The Arizona frontier was full of dangers: grisly accidents, tragic circumstances and dark acts in a lawless land. Visit some of Arizona's most haunted places in the dark of night, and see if you can find a spirit or two.
Take note: Many of these tours involve walking through old buildings, on uneven ground, and up and down steps. Wear appropriate shoes and stay aware of your surroundings.
Did the mayor's son kill respected prostitute Sammie Dean in her home—where her spirit still lives—one night in 1931? Does Headless Charlie still haunt the mine where he met his end in a gruesome accident? And just what did Ann Hopkins do at the Connor Hotel that causes her vengeful spirit to haunt its hallways?
Guides try to answer these questions and more in two separate tours by Tours of Jerome, two hours north of Phoenix in Arizona's Verde Valley. The two-hour walking Just Jerome Haunted Tour covers haunted locations in the old mining town. The four-and-a-half-hour Classic Haunted Tour includes a van ride from Sedona and then onto stops in Jerome, Clarkdale and Cottonwood. Each tour includes plenty of lore and the use of equipment to locate spirits.
The Old Bisbee Ghost Tour brings you close to the spirits of one of Arizona's major mining boomtowns deep in the mountains of Southern Arizona. Hear stories from your "Ghost Host" as you amble through Old Bisbee's stairways, alleys and 100-year old buildings on the haunt, er hunt, for spirits.
One of the stops on the tour is The Bisbee Inn. Known as the Hotel LaMore when it first opened in the early 20th century, the inn is a popular stop to find odd stuff going on. One resident spectral is a calico cat that died when it accidentally got locked in the saloon's storage room and starved. People staying at the hotel have reported feeling the cat brush by and heard purring. (Tip: Book Room #23 for a chance of your own ghostly feline visit.)
If you prefer your ghosts with actual spirits, sign up for the Haunted Pub Crawl. Over the course of three hours, you'll visit several of Bisbee's pubs and breweries, enjoying the local brews while your guide entertains you with stories of the town's haunted residents.
Among the stories guests on the one-hour Tombstone Ghost & Murder Tour will hear is that of 1888 ill-fated lovers George Daves and Petra Edmunds. One night, Daves spied Edmunds walking down Third Street with another guy. He shot at her and, thinking he had killed her, fatally shot himself (Edmunds survived). In death, Daves' ghost is said to hang out on Third Street, perhaps hoping for a reunion. Traveling aboard the original Tombstone Trolley Car, this tour shows there's a lot more to Tombstone than the 1881 shootout at the O.K. Corral.
Ghost City Tours offers two options in Tombstone: one for all ages and another just for adults. The Bullets and Bordellos Ghost Tour delves into Tombstone's seedier past with tales of murder, suicide and its infamous "houses of ill repute."
Tucson Ghost Company leads 90-minute walking tours through downtown Tucson. You won't hear any folklore, but rather stories of actual paranormal experiences as told to your guides or personally witnessed by them. (This is an all-ages tour and is accessible for those with wheelchairs or other mobility aids.) For a more immersive adventure, book the Tucson Ghost Experience and spend two hours ghost hunting inside an allegedly haunted building and courtyard.
During weekends in October, Fox Tucson Theatre pulls the curtains back and lets a limited amount of guests tour the 90-year-old facility with members of the Tucson Ghost Society to hunt for specters. Past tours have encountered ghostly orbs, disconnected voices and more. Tickets usually go fast for this limited tour, so book early.
A Haunting Experience Tours takes you on a two-hour walk in search of ghosts that haunt downtown Prescott, nearly two hours north of Phoenix. The stories are so tragic and scary, guides warn that the tours may not be appropriate for young children under 13. One such tale is that of Faith Summers, who spent her honeymoon at the Hassayampa Inn in 1927. Her new husband stepped out to buy cigarettes and never returned. Faith waited for three days, then publicly took her life. Today, her presence lingers on at the Inn, still waiting for her lost love.
Walking tours are held Saturday evenings. On Fridays, board the Prescott Trolley for an abbreviated hour-long ghost tour.
In 1910, by the time the Gila County Jail and Sherrif's Office in the of Globe was completed, vigilante violence was more likely to claim the lives of inmates than the hangman's noose. In one case, an unknown assailant shot and killed a suspect awaiting trial by hiding in a second-floor window in the courthouse across the alley.
Though closed in 1981, the old jail remains a haunting place. For one night only, on October 30. guides with AZ Ghost Tours take guests on a 3-hour tour through the jail's sordid past and its history of infamous inmates. The jail is one of four locations tour guests can choose from—with each one hosting up to 12 people for the three hours.
You needn't travel far in Arizona before coming across a ghost town or two. Try these quirky towns for the perfect spooky—or just plain...
About the Author
Since moving to Tucson in 1988, freelance writer Elena Acoba has enjoyed traveling to the four corners of Arizona. Her favorites spots in her adopted state: the natural wonders and the rich historical sights.