Before I go into my last tale of nights at the Imperial, I want you to go back to the picture you saw in a previous page about the Red Rooster Bar. Look at the speaker hanging on the wall directly above the door. Looks pretty heavy, doesn't it? I can assure you that it is, since I picked one just like it off the floor one morning. Here's what happened:
It was Halloween of 1994, and we had a full house in the casino that night. There were two of us working security because of the crowd, but it wasn't really necessary since everyone was fairly well behaved. That in itself was rather unusual since the biggest problem you had as a security guard in Cripple Creek was what we called "Triple A"--alcohol, altitude and attitude. Seemingly civilized people would get absolutely stupid for no reason other than the fact that they weren't used to the rarified atmosphere. Combine that with all the free booze the casinos gave out, and you can rest assured that if you asked a youthful player for an ID or tried to calm a boisterous patron, odds were 50/50 that you were going to at least get some "lip" or possibly an offer to step outside. Remember the city limits sign on the home page? The field elevation is 9,494 feet. The US Federal Aviation Admininstration requires commercial airline pilots to go on supplemental oxygen at 10,000 feet.
At 2:00 AM we finally chased all the patrons out and locked the doors. With two security guards on duty, all the slot machine meter readings were done in less than twenty minutes, and there was nothing left to do but sit and "shoot the bull" for the rest of the night. Even that got boring after awhile, so we wandered into the hotel lobby to check on the night auditor. She obviously welcomed the company because we couldn't get her to shut up. Finally, around 4:00 a.m. we decided to head back into the casino and refill our coffee cups.
It was then that we heard a loud crash from inside the dining room. All three of us ran in the direction of the noise, but as far as we could tell there was nothing out of the ordinary. So we went back to the waiter's station next to the kitchen doors. There, laying on the floor, was one of these huge vintage 1950's speakers. Now the ceiling in the Imperial's dining room was extremely tall--at least eighteen to twenty feet--and the speaker had been mounted up near the top. No wonder it made such a ruckus! What was odd was that the solid wood case of the speaker wasn't even scratched, much less splintered like you'd expect. It was then that I noticed something really strange.
Directly below where the speaker had been mounted was a set of narrow shelves and a fairly wide countertop where the wait staff would set their trays. It was also where the night auditor would set the baskets for the coffee urns. That night there were two baskets filled with coffee grounds on the edge of the counter, and neither of them had been touched. I stood on the countertop and looked at the top of the shelves. There was no damage or marks in the dust to indicate that the speaker had bounced off the shelf. Even stranger was the fact that there were no marks on the countertop. Also, if the speaker had hit the countertop there would have been coffee grounds everywhere! Instead there was nothing, not a trace that the speaker had hit anything on its way to the floor.
How could that be? In order for the speaker to fall to the floor it would have had to have moved at least three feet away from the wall in order to avoid hitting the shelves, the countertop or the baskets from the coffee urn. And yet there it was, laying on the floor at least four feet from the wall.
We all looked at each other with the same thought on our minds - George. Who else could have done something like that? Most of all, it was All Hallows Day, when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. I couldn't think of a better time for George to make his presence known.
So if you're ever in Cripple Creek with some extra time (and money,) drop by the Imperial Casino Hotel and look around. Better yet, spend the night in the comfort of the hotel's quaint and charming rooms. But no matter where you are, if you should happen to hear some unexplained noise or feel someone brushing up against you when there's no one there, just yell out, "Knock it off, George!" It always seemed to work for me . . .Home