A shadow of the past is all that remains amid the abandoned grounds of Circle Hot Springs Resort for groundskeepers Bill and Claudette Glanz.
In its heyday the hot spring brought all sorts of guests through Central. The resort officially opened after building completed in 1930. The Glanzes say miners were visiting the land and its hot spring as early as the 1890s, and native rituals took place on the site dating back millennia before the miners. The history, the people’s stories and their secrets still haunt the decaying remains of the once popular tourist stop.
The Glanzes came to the spring in the summer of 1985. Bill had worked a tumultuous and difficult career in law enforcement before moving to Central and was hoping to find a new life somewhere else. Claudette was eager to leave sad memories behind as well. On a random trip to Circle, the couple made a stop at a bar in Central. A friendly conversation at the bar about Central’s peaceful environment was enough to convince the two to move there.
Those first years living in Central were some of the best the Glanzes remember. Claudette worked as a lifeguard at the spring and helped maintain the resort’s grounds. Bill worked part-time as a maintenance man while he gold mined the rest of the time.
The work never really seemed like work for the couple; “it was more like a party,” Claudette said. She took pride in the job, helping guests have fun and feel happy.
“I enjoyed those days,” Claudette said. “I hope I sent a whole bunch of people back home happy.”
Bill enjoyed hearing the old ghost stories passed down from generation to generation. Many of the stories Bill actually believes. He can still remember the stories of the 1940s and 50s one of the resort’s original owners, Bob Casey, used to scare the younger guests with.
“Every Friday night they’d have ghost stories, so he’d talk about some of the things he’d seen,” Bill said. “Of course, all of the kids would take off running with hair standing up on the back of their necks.”
With as much history housed within the walls of the resort and underneath its foundations, the Glanzes can’t help but get swept up in the stories. It might be they believe the stories because they believe they have seen the ghosts face to paranormal face. Bill and his grandchildren had been out swimming in the spring when they returned to the kids’ room. Bill said he could distinctly remember locking the door before they left.
“We opened the door and the room was just tore up,” he said.
The beds, the furniture, the clothes had all been unmade and scattered about the room, the Glanzes said. So the family did what any hopeful ghost catcher would do: They set up cameras in various places around the house. As one might guess, the Glanzes believe they captured something on camera that very night. In the hallway near the main common area, the Glanzes and the grandchildren heard a sudden crashing and banging. Naturally they went down to investigate and saw the flash of the cameras snapping a rapid succession of pictures, triggered by the motion sensors.
The family quickly took the card out of the camera and started uploading the photos to their computer. The Glanzes described what they saw in one of those photos as something that couldn’t possibly exist outside of the supernatural.
“His head was about as high as the ceiling,” Bill said.
“All of us saw something different,” Claudette said.
“You didn’t see the two heads?” Bill asked.
“I saw three heads,” Claudette answered.
“Well, yeah, the third head was on his chest,” Bill casually retorted.
The two continued on about what they thought they saw that evening. The apparition has appeared many times since, the two insist but there has never been anything dangerous about it. Mysteriously, the camera that captured the free-roaming apparition fatally malfunctioned after taking the pictures. Just as mysterious, the photos uploaded to the family computer simply disappeared, Bill said.
Spirits aside, the Glanzes are haunted by the memories of a once thriving, fun environment the resort and its spring provided guests. In a perfect world, Bill would see the property sold and the grounds restored to their original luster.
When the most recent owner Robert Miller passed away, the resort finally closed in 2002. Robert's widow Laverne still holds the deed to the resort and the grounds, but there is no momentum toward reopening. Inside the main hotel, pictures of the resort's illustrious past still hang on the walls. Countless faces captured on film fading with the past as the sun's shine sets.
“It was a fun place to be hanging out,” Bill said. “It’s not past the point that it couldn’t be reopened, and I hope some day it will.”