The Dark Side of Colorado
He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Comin’ home to a place he’d never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door
He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below
He saw everything as far as you can see
And they say that he got crazy once and he tried to touch the sun
And he lost a friend but kept the memory
—John Denver, Rocky Mountain High
I moved to Colorado Springs a few months after the Columbine shooting. My then-girlfriend’s parents had a house there, about 10 miles away from NORAD, right up against the front range. We only lived there for 9 months, but in that brief time I experienced enough to be unsettled by the energy there. If that sounds kinda new age, well, keep reading.
Stephen King picked Boulder, Colorado, as the setting for the good guys, led by Mother Abigail, in The Stand. I’m a big Stephen King fan; I think he’s one of those writers with a tremendous gift that allows him to tap into a source most aspiring writers don’t have access to. Some people call it “the muse” but it’s much more than that.
I believe there is a spiritual aspect to reality that we humans have a very poor grasp of, though I don’t think that was always the case. I think indigenous cultures have had a much healthier understanding of the spirit world.
Surfing the old internet today, I came across The Legend of Manitou Springs, which is the name of a little town next to Colorado Springs, where I worked as a dishwasher for those 9 months.
The gist of the legend is that two hunters from different tribes came to the crystal springs to quench their thirst. One hunter had been successful, and the other had not. Seeing this disparity, the unsuccessful hunter grew envious and picked a fight, which escalated to murder. Here’s what happened next:
Over the body stood the murderer, and no sooner was the deed of blood consummated than bitter remorse took possession of his mind where before had reigned the fiercest passion and vindictive hate. With hands clasped to his forehead he stood transfixed with horror, intently gazing on his victim whose head still remained immersed in the fountain. Mechanically he dragged the body a few paces from the water, which, as soon as the head of the dead Indian was withdrawn, the Comanche saw suddenly and strangely disturbed. Bubbles sprang up from the bottom, and rising to the surface escaped in hissing gas. A thin vapory cloud arose and gradually dissolving, displayed to the eyes of the trembling murderer the figure of an aged Indian whose long, snowy hair and venerable beard, blown aside by a gentle air from his breast, discovered the well-known totem of the great Wau-kau-aga, the father of the Comanche and Shoshone nation whom the tradition of the tribe, handed down by skilful hieroglyphics, almost deified for the good actions and deeds of bravery this famous warrior had performed when on earth.
Stretching out a war club toward the affrighted murderer, the figure thus addressed him:
“Accursed of my tribe ! this day thou has severed the link between the mightiest nations of the world, while the blood of the brave Shoshone cries to the Manitou for vengeance. May the water of thy tribe be rank and bitter in their throats.”
Thus saying, and swinging his ponderous war club (made from the elk’s horn) round his head, he dashed out the brains of the Comanche, who fell headlong into the spring, which from that day to the present moment remains rank and nauseous, so that not even when half dead with thirst, can one drink of the foul water of that spring.
When I worked in Manitou Springs, I had a couple of strange experiences. One day after work one of my co-workers took me on a hike up a ravine. He showed me a little trail that climbed the ravine wall to a ledge where there was what looked like a cave opening closed off by a metal door. The door was chained from the inside, which you could see through a hole where a knob should have been. It was creepy. My co-worker, Nate, was also the first person to clue me into the reputation Manitou Springs had of being a hotbed of occult activity.
In June of that year, I went home to visit family in Kansas City. When I came back, Nate informed me that the owner of the liquor store in Manitou—Robert Walter Dunn—had apparently murdered his 7 year old daughter by slitting her throat. When the police arrived to this awful scene, this is what Robert told them:
With his hands soaked in the blood of his 7-year-old daughter, Robert Walter Dunn turned to a police officer seconds before he was handcuffed and said: “I killed the devil. She was possessed; I killed the devil,” according to court records.
I found another piece about this area worth noting at examiner.com, titled Unseen Conflict. Here is how the topography is described:
Sitting at an elevation of over 6,000 feet above sea level, the city of Colorado Springs, Colorado faces the front range of the southern Rocky Mountains, staring up at Pike’s Peak. It is the home of a strong defense industry, along with high tech corporations, and Christian ministries, such as Compassion International and Focus On The Family. It is an incredibly scenic and beautiful city, with mountain views from nearly any location. It’s not surprising that ‘the Springs’, as it’s often referred, is known for it’s family atmosphere. Beyond these demographics, the city’s population are evidence of a deeper struggle. It is a struggle that is deeply embedded, and that many choose not to openly acknowledge, and that others are not even aware of.
One need not look very far to notice that Colorado Springs is a popular location for followers of new age, pagan beliefs, and the occult. It is an area of intense spiritual warfare. Non-Christian spirituality has a strong undercurrent in this area, along with various cults and followers of witchcraft. Just a few minutes from Colorado Springs is the small city of Manitou Springs. Although a beautiful place, it is believed that Manitou was at one time dedicated to Satan, and is the wiccan capital of the nation. Many people may call this foolishness, but it’s interesting to note that the word Manitou means ‘a supernatural being that controls nature, or an object that possesses supernatural power.’
What got me thinking about all this is, of course, another Colorado tragedy, this time at Arapaho High School (located just 12 miles from Columbine and 14 miles from the theater in Aurora):
Carrying a shotgun, a machete, a bandolier of ammunition and a backpack with three incendiary devices, Karl Halverson Pierson entered Arapahoe High School and launched 80 seconds of terror as he hunted his debate coach, who was also the school librarian.
New details emerged Saturday as authorities described the country’s latest school shooting.
As soon as he entered the building Friday, Pierson fired a round down the hallway and another from point-blank range that critically injured one student. He fired a third round down the hall and entered the library, where he fired again and set off one of the Molotov cocktails, igniting bookshelves.
As fire and smoke poured through the room, Pierson fired a fifth round and went into the back corner of the library, where he fired his last shot, killing himself.
As an agnostic, I believe there is more going on in this world than can be explained. That belief has led me down some strange paths. High in the Rocky Mountains, I’ve wondered what’s hiding below. Some knowledge, though, comes with considerable risk. Stay tuned.