Residents of Silver Plume don't take kindly to the term "ghost town."
But there is no better description for the once-bustling mining center. Since the 1890s silver crash, its population has plummeted to a mere 130, largely a melting pot of transplants from around the country - teachers, artisans, and builders.
The town has an eerie, windswept vacantness. Steep canyon walls sandwich the valley in shadow. The north side of town receives as little as two and a half hours of direct sunlight a day in winter; the south doesn't see the sun at all for about six weeks a year. To add to its darkness, Silver Plume is haunted by a century-old pattern of bizarre and mysterious death.
A granite shrine looming on a cliff above town serves as a reminder of its macabre legacy.
Clifford Griffin, owner of the 7:30 Mine, died by a bullet to the head in 1887. Townspeople have argued for a century whether Clifford was murdered or committed suicide.