Haunted Places in Arizona
Arizona's Most Haunted
Old hotels, abandoned mines, forgotten towns, these are some of the haunted places in Arizona. The name of Arizona itself conjures up the Wild West as well as any description you could provide. This state is full of natural wonders and treacherous terrain, rugged mountains, forbidding canyons, life giving rivers, and scorching deserts. Legends and stories of Native American traditions and battles, hidden treasure, scorching heat, old west gunfights, and death. Many of the wagons rolling across the Arizona desert never made their destinations. The old route to California was filled with crosses of those that perished in the attempt.
Old played out mines dot the mountains all through the state. Some of the miners that worked in those mines never left them. Cave-ins, explosions, and pockets of poisonous gas took numerous lives. Many people passing by the old mines have heard sounds of pick hitting rock, and even voices coming from the pitch black interior. And of course in the days of the old west, many died from the barrel of a gun. In more recent times natural disasters, tragedies, and the ever-present heat have taken their toll.
Ever since the first settlers came through on wagons from the east, there have been tales told around the campfire of hauntings, ghosts, and phantoms in out of the way places (and sometimes in not so out of the way places). Legends of ghostly sightings near lost trails and hidden springs. Over the years new stories have been added to the old, enough to fill several books. Lets have a look at a few of the most interesting hauntings of the 48th state.
Tucson's Haunted Hotel
On December 20 1970, while guests celebrated the holidays, a fire started in the Pioneer Hotel in downtown Tucson. The fire which was reported to have started on the 4th floor quickly climbed through the eleven story landmark. 28 people lost their lives that night, most of whom were trapped on the 6th to the 11th floor. Most died from carbon monoxide poisoning, some from burns, and a few jumped to their deaths to escape the flames and smoke. One more victim died in the hospital afterwords. That horrible night was national news and will be forever remembered in Tucson.
The Pioneer had been built in 1929, and was the gemstone of Tucson's downtown dominating the skyline for decades. The hotel had a first class ballroom and was the center of a growing city's social scene. Visiting dignitaries and celebrities stayed there during it's heyday as did the Cleveland Indians during spring training for many years. After the fire, the hotel stayed open only a few more years before closing in 1974.
In 1977 the building was bought and refurnished into an office building. It was at that point that strange stories began to emerge from employees and visitors. Workers and visitors began hearing sounds of running footsteps on unoccupied floors. The smell of smoke would appear and become overwhelming. A bar which was located in the building had it's lights turn on and off and employees began to see apparitions. In recent years people in nearby buildings have seen lights go on and off at night on the upper floors which should have been unoccupied.
After the fire, a space on the second floor was used as a temporary morgue until arrangements could be made to move the bodies. Since that time security and tenants have heard voices whispering in their ear as they pass through the empty area, and occasionally feel a blast of cold air as they pass (even when the air conditioner is not on).
Today the bar is long closed and the upper floors are used mostly for storage. Recently ghost hunters recorded running footsteps on the floor above them which was empty so it seems the old building is still actively haunted.
The Ghost Train of the Dragoon Mountains
Just outside of the isolated Dragoon Mountains on the alkali flats headed towards the town of Willcox, scores of folks claim to have heard a phantom train racing through the desert. Numerous people have heard it stretching back through the decades. What makes the story even odder is that no tracks have ever been laid in the area the witnesses claim to have heard the sounds. A handful of people claim to have even seen this ghost train rolling along the desert in the midday sun.
A Southern Pacific train now runs through Willcox on the way to Tucson, however the ghostly train is reported in an spot far from the current railroad tracks. This area also seems to be a UFO hotspot as is the southwest corner of New Mexico which is right next door. This is also near the place that Chief Cochise had his stronghold against the U.S. Calvary. There have been reports of Native Americans traveling through the mountains looking as they did 100 plus years ago before they vanished into thin air.
