By Lauren Wong
Any building with a particularly violent past is bound to have some circulating myths about supernatural encounters. Take that, and make it a whole city with a murderous past… and you’ve got countless.
So, it seemed like a must to go on a ghost tour when in Tombstone. I booked the 9 p.m. Dead Men’s Tales Walking Ghost Tour for $24.99 on Tripadvisor. I don’t know what creeped me out more, the ghost stories my guide was sharing, or just the culture change that happens when the sun goes down there.
During the day, wide-eyed tourists pack the streets, and at night it’s just you, the dark streets, and the locals. The locals aren’t rude or anything like that, it’s just the amo and guns strapped around their waists that makes me nervous. You just don’t want to look at someone the wrong way when they’re fully strapped (or maybe that’s just me). But, they all seemed to be having a great time, filling the two karaoke bars with their beautiful, drunken singing.
Anyways, the tour was a lot of fun. Our guide took us around the town, sharing stories (one of them her own, claiming a ghost pulled her hair so hard in the Crystal Saloon that it lifted her from her seat) from each building and photos she had captured with what appear to be orbs and spooky silhouettes.
I’d say I believe that there could be ghosts, but most of the time these stories are just too far-fetched for me to believe. If you’re a firm believer, I’d say this is the perfect city for you to go out on the prowl in search of these lost souls roaming the town. Or, if you want a closer look from a safe distance, Ghost Hunters has done multiple episodes on Tombstone.
After reading about all these supposed hauntings and encounters that have taken place in Tombstone (and there’s a lot), I decided to just make a list of some stories that caught my attention.
- The Ghost of Margarita is said to still wander around Bird Cage Theatre, most claim they’ve spotted her around the performance room. Her death was one of the most gruesome murders in Tombstone history. Little Gertie the Gold Dollar, an employee at Crystal Palace (a rival brothel of Bird Cage Theatre), stabbed Margarita, a beloved performer at Bird Cage. The whole situation occurred due to jealousy of one guy, Milgreen. Margarita, crawling into Milgreen’s lap, fueled Little Gertie to grip Margarita’s hair, pull her back, and stab her directly into her heart. A double-edged stiletto, the murder weapon, is on display in the theatre to this day.
- The Woman in White is another ghost said to wander Bird Cage Theatre. Believed to be a woman named Michelle, what’s interesting about her is that she’s seen dressed as a “proper lady.” I’d say that’s pretty unusual attire for a brothel.
- A journalist has shared that she’d once heard whispers from an unmarked grave at Boothill Graveyard. The story is that this particular journalist heard “it was nice of you to do that,” coming from this mysterious grave. The whisper then continued on, “you came back. You must like to play with me a lot.” The journalist claimed the voice, sounding childlike, began to laugh. It was then that a humanlike shadow appeared.
- Visitors claim to see ghostly figures, Cowboys and Lawmen, wandering around the O.K. Corral, waiting with their guns drawn.
- If you see what appears to be a thin, balding man with a peppered beard, you may be seeing the Ghost of Jim Burnett. He’s said to be seen walking the streets, making a quick appearance before vanishing into thin air, at the O.K. Corral.
- Many individuals have claimed to have seen an older gentleman, known as a Man in Search of Rest, at the Crystal Palace Saloon. He’s seen sitting alone at a table before heading off to the bathroom, never to be seen again. Lights will flicker on and off in the men’s restroom, while the faucets and toilets start running without anyone touching them.
- One customer in particular, Kari, had a very intriguing, creepy, encounter at the Crystal Palace Saloon with some cowboy ghosts. She was having a normal night out, enjoying her food, when she asked for a bartender to snap a photo of her. Looking at the photo, she noticed there seemed to be a shadowy figure standing behind her. She asked for another photo and this time there were three. She claimed she felt hands on her that were resisting her from standing.
- Big Nose Kate, originally The Grand Hotel, is known to be haunted by The Swamper, the once handyman of the hotel. He kept to himself, not allowing anyone into his ‘home’ as he was living in a little room in the basement of the building. Rumor had it that he was a ‘treasure hunter,’ except, unlike the rest of Tombstone that was searching for silver, he’d dig shafts in his room with the belief that treasure was right around him. After he passed away, all that was left were the tunnels he’d created, and the spooky encounters visitors have shared. Some claim to have seen his ghost wandering around the basement or on the staircase. There’s been visitors who’ve said they’ve been pushed or poked, and heard footsteps or moaning coming from his secret bedroom.