This was our first true 'haunt' in our old neighborhood in Denver's Washington Park. It was a HUGE step up for us from 2007's 'Cheese Year' and definitely meant that we had truly caught the Haunting Bug! Most of the photos are terrible - I still hadn't figured out that a tripod is necessary for night shots, especially without a flash. Sigh...
Here's the Backstory... 2008 - The first haunting at Darkrose Manor
We heard the rumors about the property before we moved in, but we loved the house and the yard so much though it needed a lot of work. Not easily frightened, it was easy for us to look past stories of strange lights and eerie noises, and we thought some of the more dramatic things we heard were just too fantastic to be believed. Once we moved in we didn't notice anything out of the ordinary at first, being considered fairly peculiar ourselves. We went about our lives quite normally, planting new flowers and beginning some remodeling of the house. Our first spring and summer were wonderful and peaceful.
However, around autumn things began to change. Lights would dim or grow bright for no reason. The floors would creak though we weren't moving around. We thought little of it. Then, we began to hear the whispering, the long drawn out breathing, and sometimes the screaming from the basement, centered strangely on the room that once housed the furnace. As the days and weeks passed, the voices became louder, the footsteps stronger. We were certain even that, throughout the yard, wherever we were, bright eyes from the decaying gardens watched us.
We began to worry that we and our home were starting to draw a little too much attention from the neighbors; and as it was October, we decided to make it look as if these things were part of our Halloween decorations. We added many of the typical items to encourage this plan, pumpkins, cackling witches, etc. Despite our efforts to make our property less frightening, the trick-or-treaters stayed away. All Hallows Eve proved to be the pinnacle of the otherworldly phenomenon, though the nights before and the evening after were equally active. Though this activity slowly waned and disappeared again entirely by spring, we chose to review the old stories and legends with a little more interest.
There are some who say they remember a time before the house was here and that, as if overnight, the house emerged supernaturally. Some say the property itself was transported here through a dimensional vortex and that they have actually seen this vortex. The prevailing legend has it that the house was first inhabited by a small group of women who employed a caretaker for the once beautiful gardens and trees. The story continues that the women were benign and kept to themselves. They seemed to enjoy their flowers and the vegetables they grew here. However, there were others in the community who saw them as evil and unnatural, claiming that these witches were using the fruits of their gardens to cast spells over them.
One version of the legend continues that the women were all killed by the neighbors and incinerated in the old furnace; the ashes were then strewn throughout the garden, which immediately decomposed. The other version reports that the women were killed and buried unceremoniously in the yard. What both versions have in common is that the footsteps, and voices, and even the eyes in the gardens belong to the spirits of these tragic ladies. It has been said that, some years, the tombstones they were never granted sprout from the yard to be looked after by a demonic-looking caretaker.
We are not unfamiliar with the strange. We've even been called the vampire and the witch by those that walk by and see us sitting quietly on our porch. We have enjoyed several years of designing and making elaborate costumes for Halloween. And since were hearing the whispers and footsteps again, we have accepted the stories and the fact that our home has a life of its own. We have decided to encourage the house and the spirits that cohabitate with us by permitting, instead of hiding, their obvious desire to manifest themselves.
Moreover, we have chosen to believe that we have begun to honor the forgotten victims who once found peace here (and finally tragedy) through our efforts at restoring their gardens and their home. This year we invite you to come and see for yourselves the curious, and sometimes frightful, nature of Darkrose Manor.
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