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Arizona has its fair share of ghost stories and places that are known to host a ghoul or two — it's all really spooky TBH!
How many of these haunted tales have you heard?
Hotel Congress, Tucson
Hotel Congress is believed to be home to a number of supernatural guests. Some of the most notable spirits include a man who is often seen peering from a second-story window, a maid who is always cleaning and a man with a top hat who struts around the lobby. In a 2003 interview with the Arizona Daily Star, Hotel Congress co-owner Shana Oseran mentioned a time when a spirit came to the aid of a guest.
"One night, someone asked me for the woman desk-clerk they had just spoken to," said Oseran, "but we only had a male desk-clerk working that night, so I knew it was one of our ghosts."
Two rooms in the hotel have been linked to suicides. Room 214 is said to host a guest who died from a self-inflicted shotgun wound, but the date of this incident has never been specified. It's also said that when you look toward the entrance of the room the floor appears to be slanted to the left even though it's level. Room 242 is believed to be the home of a female spirit who shot herself in the head during a SWAT standoff in the mid 90s. Some guests who stayed in this room claimed to have seen her ghostly figure in the bathroom and hear strange noises.
One of the rooms is also the permanent home of Vince Szuda, a longterm guest who checked in during the late 1950s and lived in the hotel, at a set rate of $7 a day, until his death in 2001. Vince was known to be a fix-it man who was constantly borrowing butter knives from the restaurant. To this day workers still find butter knives in random places all over the hotel.
Colossal Cave, Tucson
Colossal Cave, on the outskirts of Tucson, has an epic history fit for the movies.
In the late 1800s the cave was a hideout for bandits who held up a train near Tucson and escaped with $72,000 wroth of gold and currency, according to the cave's history. Some even say part of that stolen fortune could still be hidden somewhere in the cave.
Today, you can take tours of Colossal Cave and camp near the surrounding area.
Four ghosts are thought to call this place home:
The shadowy figure of a man has been spotted inside the cave and believed to be a one of the robbers looking for his lost loot.
One ghost, described as the "Lady in White," is usually seen standing around the entrance of Colossal Cave.
There's also the ghost of a Native American woman who's often found crying around the grounds. The story goes that she accidentally fell to her death when trying to escape a bear who was chasing her.
The last ghost is that of former Colossal Cave owner Frank Schmidt who is said to hang out in the gift shop and join a tour from time to time before mysteriously disappearing.
The Gadsden Hotel, Douglas
Built in 1907, the Gadsden Hotel is a historic four-story building that sits on the corner of G Avenue and 11th Street in Douglas.
The hotel has hosted a number of notable people including John Dillinger — who stayed at the Gadsden the day before he was apprehended in Tucson, according to the hotel's history.
It's said that in the early 1990s Mexican Revolutionary Pancho Villa rode his horse down the grand marble staircase of the lobby — a chip seen on one of the marble steps is supposedly from the horse's mighty hooves.
Over the years guests and staff have witnessed a number of unexplainable occurrences in the hotel.
Room 333 is considered one of the most haunted spots, with reports of strange noises, the television turning on and off, and guests being touched by a ghostly presence.
A figure in the shape of a man has also been spotted in the basement and sometimes he is described has having no head or no face — could this be the ghost of Pancho Villa?!
La Llorona, Southwest folklore
The story of "La Llorona" or "the crying woman" is a Mexican ghost story that has spooked children who have lived in the southwest for hundreds of years.
There are many renditions of this tale.
In one version a woman named Maria drowned her two sons in a river out of resentment after discovering her husband had left her for another person.
Another version claims Maria was promiscuous and had many children, whom she all drowned, and when she finally died and stood at the gates of heaven, Maria was told she could not enter until she found all of her children.
A Tucson tale says Maria immigrated from Nogales, Sonora, leaving her children, and when a big flood roared through the Santa Cruz River her kids got caught in it — their bodies washing ashore in Tucson.
No matter which way you like to tell this tragic urban legend it always ends the same — with the ghost of a woman in a nightgown and long black hair crying out for her children for all of eternity.
Old Main, University of Arizona
Built in 1891, Old Main — located at the heart of the University of Arizona campus — has served as a symbol of the UA's deep southwest history and commitment to academics.
It's said when Old Main was being built a construction manager named Carlos Maldenado would often stay in the unfinished structure in hopes of detouring Tucsonans — who were still unhappy about the town getting a university instead of a state asylum — from burning the building to the ground.
One morning after one of these stays, workers returned to Old Main to find Maldenado sitting in a chair in the second floor of the building with his back turned to the entrance. When they got closer to Maldenado the workers realized he was dead — a knife sticking out of his throat.
As a way to not scare the public, authorities declared Maldenado's death a heart attack and the murderer was never caught.
Maldenado's ghost is described as a shadowy figure who is seen roaming Old Main — especially if there is construction going on in the building.
