Just in time for your summer vacation to Jasper Colorado. Please enjoy this fun tale of Jasper, many of the facts are true and some are not.. The file is also available for download in the Jasper archives here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1uRdlfPqWKKxcooURrFXCGuy73tZZ4EKY
The Jasper Ghost Cabin
By Larry Wolcott
These are true facts about the town of Jasper, located high in the southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The town is situated at the base of the mighty Cornwall mountain, who some say was named by immigrant miners from the Cornwall mining district in faraway England.
Since the early 1700’s, Jasper had many small gold mines, but the big strike was in 1895. The Foster-Hook strike at the Miser Mine promised great riches and wealth to the brave miners. When news of the exposed vein of gold reached Monte Vista on Sept 6, 1895, people start flocking to Jasper. Within 6 months, the tiny town of Jasper was bustling with over 1500 residents to support the mine. There were miners, stores, shops, a saloon and even a post office.
The vein was so rich that the miners worked around-the-clock to recover the gold. Even in broad daylight, it was so dark in the mines that they had to wear special carbide headlamps. These headlamps glowed with an unusual orange tint that flickered like a campfire when they burned. Also, the distinctive clanking of the ore hammer could be heard at all hours of the night [clank! clank!]. The sound was loud that it echoed through the mountains and made it difficult for the people in the town to have a restful sleep.
It was a long winter but thousands of ounces of gold were extracted from the Miser Mine. In today’s standard, there was over 30 million dollars-worth of gold recovered from the Miser. By the summer of 1896 most of the vein had been extracted and only small pockets of ore were being found. As the gold started to run out, so did the townspeople. Within a year there were no more than 50 people who stayed in Jasper, desperately looking for more riches.
While most of the remaining people were decent folks trying to make a living, some of the miners were not. In fact, the Miser Mine got its name from what is said to be a curse that made certain people obsessed with finding the gold in Cornwall Mountain. A few of the miners were so fixated on the gold that they would do anything to have it. There were just three men working the mines at night because they wanted to find gold and keep the gold to themselves. They took turns with two in the shaft and one man above to operate the lift. There was a bell system they used to communicate with the lift operator, 3 bells followed by 1 meant it was time to hoist them out [ding, ding, ding… ding]. Then one night while chasing a vein of quartz, the men discovered what looked like high-grade ore. The ore sparkled with glorious golden flecks when their headlamps shined on it. 7 bells [ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding] was signaled with 7 bells which usually meant danger but the men agreed to use when they discovered gold.
The three quickly began devising a plan to extract the ore in the middle of the night and keep it for themselves. They continued taking turns in the shaft, operating the lift and sneaking the ore out in their lunch pails. There was a stockpiling of very rich ore in a small cave somewhere near Jasper. This sneaky trick of stealing rich ore was known as ‘high grading’ and happened more times than many folks would realize.
The leader of the gang was particularly devious and had his own plan to double-cross the other two and keep all of the gold for himself. On the night that they were extracting the last bit of ore, he saw his opportunity. It was his turn to operate the lift while the other two worked in the shaft. 3 bells followed by 1 [ding, ding, ding… ding] meant that he was to hoist them out so he started the lift. He started the machine but by the time they were half way up, he stopped the lift and began to hammer on the pully. The distinctive clanking [clank! clank!] of the ore hammer was heard from the Miser one last time. However, instead of dropping the lift, the entire shaft started to collapse under the weight of the suspended men. The ceiling holding the pully collapsed, causing all three men to plummet down the shaft and become trapped under the rubble.
Two of the three men were still alive but barely. For several days and nights, the two men tried to signal for help with 7 bells. Ironically, the bell signal for striking it rich now meant a desperate plea for help! The signal was heard but there were no skilled miners left to dig them out in time so they all perished. It was sometime after the fateful accident that their bodies were discovered by the remaining townsfolk. However, the three miners had no known kin to claim their bodies. The townsfolk buried the miners with small gravestones at the bottom of a hill just west of Jasper. By 1897, the town of Jasper was once again deserted.
Almost a hundred years later, in 1984, an ambitious land developer stumbled across the plats of Jasper and Cornwall. He began selling the properties to people in Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and as far away as Hawaii. Soon, Jasper become a vacation destination with new cabins being enjoyed by families and sportsmen. However, one property outside of Jasper was purchased by professors from Boston in 1974. They built a communal cabin for everyone to share and enjoy. The communal cabin was a friendly place with simple rules, called the “Bunkers Code”. Those who wished to stay at the cabin could do so free of charge, leaving it cleaner than they found it, and always replenishing the firewood. This cabin is referred to by the locals as the Ghost Cabin.
Since the 1980’s, there have been many reports of strange things happening at the ghost cabin. Several guests have mentioned strange bells sounding at midnight, often being confused for an alarm clock. However, they all recalled only 7 bells [ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding] instead of 12 that you would expect at midnight. Another example of unusually loud clanking sounds [clank! clank!] coming from underneath the cabin. Finally, some guests have claimed to have seen eerie orange lights outside the cabin after midnight, well after the campfire has been extinguished. The only thing these guests had in common was the fact that they all had gold with them. It may have been jewelry, watches or even gold dental fillings but they all had gold.
Finally, one day not long ago, a piece of an old gravestone was discovered near the ghost cabin. There were no words, only the date 1896. The ghost cabin was built on top of the dead miner’s graves!
Beware, anybody staying at the ghost cabin wearing gold past midnight may be visited by the cursed ghosts from the Miser Mine.