On every site I join I usually put my location as “Manitou Springs, Colorado” or whenever someone asks me where I’m from I’d commonly say, “This little town outside of Colorado Springs called Manitou.” When I see someone wandering around the city in Manitou Springs high school sports garb I get kind of giddy. When I hear that the Manitou Springs’ basketball team is going to state I get really psyched even though I hate basketball and don’t go to school there anymore. Everytime, without fail, in Napoleon Dynamite when that fake Mexican guy says “Manitou, Colorado” I get all mushy inside.
I’m not from Manitou. I live about five miles away from it and I use to get my middle school and high school education there. I’ve never lived in Manitou. But somehow, it’s still home.
I’ve actually come to the recent conclusion that this teeny tiny tourist trap is cursed. A lot of what’s written here is going to sound a bit out of the ordinary and possibly a little made up. It’s going to make me sound like one of those really odd conspiracy theorists and it might make you laugh a bit. That’s okay though, just know that I am dead fucking serious about all of this.
First off, those of you unaware, let me guide you through a quick history lesson/virtual tour through this town. If you’re already aware, feel free to skip to the next paragraph.
Manitou Springs is a town literally right outside of Colorado Springs (population around 400,000) it sits directly below the infamous Pike’s Peak (giant snowcapped mountain, inspiration for America The Beautiful lyrics) it hosts a population of like 3-4,000 residents. It has an elementary school, middle school, and high school. The high school has a total of about 3-400 kids in the whole building. It’s tiny.
The place is called Manitou because a shit ton of years ago a Native American chief named “Chief Manitou” (has some sort of animal spirit meaning, the Canadian province “Manitoba” has a very similar meaning) led his people to this little valley like place at the bottom of a super badass mountain and discovered that the ultra tangy water cured his disciples of tuberculosis and shit. So, as most Native cultures would do, called this place sacred and made it their own.
As time passed, the white man miners and their janky ass donkeys would come into Manitou all haggard looking for some magic water to heal them and blah blah blah.
Eventually some shit went down I’m sure, a highway was built, some shops were built, some tourists came flooding in, that whole nonsense.
Today, the town is littered with really boring Native American stores, a pretty sick arcade with some really old arcade games from the 30’s, two kind of decent parks, a sweet library, some fairly delicious restaurants, really fucking weird people, really old and really expensive houses, streets that give you a work out, disgusting “sacred spring water” fountains, not enough parking spots, a couple hilarious bars, ten thousand hotel/motels, and really fun festivals.
This place made some sort of unbreakable vow (yes, EXACTLY like the one from Harry Potter) where the building of any corporate chain restaurant or store is strictly forbidden. Essentially this place is local paradise. The cool thing is, if you wanna hit up a Mickey Dee’s, just outside of the Manitou border there’s every chain restaurant you could have wished for, right there.
Okay, here’s where I’m going to get kind of weird. I’ve heard (key word, haven’t researched it hard enough) by dozens of people (some crazy, some sane) that both live in Manitou and live in the Springs that have told me about how the soil in Manitou has some sort of gravitational pull, like a magnetic force that’s going inwards right where this town is located. Apparently these “pulls” are spread out all around the world but aren’t very common. And I guess the way it’s set up, it attracts people to it without realization. It’s said that this magnetic pull is what drew the Native’s to this spot in the first place, which I don’t think there’s any clear evidence at this point to tell if that’s true or not. Normally, being who I am, I would shrug this kind of theory off and let people believe what they want to believe. However, I strongly believe there’s something really fucking unusual going on in this town. I’ve spent years of time carefully observing it and the proof is right there.
One thing is for sure, I know that if I were a tourist coming into Colorado I would say that the Springs is pretty ballin’. But if I went into Manitou as a tourist I would never go back. There is literally nothing to do in Manitou Springs. The Native American shops are stupid, the parks are boring, and the streets are narrow. I would never go back. But they do. Every summer. I have actually talked to some tourists who claim they try to visit once a year and when I ask them why they can never deliver me a straight answer. These people, who are from super legit places like California, Florida, Hawaii, Beijing, Germany keep coming back to this nothingtown in buttfuck Colorado because they don’t have any idea. That makes no sense. I have a friend who lived in Manitou for many years, then one day he upped and moved to Costa Rica. He was there for probably like a year maybe, and then he moved back. When I asked him why he moved back from luscious Costa fucking Rica he told me he “just missed Manitou.” That answer doesn’t really fly with me. Why? Because there is nothing to miss about it. NOTHING.
What’s weird about it, is that I’m aware of all of it, but it happens to me too. I try not to hang around Manitou in the winter time, I don’t really like the snow and I generally don’t prefer to be outside when it’s cold. I hibernate myself out of this town for a few months but as soon as we get a nice 55 degree weather day, I find myself down there doing absolutely nothing and it actually feels. So. Good. It’s almost hard to put into words, but as soon as I step into that town and breathe in that fresh, mountainy air, it feels so…right. It’s almost kind of freaky. You want to get out, but you can’t.
The longer you spend time in Manitou, the more you start to take notice upon its locals. And then the longer you’re away from Manitou, the more you start to realize how fucking crazy all of the locals really are.
I strongly believe that this town does something to its people.
I would say I’m fairly normal, to an extent. The people that live in Manitou, mostly the unemployed, are really eerie, grubby, distant, and just overall fucking weird. Grant it, a lot of these people do a lot of psychadelics, I’ve seen them doing it right there in the park.
But even the people that you know are clean or what you could consider “average” are still a bit off in some way or another. I’ve seen perfectly normal people move in and soon enough, after only a few years they’ve become just as weird as everyone else.
Manitou Springs is an extremely liberal town. It consists of people who think they’re living in the 60’s, they don’t wear shoes, they smell like patchouli, whatever. Unlike your traditional hippy though, I’ve seen them get very violent and I’ve almost seen a few people die in the parks before from either overdosing on meth or passing out from being too drunk.
In high school, we were known as “the school with all the witches” to surrounding high schools. Manitou has this really huge stereotype that there are witches living among the town and cursing things left and right.
It’s really hard to describe how odd the town is in words to someone who has never been there. There is no way a town this fucking boring can get this many people to flock towards it and want to thrive in it. There’s no way that this town doesn’t have something going on for the people to be this weird. There’s just no way.
Anybody reading this who has never been there or heard of it or anything, come check it out sometime and see for yourself. Or don’t. Because you might find yourself wanting to come back.