Ghostly Residents in Tombstone

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Lots of places in the Old West and especially abandoned Ghost Towns are fascinating places to visit and to look around. Often you can expect to see some ghostly residents waiting for someone to talk to. The town of Tombstone, Arizona has gained the reputation of being one of the most haunted in this state. Here you can find lots of former residents now ghostly inhabitants roaming about the streets.

The Streets of Tombstone  

Walking along the street in Tombstone you can meet the spirit of Marshal Fred White, who must think he is still the law. He was accidentally shot on October 28, 1880, by Cowboy faction leader Curly Bill Brocius. Even though Marshal White had gained the respect of the Clanton Gang by arresting “Cowboy” members this time Curly Bill and his friends decided to have some fun by shooting up the town. Unfortunately, the marshal was one of those killed. He had gone to disarm the gunman and got shot by accident. His ghostly spirit now haunts the shooting site.

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Another ghostly resident is a man wearing a long, black frock coat who can be seen most often near the site where Virgil Earp was ambushed. Earp was shot in the arm and crippled for life. Because this spirit never actually crosses the street near this site it is believed that this might be the ghost of Earp.

 You can see a woman in a long white dress. The legend says that she is supposedly the worried mother of a child that died of yellow fever in the 1880s and later took her own life. Another version says that she was a brothel madam who was hanged and is now walking the streets looking for her executioners. If you happen to visit and see this ghostly spirit you can inquire about who she is.

Due to tragic fires, one in June of 1881 and one in May of 1882 in which a great portion of Tombstone’s business district went up in flames over 40 men lost their lives in the crowded saloons and brothels that all burnt to the ground. Now it appears that these guys are also wandering around the streets. If you see them you can see the burns on them and smell smoke and burning material even though there is actually nothing there. 


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A most famous place in Tombstone which people might have heard of especially those who are Western movie fans is the O.K. Corral. This is the place where there was the gunfight which made Wyatt Earp a legend and brought the town fame. This gunfight has been portrayed in lots of Westerns and written about in books. The story goes that lots of tension was building up between the Earps and the Cowboy faction in Tombstone. Marshal Virgil Earp was bound and determined to disarm the men on October 26, 1881, unfortunately, this resulted in a 30-second shootout after which Frank and Tom McLaury and Bill Clanton were dead. On the Earp side were brothers Virgil, Wyatt and Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday and these guys survived.

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Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday

Today the O.K. Corral’s ghostly residents include the spirits of the Cowboys. Witnesses have reported seeing fading apparitions of men dressed as cowboys with their guns drawn. Others say they have felt cold spots in different areas.

Boot Hill Graveyard 

This graveyard got his name because lots of its ghostly residents died with their boots on. It was mainly used as a graveyard from 1878 – 1884 and was originally called “Tombstone Cemetery”. Those who have been laid to rest here include outlaws, prospectors, lawmen and even prostitutes. There are those who rest in peace known only by a nickname. As time went on the cemetery fell into disrepair and lots of the old wooden crosses rotted. It was during the first Helldorado Days about 1929 that this cemetery began to be called Boot Hill Graveyard.

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Finally, in the 1940s there was an effort made to restore it. Nowadays it has become a popular tourist attraction. Here you can meet those who don’t rest in peace as visitors have seen strange lights and have heard strange noises. Others have seen spirits roaming about some who have seen the pictures say that some of the ghostly spirits include Bill Clanton, who was killed in the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Clanton has been seen heading on down the road back toward Tombstone most likely looking for more trouble.

The Bird Cage Theater 

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The Bird Cage Theater is one of the oldest original buildings in Tombstone. It is also the most haunted place in town where there are up to 31 ghostly spirits. This theater was named for 14 small “cages” that hung from the ceiling in which “painted ladies” could be seen dressed in colorfully feathered attires. After the theater opened in 1881 it quickly got the reputation of being the wildest place in town. Its reputation even spread to the East Coast and New York newspaper “The New York Times” wrote, “the Bird Cage Theater is the wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast”. Can you just imagine this place? It never closed its doors and was open 24 hours between 1881 and 1889. Here everyone could choose their way of entertainment from gambling to drinking and other vices. It is no wonder that a place which has been the scene of 26 deaths has ghostly residents still enjoying the fun today. This old building has been a museum since 1934 and is owned and operated by the Hunley family. It is an amazing place to see as it still has the “gilded cages”, hand-painted stage and the original Grand Piano. All you need is for the ghostly bartender to set up the drinks and the piano man to start to play and sing. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if that has already happened. Wild laughter and music can be heard from the doors of the theater at night. There have been sounds of a woman singing and the museum’s sound system has turned on by itself and started to blare old-time saloon music. Other strange sounds have come from the balconies on the main floor and there has been the scent of cigar smoke and whiskey. When the museum has closed for the night there are sounds of clinking glasses and shuffling cards. As they say, the party must go on. A dice table weighing several hundred pounds was moved from one spot to another during the night. When the museum staff saw the table the next day it had been moved in front of a door that has a sign on it which read, “Don’t Disturb Our 26 Resident Ghosts”. I certainly wouldn’t, would you? It took eight men to move it back.

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