- The ghost of Eddie Beals, a murdered custodian, reportedly roams the halls
- Eddie's ghost is said to cause the elevator to move and open/close on its own
- Visitors have encountered unexplained cold spots
- Previous investigations have found doors opening and lights flickering without explanation
- Misplaced belongings and other strange happenings are often blamed on Eddie's ghost
The Pioneers Museum History of Judgement
With its imposing clock tower looming overhead and sturdy mason exterior exuding a sense of unwavering strength, Colorado Springs’ Pioneer Museum certainly still looks the part of a hall of justice. But, it has been decades since a case was last tried in this old building. Its wood-paneled courtrooms and historic halls now host an ever-changing rotation of museum exhibits and special educational events.
The former courthouse gained a new lease on life since becoming the Pioneers Museum, and it is now a cultural cornerstone of Colorado Springs. But amidst the exhibits and antiques, legend says an unseen force lurks, a mysterious spirit connected to a shooting that took place at the courthouse back in the 1950s.
Timeline of Pioneers Museum's History
Swipe or use timeline points to see Pioneers Museum through the years
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the city of Colorado Springs experienced a boom, quadrupling in size between 1880 and 1900. It wasn’t long before more infrastructure was needed to keep the city functional and peaceful, including, of course, a courthouse. For the cost of just ten dollars, the city sold a plot of land called Alamo Square to surrounding El Paso County for the purpose of building this courthouse. Construction began in 1901, and the building was completed in 1903.
With three floors, a wide open greenspace, and a clock tower taller than the rest of the building, the El Paso County Courthouse was equal parts intimidating and breathtaking. And right away, the new courthouse already boasted architectural eccentricities that set it apart from any other place like it. For one, the skyscraper-like clock tower’s proportion in relation to the rest of the structure was unheard of, and remains so today. This is due to the clock tower being designed with an unbuilt fourth floor in mind.
The building served as the El Paso County Courthouse for 70 years, from 1903 to 1973. Over time, countless cases were heard and tried within its walls, including one in 1959 for a murderer who had killed someone on courthouse property. But, as Colorado Springs continued to grow and modernize, the city started to question the useful life of their old court building.
Talks of tearing the building down became public in 1966, and though the community created uproar, the discussions continued amongst county officials with a newer replacement in mind. The county shifted court work out of the building in 1973 and soon boarded it up in preparation for removal. But, after several other historic structures were demolished in the mid-1970s, an organized effort was made to save the courthouse.
Luckily, these efforts succeeded, and the old courthouse was converted into the Pioneers Museum of Colorado Springs in 1979. Since then, the Pioneers Museum has entertained and educated thousands of locals and tourists with its exhibits and the unique building it houses them in. But, the museum may have gotten one aspect more than it bargained for when it moved into the old court building: the ghost in residence.
Does Eddie Beals Haunt the Pioneer Museum?
While only one ghost is said to haunt the large, old courthouse-turned-museum, plenty of workers and visitors have reported encounters with him. Stories indicate the spirit who haunts the halls is that of Eddie Beals, a former managing custodian at the courthouse in the mid-20th century.
In a dispute over stolen wages, Beals was shot dead by one of his employees, Willie Butler, on May 29th, 1959. Not long after, the ghost of Eddie Beals started making himself known.
Pioneers Museum Ghosts at Night
Stories about paranormal encounters with Eddie Beals go back for decades. The first few reports of hauntings in the building seem to have started with the nightshift security crew at the museum.
The story goes that nighttime security guards would often avoid the area of the building that used to house Eddie Beals’ apartment and workspace, citing an uneasy or disturbing feeling around that area of the building. From there, the experiences and the stories of encounters with Eddie Beals’ ghost only developed further.
A Favorite Pioneers Museum Ghost
Over time, Eddie Beals’ presence in the building has become something of an exhibit in itself. Employees have come to accept any strange little happenings around the museum as just Eddie saying “hi”. Whether it’s a shadow out of the corner of an eye, or a misplaced pen that mysteriously reappears one day, it’s just Eddie being Eddie.
The paranormal tales around the Pioneers Museum have drawn in numerous interested investigators over the years, and past examinations of the activity turned up doors opening up on their own, lights flickering without explanation, and even an encounter with the well-known cold spots.