What better way to get into a ghoulish mood than visit an eatery with supposed paranormal activities? We’re talking apparitions and things that go bump in the night. Read more, if you dare, about curious things that have been reported at some well-known local establishments.
1. The Rabbit Hole
Joe Campana has more than a few spooky stories about weird and scary stuff at his underground eatery that go back to before he took ownership 12 years ago. Back then, the Métropolitain restaurant occupied that downtown space. Campana took some photos of the inside of that restaurant.
“When they were developed, the pictures showed hundreds of red and yellow orbs covered in spots,” he said. “When my mom saw them, she said the orbs were ghosts. She’s physic, or at least she thinks she is.” He gave a roll of his eyes.
But the research he did on the building could prove her theory plausible, if you have a vivid imagination. He found out the Rabbit Hole had been the city morgue in the 1900s. A crematorium was located to the west, in the Underground building, and there was still equipment for that business in the Underground basement.
Campana also had tales of beer bottles appearing to be pushed off shelves. And one afternoon, while he was alone in the restaurant reading a book, “a woman’s voice said ‘Joe,’” he said. “I moved to be near the door light and again came the voice, ‘Joe.’ It made the hair on my arms and head stand up.”
2. The Airplane Restaurant
Tammila K. Wright, who with her husband, Erick, have been paranormal investigators for 33 years under the name Haunted Dimensions, has recent “favorite” stories about this east-side eatery, whose centerpiece is a fully intact Boeing KC-97 tanker.
“Guests have seen a World War II pilot dressed in period uniform,” she said. “Guests have had their clothing pulled on. Our paranormal group caught a silhouette of a gloved hand of the shape of glove worn by World War II crew members.”
Steve Kanatzar, owner of The Airplane Restaurant, said, “I actually have a real World War II pilot that joins us for lunch most days. He’s not in uniform, so I’m sure he’s not the military man that’s been seen walking around that the ghost writer eluded to. I’ve had two different ‘spiritual’ people, who didn’t know of each other, say they’ve felt some entity at the exact same spot in the plane.”
He added, “My employees have actually named our guest Bob. Coincidentally, my Boeing KC-97’s logbook has a Robert as one of last crew to fly the plane. I’ve never made a big deal about these stores as I didn’t want to ‘scare’ any guests off.”
3. The Iron Springs Chateau
Wright’s favorite place is this dinner theater in Manitou Springs. Investigations have shown that with every melodrama production, there has been a different “spirit cast” that shows itself in various locations of the establishment.
“However, the most consistent ghost is a spirit by the name of Sid,” Wright said. He was a real actor who portrayed the villain for years for the melodrama summer shows.
“I knew the actor when he was alive,” Wright said, “and the villain role was his favorite.” Seems only fitting that he would return posthumously to continue his role.
Wright also says, “A woman was heard singing opera at 4 a.m. when my crew was packing up at 4 a.m!” She thinks the singer could have been Alice Crawford, the sister of Emma Crawford, for whom Manitou’s annual Coffin Race is named after. She sang nightly when the Chateau was run as a nightclub in the late 1890s.
4. The Briarhurst Manor
“Of course, I have to mention The Briarhurst Manor because of my numerous encounters … that have inspired me since I was a little girl,” Wright said of the mansion-turned-eatery, which was featured on TV’s “Ghost Hunters.”
Wright said the most often seen spirit is Hyacinth, the daughter of Dr. William Bell, the founder of Manitou Springs.
“The spirit has been identified by many people who have seen her playing in the gardens in the front of the manor,” she said. “She usually is accompanied by a small boy in overalls bouncing a ball down the stairs. While I was giving a tour, a guest witnessed my hair being lifted and rearranged as if small hands were playing with my curls.”
5. The Craftwood Inn
Before it became a wedding venue, Manitou’s Craftwood Inn was a thriving restaurant. Brother Luck was one of the last executive chefs there. He recalls some head-scratching moments and said he saw ghosts “all the time.”
“We used to keep our freezers downstairs, and the entrance was behind a secret entrance,” he said. “I always got the scariest feelings when I would walk down there. One time I pulled up for work, and I swear I saw a child looking out the window on the top floor. The problem was, I was the only one there at 6 a.m.”
So there you have it. This Halloween, choose for yourself where to get a fine meal and perhaps a little more ambiance than you might expect — but one that’s in keeping with the season.
What We Believe
We are driven by our deep respect for our environment, and our passionate commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation. We believe in the right for everyone - from all backgrounds and cultures - to enjoy our natural world, and we believe that we must all do so responsibly. Learn More