Walking into the Tivoli on a typical sunny Colorado day, one is drenched in sunlight from the many windows in the building. It’s a very warm and welcoming environment for such an old, sturdy, brick building. However, the further you descend into the nether regions of the building, the more mysterious and spooky things get.
The building of the Tivoli
The student center on the Auraria campus, used to be a brewery. German immigrant Mortiz Sigi built it in the 1870’s. Now it has been beautifully renovated and must be one of the most unique University/College student centers in the country. Home to the University of Colorado at Denver, the Metropolitan State College of Denver and Colorado Community College, the Tivoli has no lack of traffic year round.
The Tivoli’s haunted history
The Tivoli also has a history of ghost stories. I have talked to some of the maintenance people myself. They say that they are afraid to be alone in the building at night. One of them told me about a construction crew he worked with. They said that they had heard strange noises and felt watched, even though they were tough guys, they were also afraid to be alone at night in the building.
One of the common haunting stories in the Tivoli is of a little girl that is seen running around the hallways. Some believe it to be the ghost of a little girl who died in a house that was located where one of the wings of the building is now. Others think that she could be Moritz Sigi’s daughter. She might have enjoyed running around the brewery, and continues to do so to this day as a discarnate spirit.
It is no wonder that the campus’ first paranormal investigative student organization, the Crypto Science Society, took this on as their first investigation. They solicited the help of one of the most experienced ghost hunter groups, Frontrange Paranormal Investigations (ParaFPI). In October of 2006, the investigation began with some interesting results.
Down in the bowels of the building is where the ghostly little girl is often heard. Once a cabaret, there is a room with a dilapidated bar that is named after the buildings founder, Sigi. Part of it is used as a conference room that is great for spooky presentations and gatherings. There are also doors down there that lead to what is referred to as the catacombs, large rooms where beer was stored. It now serves as storage for the campus.
Dark, mysterious and undisturbed by the normal chaos of the campus, it was determined that this was the perfect place to focus the investigation. People are not normally allowed in the catacombs, and they can be locked. Equipment such as audio recorders and video cameras were set up and locked away to be sure there were no outside disturbances.
While precautions were taken so that there was no outside disturbance, some sort of disturbance did happen. At one point a video camera stopped working. During this period of time the audio recorder picked up metal banging noises. As soon as the banging stopped, the camera resumed recording.
Battery drain also occurred. This is said to happen in conjunction with paranormal activity. Electronic equipment powered by batteries will stop working, and fully charged batteries will drain quickly. However, once taken away from the area of the drain, they can be charged and no longer exhibit any problems. Some speculate that perhaps the ghosts need the energy to manifest in our realm. Or maybe it is fun for them, like sticking your tongue on a 9-volt battery.
The banging was not the only interesting sound that the audio recorders captured. Several EVPs were also captured. I guess I must insert the obligatory EVP definition. You hear it on every ghost-hunting documentary and TV show, but until it is a household name, I suppose we will need to explain it.
Anyway, EVP stands for Electronic Voice Phenomena. This entails simply placing a recording device in an area where you believe there may be ghostly activity and letting it run. Some people will leave it alone, and some will talk to the alleged entities to try to solicit a response. Most investigators do both. If you are lucky, when the audio is played back there will be voices that can be heard that were not heard when the recording was made. They are often faint, and might take some work to interpret. It is especially rewarding when these voices seem to respond to investigator’s questions.
The investigators at the Tivoli acquired several interesting recordings. Here are links to the recordings from the Crypto Science Society website. What do you think?
Sounds recorded in the Tivoli investigation on 10/31/06:
6:07am weird moan - http://www.mscd.edu/~crypto/Sound/evp1.mp3
6:11am definite strange voice - http://www.mscd.edu/~crypto/Sound/evp2.mp3
6:26am Womans voice says “come in” after I saw a shadow in the doorway to the inner catacomb (very clear!) - http://www.mscd.edu/~crypto/Sound/evp3.mp3
6:27am whispers, can’t make out what is said - http://www.mscd.edu/~crypto/Sound/evp4.mp3
6:27am someone is whispering “hey” - http://www.mscd.edu/~crypto/Sound/evp5.mp3
6:28am very low whispers right before Wade heard someone touch the plastic on the chairs - http://www.mscd.edu/~crypto/Sound/evp6.mp3
6:29am whisper voice sounds like “We’re in here” - http://www.mscd.edu/~crypto/Sound/evp7.mp3
6:58am whispering in the boiler room service hallway - http://www.mscd.edu/~crypto/Sound/evp8.mp3
Some weird stuff. The Crypto Science Society is planning on further investigating the Tivoli, so look forward to more findings.
Until then, if you are just visiting the Tivoli food court for a taco, or studying for your finals, don’t be alarmed. No one has reported being harmed by any of these possible ghostly inhabitants, well at least not yet.