Driving around Colorado can be a complete nightmare. People don’t know how to merge, use their blinkers or basically obey simple traffic laws. While this can be frustrating beyond belief, it isn’t nearly as terrible as driving the allegedly haunted Riverdale Road (AKA “The Gates of Hell”) in Thornton. How did this street earn such a morbid nickname? Is it really haunted? What incidents occurred that gave it such a bad reputation? To get to the bottom of this, we interviewed Denver Ghost Hunter’s Founder and Director, Stephanie (Johnson) Smith, an instructional designer developer and educator who helps run Denver Ghost Hunters.

Amidst the Cottonwood Tree lined, windy roads of rural Thornton lies the seemingly innocent Riverdale Road; the alleged site of several manic instances ranging from an insane man murdering his wife and children by setting their mansion on fire, to the grizzly lynchings of former slaves, to the mysterious underground chicken coop that was once home to conjured demons and spirits. As if this wasn’t enough history for one city road, legend also has it that the ghost of a Camero driver (and his car) coax living visitors into racing to their death, while demon phantom dogs and children play along the unpaved sides. Yikes!

After researching all the ghoulishness of the area, we turned to resident expert Stephanie and here is what she had to say:

The first time I investigated Riverdale, was many years ago. It was my first lead investigation and I went out to the road to spot good sites that I thought would work for all of our team and for some guest investigators. I was drawn to the one part of the road. It was daylight but there was just something about this spot. As the team’s psychic, I am often asked to locate hot spots of activity. That night we went to the location and I got out of my car and began walking down the road. It seemed pretty quiet. You could hear the oil drums beating in the fields, but other than that it was quiet. I decided to walk on the other side of the road for a while. As I was walking I could see someone ahead of me. The first thing I remember was that they had on boots, but otherwise it was very shadowed. I have seen ghosts, and this one just seemed to be walking toward me. I tried to think rationally, but I just kept getting nervous, and then that turned to panic and at some point in my walk, I turned around and ran the other direction. I ran and ran from the shadow with the boots. Past my team, past the camera crew, past the cars, until my head cleared. On camera, they caught a white ball of light zooming past me. After a few moments, I cleared my head and walked on the other side of the road. I felt fine, no trepidation at all. But every time I walked on the other side, I would feel the same panicked feeling. This got me thinking, if this was some sort of imprinted event, that I could only see and feel if I stepped in on it. So I began to get volunteers (different nights) and have them experiment. I told them nothing of my experience, just had them walk down the road for as long as they could and then come back and tell us what they felt or saw. Some have reported seeing a shadowy figure, others felt scared, some ran back to the car, some felt like they were being followed and others just felt ill. We have captured video, evps and photographs, but the most compelling is the sound of footsteps behind you as you walk along the dark road. I have never found any historical evidence to support this story, but I keep looking. There are too many people that feel the same thing.

What do you think? Is there something to the legends of Riverdale Road or are people just paranoid? Give us your take in the comments!

(We would like to extend a huge thank you to Stephanie for taking the time to visit with us about Riverdale Road. For more information about Stephanie and Denver Ghost Hunters, check out their website.)

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