“It’s over half-way done,” she said. Publish America will publish “Pu’ka,” and she anticipates it will be ready later this year.

To get a copy of “Out There, In There,” order online at $14.50 at, $19.95 at and $15.96 at You can also get a copy from Hessel at 216-5981.


'Ghostbusters' called to Roice-Hurst Humane Society

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Roice-Hurst Humane Society kennel tech Sara Knox has heard the voices and her 4-year-old daughter Natalie has seen one of the spirits
that occupies the Clifton animal shelter. Here in the kennel, Knox points out where dogs often go quiet, paying attention to the spirits.

Monday morning when employees arrived at the Roice-Hurst Humane Society, doors that should have been closed were open. Cats that
should have been caged ambled about.

Employees knew it wasn’t an irresponsible staff person who left the doors open.

Any more, Roice-Hurst dog and cat-tenders come to expect odd happenings at the 3320 D 1/2 Road shelter.

They chalk it up to Sarah, their resident spirit who occupies the building at night, keeping company with the cats and dogs. Sarah wears a
high-collar white lacy blouse with a long skirt, turn-of-the-century dress. Her long hair is tied up in a bun.

She’s friendly.

It also could be the spirit of the little girl who also “lives” at the shelter. The girl likes to giggle and play with the dogs and puppies and
sometimes tugs at the employees’ hair in an effort to get them to come play with her.

She’ll sometimes leave gooey hand-prints on the glass doors, child-height.

At the shelter, toilets sometimes flush on their own.

Dogs and cats watch activity that humans can’t see.

Employees have heard dragging noises up and down the hallways.

In a particularly dark hallway, “chills would just run up and down your spine and you felt you just had to get out of there,” said Manager Jenny

Most of the time though, the spirits’ presence is peaceful and sometimes playful, employees report.

But at one point, the building was haunted by a grumpy old man who once opened the refrigerator and took out all the food, throwing it on to
the floor. He also tossed other things on to the floor and slammed doors behind the workers there, scaring them.

“It freaked me out,” Key said. “None of the staff would stay here by ourselves, especially after dark, including me.”

So earlier this year, Key asked for a spiritual cleansing from a medium at Heart of the Dragon, a Grand Junction business.

Key said she didn’t care if the grumpy man stayed, “as long as he’s nice and stops scaring the staff.”

She heard from him one last time, as a cold message on the shelter’s voice mail.

In a static-filled voice, the man said, “I can’t get back in,” Key said.

“It scared the living hell out of me. I threw the phone.”

The staff haven’t “heard from” him since.

“I don’t think he’s come back,” Key said. But of Sarah, “I think she’s here every night. I’ve seen her twice. If you’re here at night, you can feel

Kennel tech Sara Knox feels Sarah tug at her hair and can feel her close by when she’s cleaning cages. Knox has heard the giggling of little
girls playing with the dogs.

“They’ll say, ‘You wanna go play? You wanna go play?’” Knox said.

Knox has a pretty good feeling that when the dogs quiet down, the spirits are in the kennels keeping company with the dogs.

“The dogs are never dead quiet. They’ll be paying attention to something,” Knox said. “This sounds crazy, I know.

“We know they’re here. Just as long as they’re not here doing something bad, most of us don’t really care they’re here,” Knox said. That
includes Knox’s 4-year-old daughter Natalie, who has also seen Sarah.

After they learned of the ghostly activities while adopting a dog from the humane society, Grand Junction paranormal investigators Ronald
and Jenny Firm offered to conduct a formal investigation.

On Saturday night, the Firms set up cameras, sensors and recording devices.

What they found astounded Kathy Haack, office manager.

“When they had this stuff set up, the orbs flying around here were unbelievable. There were hundreds of them,” Haack said.

White and white-gold translucent and transparent orbs were “shooting out of the rooms,” Key said. They ranged in size from pencil eraser to

“These little machines were going crazy all over the place,” Key said.

In one area, roped off from foot and paw traffic, the investigators sprinkled baby powder on to the floor and placed two stuffed animals on the
floor. They then invited the ghosts to play with the stuffed animals.

“By the end of the night, there was a hand-print in the baby powder,” Key said.

Investigators should have a clue what’s happening at the shelter by Halloween, Key said.

Reach Marija B. Vader at


Partners in haunting ~ Abandoned Grand Avenue warehouse hosts annual scare show

Friday, October 19, 2007

By Paul Shockley
Free Press Staff Writer

It looks bombed out and feels like death.

And Mesa County Partners Assistant Director Ray Coca thinks something doesn’t want them to be there.

A 45,000-square-foot warehouse on Grand Avenue — abandoned for the past decade — has presented problems and flat-out weird
happenings since the site was secured three weeks ago to host this year’s Partners haunted house.

Per Coca:

• Electrical lines, re-installed by a contractor hired by Partners staff, abruptly quit working.

• Crews who patched holes in the metal roof had the bulk of their work blown away by recent winds.

• Partners’ staff were given the wrong set of keys on the first day of the work; doors later wouldn’t open with the right keys, forcing them to
adjust the haunted house layout inside.

The ghosts of bad community planning?

“When you start thinking about all these little occurrences, it makes you wonder,” Coca said.

The cavernous warehouse once housed an electronics manufacturing firm’s assembly line, which left Grand Junction in the mid-1990’s, Coca

Today, it’s home to pigeons and volunteers assembling Coca’s “meandering skits of horror.”

Partners’ haunted house is scheduled to open Oct. 25 — tours of the main haunted house will take about 20 minutes. Upwards of 4,000
people took last year’s tour inside StarTek’s downtown building.

“About the only complaint was it was too scary for some little kids,” Coca said.

Accordingly, parents this year have a “not as scary” house option set aside for younger kids near the main house.

Coca estimates about 75 percent of those who take tours are 13 years or older.

“A lot of them come back two or three times like they’d missed something in the movie,” Coca said.

Go & Do
What: Sixth Annual Partners Haunted House

Where: Abandoned warehouse at 2150 Grand Ave. (NW corner of 22nd and Grand)

When: Oct. 25, 26, 27 (closed Oct. 28). Opens again Oct. 29, 30 and Halloween night. 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. each night

Cost: $6 for adults, $2 for children 12 and under. Free for children 4 and under. Advance tickets sold at Partners, 1169 Colorado Ave., and
Nick-N-Willy’s Pizza. Group rates available for nonprofit groups.

Info: 245-5555.

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