USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘colorado’
Legends
Narrative

Colorado Springs Haunted Mine

Main Piece
So there is this mine in Colorado springs, and what happened was a school bus full of children was murdered in the mine in the 1950’s, and so the myth is that if you cover your car with baby powder, and then drive in like the middle of the mine, because you can drive through part of it, and then you park and you turn off everything, and you come out, after you turn your lights on and stuff, and there will be handprints where the baby powder was. You hear children laughing too. We’ve done it, and like yeah you see handprints, and so nobody really knows what it is. I mean, it might be like water dripping or something, but its legit so creepy.

Background
The informant grew up in Colorado, and therefore learned many of the area specific stories and traditions. She specifically lived near Colorado Springs, where she claims this mine to be. She did not state the name of the mine, but insisted she had been there from personal experience.

Context
The informant is a 25-year-old women studying law at Loyola in Los Angeles. The information was collected outside my family home in Palm Springs, California on April 20th, 2019.

Analysis
This ‘textbook’ scary story is classic of horror narratives – there is an old murder, and ghosts who still haunt those grounds. I think this story is interesting in particular because the ghosts here are children, which makes it all the more creepy. This doesn’t seem to be a cautionary tale, but one of more intrigue and suggesting of trying it out. I really like that the informant had tried out the tale, and had confirmed it as being true, although she offers her own possible explanation for what causes the marks in the powder on your car. I think it must be really fun and possibly scary for those taking part in the tradition, but they are really keeping the memory of the dead children, if they really existed, alive. Even if the background of the tale is not fully true, the ritual and tradition associated with it continue to keep the mine and its questionable history relevant.

Folk speech
general
Humor

“It’s Greeley!” – Folk Saying

“It’s Greeley!”

The informant said that when he and his friends would smell horse manure in Boulder, they would say: “It’s Greeley!”  According to my friend, the city of Greeley would always be blamed in some form by Boulder residents when there is a scent of horse manure in the air.

The informant first heard a friend in middle school mention Greeley.  He started using the saying himself when the saying’s blaming of Greeley was confirmed – He visited Greeley and it smelled of the same scent as the wind that would occasionally sweep over Boulder.

Greeley is a city that is approximately 50 miles away from Boulder, and has a lot of stables and horses.  Sometimes the wind is strong enough to carry the scent of the horses and their manure to cities as far as Boulder.

When the informant started using the joke itself suggests that some knowledge of Greeley is essential to understanding the joke.  In fact, the informant did not know what his friend was talking about at first when he mentioned Greeley.

The saying relies on the audience’s knowledge of Colorado’s cities, particularly Greeley, in order to be humorous.  While not explicitly used to distinguish Colorado residents from outsiders, understanding of the joke would determine whether or not you live in/know of Colorado, or of the city of Greeley.

According to my friends, other cities in the area know of Greeley’s reputation as well.  He does not know if they talk about the city in the same way.

Digital
Humor

You’re from Colorado if… Joke cycle

Email:

winter statistic:
98% OF AMERICANS SCREAM BEFORE GOING IN THE DITCH ON A SLIPPERY ROAD.

THE OTHER 2% ARE FROM COLORADO AND THEY SAY,

“HOLD MY SODA AND WATCH THIS.”

***********************************

Now, you’re from Colorado if………

You eat ice cream in the winter.


It snows 5 inches and you don’t expect school to be cancelled.

You’ll wear flip flops every day of the year, regardless of temperature.

You have no accent at all, but can hear other people’s.

And then you make fun of them.

“Humid” is over 25%.

Your sense of direction is: Toward the mountains and Away from the mountains.

You say “the interstate” and everybody knows which one.

You think that May is a totally normal month for a blizzard.

You buy your flowers to set out on Mother’s day, but try and hold off planting them until just before Father’s day.

You grew up planning your Halloween costumes around your coat.

You know what the Continental Divide is.

You don’t think Coors beer is that big a deal.

You went to Casa Bonita as a kid, AND as an adult.

You’ve gone off-roading in a vehicle that was never intended for such activities.

You always know the elevation of where you are.

You wake up to a beautiful, 80 degree day and you wonder if it’s gonna snow later.

You don’t care that some company renamed it, the Broncos still play at Mile High Stadium!!!

Every movie theater has military and student discounts.

You actually know that ** South Park ** is a real place, not just a dumb show on TV.

You know what a ‘trust fund hippy’ is, and you know its natural habitat is Boulder .

You know you’re talking to a fellow Coloradoan when they call it “Elitches,” not “”Six Flags.”

A bear on your front porch doesn’t bother you.

Your two favorite teams are the Broncos and whoever is beating the crap out of the Raiders.

When people back East tell you they have mountains in their state too, you just laugh.

You go anywhere else on the planet and the air feels “sticky” and you notice the sky is no longer blue.

FORWARD THIS IF YOU LIVE IN OR ARE FROM COLORADO !!!

The informant is a 65-year-old ghost writer and editor who lives in Carefree, Arizona. He lived in Colorado for about 25 years before he moved to Florida 7 years ago then moved to Arizona about two years ago.

The informant told me his brother- or sister-in-law in Iowa sent this email to him.

The informant told me he liked it because

People from Colorado could relate to it. [He liked that it talked about the] regional things Coloradans take for granted. It’s the inside joke thing. People love to share jokes that other people wouldn’t get, and this is one of those.

He told me he, sent it to everyone he knew that either lived in Colorado or had lived in Colorado because he thought “they would get a kick out of it.”

To me, as a fellow Coloradan, this joke certainly was funny, the wording makes it seem like these jokes are the ones that circulate about Coloradans rather than those Coloradans would say about themselves. For one things, the first joke has a clear tell that the “joke teller” in this email is not from Colorado – they had the Coloradan ask the passenger to hold their “soda”. Coloradans make fun of people incessantly when they say “soda” instead of “pop”. Soda to a Coloradan refers to club soda, not Coca Cola. Also, most of these one-liners need an outside reference to make them funny. “Humid” to people in the Midwest and on the East Coast is 90% humidity; 25% is nearly unheard of. And yet to a Coloradan 25% is more humid than normal. Unless one is able to take an outsiders perspective on most of these jokes, they aren’t funny – they’re simply how life is lived. So what. For example, for someone who eats ice cream in the winter all the time, it’s pointless to point it out. I think it is telling as well that the informant, a man who hasn’t lived in Colorado for 7 years, sent it to me, another ex-Coloradan, and initially got it from an Iowan. None of us currently live in Colorado. I don’t think this joke cycle would be as funny to someone who’d spent their whole lives in Colorado. Its humor depends on the transience of populations with people comparing the norms of one place with those of another. In this way, this joke cycle represents the transient nature of Americans as wells as the idiosyncrasies of Coloradans.

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