Home to some of the nation’s most historic buildings, infamous cowboys and a gold dusted past, it is no surprise that the Copper State is also a great place to find things that go bump in the night.
With just a few weeks until Halloween, let’s explore 24 of Arizona’s most infamous haunts.
The Birdcage Theater, Tombstone
Referred to as the “Roughest, bawdiest, and most wicked night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast” by The New York Times, this former barroom, brothel and gambling hall holds a grisly past. Said to be the home of 26 murders between 1881-1889, the building is lined with over 140 bullet holes. A popular stop for some of the wild west’s most infamous cowboys and prostitutes, it seems their spirits have never left. Visitors have reported hearing yelling, singing and music…some even claim to have been pushed and shoved by an unidentified source. Ladies of the night are seen walking the shadows and a man dressed in all black has been known to pace the stage at night. Want to see for yourself? The theater holds daily ghost tours from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM. For more information call 520-457-3421.
San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, AZ
Commonly regarded as the finest example of mission architecture in the United States, San Xavier Del Bac was constructed in 1783 and is still an operating church. Legend has it that a departed priest can be seen wandering the premises at dusk and dawn, along with the apparition of a nun rushing to save her ill-fated students from a fire.
Casey Moore’s Oyster House
Before becoming one of Old Town Tempe’s favorite restaurants, the house at the corner of Ninth and Ash was built as a private residence in 1910. Home to William and Mary Moeur, the couple lived and died here until the mid 1900s. Neighbors have reported seeing a blurry couple dancing in the window in the middle of the night. When the police have been called they find the alarms still set and no sign of anyone in the building. Could it be William and Mary dancing the night away from another dimension? There are also tales of a woman with dark hair who was reportedly murdered by a would-be lover in one of the upstairs bedrooms, swaying lampshades, flying paintings rearranged place settings. The spirits of Casey Moore’s have even been immortalized by the band Jimmy Eat World: “If you go there and see a ghost, raise your glass, they are happy to see you too.”
Connor Hotel, Jerome
A favorite haunt of miners and ladies of the night during the gold rush, the Connor Hotel is now known to be haunted by two distinct souls. The Lady in Red and her male companion frequent the second floor and have been held responsible for cold spots, apparitions floating above the bed, malfunctioning electrical appliances and strange voices from the shadows.
The Copper Queen, Bisbee
The lobby of Arizona’s longest continually run hotel is full of charm, history, and journals of past guests depicting ghostly encounters during their stay. Rumored to be the home of 16 spirits including the mischievous young “Billy” who makes personal items disappear, former prostitute Julia Lowell and a bearded man in a black top hat that smells of cigar smoke, guests have had endless encounters from the building’s permanent residents. Creepy whispers over the shoulder, inexplicable technical difficulties and footsteps in the middle of the night are all common. If you’d like to visit the old souls of the Copper Queen Old Bisbee Ghost Tour holds ghost hunts on the first and third Thursday of every month.
The Weatherford Hotel, Flagstaff
Room 54 is believed to be inhabited by the spirits of a newlywed couple whose honeymoon ended in tragedy. A horrible storm hit the area while the groom was hunting. Sure he would never make it back to her, the despondent bride hung herself. When the groom returned to find his lover dead he took his own life with his hunting rifle. Since then visitors have woken to the bride standing at the end of their bed, orbs, disembodied voices and more.
El Tovar Hotel, Grand Canyon
The majestic El Tovar was one of the original Harvey Houses serving western rail lines. Today, the inhabitant of a simple grave marked “Pirl” is still somewhat disputed. Is it the final resting place of a Harvey Girl? A cowboy passing through town? Perhaps it belongs to one of the phantoms said to roam the halls, tapping guests on the shoulders and waking them with ghoulish whispers. Fred Harvey, deceased since 1901 is even said to greet guests and offer and invitation to the hotel’s annual Christmas party.
Vulture Gold Mine, Wickenburg
The gold rush brought the promise of a quick fortune to prospectors, but with that also came greed, violence and tragic death. In a time with little judicial oversight and shoddy safety measures, gold mines were a dangerous place to be. The Vulture Mine was no exception and today it is known as one of the nation’s most ghostly haunts. Flying rocks, heavy boot steps and falling dirt are all common occurrences, and a young migrant worker named Jimmy who met his peril deep inside the mine can be heard moaning and begging for help. When “Ghost Adventure Boys” Nick and Aaron investigated the mine, they recorded an eerie EVP which said “You are going to die.” It seems these souls are still fiercely protecting their riches-even in death.
Sonoita Inn, Sonoita
Located in the renovated La Pradera, The Sonoita Inn is rumored to be the home of a single ghost. Patrons have been scared away be the vision of a woman with dark hair, blood red lips and a severed head who fades away when approached. Screams and crying have also been reported.
Oliver House, Bisbee
It is possible that the specters outnumber the guests in this 12-room bed and breakfast with an alleged 27 deaths under its roof since 1909. A murky figure lingering outside room 13 is said to be the spirit of Nathan Anderson who was shot between the eyes there in 1920. In the “Grandma” room guests feel comforted and at ease, but have seen the rocking chair move on its own and a friendly older woman shuffling about. Oliver House was also the scene of a mass murder in which a jilted police officer killed his adulterous wife, her lover, and anyone that stood in his way before taking his own life.
