Spooky stories shared at Fort Garland Museum Fright Night

Photo by Diane Drekmann The Fort Garland Museum had a Fright Night on Oct. 27.

FORT GARLAND — The Fort Garland Museum had a Fright Night on Oct. 27. Iava Williams, who is an intern at the museum, gave a tour of the fort, complete with ghostly tales.

People gathered in the privates' quarters to hear from Gus Miller what some have experienced over the years.

“There are many instances where re-enactors would hear something and nothing would be there," Miller said.

Josh Ortiz told the tale of the Espinoza brothers, who reportedly killed 25-30 people in response to their sibling being killed and not honoring the land grant.

Alec Bryant shared facts about the infamous Alferd Packer and the story of cannibalism at Donner Pass in California.

As the story goes, "Alferd Packer went to Saguache after the event,” Bryant said. “People became suspicious because six people started the journey. Packer is the only one who survived, and he had more than when he started. Packer was eventually found guilty of murder and hanged.”

Bryant also related the popular tale of Maria here in San Luis Valley. The story is about 500 years old and is about a woman, Maria, who drowned her children and then herself after seeing her husband with another woman.

The tour went through the barracks and jail cells where they had "skeletons" of the prisoners.

Fright Night had a bright side. In the brightly lit Mess Hall, families enjoyed baked potatoes with all the fixings, and games like cupcake toss and knockout.

The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area representatives were also on hand. They are a non-profit involved in preserving, protecting culture, and historical buildings across Colorado

The Fort Garland Museum will continue festivities for the Day of the Dead from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 4. There is an ofrenda in the privates' quarters where the ghost stories were told. People can bake traditional bread "Pan de Muerto" or Bread of the Dead in the traditional outdoor oven called an horno that day. Children will be performing folklorico dances. There will also be crafts.

Antonia Ortiz, museum educator, also "invites the community to come the second Thursday of the month for "Vecinos" (neighbors) coffee from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be hot cocoa, tea, and coffee. A local couple plays music. Sometimes there is a potluck. It is a time for neighbors and the community to gather. Ortiz hopes to have monthly events like crafts or paint nights.