by Nina Auslander
Sick of being haunted by the memory of 5 dollar coffee purchases, I decided to pursue a different variety of ghosts, which is how I found myself on this past Friday evening in front of Banjo Billy’s bus tour, my body shivering from the cold.
“Just you?” the bus driver inquired as he opened to door to the bus.
“Yep! Just me!” I say with a bit of forced cheer.
Inside, the bus is decorated with string lights and comfy chairs, Halloween tunes blasting from the stereo. I choose a seat and immediately wrapped my jacket tighter around me. Be forewarned: the bus is not heated.
A couple minutes later, the theme from Ghostbusters ends, and our bus driver, Glenn, a Banjo Billy veteran of 11 years, turns slowly around to tell us about Boulder’s haunting history.
Glenn begins his tour by revealing the spine-tingling tale of Hotel Boulderado, where three mysterious suicides all occur on the third floor—and all without a suicide note.
Along the tour, I heard stories about a Home for Nuns with Tuberculosis with a School for Girls attached to it, which is frankly an institution that calls for haunting. I learned about Harback House, home of the night’s most entertaining ghost: a haunted Boy Scout merit badge. This was followed by mysterious occurrences at the Castle House, a terrifying murder at Macky Auditorium, and countless other hauntings.
To be clear, you do not have to believe in ghosts to enjoy this tour. As a skeptic myself, I found it hard to believe that anything other than electrical problems caused some “flickering lights.” However, the storytelling is excellent. The way our busdriver, Glenn, described some of the mysterious events is simultaneously hilarious and bone-chilling. In all honesty, the tour is not about ghosts: it is about having a good time and experiencing some classic Halloween chills.
If you go, expect gasps from the outside of the bus as the unique vehicle goes by, disparaging remarks about Boulderites, and plenty of entertainment.
Prices range from 20-27 dollars, so get your tickets on the earlier side to avoid paying more. There are also tours in Denver. Information about tours and prices can be found at http://banjobilly.com.