Wait...did you hear something? That creak? That rattle? That ghastly groan?!
You’ll find plenty of creepy noises – not to mention ghosts, haunted places and paranormal activities – in Arizona that are guaranteed to give you goose bumps.
Travel north to south to uncover everything from haunted hotels to ghost walks and ghost towns – then see if you can still sleep with the lights off.
Frights in Flagstaff
Take a spooky Haunted Tour of historic downtown Flagstaff.
Your costumed guide will lure you down alleys and past old buildings during the one-to-two-hour Pioneer Museum-sponsored treks, which depart nightly during October from the Flagstaff Visitor Center.
Be brave and try a special evening tour of the beautiful Riordan Mansion, a sprawling 1904 Arts and Crafts estate in Flagstaff that’s now an Arizona State Park. Ghost stories are included, and costumes are encouraged on these annual, late October events.
Spend the night at Hotel Monte Vista, or the nearby historic Hotel Weatherford, both of which boast resident ghosts.
The Monte Vista’s cocktail lounge is a popular Halloween haunt with locals. Have a few Zombie or Red Death cocktails and you too might see the vaporous couple who dance eternally in the lounge.
Feel Jumpy in Jerome
Jerome is one of Arizona’s most famous ghost towns, so hauntings naturally come with the territory.
During the annual October Jerome Ghost Walk, wander the narrow passageways and steep streets to find costumed performers reenacting the shootings, mysteries and love triangles that marked this former mining town.
At the end of the month, costumed revelers gather for the wildly popular Halloween Dance at the aptly named Spook Hall. It’s a fundraiser for the Jerome Volunteer Fire Department.
Spend the night at the Jerome Grand Hotel, which opened in 1927 as the town’s hospital.
Overnight guests of the 25-room hotel can take part in ghost hunts, where you’ll learn about Claude (among other specters), who met his demise in an elevator shaft.
Want dinner and drinks with more of the Jerome ghost town flavor? Enjoy a meal at the Haunted Hamburger, followed by a nightcap and live music at The Spirit Room Bar, a favorite watering hole where all the spirits are friendly.
Ghosts talk, and you walk, in Prescott, as you learn about this charming, pine-scented town’s ghoulish past.
In late October, a crypt keeper welcomes you to the annual Ghost Talk at the Prescott Center for the Arts, during which costumed spirits tell their tales. The arts center’s building – a gothic former church from the 19th century – provides an ominous background.
During A Haunting Experience, a walking tour of historic downtown Prescott, explore the town’s less holy side via such places as haunted saloons and hotels.
For example, the 1917 Hotel Vendome boasts a room haunted by a woman and her cat. On Oct. 28–29, 2011, however, the whole place gets eerie during Sleeping with Ghosts, the Hotel Vendome’s murder mystery weekend, when you can dress up, act out and solve the crime.
Nearby, the elegant, Trost & Trost-designed Hassayampa Inn offers the story of Faith, a young bride abandoned by her husband on their honeymoon. She’s said to have hung herself in the hotel’s bell tower.
Things That Go “Bump” in Bisbee
Halloween is one roving street party in eccentric, artsy Bisbee. You could just throw on a costume and fit right into this Southern Arizona town, once a copper mining center.
If you want something a tad more organized, join one of Old Bisbee Ghost Tour’s numerous offerings, including a walking tour of haunted spots, a hearse tour and a haunted pub crawl, during which spirits are guaranteed.
The creepy Bisbee tour company also offers Spook Troop, a not-so-scary ghost tour for kids.
Spend the night at a Bisbee haunted hotel, such as the circa-1902 Copper Queen Hotel.
During the hotel’s Thursday night ghost hunts, guests armed with ectoplasm-detecting equipment prowl the upper floors in search of the hotel’s resident spirits – a tall caped gentleman, an ethereal dancing woman and a young giggling boy.
Southern Arizona Spooks
Want more Southern Arizona ghosts? Have a drink to calm your nerves at the tavern of the historic Gadsden Hotel in Douglas.
The hotel, built in 1907, features a magnificent lobby and marble staircase, not to mention a few live-in ghosts, including the members of a love triangle.
In downtown Tucson, Hotel Congress was built in 1919 and is best known for the capture of the notorious Dillinger gang.
Although the gangster John Dillinger isn’t one of them, ghosts do seem to roam the hotel, including a woman who smells of roses and a gentleman who peers out the windows of the second floor.
Perhaps ghosts are to be expected here – the hotel offers plenty of reasons to linger, from live music at Club Congress to drinks in The Tap Room to a meal at the Cup Café.
One final note of caution before you head out looking for Arizona’s ghosts, haunted places and spooky sights: Many events and activities are not suitable for young children or have age restrictions. Be sure to call ahead for details.