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Campfire tales gone bad

Kimberly Nicoletti

BRECKENRIDGE – Did you ever learn where mayonnaise really comes from?

Well, if you haven’t heard, there’s an old lady – 106 years old – and people say she hides out in the William Briggle House. She has infected sores and pimples all over her body. She spends her days picking her scabs, squeezing pus and collecting it in jars labeled mayonnaise.

Now that you know, I bet you can guess where green jelly comes from.

The Backstage Theatre and the Summit Historical Society dig up their best campfire and ghost stories Thursday for the second annual Haunted Histories and Monstrous Mysteries – a night when the historic houses at Milne Park in Breckenridge scream with creepy tales.

Last year, actors engaged imaginations by bringing to life the writing of Edgar Allan Poe, as well as chilling campfire tales. The performances – completely memorized – surpassed any at the Molly Brown House in Denver, upon which Haunted Histories and Monstrous Mysteries are based.

George Grill recreated the faint tap, tap, tapping from Poe’s “The Raven,” Lee Sandblom looked like a madman in his recounting of “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Stan Levin told Poe’s vengeful story, “The Cask of Amontillado,” and Kelly and Matt Renoux spun tales of the headless boyfriend and “The Hook.”

This year, Amy Fujiwara, Gail Westwood, Holly Westwood, Robbie Hodge, Connie Hodge, Misty Rogers and Deborah Shansky begin the hauntings earlier – the night before Halloween – so all of the children can get a good scare.

“Last year, we were competing with candy (on Halloween night), so mostly adults came, which was appropriate since we did Poe,” said Jeremy Cole, artistic director of the Backstage Theatre. “This year, to bring in more kids – since it’s still more their holiday than ours – we’ve kept it to campfire stories – bloody fingers, “The Hook.’ Most of the stuff is as funny as it is scary.”

“They can actually sit through it and enjoy it rather than having the daylights scared out of them,” said Amy Fujiwara, one of the storytellers. “They use their own imagination to draw the stories out and make them even more scary.”

Guests begin listening to spooky tales in the William A. Briggle House, built in 1896 by Briggle, a cashier at the Engle’s Exchange Bank. The home resembles a Romanesque revival style with a Victorian-style interior.

The hauntings continue in the Milne house, built in 1880 and occupied by Alice B. Milne, Breckenridge town clerk. Around 1885, she added a fancy front parlor, a bedroom and finally a shed next to the kitchen. The solid logs, chinked with mud, horse hair and sawdust, are covered with newspaper and packing crates to hold heat.

The tour ends at the barren Eberlein house, which is still in need of restoration.

“It’s a really great opportunity for folks to come in and see these three historic Breckenridge homes and have them be the backdrop for this haunted tour,” said Karen Fischer, tour and volunteer coordinator for the Summit Historical Society, about last year’s tour at Milne Park.

Tours run every 15 minutes from 6 to 9 p.m. today at the Milne Park at 104 N. Harris St. in Breckenridge. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children.

All proceeds benefit the Backstage Theatre and the Summit Historical Society equally. For more information, call the theater at (970) 453-0199 or the historical society at (970) 453-9022.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.


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