Poor Emma Crawford. It seems she led a doomed life from the very beginning.Emma was diagnosed with tuberculosis and advised to move to a drier climate for her health.
Her family moved to Manitou Springs, Colorado for the climate and the healing waters of the springs surrounding the town.
Emma seemed to recover from her illness. Often she would take long walks up the mountains surrounding Manitou and feel the peace and beauty of the Colorado Rockies.
Her favorite place was Red Mountain, where she spent countless hours hiking and investigating nature.
Emma lived for many years. When she died, her final request was to be buried on Red Mountain.
Her wish was fulfilled and her grave was placed at the top of the mountain she loved.
Many people had claimed to see a pale specter of a woman in white, walking along the trails of the mountain. They swore it was Emma.
In 1912, Emma's grave had to be moved to the southern slope of the mountain to make way for a railroad line that was to be built going up Red Mountain.
This was a disaster for Emma. Heavy rains and erosion caused her coffin to be exposed to the forces of nature.
In 1929, a severe rain caused her coffin and remains to slide down the 7200 foot slope and wind up breaking apart on the main street of Manitou Springs.
The railroad that had Emma's remains moved, failed. So she shouldn't have been moved in the first place.
Emma was finally interred at the Crystal Valley Cemetery in Manitou.
However, for many years, people have seen a ghostly specter of a woman appear along the main street of town and Red Mountain.
Just as quickly, she would disappear. Emma's ordeal was not a total loss.
courtesy of the Mountain Jackpot
Since 1995, on the Saturday before Halloween, the annual Emma Crawford Coffin Races are held in Manitou Springs.
It is a festival in Emma's honor and a fun time for everyone. Hundreds of people come every year with their homemade "coffins" and race down the main street of Manitou.
And if you look close enough into the crowd, you may see a ghostly image of a woman in period dress watching over the festivities.