"Come and enjoy the ambiance of this historic Bed and Breakfast located in beautiful Trinidad, Colorado. Splendid antiques blended with modern conveniences pamper your senses and your soul. Tarabino Inn bed and breakfast lodging combines the elegance and way of life of the Victorian era with the comforting hospitality and atmosphere rarely encountered in today's world. Indulge in the old world warmth of antique furnishings, rich natural woodwork, persian rugs, and much more...
...and it looks like the "much more" might very well be a spirit or two, or so it appears after our interview with Kevin, one of the owners!
[b]Maji:[/b] How did you come to own the inn?
[b]Kevin:[/b] My wife, Teresa, and I met in the late '80's when I was working as a teacher in Elizabeth, Colorado, about an hour southeast of Denver. We soon moved to Seattle, but never considered it permanent, and spent numerous vacations studying the landscape and land prices throughout Colorado and the Southwest.
After remodeling and selling our home in Seattle, we flew to Santiago, Chile, where Teresa was born. We planned on looking for work teaching English, but instead got itchy feet and found ourselves wandering Latin America for over a year.
Upon our return, we took a road trip through Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, but, once again, didn't stumble upon a town that "spoke to us." That is, until we came down Raton Pass and stopped in Trinidad. Teresa was ready to move here immediately. I started applying for jobs and was lucky enough to get hired as a school counselor for the local district.
Teresa and her sister saw the Tarabino House and loved it. The Tarabino Inn is now a limited liability corporation with four partners, my wife and I, my sister-in-law, and her partner.
[b]Maji:[/b] When did you notice it might first be haunted?
[b]Kevin:[/b] The first time Teresa and I were lounging on the front porch, two boys, maybe eight or ten years old, stopped in front of the house on their bikes and asked if the house was haunted. Apparently, the house had a reputation around town.
Our first big project was to tear off the roof and protect the structure with new roof and gutters. During that project, roofers asked about ghosts.
We spoke with the former owner and, yes, he and others at the house had stories to tell. They even performed a ritual to drive the ghost into the basement coal bin (which doesn't seem like a very nice thing to do)!
[b]Maji:[/b] Has anything happened in the inn that has ever frightened you or made you feel unsafe?
[b]Kevin:[/b] I have had numerous experiences personally, and others have as well, but stories of fright are rare.
A few examples from my own experience: Twice I awoke to the call of nature and came across the image of a young woman in a nightgown. She was standing at the foot of the stairs, just looking at me with a sad or longing expression. The first time I awoke in the morning and tried to explain it away as a dream, but after it happened again, I wasn't so sure. Unfortunately, my bladder didn't give me the chance to visit, and when I came out of the bathroom she was gone.
I awoke on more than one occasion to the sound of someone walking on the stairs. I once woke up with a hand on my shoulder, which was a bit startling, but I turned and no one was there.
One night, again responding to the call of nature, I was standing at the commode when a large crash -- like the sound of a chair being thrown onto the wood floors -- made me jump out of my skin. There was a simultaneous vibration under my feet. I checked the whole house to find an explanation, but nothing. Sometimes the old radiators knock, but this was too much. I even checked a website to see if we had had an earthquake, but again, nothing.
At this point I thought, okay, this really isn't necessary, so the next night, awaking like usual in the predawn hours, I got up and headed for the bathroom. I did my business and then decided we should have a little talk. I felt like I'd gone insane, but I was compelled to speak aloud to the ghost, which I did. Standing in my boxers, I apologized for invading her space, and also joked with her about the fact that I am usually in a state of partial or complete undress when walking to the bathroom in the wee hours. I explained that it was a big house, and if she didn't appreciate it she was welcome to turn away or move to another part of the house. I also said that I was not personally concerned about my privacy, but that it seemed unnecessary for her to be floating around when I was doing what men do at the toilet. At any rate, I said, there's certainly no reason to try to scare me, and we should learn to coexist in peace.
That was the end of ghostly experiences for me, at least as far as she is concerned.
