Boo! The spookiest season of the year is in full swing. Whether you believe in ghosts or spirits or whatever, these towns and places throughout Arizona are allegedly haunted. If you visit, be prepared to be scared.
1. The Jerome Grand Hotel, Jerome
200 Hill Street, Jerome
The northern Arizona city’s hilltop hotel was a former hospital called the United Verde Hospital. In 1930, it was considered to be the most modern hospital in Arizona and possibly in the West, according to the hotel’s website. The hospital closed in 1950, never to be used as a healthcare facility ever again.
The building remained vacant until it was sold in 1994 to Larry Altherr. According to the hotel’s website, Altherr said that during his first month in the hotel after moving in, he felt “an overcast of uncertainty”—as if he wasn’t welcomed. Two psychics have said that the head nurse was upset that desks had been removed. Some believe her spirit continues to occupy the property today.
2. Haunted Hamburger, Jerome
10 Clark Street above and behind the Historic Clinkscale Building
The owners of Northern Arizona-based restaurant group the Haunted Group have opened a Haunted Penthouse above the Haunted Hamburger restaurant. “This place is not for the faint of heart so no refunds due to paranormal activities,” the website states. When the building was being restored, hammers reportedly disappeared, and the owner said a door slammed shut in front of him for no apparent reason.
Historical Tidbit: In the early 1900s, Jerome was a thriving mining town with a population peak of 15,000. Prostitution and gambling ran rampant, earning the city nickname of the “Wickedest Town of the West.”
Copper Queen Hotel, Bisbee
11 Howell Avenue, Bisbee
Located in Southern Arizona about two hours from Tucson, the Copper Queen Hotel in the former mining town of Bisbee has been open since 1902. The hotel bills itself as the longest continuously operating hotel in all of Arizona—and people say it’s haunted. If you book room 315, you just might be visited by the spirit of Julia Lowell. The sex worker hanged herself after one of her regulars refused to leave his wife when Lowell confessed her love for him.
Hotel La More at The Bisbee Inn, Bisbee
45 OK Street, Bisbee
The most famous resident at Hotel La More at The Bisbee Inn is a cat who died about 50 years ago. The stray lived outside the property but sometimes stayed in room 23.
Bisbee’s Lady in White also sometimes makes appearances. If you smell lilacs, that can be a sign of her presence. (Like the Haunted Penthouse, the hotel’s website states that you don’t get refunds if you experience paranormal activity.)
Bisbee Bonus: The city is also home to the Bisbee Séance Room. In this one-hour show, you can learn the history of Bisbee and “meet” the city’s ghosts.
Hotel San Carlos, Phoenix
202 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix
Hotel San Carlos is one of the oldest hotels in downtown Phoenix, and has been in business since March 28, 1928. At one time, this was the hotel to stay at. Mae West, Marilyn Monroe, and President John F. Kennedy were all guests at one point.
Hotel San Carlos is also allegedly haunted by one guest. According to the Arizona Republic, Leone Jensen leaped from the roof to her death on the hotel’s seventh floor on May 7, 1928. She’s known as the hotel’s woman in white. Guests have allegedly seen her at the foot of their beds.
Although Jensen is the most prominent ghost, she might not be the only one. The Republic also reports some guests have said they’ve heard mysterious laughter— thought to be that of children who died in a well once located on the site of the hotel.
Fun fact: Hotel San Carlos has several suites named after its most famous guests including Mae West and Marilyn Monroe.
Photo credit: Jill Richards
120 S. Montezuma Street, Prescott
Opened in 1877, the Palace Saloon in downtown Prescott on the city’s Whiskey Row has quite the history. Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, and Doc Holliday were all patrons, according to the restaurant’s website—and the bar is said to be haunted by a handful of ghosts.
According to Prescott Living magazine, one of those spirits is prostitute Jennie Clark, who was also known as Nellie Coyle. Clark was allegedly killed by gambler boyfriend Fred Glover inside the bar as none of the patrons helped her.
Another spirit who may still be hanging around is mortuary owner Frank Nevin, who apparently lost his business in a poker game and is still hoping for a more fortunate outcome to recoup his losses.
Prescott Living also reports that people have witnessed chairs and bottles being flown across the room, and the spirit of a woman hovering at the bottom of the stairs.
Historical Tidbit: When the bar burned to the ground in 1900 in the Whiskey Row fire, the carved 1880s Brunswick Bar was saved by patrons. The bar is currently in use.
Yuma Territorial Prison
220 N. Prison Hill Road, Yuma
The Yuma Territorial Prison is reportedly one of the most haunted places in the entire country. Opened in 1876, the prison housed over 3,000 inmates before it closed 33 years later. Since then, the structure has been used for a variety of purposes, ultimately becoming a state park in 1961.
Legend has it that a little girl wearing a red dress drowned in the nearby Colorado River. She now haunts the out-of-use prison and will supposedly pinch visitors she either doesn’t like or those who are wearing red, according to Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.
Thing to Know: The prison’s most extreme punishment was imprisonment in the Dark Cell, which you can still visit today.
The Superstition Mountains
6109 N. Apache Trail, Apache Junction
Located in the south Valley, the Superstition Mountains are steeped in history.
The most prominent tale is the Legend of the Lost Dutchman. A gold mine was allegedly found by German immigrant Jacob Waltz (who, for whatever reason, was known as “The Dutchman”). Waltz and his partner Jacob Weiser worked the mine and supposedly hid gold somewhere in the mountains. Weiser is thought to have been killed by Apaches or even by Waltz himself, according to the AZ State Parks. Waltz died without ever revealing the location of the mine.
To this day, people still explore the mountain range in search of gold. Some have even lost their lives trying to find it. In 2013, three hikers were found dead.
Spooky stuff: The Apaches believed that the gateway to the underworld or hell was located in the Superstition Mountains.