A True Arizona Haunt
By Lauren Wong
Looking for the real deal this Halloween? Skip the staged haunted houses and hit Arizona’s most notorious places full of history and paranormal activity. Who knows what you’ll find lurking around the corner…
535 E Allen St, Tombstone, AZ 85638
Located in the town that’s “Too Tough to Die,” is this 1881 theater. It was a gambling hall, saloon, and brothel wrapped in one with 14 boxes/cages where the “Ladies of the evening” would entertain. About 140 bullet holes are scattered around the theater, a representation of the town’s violet past.
Ghost Tour tickets are available for purchase. People have reported sightings of prostitutes and men in cowboy hats. Some have heard everything from laughter to yelling, and even claim to have been touched or pushed by spirits.
In 1982, InnerCon Technology Inc. abandoned this electronics manufacturing plant. Left unfinished, there’s dome-like structures off of Interstate 8. There’s a lot of speculation around what happens in and around the domes. Some say they’ve heard whispering, children running and screaming, and seen shadowy figures. Other theories suggest that rituals, including burning animal carcasses and other objects, are performed here by members of a coven.
Originally the United Verde Hospital, from 1927 – 1950 over 9,000 people died within the hospital walls. The town of Jerome already has a very tumultuous past, earning itself the title of the “Wickedest Town in the West.” A lot has been said to have happened inside the hotel walls, particularly the third floor, where most of the deaths in United Verde Hospital occurred.
Guests and workers have shared some of their first hand encounters. There’s signed guest books in the lobby where they can write down their experiences. A 300-page journal is filled by the end of every year. Most encounters are reported from room 32.
People claim to hear the sounds of hospital gurneys wheeling down the halls; the hotel’s general manager once got a phone call at the front desk from an empty room. When he picked up the phone he heard a lady talking, but couldn’t make out what she was trying to say.
The Travel Channel actually made a visit to the hotel to film an episode of ”Ghost Adventures” in 2011. They picked up voices, unexplained dark masses, feelings of numbness and tingling, and doors slamming. They say it’s the real deal.
Built in 1929, the Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Phoenix is part of a nationwide Orpheum Circuit. Approximately 20 other cities have an Orpheum Theatre as well, however, the Phoenix location is said to be haunted with four ghosts. Some speculate there’s even more. There’s no direct answer of who these ghosts are and why they seemingly stick around.
The most known ghost is a little girl named Maddie. People have claimed to see her watching over the theater, usually up on the balcony area.
There are many stops to hit within this abandoned town. Once the site of a booming gold mine, throughout 1863 – 1942, 340,000 ounces of gold was extracted along with 260,000 ounces of silver. The town was on the rise until 1942 when the mine was forced to close due to the War Production Board.
Restoration went underway to save the remaining buildings (15) which you can book to visit. The Assay Building, Cookhouse, Henry Wickenburg’s Cabin, and the Hanging Tree are just a few sites along the tour. Spirits of gunslingers and thieves roam the grounds today. A specific ghost that visitors have encountered is Jimmy Davis. Guests say they can still hear his screams today from his tragic death in the mines.
In 1875, the Legislature authorized the Territorial Prison, and in July of 1876 the first seven inmates were moved into the prison. Among the prisoners that sat behind bars for years was Pearl Hart, the legendary stagecoach robber. The prison operated for 33 years until problems of overcrowding arose and they were transferred over a new facility in Florence.
Throughout those 33 years, over 3,000 inmates were locked within the doors. With its high walls, inmates had no view of the outside, and the worst prisoners were put in the “Dark cell” (which you can tour today). With so much violence going on behind closed doors, it comes to no surprise that the Territorial Prison is ranked one of the top haunted places in Arizona.