The Jerome Ghost Hotel
The United Verde Hospital was opened in 1927 to serve the needs of the then booming mining town of Jerome. However as the copper deposits played out the town shrank in size becoming a shell of it's former self. The big hospital on the hill closed in 1950. After sitting vacant for decades the building was refurbished and became the Jerome Grand Hotel in 1996. The building was reported to have been haunted when the hospital was still open, and the activity has continued at the Grand Hotel.
Both the medical staff and the hotel employees and guests have reported a ghostly bearded figure resembling an old time miner drifting down the 3rd floor hallway, sometimes turning off the lights as he goes. A woman in white has been reported as well and the hotel staff have been startled by having their names called out when they are alone. Doors open and close of their own accord, and both employees and visitors have been pushed when no-one else was present. Much of the ghostly activity seems to be focused on the old elevator which has been there since the hospital days.
A man named Claude Harvey was found dead at the bottom of the shaft in the 1930s. Harvey was a maintenance man for the hospital and was well known in the area. Since that time visitors and staff have seen light in the elevator shaft, and the elevator itself has been heard to be moving even when the power is shut off! The Grand Hotel is one of the most haunted places in the U.S. There are at least a half dozen reported ghosts there.
Jerome Mine Ghost
There is a longtime story about the now abandoned mines in Jerome. A miner was decapitated in a accident and while his head was recovered, his body disappeared down the shaft. Ever since that time miners reported seeing a headless miner walking through the tunnels with a bucket in his hand. The men who worked in the mine gave him the name "Headless Charlie". Many residents of Jerome believe that "Headless Charlie" still walks thru the dark, dilapidated tunnels below the town.
Jerome Grand Hotel
Yuma Territorial Prison
On July 1, 1876 the first convicts entered the brand new Yuma Territorial Prison to take up residence. For the next 33 years, the jail would house both male and female prisoners until it's closing in 1909. Although ahead of it's time in the humane treatment of it's residents, life as an inmate could be brutal because of the horrendous heat. In the days before air conditioning, the place could be a hellish inferno with the buildings baking in the Arizona sun.
Long after the prison closed it was turned into a state park, and it was then that stories began circulating about disembodied voices (including a female voice singing in the prison offices), a shadow pacing back and forth in a cell where an inmate had taken his own life, and all sorts of activity in the "dark cell"
The dark cell was exactly as described, a cell that admitted no light at all. It was used for solitary confinement, and visitors have heard voices, and have been pinched in the cell when nobody else was present. Both park rangers and visitors have told of the overwhelming feeling of being watched, and not being alone while in the cell. The Yuma Territorial Prison is open to visitors should you ever be in the area and want to experience it for yourself.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful places on earth. A mysterious, mystical, awe-inspiring place to visit. It is also quite haunted. On June 30 1956 United Airlines flight 718 which was called Mainliner Vancouver had departed Los Angeles and was flying at 21,000 feet over the Grand Canyon trying to avoid the towering thunderclouds. At the same time TWA flight 2 with the name of Star of the Seine which had also departed L.A. was at 19,000 feet over the Grand Canyon. A request to ascend to 21,000 feet to avoid thunderheads by the TWA aircraft was declined due to the proximity of the United jet. The captain of the TWA flight then requested to go to "1000 on top", meaning 1000 feet above the cloud tops. This was rather oddly granted putting TWA 2 at 21,000 feet. This led to one of the most horrific accidents in aviation history as the two aircraft collided resulting in both United 718 and TWA 2 crashing into the canyon with loss of all 128 lives on board.
The crash site is accessible only by river and is somewhat isolated. Hikers and park rangers have seen and heard screams, garbled conversation, and cries for help. One ranger camping by the trail to the site saw a group of men and women coming down the trail. The men were dressed in suits, the women in long old fashioned dresses. they then disappeared in front of her eyes. People have also seen globules of eerie lights bouncing down the canyon. As of a few years ago it was said you could still see pieces of aluminum from the crash on one of the cliff faces. Perhaps that particular area would not be the best place to pitch camp.