Boulder County Paranormal Research Society

Investigation: The Hotel Boulderado, Boulder, CO

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Boulder County Paranormal conducted an investigation of the historic Hotel Boulderado on October 30th, 2007. 






Constructed between the years 1905 and 1908 for a cost of $132,000, the Hotel Boulderado is now in is centennial year.  Located at the intersection of 13th and Spruce, this venerable building has seen both good times and bad, and has no shortage of history.
Speaking of history, the definitive guide to the Boulderado remains "Legends of a Landmark" by Silvia Pettem, and interested readers are referred to that text for further information on the colorful background of this remarkable hostelry.  This article is concerned strictly with the alleged paranormal activity associated with the Boulderado.
Rooms 302 and 304 have a reputation amongst the Boulderado staff for supposedly being haunted. Over the years, guests in those rooms have reported indistinct, white human-shaped apparitions; auditory phenomena such as disembodied voices; and unusual electrical activity, with TVs and lights switching off and on with no apparent cause. An attempted double-suicide occurred in one of the rooms back in 1924, when a down-on-his-luck man killed himself on the bed by self-administering chloroform. His wife was taking a bath at the time, and on discovering the dead body of her husband, she applied the remaining chloroform to herself. The quantity of chloroform proved insufficient to kill her, and she was subdequently taken to hospital after being discovered.
I spoke with many Boulderado staff members over the course of our investigation. One manager told me that a Native American visitor flatly refused to enter room 304 (or even to open the door) because he sensed "something supernatural" in there. Such was the depth of his feeling that he immediately left the Boulderado and checked into another hotel (at 2 o'clock in the morning!) , 304 having been the only available room on that particular night.
A female in a white dress has been seen in the corridors on the top floor. A colleague of mine, a respected firefighter-paramedic with a neighboring department, claims to have  witnessed this apparition himself one night from a building across the street, when he was employed as a night security guard there.
As with any hotel, the Boulderado has experienced its share of death. The chloroform suicide notwithstanding, two suicides by gunshot took place there (one on the fire escape), and several deaths occurred due to natural causes.
Kitchen staff told me that on several occasions, the various pots, pans, and utensils in the kitchen have been witnessed to rock on their hooks and seemingly move without any visible cause.
Our investigation took place on a weekday evening. We had the full run of the hotel, but obviously could not cover as much space as we wanted to, due to personnel and equipment constraints. Our crew of seven focused on the reportedly haunted rooms for the majority of the night and subsequent morning, then changed emphasis to the top floor at 3 a.m. when the hotel was at its quietest.
The investigation followed standard BCP protocols and procedures. We were joined by our colleagues from CPR investigations. Our findings were as follows:
   - EMF readings remained at baseline, normal levels all night.
   - No temperature anomalies detected.
   - Radiation levels remained at background all night.
   - No visual anomalies detected on any camera equipment
Randy Schneider employed the "Frank's Box" radio frequency-hopping scan device. It yielded no discernible benefit.

Several EVP sessions were conducted in the hotel room, none of which produced anomalous voice phenomena.

While relaxing on the balcony during a break, I met the gentlemen residing in the room next door (304). Interested to hear about the alleged haunted history of his room, he stated that absolutely nothing out of the ordinary had taken place during his two nights spent in the room so far.
As mentioned, once the hotel had quietened down for the night, we took to the staircase and corridors surrounding the uppermost floor. Nothing unusual occurred at the time. However, when reviewing the digital voice recordings several days later, Laura discovered a potentially anomalous EVP.
Laura and myself were on the staircase just below the top floor landing (timestamped 04:27 a.m.) and were speaking in hushed tones in order to avoid disturbing hotel guests. A radio playing music was on in the lobby down below, but cannot be heard on the recordings. In between our conversation, what sounds like the voice of an American male (I raise the issue of nationality because I am English and speak with an accent) can be heard to say "Careful".
All the standard caveats regarding EVPs apply here. It is possible that we are misinterpreting the word entirely and are making something out of nothing. I can state with absolutely certainty that nobody else was speaking at the time, or visibly present on the staircase. Nothing was heard at the time by either Laura or myself. The EVP is posted at the end of this report, so that you may judge for yourself.
Ultimately, our investigation revealed nothing of a paranormal nature other than the single EVP, which remains open to interpretation. An impressive body of narrative experience exists from the Boulderado staff, all of whom had stories and personal experiences to relate regarding their time in the hotel. We at Boulder County Paranormal hope to return to the Boulderado some time soon to investigate further.
Should you find yourself visiting this lovely hotel , be sure to request room 302 or 304. Who knows - perhaps you will come away with your own Boulderado ghost story to tell!
Richard Estep
postscript: I recently received the following email from a
Boulderado staff member:
Hello Richard,
I had heard about the EVP you sent over. (I have to wait to hear it until I get home tonight; my work computer doesn't have sound.) I will never forget about it after the time I was telling a friend of mine the EVP story and the "careful" caught, when suddenly I pitched right down those stairs in front of that painting. Luckily, I wasn't injured, but when I turned around my friend snarkly told me "Careful."
I've been working at the hotel for about 9-10 months now, and I've had several personal experiences that I cannot explain.

Click to listen to the EVP.


                                      The grand mezzanine.


                                                              The Grand Staircase.


                             The location at which our EVP was captured.


                             Laura measuring baseline EMF levels.


I'm glad I didn't find your website  before we attended our daughter's wedding last month. 

The families stayed at the Boulderado and I specifically requested the two suites that opened onto the balcony.  The room assigned to us was 302/304.  My husband, me, son & daughter-in-law smoke and were given permission to use the balcony for smoking.  This also made it a "private" balcony used only by the four of us.  Plus, we needed a large suite (as parents of the bride, had hospitality in our room).

I was a little concerned, since the Boulderado is an old hotel and as such had tucked in a little bag of lavender (my scatter around the room if it doesn't feel right solution).  I rarely include the lavender in my luggage, not sure why I grabbed it this time, maybe since we wouldn't have an option of changing rooms or hotels (which I have done in the past, before even checking in).  In a very unusual action for me, I showed the lavender to my daughter-in-law (they arrived a day before us) and asked if their room was settled.  She was fine, but concerned about me even bringing something like that up to her.

Anyway, all was fine.  The day of the evening wedding (in another location) our room was the "hot spot to be".  Family, bride and her attentents - whirlwind of activity and emotions.  Wedding was held, reception followed all was beautiful.

Husband and I get back to our room, take the things bride will need to her room and get settled in, exhausted, but happy.  Husband sleeps like a rock and with the added celebratory  wine, is really out.  I'm laying there waiting for sleep and hear the main door in the living area of the suite open, shocked, I jump out of bed, dash into the other room - door is closed & locked.  I check out the rest of the room, nobody there, so back to bed.  The rest of the night I hear a squeeky door open & close numerous times, room is cold, movement in the room and an uncomfortable feeling and I finally just pull the covers over my head (something I never do) because I'm so tired and just don't want to see anything.  Husband sleeps thru it all.

Next morning, after I open and close every door in the room to try to duplicate the sound with no luck, I explain to my husband why I didn't sleep well and he is understanding, but quiet.

We stay 3 more nights with no problems (never heard that particular door noise again) and decide the the emotions on that particular day energized things that are usually quiet.  It wasn't until we got home that my husband added to my experience.  We both double-check all door locks, including the one to the balcony.  This is our "standard" at home and especially traveling.   The morning after, my husband had found the balcony door unlocked and opened behind the heavy curtain.  The only other occupant in the hotel that had access to the balcony was our son & his wife and there are no keys to open this door from the outside.

Best Wishes (won't be back to the Boulderado)