Molly Brown House
One of the most exciting reputedly haunted houses in Denver, Colorado is the Molly Brown House. It’s now known as the Molly Brown House Museum and was originally constructed by Isaac and Mary Large. This family had invested in the silver mines surrounding Denver. In 1893, the silver market crashed. Due to this crisis, Molly and her husband, James Joseph “J.J.” Brown, were able to buy the house for a mere $30,000 the following year. In 1898, ownership of this house was transferred to Molly due to the declining health of J.J. It remained in her hands until her death in 1932. Today, it’s one of the most well-known of the Denver haunted houses.
Molly was born as Margaret Tobin in Hannibal, Missouri in 1867. The shores of the Mississippi River were her home and she held a job as a waitress at a local hotel before she became the socialite, philanthropist and activist that she was later in life. It was while she was working one day that she met the famous writer Mark Twain. He told her all about Denver, Colorado, which started her on the path of the amazing life she ended up living.
The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Molly earned the nickname Unsinkable Molly Brown because of something that happened to her while she was on one of her many travels. She received word that one of her family members was sick and immediately booking passage back to her home. The first ship leaving that she could get a ticket for was on a ship you might have heard of. It was called the Titanic.
The Molly Brown Titanic story is that she was put on lifeboat number 6 and reportedly rowed that boat for seven and a half hours to reach safety. While Molly was said to have entertained her many high society friends and important leaders with this graphic tale of her heroics as well as what happened on the night this mighty ship went under, many historians don’t believe that this story happened at all the way Molly told it.
In the end, it doesn’t matter whether Molly was one hundred percent truthful with her story or not. It’s still a wonderful and colorful addition to the many tales surrounding the Titanic and just makes Molly that much more interesting.
Even though the Molly Brown House is now operated as a museum, there have been many reported paranormal experiences that have occurred here in one of the haunted houses in Denver. Not only do Molly and J.J. seem to be haunting the house, but there are several others as well. Visitors along with museum staff have spotted the apparitions of Molly and J.J. roaming the house.
One of the most often noticed activities is the scent of pipe smoke. Molly didn’t allow J.J. to smoke in the house although he was an avid pipe smoker. Oddly enough, the smoke seems to be noticed only in the attic or the basement, which is just where J.J. might have gone to sneak a smoke when he was alive.
The former room of Catherine, daughter of Molly and J.J., is the scene of other paranormal activity. There are reports that the window blinds raise and lower themselves without human assistance. Molly’s mother also lived in the house and she’s been spotted peering out of her bedroom window.
The apparition of a lady wearing a Victorian dress has been seen sitting at the table in the dining room. She’s been caught on film so maybe she’s not camera shy. It seems that she enjoys re-arranging the dining room chairs on occasion. There’s also the apparition of what may be a male servant that appears in a mirror hanging near the stairs.
Public tours are held at the Molly Brown House Museum. If you’re lucky, you may spot some apparitions, hear some phantom piano music, see rocking chairs moving alone, and smell the scent of an invisible pipe. If you see Molly and J.J., be sure to thank them for their hospitality.
Photo of Molly Brown House courtesy of Judy Epstein