It's like something out of a dream... or a nightmare, depending on how you look at it...
Driving down an obscure road, winding like a snake in the grass through the Colorado mountains, its towers rise above the trees, capped by gold mosque-style minarets that catch the sun. Like a Gothic castle out of Game of Thrones, it's nestled among the pines and aspen trees on the mountain side. An empty moat stretches out in front, and a gatehouse and drawbridge stand open to greet visitors.
Since mid-February, the kids have been hinting that they want to go back to Bishop Castle. Finally here, they run under the iron gate and across the bridge, paying no attention to the silver-headed dragon that emerges over the castle walls. This dragon (with the help of a hot air balloon burner and two redirected chimneys) actually breathes fire!
Hiking up the eroded mountainside, the castle walls loom before us like a sleeping stone giant, at once both threatening and enticing. Legend has it that a ghost wanders these halls at night, slipping through the rock walls and keeping watch from the towers high above. A vapor in the form of a small child with the voice of a man, he disappears like a wisp of smoke into the cool mountain air. He draws us in. Beckoning in the softest whisper, "Come in. If you dare." Or perhaps that's just the wind, moaning through the open windows.
But where rumors of ghosts are concerned, it's always a good idea to start at the beginning. So let me take you back 45 years, when a man by the name of J. Bishop began collecting the pink granite rock, carving out a hillside, and building the foundation of a cabin. As the cabin grew, passers-by began asking if he was building a castle. He soon decided that's exactly what he'd do. By hand, stone by stone, without a single blueprint or plan, the castle began to come to life.