Silver Cliff, Colorado: first settled in 1869, the area began its heyday in 1878 with the discovery of ‘horn silver’ in the cliffs just outside of town; by 1881 the population was variously estimated at between 6,000 and 16,000 people, and the town became the third most populous in the state, after Denver and Leadville. After the boom ended the population dwindled to 576. Today there are 587 residents.
Though old buildings have been torn down and more modern ones put up, little has changed in the Silver Cliff cemetery or its neighbor, the Catholic Cemetery of the Assumption, a few hundred yards away. Located on a high, wind-buffeted plain just outside the town, these grounds are much the same as they were a century or more ago; turn your back on the town, and you can step back in time. The rocky, unforgiving soil and sun-beaten tombstones give a strong sense of what life was like on the harsh Colorado frontier.
#Paranormal Bonus: The cemetery here is known for more than its history and bleak beauty; many residents and visitors have reported the presence of lights moving among the stones at night. The August, 1969 issue of National Geographic featured writer Edward J. Linehan’s firsthand, sustained encounter with the lights, which he found impossible to explain. Since then it has become a destination for paranormal tourists, who come to walk the grounds on overcast nights, speaking in hushed tones and hoping for an experience of their own.
Author’s Note: a friend of mine reports coming here with two friends in the early 1980’s and camping in a van outside the cemetery overnight in hopes of glimpsing the fabled lights; though they saw nothing, he tells me that his two companions both dreamt the same dream that night, in which the van was surrounded by entities pressing up against it. Both reported that their dreams contained the same little girl, who was giving orders to the phantom crowd.
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