First, a little about Emma Crawford. She was born in 1863 in Massachusetts and around 1889 moved to Manitou Springs, CO with her family in hopes that the climate would cure her illness. Sickly her entire life, Emma loved the outdoors and before she died in 1891 she requested that she be buried at the top of a nearby mountain and not in a cemetery. With some difficulty Emma's fiance made sure this happened, but years later around 1929 a skull and the remains of her casket were found in a home in Manitou Springs and she was reburied in a local cemetery. I've condensed this story for space purposes, and you should read Emma's actual story on the festival website because it includes Spiritualism and seances.
This all brings me to why we all must try to take part in the Emma Crawford Festival during the month of October. The city of Manitou Springs has created the most creative and fun activities to mark Emma's history that I've ever heard of. Not all the 2015 activities have been scheduled yet, but if it's like last year, you won't be disappointed. Here is what we know so far.
Emma Crawford Coffin Races- October 24
Yep, there is a huge coffin race right through the middle of town. Each team must have four people to push the coffin and one person representing Emma inside the coffin. Last year 50 teams participated! This has been going on since 1995. How did we miss this? More photos are located on the Emma Crawford Coffin Race Facebook page.
The Miramont Castle is a historic house museum that hosts a wake for Emma! You can purchase a ticket to attend the viewing of Emma in her coffin in 20 minutes sessions and then partake in food and drink in the Great Hall. I'm assuming along the way you'll learn something about mourning customs of the time. You don't see this every day. I think I like the people of Manitou Springs.
If you still want more after that, the Blue Moon Haunted History Tours will be giving spooky tours of Manitou Springs. And lucky for us, if you can't make it this year, you can study up with a book from the owner, Stephanie Waters, on Manitou Springs.
The Emma Crawford Festival looks like the perfect warm-up event for Halloween and it can all be done in a weekend!