[b]Maji:[/b] Do your guests know the inn is haunted?
[b]Kevin:[/b] We don't usually tell our guests about the ghosts unless they ask. Interestingly, our very first guest when we opened about sixteen months ago ask if the house was haunted. A friend of a local writer came once to assess the house. She claimed there were at least seven entities residing here. There were children on the top floor, two stairwalkers, something in the dining room, and a guy named Hector who likes to smoke cherry tobacco in the library (numerous people, including myself, have smelled the smoke). She also claimed there was "something not human" in the Chestnut Suite. She said that though there are some mischevious energies in the house, she sensed nothing malevolent.
This would be consistent with other's experiences. Some have stated that a presence was at the foot of the bed. One guest stated that someone was sitting on the foot of the bed when she awoke in the morning. (See picture at right) At first she thought it was her husband, but then realized he was asleep beside her. We have a new photograph from a reception we hosted last weekend. Distinct orbs are floating throughout the room. This is the only photo in the series with these unexplained balls of light.
There is one spot in the house where numerous independent sources have "felt something." It has been described as an energy. Some feel nothing, others sense that it pushes against them as if to say "Do Not Enter." One friend of ours was a little disturbed by it, saying that it felt as if he had stepped on a body. Also, more than one source has stated that the room is occupied by a young woman who would prefer to be left alone. When we rent the room, however, we usually let her know in advance, telling her that she will have a guest, but they won't be staying long. Only one guest complained that she had to sleep with a lamp on because the presence was too strong when the lights were out. Actually, "complained" is too strong a word. After all, she wants to return to spend more time with the spirit.
We've spoken with numerous folks who used to live in the house, and they all had something to say. In general, though, they all say they enjoyed the spirits and loved the house.
Though my wife isn't sensitive to these things (she says she could be surrounded and have no idea), our most recent report from a guest was enough to make her a little nervous about wandering the house alone at night.
[b]Maji:[/b] What is the most unsettling report on the hauntings you might have heard from a guest?
[b]Kevin:[/b] Recently, a guest came down to breakfast in the morning and stated, "You have a very busy house." She described a family gathering that went on throughout the night. One man, she claimed, was actually tickling her belly in a playful manner! My wife showed her some old newspaper clippings about the house that we had found in the local library. Our guest pointed to a picture of Barney Tarabino and exclaimed, "That's him!" Barney was one of the original homeowners when the house was built between 1903 and 1907.
She said the house was so active that she didn't get much sleep. However, she didn't seem to mind, and she plans to return.
[b]Maji:[/b] Have you done any research on who the spirits in residence might be?
[b]Kevin:[/b] The above reference to Barney Tarabino is the only direct link we've come across. We have found no history of a Hector (the pipe smoker). The house has changed hands repeatedly over the course of a hundred years, so it's hard to say. As for the nonhuman entities...well. Two independent sources claim there is some kind of distortion or "wave" that runs through the house. One self-proclaimed expert says he can see the wave when he is standing in front of the house. Interestingly, the location of said wave is consistent with another report.
[b]Maji:[/b] What was your take on the paranormal before buying the inn?
[b]Kevin:[/b] I consider myself an openminded skeptic. Though not exactly a believer, I figure anything is possible. I had never experienced ghosts before living here. Either the evidence is mounting, or we're all a little crazy.
[b]Maji:[/b] Lastly, are you now a believer in spirits and hauntings?
[b]Kevin:[/b] I had some powerful experiences following the deaths of some loved ones years ago, so I've always been open to the possibility of spirits and hauntings. Now, however, and even though part of me is still a skeptic, I live as though they are real. I pretty much assume they are around, and I interact with them.
Teresa claims Hector helps her when we play Scrabble because she only beats me if we're playing in the library - see picture above left - which is Hector's domain. We haven't smelled the smoke in recent months, but maybe he's gotten used to the idea that we're a nonsmoking household, and we ask that smokers take it out on the porch. Heck, even old ghosts can adjust to 21st century sensibilities!