The Ghosts of Cheeseman Park

Posted on August 20, 2009
We have all heard stories and seen movies where homes were built above old cemeteries where the land developers didn’t remove all of the bodies. Usually the spirits of those disturbed and still remaining there haunt the residents and even try to run them from their homes. Here we have a story about a park that was created right on an old cemetery and guess what? The developers failed to remove all of the bodies when they relocated the graves! This is true and the park is called Cheeseman Park in Denver, Colorado. Here is some interesting information about the park from Karilyn Starks.

Beautiful in daylight, spectacularly spooky at night, this park was once a huge cemetery in the heart of Denver. The year was 1858 and a parcel of 320 acres was to be used as the final resting place for the rich and prominent, and in the lower grounds, the poor and forgotten: criminals, victims of disease outbreaks and the homeless. But over time, the cemetery began to be horribly neglected and the rich exhumed the remains of their loved ones, and moved the bones to a new, more upscale cemetery in a different part of the city. Soon cattle wandered over the remaining weed-infested graves, and squatters set up tents, and lived among the abandoned mausoleums.

Cheeseman Park

Cheeseman Park

Several years later, Mayor Platt Rogers decided it was such an eyesore that something had to be done, so plans were made to turn it into a park. But Rogers wanted to save money, so he hired an unscrupulous undertaker named McGovern to dig up and replace the bodies in another location. Unfortunately, McGovern was more concerned with profit than honoring the dead, so he brought in cheap coffins and careless workers to do the job. But the coffins were too small for the average sized body, so the remains of the unfortunate dead were hacked apart and forced to fit into the tight confines.

So many bodies were being removed at once, the careless gravediggers mixed up the bones, and it was rumored that several murderers were placed in the same coffins with their victims. A morbid, twisted industry sprang up – whole families would sit on the grass and picnic as they watched the gruesome display. Public outrage finally forced the halt of these desecrations and McGovern was run out of town. The cemetery had been so brutalized, the city fathers decided the best and fastest solution was simply to plow it over.

Cheeseman Park

Cheeseman Park

There are still hundreds of bodies just below the surface of this beautiful park, even today. The hauntings began as soon as the first bodies were taken from the ground. It is said that confused, lonely spirits wandered into nearby homes, begging to be laid properly at peace. Moans, knockings, screams, and the laughter of children could be heard at all hours of the day and night. Over time, the reports of these initial sightings diminished, but not their horror. Even during a bright sunny day, the feelings of severe sadness can overcome visitors, who aren’t even aware of the history of Cheeseman. Hundreds of sightings are reported each year, strange EVP’s, moans, sightings of full bodied apparitions. One sighting was of a ghost in a pair of shorts in the middle of winter!

I had my own experience at Cheeseman park. While walking though the park on a beautiful, sunny summer day, among the huge, drooping trees and the shimmering white marble of the Walter Cheeseman pavilion (the park was renamed after a prominent Denver Citizen), I heard the laughter of children all around me. Even though there were no children in the park that day. As I explored the massive area, the sweet mischievous wake of their laughter seemed to follow me wherever I went.

For more information, Google Cheeseman Park, Denver Colorado. Warning: Do NOT visit Cheeseman park at night without a large group that includes adults. As with many big city parks at night, Cheeseman can be dangerous.

Written by Karilyn Starks, Copyright 2009

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Comments

5 Responses to “The Ghosts of Cheeseman Park”
  1. liz says:

    i live by this park!!!! scary!!!!!!!!!

  2. Caretaker says:

    Someone asked why it was called Cheeseman Park.

    In the late nineteenth century, the land that is now Cheesman Park was Prospect Hill Cemetery, which also included the land that is now the Denver Botanical Garden and Congress Park further east. The long-disused cemetery was converted to a park which opened in 1907 after city planners felt it would provide an amenity to new residents as land development moved east of the central city. The park was originally named for the US Congress who gave permission to change the cemetery to a park and was renamed Cheesman Park in honor of Denver pioneer Walter Cheesman whose family donated the neoclassical pavilion on the eastern side of the park (See photo above) in his honor shortly after his death.

  3. po says:

    this story sucked (in my opinion.)
    it shouldn’t even be on here!
    i will never tell my friends about this story!

    • Caretaker says:

      Po, what was so bad about it? You dont think it is interesting to know that a big city park was built on top of some graves? I thought it was VERY interesting myself

  4. Pat says:

    I agree! It is about a MASSIVE haunting of poor souls not at rest. The pavilllion is beautiful but the past at the park is so sad. I am glad you added it! thanks!

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