Hauntings at the Hotel Jerome
As local historian Larry Fredrick says, “Any historic hotel with a good PR department has a haunting or two.”
But whether or not the spirits that reportedly lurk in Aspen’s Hotel Jerome are just figments of a good marketing scheme have yet to be determined. The hotel’s most notorious story is that of a small boy who gave one guest a fright.
It’s said that in 1988 the front desk received a phone call from the woman staying in room 310. The guest reported having just seen a lost, shivering and soaking-wet boy. When a Jerome staffer went to help the boy he had vanished, leaving behind his wet footprints.
As news of the sighting spread, some old-timers told the hotel staff about a young boy who drowned in the hotel’s original swimming pool. Room 310 is in the hotel’s new addition, directly above the old swimming pool.
Bellhops and desk clerks at the hotel also tell a tale of a handsome and penniless silver prospector named Henry O’Callister who came to Aspen in 1889, seeking his fortune. When he unearthed a 1,500-pound silver nugget, O’Callister checked into the Hotel Jerome and fell madly in love with guest Clarissa Wellington, the daughter of a prominent Boston family.
Romance blossomed between the two, but Clarissa’s father sent his daughter back to Boston, forbidding the relationship. According to the legend, O’Callister squandered his fortune and died a lonely man.
Hotel guests and employees say that they’ve heard sobbing late at night, and claim to have seen the figure of a man wandering the halls. Could it be Henry, wandering the halls while pining for his lost love?
A third story from the historic hotel is that of Katie Kerrigan, who became a hotel chambermaid in 1892 when she was just 16. Her astounding beauty quickly made her the object of affection for many of the hotel’s wealthy guests, and envious maids on the staff played tricks on her.
Legend has it on one wintry night a fellow maid told Katie her kitten had fallen through the ice of a small pond nearby. Katie rushed outside to save her kitten and fell through the ice, catching pneumonia and dying a week later.
Jerome staff members now say that on occasion a maid will enter a guest room to turn down the covers, only to discover the job already done.
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