Canyon de Chelly, Chinle
It is said that the distressed calls of Native American warriors can be heard once the sun sets. This land which spans over 80,000 acres was the site of one of the Navajo Nation’s bloodiest battles.
Hotel San Carlos, Phoenix
“I had heard this hotel was haunted. I was skeptical.” Says a guest in her 2014 TripAdvisor review of the hotel. “The first night started with me hanging a Ghostbusters sign on the lamp as a joke. The lamp immediately burned out. For fun, we downloaded a ghost app. It showed ghosts in and out of our room. Sometimes you would feel a chill come over you from your head to your toes. Sometimes you felt like you were being watched. Our laptop went wacky and died on us there. While in the basement using the business center, a ceiling fan with a pull came on by itself. We didn’t pull it.” This is just one of many accounts from the period hotel that opened its doors in 1928.
Hannagan Meadow Lodge, Alpine
Located on the scenic Coronado trail, the Hanagan Meadow Lodge is a beautiful place with lots of history, and haunts. Former owners have shared tales of a woman that hovers over the second-floor staircase and can been seen at night from the window.
Hotel Monte Vista, Flagstaff
The Monte Vista was a favorite of John Wayne’s while filming in the southwest-even despite its spooky inhabitants. While staying in room 201 he recounted numerous experiences with “The Phantom Bellboy,” A young man in an old fashioned red coat and brass buttons. Other resident ghosts include “The Bank Robber,” “The Meat Man of Room 220,” “The Baby in the Basement” and more. On the hotel’s website, guests are encouraged to communicate with the spirits and ask staff about their own paranormal experiences.
Bisbee Courthouse, Bisbee
Current employees believe this building to be haunted by the ghost of a former judge. He is often spotted-and smelled-on the second floor, leaving behind a chill in the air and the aroma of his cigar.
Pioneer Hotel, Tucson
On December 20, 1978, a fire ravaged the Pioneer hotel killing 28 people during a holiday party. Now an office building, the ghosts of those lost in the blaze are said to haunt the top floor. The smell of smoke permeates the hallways and music, laughter and footsteps can be heard from below. A vision of a young girl desperately seeking her mother has been reported on multiple occasions.
Morton Hall, Flagstaff
Tales of the paranormal are not new to NAU’s North Campus, but none are as famous as that of Kathy the ghost. It is alleged that Kathy committed suicide in room 200A in 1953 after she was left to spend the holidays alone on campus. Her family couldn’t afford to bring her home and at the same time, her boyfriend left her for another woman. Heartbroken, she hung herself and was found by custodial staff days later. About a month after her death a stillborn baby was found in the basement but has never officially been connected to Kathy. Her tormented soul is believed to turn water on and off in the middle of the night, flicker lights, bang on pipes, cry loudly leave the smell of roses in the air.
Crowne Plaza San Marcos, Chandler
A local paranormal hot spot, guests have encountered floating figures, strange phone calls and eerie moans from uninhabited rooms at the hotel.
Hotel Congress, Tucson
If you plan a trip to the Hotel Congress you may want to ask that you not be placed in rooms 214 or 242. Known to locals as the “suicide rooms” both were the scenes of gruesome deaths and the departed have seemingly never been able to check out. It is also the home of famed resident Vince Szuda who resided in the hotel from the 1950s until his death in 2001. A fix it man, Szuda was always borrowing butter knives and to this day hotel staff find them scattered in random places thorough out the hotel.
Hotel San Michael, Prescott
The “anchor” of Prescott’s Whiskey Row is also the home of a possessed elevator and a strange woman that roams the halls leaving guests with chills up their spine and creepy whispers in their ears.
The Hermosa Inn, Scottsdale
This beautiful hacienda-style inn was built by Lon Megargee, the artist behind the artwork inside Stetson hats. Megargee passed away in 1960 but hotel staff believe his spirit is here to stay. His shadowy figure has been seen running from the scene of slamming hotel doors, flying pots and pans and he’s even been known to stand over guest’s shoulders as they look in the mirror. A lady in pink and a small boy are also rumored to haunt the grounds.
Fox Theater, Tucson
A visit to the Fox Theater may yield a run in with their resident ghost, a male panhandler seen walking near the front door. Inside, reports of floating objects and orbs have been circling for years.
The Jerome Grand, Jerome
Perhaps the most haunted building in Arizona, the Jerome Grand is the site of over 9,000 deaths during its run as United Verde Hospital. Unexplained figures and orbs have been photographed by professional ghost hunters, and, the occasional tourist. Guests have complained of loud, angry voices and the sounds of a squeaky hospital gurney rolling up and down the hallway. Since reopening as a hotel in 1994 guests have filled more than four journals chronicling their encounters from the other side.
Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort Phoenix
Nestled on picturesque cliffs with spectacular mountain views, this resort is a great place to kick back and relax, as long as you are OK with the off chance you may run into a spirit or two while you are there. Hotel staff claim the boiler room and ballroom are haunted by the spirit of a guest who fell to his death years ago.