CHEESMAN PARK

(Prospect Hill Cemetery)

Bordered by East Thirteenth Ave, High Street East, Eighth Avenue and Franklin Avenue, Denver, CO

Status: Former Municipal Cemetery; Municipal Park; Buried Bodies Still on Site

Ghost Tours Available

HAVE YOU HAD A PARANORMAL EXPERIENCE AT THIS LOCATION?

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History

From 1858 the land is now known as Cheesman Park and the land that is now the Denver Botanical Garden and Congress Park was the Prospect Hill Cemetery.

Near the cemetery was what called a pest house back in the day where the poor with infectious diseases were taken – to die. The common practice in the 19th century was just to dump the bodies in pits in the cemetery – there are no records of these deceased. High end mansions now occupy the area where the pest house was.

By the 1880’s the cemetery had fallen into ruins and was becoming an eyesore in a part of the city that was rapidly becoming one of the most desirable places to live. In January of 1890 permission was given to change the cemetery into a park in hopes of making growing neighborhood even more desirable.

Families were given 90 days to move the remains of their loved ones. The Roman Catholic part of the cemetery in the east was sold to the Archdiocese and became the Mt Calvary Cemetery which is now on the grounds of the Botanical Center. The large number of Chinese immigrants buried there were moved back to China.

As for the rest, well the majority were drifters, vagrants and criminals and there was no one to claim them, at the time this accounted for about 5,000 bodies.

In 1893 the city awarded a contract to undertaker EP McGovern to remove the remains, put them in new coffins, at a $190 per coffin. Of course, McGovern got greedy and put adult remains in child’s coffins and chopped up the bodies sometimes putting 1 person in 3 coffins. This caused a disorganized disaster leaving body parts strewn everywhere and more than a few remains were stolen as grisly souvenirs.

The south end were the remains and broken caskets were left absolutely horrified the neighborhood residents. Could you imagine just the smell; much less the sheer lack of respect.

The contract was ended when this came to the city’s attention leaving open graves and body parts on the surface as well as over 2,000 remains still on site. The contract was never given to another undertaker and these bodies remain under the park to this day.

In 1894 the city began grading the property turning it into a park. Holes left by coffins were filled in and shrubs and trees were planted. Some of the open graves containing remains were not filled in until 1902.

The new park opened in 1907 and the past – forgive the pun – was buried.

In 2008 during construction of a new parking structure for the Botanical Gardens remains and coffins were unearthed. They were moved to an active cemetery and reburied.

Cheesman Park provided inspiration for both the movies The Changeling (1980) and Poltergeist (1982).

 

Paranormal Activity

The activity here is so intense most locals avoid the area completely. Only experienced investigators with the proper amount of respect should investigate here.

The neighborhood surrounding the park is still considered one of the most desirable in the city. Its population density in almost 3 times higher than most of the rest of the city.

The original gates to the cemetery can still be found in the park.

There are at least 2,000 bodies are buried under the park to this day.

This location is considered one of the most paranormally active places in both Denver and the State. In truth it is one of the most haunted places in the entire United States.

Today there are numerous ghost tours in the park you can book.

There are numerous stories of people being touched, poked and prodded by unseen presences dating back to when the bodies were being removed. The most famous is of a man who had a ghost jump on his shoulders while he was working – he never returned to work again.

When the removal was taking place people living the area reported multiple accounts of sad and confused ghosts knocking on their doors and peeking in their windows. An unearthly moaning was also heard coming from the open graves.

Today there is still an oppressive feeling of sadness and misery described by many park goers.

There are what is described as hundreds of disembodied whispers and moans coming from the area where the graves are buried. This includes Cheesman Park, Congress Park and the Botanical Gardens as well as some of the surrounding residential areas.

The apparitions of children playing in the park are often seen. Apparitions who suddenly disappear into thin air in front of onlookers. Another common ghost is that of a woman who sings quietly to herself before also disappearing.

There are also numerous reports of people being unable to get back up after lying down in the grass. They describe being held down by an invisible force.

On moonlit nights it is said the area will sometimes time slip back to when it was a cemetery and the grave stones will be seen again.

Another story tells of the sound of a phantom sound of a chain being jangled before the witnesses came upon a boy riding his bike around a man, pale and bloody, dressed in a tattered hospital gown.

He approached the couple seeing him asking them if they had seen the people who stabbed him and showing them deep knife wounds in his body. Horrified they told him to go to the hospital to which he replied the hospital wouldn’t help him because he was too poor.

Other Activity: to be concise on an already long blog – pretty much anything you can imagine.

Unlike many public parks this one is not open from 11pm to 7am – gee I wonder why?