Monday, March 30, 2009

The Mysteries of Miramont Castle

This Victorian-style castle dates back to 1896 in Manitou Springs, Colorado and was initially constructed by the Catholic priest, Father Jean Baptiste Francoln, to serve as his residence. He had recently donated his first home on the same property to the Religious Order of the Sisters of Mercy to serve as a sanitarium for non-acute cases of tuberculosis. By 1900, Father Francoln had moved on and a fire at the nearby sanitarium necessitated moving the patients to Miramont Castle, which was renamed Montcalme. It served in this capacity for over 20 years before becoming a retreat for the Sisters and later an apartment complex.

Today, it is known once again as Miramont Castle and serves as a historical symbol and museum in Manitou Springs. It also plays a prominent role in the city's annual festival named after one of their better known residents when it hosts a mock "wake" for Emma Crawford (see Emma Crawford Festival and Memorial Coffin Race). According to the tales, it is also home to a plethora of spirits. Apparitions of men, women (including one account of a ghost with no head and one that appears in a mirror), and even the spirit of a little girl said to be clutching a doll in the castle's Christmas Room have been sighted by staff and visitors alike.

Read more on the history and accounts of Miramont Castle.

-Casey H.

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