Walk into any historic building and ask if its haunted, and the response you will get will most likely be a yes. Don’t ask and it’s likely to come up in conversation, “did you know that it’s haunted?”
Haunted buildings have become a big deal for many tour groups and cities. In Fort Collins the small Fort Collins Tours company has become so popular and so big that they have had to double their staff and add new tours just to deal with the masses that want to see old basements and jail cells. The allure might be finding ghosts, but the bigger appeal may just be the fantastic characters that make up Fort Collins and Colorado history.
Fort Collins Tours started in May 2011 as the brain child of Lori Juszak and her son. As a way to add to their real estate company and a way to explore the history of Fort Collins. Today every week most of their tours sell out, and the tours not only bring money to the company but also bring the masses to Fort Collins businesses.
Her stories talk about spooks but also about the rich characters that built and lived in the Fort Collins community. Though some stories are filled with dastardly deeds, murder and other crimes of passion, many stories just embody the often chaotic west.
Such as the story of James Howe who murdered his wife. Though locked up in a jail cell a group of men from the community stormed the jail, taking the murderer and hanging him for the town to see. Setting an example for other ill-tempered Fort Collins men and encouraging the implementation of domestic violence laws.
Though Juszak makes her living on telling tales, she doesn’t wander far from the truth. Which is what makes history often stranger than fiction, and always full of the best characters.