Denver’s Spiderman Is Definitely Not Marvels

    Gather around grim folk, we have a story to tell about a strange, strange drifter. Let’s get to know a little about the victim, Phillip Peters.   

 He was said to be a steady, kind man and was well respected. Phillip also was an avid mandolin player and had attended a Denver area mandolin club with his wife Helen. This mandolin club is where Phillip and his wife met and befriended a young man named Theodore, they would have the younger man over for dinner regularly. The trio would play mandolins to pass the time together until young Theodore would move away from Denver. They all lost touch and life went on for all of them.    

Phillip retired after 40 years with the Denver Rio Grande Western Railroad in 1930. Phillip and Helen had one son together, that married and moved his family to Grand Junction Colorado. Now we are going to fast-forward to 1941. Helen had fallen and been hospitalized for a broken hip and Phillip was making daily visits to his wife in the hospital and his neighbors were having him over for dinner at night. This speaks well of his respectability, as in those days injuries like Helen’s broken hip took months to recover from. What a nice community Phillip and Helen must have lived in.    

On October 17, 1941, Phillip didn’t arrive at his neighbors for his dinner date. The neighbors grew more and more concerned for their 73-year-old neighbor, so they went to his home and found the front door locked but when they went around to the back door which they broke a glass to gain entry into the kitchen they then made their way to Mr. Peters bedroom where they found a very disturbing sight, Mr. Peters had been murdered. Mr. Peters was bludgeoned to death. Mr. Peters broken walking stick, a bloody stove poker, and a broken butt of a pistol near his body. The neighborly couple quickly called the police.

    During the police’s investigation, they didn’t find any evidence of a robbery or a break-in. The police noted, nothing had been stolen and what further confused them was the fact, all the windows and doors were locked from the inside, aside from the back door which the neighbors reported to have used to gain entry. The police were struggling to come up with a motive for this violent crime, of such a well-respected man.    After the murder, the house remained vacant, until February 1942 when Helen was released from the hospital. She ended up going back into the hospital within a few days of her release, for another hip injury where she stayed until April 1942.

The next time Helen was released, she required the help of a housekeeper due to being bedridden. Mrs. Peters struggled to find and keep housekeepers, many would start and then quit shortly after. One housekeeper left while yelling about how she refused to work in a haunted house. Another housekeeper quit after reporting seeing a ghostly boney pale hand sliding around an open door. Since Helen was having such a hard time finding and keeping reliable help she went to stay with her son and daughter-in-law in Grand Junction.

     Again the house was vacant but, the reports of strange happenings continued. With all the high strangeness continuing this seemed to support the idea of a mischief ghost being real indeed.    The murder case had grown cold, the police had still continued to check on the home from time to time.   Neighbors were reporting oddities and weird things happening on a fairly regular basis to the police. One day in late July, the officers driving by noticed a curtain move so, they turned their patrol car around and got out to investigate further. The police busted open the front door and upon entering they began following noises through the house and into a narrow room where they observed a skinny leg vanishing through a small opening in the ceiling. The officers scrambled and grabbed then pulled on the foot hard. This was not a paranormal ghost, instead what the officers found before them was an emaciated, smelly man dressed in rags.    

The man had fainted when he was pulled down, an ambulance doctor was called to the scene. The doctor had stated, “this was the worst case of malnutrition he had ever seen.” The patient, Theodore, was about six feet tall and only weighed 75 pounds.

    After a meal and a bath Mr. Coneys then gave his name as Theodore Edwards Coneys and stated he was 59 and he had been born in Petersburg, Illinois, next he then relayed his story and his subsequent confession.    Mr. Coneys was a sickly child, he was frail, so he spent most of his childhood inside. He learned to play the mandolin, when Mr. Coneys was 17 his family moved to the Denver area. After the move, to Colorado.  Mr. Coneys met the Phillips at a mandolin club.     

Mr. Coneys had a few jobs but they didn’t last long. In 1917 he started drifting across the US. Mr. Coneys came back to Denver in 1941 and went to the home of the Peters since they had been kind to him in the past. When he arrived at the Peters home, Phillip was away visiting Helen in the hospital but he had left the back door unlocked so Mr. Coneys let himself in.

        Coneys slipped in and grabbed some food then hatched a plan to hide in the attic, and come down at night after he had heard the Peters snoring to get bits of food. The plan had been working out well until one night when Mr. Peters awoke and found a tattered stranger raiding his fridge. “Peters didn’t recognize me, I guess I’ve changed a lot in 30 years,” said Coneys.  

  Coney’s confession began with his grabbing an old pistol that had been hanging off of the kitchen wall and hitting Mr. Peter. During the scuffle, moving from room to room, Mr. Peters threatened to call the police so, Coneys grabbed the stove stoker and kept hitting Mr. Peters until he stopped moving. Then Coneys grabbed some food and returned to the attic, where he stayed through the winter. Coneys stated he nearly froze to death in the unheated house. For water, he would sneak out and gather snow from the roof and let it melt. For food, he had found cornmeal, preserves, and other canned goods from the Peters basement.

     Coneys were sentenced to life in prison and served his time in the Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City. Upon Coney’s death on May 16, 1967, at the age of 85, his final resting place is in an unmarked grave in Mountain Vale Memorial Park also in Canon City (plot 71-C-4).

There were numerous sources for our information since this is quite a popular tale, however; there are YouTube videos and various podcasts one of the better ones we found was on Dark Histories. Some of the newspapers we referenced were the Daily Record & The Denver Post. 

One response to “Denver’s Spiderman Is Definitely Not Marvels”

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