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Built in 1897, the Ed Jones building, 519 4th Ave., first served as the Milo G. Rice Undertaking firm. Local morticians worked out of this building, and dead bodies were stored in the cool basement. You can still see where the original body chute hole in the basement was located – it has since been concreted over. This is where bodies were slid down from the building’s street-level alleyway to the lower level morgue.
Serving as the city’s print shop for decades, the building’s hauntings have been mainly reported by print shop employees over the years. Unexplained banging and flashes of light have been described coming from the basement. When staff members would go down to investigate, a cold, empty and dark room was always found.
Richard Estep, author of Haunted Longmont and director of the Boulder County Paranormal Society, first investigated the print shop in 2009. He and his team spent the night and searched throughout the building, but their searches turned up no paranormal activity. However, Estep’s interest in the old building was piqued again in 2013 when he received an email from a city employee.
The email indicated that paranormal activity was happening in the building. One of the members of the early morning cleaning staff reported seeing the spirit of a hunchbacked woman in her sixties staring at her from one of the print shop windows. The woman smiled at the cleaner who then turned her back thinking she was crazy, turned back around and the woman disappeared before her eyes. The cleaner was in the adjacent Development Services Building at the time, but no one was in the Jones building. In fact, the building was found to be locked, and the alarm was set at the time of the sighting.
The city’s cleaning crew had also mentioned light switches that wouldn’t work all of a sudden and when maintenance would come to fix them, they would work again. The cleaner who saw the hunchbacked woman also had a metal vent cover hit her in the head early one morning. A print shop employee witnessed this event, and the cover had been secured to the ceiling prior to falling. Two print shop employees told Estep that the shop’s doorbell would ring on its own, and the doorbell at the neighboring Development Services building, set on a separate circuit, did the same. No one was even there when the bell would ring. Other weird events like flying shovels, floor cleaners coming to life, haunting music and hearing hushed voices in the building’s basement were relayed to Estep by employees of both buildings.
So, Estep and his paranormal team headed back to investigate both the Development Services Building, which served as the original City Hall and was built in 1884, and the Jones building. Elevated electromagnetic frequency (EMF) levels were found along the western wall of the print shop (where the hunchback was seen). Other than that, the team’s video footage, photography, temperature readings and other electronic voice recordings returned nothing of paranormal interest.