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Grim Mountain Legends brings Colorado’s spooky history to life

LuneAseas performers use shadow and light to tell the spooky tales of Grim Mountain Legends.
martha wirth
LuneAseas performers use shadow and light to tell the spooky tales of Grim Mountain Legends.

From corn mazes to haunted houses, there are plenty of spooky experiences to be had in northern Colorado this month. But how about a few old-fashioned ghost stories, told with music and dance next to a crackling campfire — all of them based on tales of hauntings, murder, and the supernatural drawn from Colorado lore?

LuneAseas is a multimedia collaborative based in Fort Collins that incorporates music, dance, theater, visual art, and fashion into unique performance experiences. And to celebrate Halloween, they’ve created Grim Mountain Legends to immerse guests in the haunted history of Colorado.

Theatrical director Steven Dewey says they wanted to pay homage to Colorado’s beauty, but also its darker side.

“We did our homework and we found six Colorado legends, and that's part of the building of when we all get together, you know, we all get together and we throw out ideas and then we finally hone in on a couple of legends,” Dewey said. “We're not doing The Shining and we're not doing ones that everybody knows. You know, it's almost like an educational thing, that's really fun with a lot of humor, right? And hopefully a lot of scare, too, for the time of the season.”

The stories include tales of shape-shifting witches, headless ghosts and a flesh-eating blue mist that wanders the Colorado landscape. Not to worry if the stories aren’t familiar, even to long-time residents.

“I like to look for the little hidden gems. You know, like the stories that are overlooked. That's what we've really searched for when building the show from the ground up,” said LuneAseas artistic director Leah Casper.

The stories are told through original music, dance, costuming, and shadow performances, on sets built around a large campfire. Guests feel like they’re in the middle of the performance – and they even enjoy food and libations specially chosen to fit the theme.

“Hot cider and turkey legs. We have a cannibal story and we really want people sitting around the fire, eating their turkey legs while they're listening to the cannibal story,” Casper said.

It’s a different, uniquely immersive way to experience Colorado lore, according to Dewey.

“The audience gets to explore and have a lot of unexpected things happen," said Dewey. "And they're also getting a really comprehensive view of a lot of different media, a lot of different visuals all combined to create an experience that they can actually feel like they're a part of, not separate from."

Grim Mountain Legends is performing this Friday, Oct. 22 and Saturday, Oct. 23.

Music: The Ballad of Alferd Packer was composed by Loveland-based artist Kira Lynn Sands to help tell the story of the infamous Colorado Cannibal.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.