CANON CITY — In our exclusive new series Adventures with Alan, we'll travel across Southern Colorado week-by-week to show you thrills and chills, hidden gems and well known spots.
This week, we visit the Museum of Colorado Prisons in Canon City for a spooky paranormal experience.
Located next to the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility, I quickly learn that these two have a lot more in common than just a shared wall.
Constructed in 1935, the current museum building first served as a women's prison from 1935 to 1968.
Years later in 1988, the museum opened its doors to the public, and shares a rich history with the correctional facility next door that's been in operation since 1871.
Prison museum tour
The prison museum is filled with artifacts and stories from as far back as the late 1800s, and on our tour, we learn about some of the prison's most notorious inmates.
One of those inmates, Shorty, was sentenced to death in Colorado's last legal hanging.
We also read about the Great Prison Riot of 1929. The National Guard was called in for what remains one of the deadliest prison riots in our country's history. It resulted in 13 deaths.
Paranormal experience and ghost tour
Each year, the prison museum offers a Gold Rush Ghost Encounters Tour on Halloween night.
For experienced ghost hunters, the museum also offers private paranormal events throughout the year.
On our tour, we get to experience the archives room, which is one of the most haunted rooms in the building. Being down there, you get the sense that you're not alone.
Maureen Sheridan, Chairperson of the Prison Museum Board, and paranormal investigator, tells us why she thinks this room is more haunted than others.
"You've got clothing and paintings and a lot of personal property in this room that belonged to them, so I think that there's a connection to that stuff," said Sheridan.
Sheridan has been doing these tours at the prison museum for the past 10 years, and tells me that the spirits here are mostly playful, but can also be a little mischievous.
"The more energy you have, the more fun you have. You're laughing. You're enjoying yourself. The more they come out. They actually really like the interaction," said Sheridan.
Sheridan explains that during the paranormal tours, guests will be shown tools that are used to interact with the spirits. One of her favorites is a motion sensor toy they call the bumblebee.
"We'll leave it out there, and ask things to turn it on. What we're looking for is the response when we ask it, not that it just randomly goes off," said Sheridan.
Before leaving, we make one final stop.
The gas chamber, which is responsible for eight executions, is located just outside of the main building. It's also considered an active area of paranormal activity.
Fun and bone chilling, my experience at the museum has left the hairs on the back of my neck standing tall. Eager to experience the full tour, I'll definitely be back.
For more information, you'll want to visit the museum's website, www.prisonmuseum.org/events. Tickets are still available for Halloween night!