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The Gates of Hell

The Gates of Hell

The Gates of Hell

The tall, rusted iron gates let the curious know they are in the right spot.  Not an adventure for the fearful, the Gates of Hell near Riverdale Road in Thornton, CO is a place thrill seekers only dare visit in groups, some complete with holy water and bibles.  It is a place where legend speaks of satanic worship, murders, sacrifice, and a lady in white who roams the nearby road, forever searching for her way home. They come to see the burned ruins of a great mansion, the haunted trunk of a tree scarred from fire, and the terrifying dark, musty room hidden underground.

Among the Ruins

Those courageous enough to travel through the Gates of Hell come upon the ruins of the old mansion.  It is said that the man that built it lost his mind. One night, he set the entire mansion ablaze with his wife and children asleep inside before he disappeared, never to be held accountable. Muffled screams can be heard echoing against these now crumbling walls that bared witness to the unspeakable crime.  Is the lady in white that walks the road the lost spirit of the woman that died at her husband’s hands in this place? Is she still trying to escape the fire, or looking for her murdered children? Though people stop to offer her help when they see her, she silently continues on her path, eyes forward, never turning.  The good Samaritan will continue driving down Riverdale Road, only to look in the rearview mirror to see that she is gone.

This horrible murder was one of many atrocities committed on the cursed land. There are tales of slaves being burned and hung from a tree at the back of the property near the banks of the South Platte River.  Today, the burned tree still stands almost as if a memorial to those that are reported to have died there.  Those that sit beneath the tree on a quiet night can hear it creaking in the wind.  Is this the sound that would be made by the victims swinging at the end of the rope? Some nights moaning can be heard. Is this the sound of the spirits that cannot move on because of their tragic, sudden deaths? Maybe it’s just the wind.  That’s what people tell themselves as fear starts to build inside their chests.

The sights and sounds of the tree and the ruins are chilling, but what people really come to see is what was once an underground chicken coop where mysterious markings cover the walls.  It is said that it was here that the mansion’s builder, prior to slaughtering his family, would conjure spirits and demons.  Hidden from sight beneath the ground, he wrote symbols of black magic on the walls in the blood of his victims, trying to access power from an unseen world. As one walks down the steps into the darkness, the dampness fills the lungs making it hard to breathe. The flashlights can only illuminate small portions of the dark, tomb-like room. There’s a sense that something waits in every corner only to scurry away just before the light sweeps across it. The shuffling of their own feet through the debris on the ground keeps visitors guessing, “Did I just hear a footstep or was that me?” They stop and listen, heart racing in anticipation of what they might hear. For those that are brave enough to sit quietly in the dark, they will hear the heavy breathing of an unseen occupant in the room, hovering just over their shoulder, taunting with an unseen presence. It’s believed that the markings on the walls entrap something. A demon, some say. Is that what you can hear breathing? Hopefully, those that visit this unholy place don’t accidentally allow it to escape or maybe…

…follow them home.

Home is where you will want to be after spending even a small amount of time here. Many leave swearing to never return. Articles of clothing found at the site lead many to believe that those that have been reported missing in the area may have been brought here and sacrificially murdered to appease the entity that breathes down the neck of the living that dare to step into the darkness of the coop. Many feel that once they pass through the gates again that they are safe, that they have left behind the hell that was once the home to a madman and his victims. If you speak to those that have been there, you’ll learn that may not be the case. They say something followed them and they never want to speak of the place again.  They thought they would be safe at home, but I’m sure that’s what the family thought that was murdered within mansion behind the gates. Be prepared for what you may find once you pass through the Gates of Hell. It may be what you don’t see that’s most terrifying.

The location is as elusive as the murderous mansion builder himself. Many say they have been to the location, yet others say they cannot find it as they travel the dark, curvy Riverdale Road. The spirits may be selective in who they reveal their final resting place to.

Are you among the brave that have stood behind the Gates, facing your fears?  Please tell us your story and share your photographs. Your experiences and photographs may be included on this website when we later learn the history behind the infamous Gates of Hell.

Did you enjoy this story? Read more about the stories of Colorado on our Legends page. Be sure to check back often as there are many stories yet to be told.

This article contains a Colorado urban legend collected from many sources including websites, forum, books and personal accounts.  Colorado Urban Legends does not present this information as truth or historical fact and it is provided for entertainment purposes only.The story above has been researched and that information will be provided in a future article located in the Truth section of this website. Stay tuned.