In the old capitol hill neighborhood, lies the most haunted of parks in Denver. Before it was a park, the land was a cemetery with a gruesome history.
Early in Denver's inception, a windswept hill was chosen as it's cemetery, Mount Prospect. Intended for the affluent, it soon became the final resting place for paupers, criminals and small pox victims. It was informally known as "Old Bone Yard", "Boot Hill" and "Jack O'Neil's Ranch". Jack O'Neil was a popular gambler who was murdered and laid to rest at Mount Prospect.
By 1893, the surrounding well-to-do capitol hill neighborhood tired of the eyesore. The city decided to change the cemetery to Cheeseman Park, leaving them with the monumental task of relocating the remains of the 5,000 people buried there. The city hire an unscrupulous undertaker, Edward P. McGovern to move the graves for $1.90 each. McGovern hacked the corpes apart trying to fill as many childrens coffins as possible so as to earn the maximum allowed. The mess he created caused such an uproar, that he was fired.
Families were then asked to come forward and claim their dead. But about 2,000 corpses went unclaimed and hence, even recently, bones are regularly dug up with construction projects.
With so many bodies still around there are bound to be ghosts. Reports of restless spirits continue to circulate including hundreds of whispering voices and moans that come from the grounds. Children have been seen playing in the park during the night before they mysteriously disappear, and a woman is said to be seen singing to herself before she, too, suddenly vanishes.
On some moonlit nights, the outlines of the old graves can still be seen. Others folks claim that after lying on the grass, they have found it difficult to get up as if unseen forces are restraining them. Yet more reports tell of strange shadows and misty figures wandering through the park in confusion.
His Lordship and I saw none of these, enjoying a nice stroll through the park and commenting to each other about the peaceful setting. However, it is easy to pick out sunken spots of earlier grave sites.
On a more current note, the company that services the port-a-potties for the park is called Honey Bucket but I think Poo Pail is a more apropos name.