Can't get enough UA ghost stories? Check out this website filled with other paranormal and down right creepy tales about the university.
The Copper Queen Hotel, Bisbee
The Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee will make you feel like you've gone through a time machine to the turn of the century.
Completed in 1902, the hotel was built by the Phelps Dodge Mining Cooperation as a way to host investors and VIPs who were visiting the booming mining town.
Over the years the Copper Queen has collected a number of ghost that haunt the building in their own unique way.
This includes a bearded man in a cape who is seen — or smelt — smoking a cigar in the lobby of the hotel.
A young boy named Billy who supposedly died in the San Pedro River now haunts the hotel because his mom used to work there. It's said he enjoys playing with children who stay over.
And Julia Lowell — a woman in Room 315 who is thought to of been a sex worker in the early 1900s. It's said Julia hanged herself after her lover refused to leave his wife. The ghost of Lowell is believed to have an affection for men who stay in the room and will do anything to get their attention, like whispering in their ear or dancing at the foot of the bed.
Try to meet these ghosts IRL by joining the hotel's ghost hunt hosted by the Old Bisbee Ghost Tours. It happens every Thursday during the first and third of the month and is offered to guests of the hotel for an additional fee.
The Carleton House, Fort Huachuca
In 1880 the Carleton House was built on Fort Huachuca and served as a hospital for the military post until 1889.
It's said around the time the building functioned as a hospital a woman named Charlotte gave birth to baby who died shortly after being born. Charlotte too would die at the Carleton House a few days later — never knowing if her child was given a proper burial.
The building now serves as living quarters for officers and their families in the historic district of the base.
Over the years, former residents of the house have claimed to have seen Charlotte, described as a young blonde woman in a nightgown, walking around the home — possibly looking for her lost baby.
No matter who's living at the Carleton House a rocking chair is kept for Charlotte in the specific corner of the home to make her feel comfortable. Some say the chair rocks on its own from time to time and loud noises can be heard throughout the house when it's moved to another spot in the building.
Horseshoe Cafe, Benson
Take a quick road trip out of town heading east on I-10 to Benson where you can find the Horseshoe Cafe located right across the street from the town's train station.
The cafe opened in 1938 and as been a landmark to locals and drifters alike — with its horse-head-shaped neon sign and large mural on the side of the two-story building that depicts three cowboys riding on horses.
It's said at some point during the cafe's history an old women who lived upstairs died in the building — and she has been ghosting up the place ever since.
People have described seeing the woman looking out of the windows of the second story, walking around near the staircase, and showing up in the back of the restaurant.
A ghost dog, who is believed to be the pet of the old woman, has also been heard barking from the second floor.
Santa Rita Hotel, Tucson
Before it was demolished in August 2009 to make way for Tucson Electric Power headquarters, the Santa Rita Hotel stood on the corner of East Broadway and South Sixth Avenue. When it was time to close up shop the spirits of the hotel did not go quietly. According to a 2009 Arizona Daily Star story, several months before the building was torn down, police were called to investigate the empty hotel after a security guard claimed to have heard something eerie.
"The guard heard footsteps coming from the fourth floor, but police searched the hotel room by room and found nothing. A week later, a guard reported that a light on the fourth floor came on, and it sounded like someone was moving around in the room. Police checked the room and adjacent floors and found no one.
"In recent weeks, construction workers near the hotel say they've heard stories of rocks skipping down the hallways and doors slamming shut. And a Star reporter walked by the building Monday night and heard a creepy belly laugh emitting from the building. He hopped a fence and spoke to a security guard, who said the noise didn't come from the hotel."
Parapsychologist Amy Allan of the Travel Channel's Dead Files has said the Santa Rita Hotel was just as inhabited by spirits as the San Diego's Whaley House, which is considered to be one of the most haunted places in America.
The Birdcage Theater, Tombstone
Known as one of the "wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast" according to the New York Times in the late 1800's, the Birdcage Theater in Tombstone was considered one of the happening places to go during the town's heyday — they've even got the 140 bullet holes found all over the building to prove it.
It's said the theater is home to 26 ghosts.
Music and voices have been heard in the middle of the night as if a big party is being thrown. Guests and staff have reported seeing ghosts of cowboys and sex workers who never left the property and others have claimed to of be touched or pushed by unseen forces.
The theater offers nightly ghost tours for the the brave who want to experience this haunt for themselves.
Spook yourself at Nightfall this year
Bigger and better this year, come check out the only real haunted town ... Nightfall. Bury yourself in a totally terrifying town with outrageous live shows, disturbing haunts, hideous live characters and other fun attractions. Shows run until Oct. 31 — Friday-Saturday 6 p.m.-midnight; Thursday, Sunday and Halloween. 6-10 p.m. Click here for more info about group discounts and coupons.