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Charlie is not alone: Walrus Ice Cream ghost turns into ghosts

Charlie+is+not+alone%3A+Walrus+Ice+Cream+ghost+turns+into+ghosts
Collegian | Taylor MacMahon

Most Fort Collins locals have heard the stories of Charlie Dinnebeck, the ghost that haunts Walrus Ice Cream. But what some might not know is that Charlie is not the only one. Halloween will soon be upon us, so it’s time we visit some of Old Town’s happiest — and unhappiest — haunts. 

Charlie is known as a happy spirit who causes mischief and mayhem for the employees and managers of Walrus Ice Cream, such as knocking clocks off the walls and turning the handles of root beer kegs.

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You can read all about Charlie’s story on the Walrus Ice Cream’s official website. They even pay homage to him inside the store, and customers are encouraged go and see it. But the building was not always so bright and cheerful. Scary things frequently happen at Walrus Ice Cream.

“I often hear children laughing in the basement, and my name gets called out when no one else is in here,” said Lisa Paugh, owner and operator of Walrus. “If it is dark outside, I always get a little chill.” Paugh said Charlie acts as a protector over the store. He keeps things in order around the shop and in the tunnels in the basement. “I had a medium tell me that Charlie allows the good (ghosts) to stick around for a bit but moves the dark-spirited ones out.”

Paugh also mentioned the possibility of another spirit: a hat shop woman. According to the Fort Collins History Connection, it’s most likely one or both of two women: Orlando Flower and Mable Alexander Rogers. They can be found in a Fort Collins historic photograph. They ran the Flowers Millinery Shop out of the building that currently houses Walrus Ice Cream. 

“I had one encounter with her,” Paugh said. “I was doing a private tour of the basement with two men and their wives, and while taking a group picture of them, she made an appearance in a video we were making. A red feather just fell from the sky.” 

Another possible spirit is a tall Frenchman who “loves women and is a fun, good-spirited soul,” said Lori Juszak, coordinator of the Fort Collins Tours.

“He tends to gently pull hair up above women’s heads, has been known to wrap a clammy hand around a woman’s ankle and often taps girls’ boyfriends on their shoulders when they scoff at the idea of ghosts,” Juszak said. “We have an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) recording of him saying in French, ‘That’s not my girl.’” 

The fright doesn’t stop there.

“After all the tours had ended, I stayed behind to turn off lights after the guide had just taken the tour guests upstairs,” Juszak said when asked about the scariest encounter experienced there. “I was rounding the corner to turn off the last light, and when I walked into the room, there was a tall man in a black coat and hat facing away from me. I thought it was my son and said, ‘You scared me!’ and the figure just disappeared. I ran upstairs about as fast as I could.” 

Jacob Anderson is an employee of Walrus Ice Cream and is no stranger to ghosts. From balloons moving and stopping to creepy laundry rooms, he has seen it all. Anderson has been working at Walrus for eight and a half years and has had several encounters with all the ghosts. 

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“There was one time I was working, and it was just me and the owner Lisa,” Anderson said. “She was sitting in the office; I was in the kitchen, and I heard my name out of nowhere. I peeped my head around the corner, and she did the same. Obviously, I was like, ‘What’s up?’ and she said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘Did you not just say my name?’ She said, ‘I didn’t say anything.’ So I said, ‘Did you hear that?’ And she said, ‘No.’ But I heard it clear as day, like it was on the other side of the wall from me.”

The basement is now used for storage, and only ghost tours and employees can go down there. It is where most of the encounters happen.

“I used to say, ‘Hi, Charlie,’ when I went into the basement, but the goosebumps got to be so overwhelming that I had to stop,” Anderson said.

If you’re in the mood to have an encounter with Charlie or any of the other spirits, try stopping by Walrus Ice Cream. Maybe — just maybe — the ghosts will encounter you.

Reach Gwendolynn Riddoch at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.

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