Chaffee County- {On the Eastern slope of Rocky Mountains in Central Colorado).

........Ask about ghost in Salida and you'll hear plenty of stories. Some say the old bookstore used to be haunted, the
Lovelace, the First Street Café, the Odd Fellows Hall, or perhaps even most of the buildings on First Street, and many of
the upstairs apartments overlooking F Street.


Article from the Salida Mountain Mail newspaper:    


Haunted tales abound in Arkansas Valley lore

by Ali Helgoth
Mail Staff Writer

The scariest haunted places are ones where the creaks aren't sound effects, ghostly figures aren't teenagers working for
minimum wage, strobe lights aren't needed to create atmosphere and things that go bump in the night disappear when
lights are turned on.

There are places like these throughout the area - where daytime hours mean business as usual, but at night there's
nothing usual about them.

Some students at Cotopaxi High School believe that after the school bell rings not everyone is clamoring to leave the

School lore suggests a boy died in a fire in the building not long after it was built in 1939 and he still spends time there.

Jesse Ward, a 1999 Cotopaxi High School graduate said although official reports said no one was injured, skeptics claim
he died in what's now the locker room area.

Because of rumors of weird phenomena such as a basketball tossed into the middle of the gymnasium being thrown back,
a small group of students, including Ward, camped in the school to investigate for a school newspaper story.

They explored crawl spaces and did their best to conjure ghosts, but didn't experience anything supernatural except a
toilet that flushed on its own, Ward said.

The legend of ghosts at the school continues, superintendent Geoff Gerk said.

Although Gerk attributes noises students assign to ghosts to the steam boiler system that used to heat the school, it
doesn't explain the one-sided game of basketball catch.

At Amicas, the former funeral parlor turned pizza place, employees aren't always the only ones who remain after closing.

Cathie Younghans bought the restaurant four years ago and changed the name from El Viccino's to Amicas after the
building had already been renovated into a pizza place.

El Viccino's employees often told stories about seeing and hearing things and many wouldn't stay in the building alone
after work, Younghans said.

Soon after purchasing the restaurant, she came to work to find hot chilies scattered on the floor and smeared on walls.

Younghans said she had a hunch the culprit was a man who fired from his job at El Viccino's,

She had the building cleansed and seemed to have her suspicions confirmed. The woman who did the cleaning was able
to describe in detail the man Younghans thought was responsible for the chili mess.

Amicas night manager Mandy Evans has had brushes with the supernatural at work. She said most employees have
heard strange noises and others have seen people performing random tasks.

She recalled one night she was waiting for a friend after closing and heard what sounded like silverware dropped in the
back of the restaurant although utensils are kept in front.

On another night she saw a person who wasn't an employee mopping the floor - a task reserved for daytime.

Although it doesn't fit the bill of a traditional spooky place - free of cobwebs, dust and drafts - the restaurant's
non-frightening atmosphere depicts the scariest aspect of haunted places - they can be anywhere.

Across the street at The Mountain Mail, a female with long blonde hair, wearing a long skirt and white blouse, has been
seen walking upstairs.

Reporters and editors working alone at night have heard what sounded like footsteps from the noisy apparition, but have
never seen her.

On one occasion a reporter asked a passing police officer to accompany her while checking on noises upstairs, thinking
someone was inside.

On separate occasions, however, two employees have seen the woman, walking briskly. Both of them thought at first the
woman was a co-worker, but when they went to talk to her, she was gone.

Looking back, the two said the woman was walking impossibly fast for the small area and although she resembled a
Mountain Mail employee, they were each alone in the building at the time they saw her.


Amicas Pizza Microbrews and More

                                                           (formerly Il Vicino's)

                                           136 East Second Street - 719-539-5219   

Most customers who come and eat at Amícas probably can't imagine ghosts lurking in the shadows. It's such a cheery
place with brilliant yellow and orange walls. The fireplace is tiled in deep fuscia and turquoise tiles, which are decorated
with vegetables, and one tile even has a smiling sun on it. The lighting is soft, modern, and pleasant.

Amícas certainly doesn't look like a place replete with creepy spirits. But then again, the building used to house a
mortuary. A furniture store resided in the building in 1890 but for most of the 20th century, Stewart Mortuary occupied the
building. In 1994, after a complete makeover, it became Il Vicino's.

Recently the business changed management and its name to Amícas, but the restaurant maintained its menu, atmosphere
and popular beers. Today, many diners probably don't know the building's history, but all of the employees do, and some
swear that there are supernatural beings lingering there.

Shannon Watt, a kitchen manager who started work there last summer, says that there is no doubt she's seen a ghost.
"Oh yeah, I've seen them." Several times, late at night, she's seen a man dressed all in black who she thinks must have
worked at the mortuary. He didn't move, he was just there. As she told me this, she shook as if she had the heebie
jeebies. "Another time, a couple of months ago, I went to the kitchen for some cheese and this big whoosh of cold air
came down from the boiler. It was so creepy that I just grabbed the cheese and ran out."

SHANNON IS NOT THE ONLY person with ghost stories about Amícas. James Brown claims that one night a couple of
years ago, when he was sitting at the bar with Kim Stanfield, they both freaked out simultaneously and got the chills. "I felt
really weird and I didn't know what to do," he said.

At about the same time, Kim thought that she saw a shadow that shouldn't have been in a mirror in the front dining area.
"For some reason I decided to stand up," James said. "And I know this sounds crazy, but I knew that whatever it was
wanted to leave -- and needed to leave -- so I said ... You can leave. It's time for you to go." And, James continued, he
waved his hands in the direction of the front door and suddenly the front door blew all the way open and then just
slammed shut. It was not a windy night.

Ellen Olsen, who is a part-time manager at Amícas, has never seen any ghosts at Amícas, but she does get nervous being
there at night and says her hair sometimes stands up, "But I can't say that it's supernatural." "It's just creepy at night and I
always leave all the lights on when I'm alone there."

Ellen does have a creepy story, though. Some time back she was living at the Plum Tree Inn on East Sackett Avenue,
which was turned into a bed and breakfast in the late 90s. When she was living there, a lot of work was being done on the
building, so there weren't many people around. "They still had the old push button light switches there.

"One night I went to turn on the light and it didn't work, so I figured I would check it out in the morning." But Ellen couldn't
get it to work, so she used another light in the room. A couple of weeks later she woke up, thinking that one of the four
dogs that lived there had roused her.
BUT SHE COULDN'T find the dogs anywhere. She did, however, find the broken light on.

Ellen pushed the buttons, but couldn't turn it off. The room was very cold and she was scared, so she ran back to her bed
and pulled the covers up over her head. "It was so quiet, an old house is never that quiet." The next morning the light was
off and she never could get it to turn on again.

SOURCE: Colorado Central Magazine- Ghost Stories, Article by Columbine Quillen
Local lore - January 2004 - No. 119 - Page 30

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