Imbolc on Ice

Look south from Bennett Avenue, the bi-level main street of Cripple Creek, Colorado, across Poverty Gulch (once lined by the saloons and brothels of Myers Avenue), and there it sits, like the citadel of the Ice King.

At 9,494 feet (2,894 m.), the early February winds are still cutting and only the lengthening day suggests any turn toward spring. M. and I, plus my Pagan cousin and her partner, fortified ourselves with food and drink in a crowded restaurant and then zipped up all zippers and headed for the Ice Castle at our designated 6 p.m. entrance time.[1]The restaurant’s Facebook page said that they were so busy with Ice Castle visitors that they were not taking reservations, but we snagged a table by showing up at 4:30, ahead of the dinner … Continue reading

This castle is a commercial venture. I had seen earlier versions in the ski town of Silverthorne in the 20-teens,and thought it would be cool-no-pun-intended to visit, but I was always on my way to or from somewhere else. Now we had our chance at Candlemas season. I like it when the Sacred Wheel matches up with popular activities, even when the coincidence is not planned.

Daytime must be different, but at night the Ice Castle hits the same sort of Underworld vibe that I get sometimes in Taos at PASEO, the fall art festival, when clumps of dark-clad people walk dim Spanish colonial streets until suddenly illuminated by the flare of a flaming gate or a giant robot or an art work projected onto high adobe walls. (See “The Robot God and the Underworld  Gate.”)

So it was sort of like that but without the writhing silent-rave dancers. There was feasting and good conversation and then a chance to stock my memory with images and sensations.

Cripple Creek is a small place, compared to its height c. 1900 when there were three railroads plus street cars and belching smokestacks. I walked Marco the dog around a little, strolling past some of the buildings I visited during a long-ago bout of ghost-hunting, back before the casinos came in. Those visits produced a little book, Ghost Tales of Cripple Creek, which in terms of copies sold is probably my biggest commercial success. Out of print now, but I see it is still on Amazon. [2]The photo was taken from the driveway of astrologer Linda Goodman’s house.

Notes

Notes
1 The restaurant’s Facebook page said that they were so busy with Ice Castle visitors that they were not taking reservations, but we snagged a table by showing up at 4:30, ahead of the dinner rush.
2 The photo was taken from the driveway of astrologer Linda Goodman’s house.

2 thoughts on “Imbolc on Ice

  1. Great post- I wish I could have joined you. When you were ghost hunting did you ever encounter one? When I stay at old hotels I ask if there is a haynted room. If there is, and there usually ism I rent it for the night and leave a glass of rum or other good stuff for whomever. Some are definitely haunted- but only one was grumpy the first time and we got along in later visits.

    1. We did stay the night in one building supposedly haunted by a c.1900 office worker nicknamed Maggie. It’s a casino now, of course, and there is a restaurant called Maggie’s. I wonder if the name is ever explained. We sat in the dark, we experimented with a ouija board (inconclusive) — can’t say anything really significant happened. Most of what I wrote was based on interviewing people.

      The nearest I came was a “the veil is thin” moment during the re-ennactment of the funeral of Pearl DeVere, a well-known Cripple Creek madame. That was supposed to become an annual event, like the Emma Crawford coffin races in Manitou Springs,but after one time, it stopped. Perhaps that was all that was needed. It’s in the book.

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