Thursday, July 20, 2017

Monday, July 17, 2017

Copper Queen Hotel: My Ghost Stories

I have trekked to and stayed in Bisbee, AZ several times.  It was the ghost stories and the evidence that Ghost Hunters found at the Copper Queen Hotel that was why myself and several friends wanted to go there in the first place. 

Built in 1902, the classy hotel was constructed by a wealthy Copper Queen Mining Company.  The hotel was built for the mining executives and played host to traveling men, governors and dignitaries.  It is located in the heart of down town Bisbee and is well maintained to this day.

There are a few well-known spirits that haunt the place.  A prostitute named Julia Lowell committed suicide after a gentleman suiter refused to dump his wife for her.  Now the sadden ghost haunts room 315 which was named after her.  Apparently she will only materialize for men staying in her room.  They report a white mist, a female whispering in their ear, their sheets being pulled back so she can rub their feet, and awaken to Julia doing a striptease dance, then disappearing.

Julia isn’t the only apparition that has been report by guests and hotel employees.  There are stories of a little boy’s ghost, around 8 or 9, running around the 4th floor.  His name is Billy and his mother worked at the hotel.  Billy drowned in the nearby San Pedro River and has room 412 named after him.  He likes to hide guests’ items and run up and down the 4th floor hallways.  Some have also seen his spirit in the dining room under a table.  Another is an older man known as Albert.  Although his apparition has been seen around the hotel, most have witnessed his appearance at the southwest corner of the 4th floor.  He is described as a tall man with long hair, beard, nice black suite, black cape and top hat.  After seeing him, witnesses have reported the scent of cigar smoke in the area.  A woman in a black dress named Ruth has been seen wandering around the grand staircase.  Along with the apparitions, some have heard heavy boot steps walking the hallways and their names called by unseen forces.

The first time I went was in 2008 with a group of friends and my son who were interested in finding ghosts.  We stayed in rooms 401 and 402 near an area where the ghost of Albert usually makes his appearance.  For our first visit, the spirits were active.  We decided that room 402 would be the best to do an EVP session.  While the lights were out and we were calling on the spirit of Billy who haunts the 4th floor, the coins on the dresser slid off onto the floor.  No one was near the dresser at the time.  While trying to get some sleep in room 401, I kept hearing whispering above my bed.  Also, while my son and his friends were wandering the streets of Bisbee around midnight, they had some weird experiences.  My son took a picture of a well-lighted staircase, but when he looked at his camera’s picture, the area looked dark and a white figure appeared in the photo.  It looked as if a ghost walked by right when he took the picture.

The second time I went was a couple years later with some of the same people and a couple of others who wanted to join in on the fun.  Driving into Bisbee we experience snowfall and then heavy rain.  This combo apparently was a beneficial recipe for ghost activity.  We took rooms 401 and 404 for this trip.  After walking around Bisbee and having dinner, we went back to our room, 401, and noticed the toiletries that were in the bathroom, were now in the sleeping area next to the beds.  We decided the first EVP session would be in room 404 since our friends found all the dresser drawers opened when they returned from dinner.  That room was hopping with activity.  Money again slid off the dresser, voices were heard, people were touched and some witnessed a camera spinning around on the bathroom vanity.  Next, we turned our attentions to our room, 401.  During the EVP session, I saw the bathroom door sliding open, while another saw a black figure in the bathroom.  We all witnessed a heavy jacket moving on its own and heard the toilet flush more than once.  Later on, while some of us were having a drink, our friend went up to the room because he was tired.  When he rounded the corner from the elevator and looked down the hall where our room was, he saw a dark figure of a man walk through the wall of another room.  Was this the mysterious ghost known as Albert?  Sure sounded like it.  He also smelt the lingering of cigar smoke after the figure disappeared.  Later that night when we all were trying to sleep, I again heard the whispering above my bed.  Also, sometime in the night, two of my roommates had their feet touched and then aggressively pulled almost taking their socks off.  I can tell you that sleeping after that was next to none. 

The next time I stayed at the Copper Queen Hotel was in 2014 with my friend Sharon and her trusty sidekick, Dale the Doll.  We went their purposely to try and contact the ghost of Billy, but also to check out a haunted staircase in Bisbee.  Sharon and I stayed in the Grace Dodge room, 312.

After finally locating the haunted staircase and seeing shadow figures moving down the stairs, we hit the bar and then our room.  We decided to do a séance to get Billy’s attention and used Dale as a trigger object.  Sharon sat him on the couch and put his hat over his face to cover his piercing eyes.  The session lasted about 12 minutes.  I recorded it while Sharon was trying to get Billy to make an appearance.  Afterwards, while Sharon was in the bathroom, she came running out and wanted to know where Dale’s hat was.  It was covering his face, but now it was gone.  We searched and searched for the hat, and then Sharon noticed it underneath Dale.  He was sitting on it.  He had to be physically lifted up in order for that to get it there.  This got our heart rates pumping because we just couldn’t explain this one.

I have to say that the Copper Queen Hotel has always been a nice place to stay.  The accommodations are lovely, clean and roomy.  On the weekends, you can hit the bar on the first floor and enjoy the live music.  The hotel is a short walk to many interesting historic sites around town, shops and restaurants.  Also, let’s not forget the unseen guests who never checked out, and wander the halls of this historic hotel.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Harvest Grill and Greens

Just north of Durango and along Highway 550, you will find the James Ranch.  For over 50 years, the James Ranch serves their customers lunch and dinner with delightful meats, cheeses and vegetables they harvest on the ranch.  They use organic, sustainable and grass-based practices for years which you will find in all the items they provide such as sauces and even pickles.  If they don’t make it on the farm, they will use local items from the neighboring people.
The Harvest Grill and Greens is a fun family place to go.  You can order any one of their freshly made sandwiches, burgers, bratwurst, salads and a kids menu to delight the little ones.  While enjoying your meal, you can sit on the terraces which have amazing scenery of the ranch.
We found out that every Thursday in the summer (5-8pm), you can enjoy your dinner with the sounds of a live band.  It cost $20 and includes a Harvest Grill Signature Burger (beef or veggie) with kids under 12 getting in free.  They have tables, but some like to bring a blanket and sit on the grass.  We enjoyed the Harvest Grill and Greens and the food was delicious.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Ouray Colorado

Ouray is a darling little town tuck inside the mountains of Colorado, and is a “Home Rule Municipality”.  Just over a thousand souls call Ouray home.  “Originally established by miners chasing silver and gold in the surrounding mountains, the town at one time boasted more horses and mules than people. Prospectors arrived in the area in 1875. In 1877, William Weston and George Barber found the Gertrude and Una gold veins in Imogene Basin, six miles south southwest of Ouray. Thomas Walsh acquired the two veins and all the open ground nearby. In 1897 opened the Camp Bird Mine, adding a twenty-stamp mill in 1898, and a forty-stamp mill in 1899. The mine produced almost 200,000 ounces of gold by 1902, when Walsh sold out to Camp Bird, Ltd. By 1916, Camp Bird, Ltd. had produced over one million ounces of gold.”  (Wikipedia)
When mining was booming, Ouray had over 30 operational mines.  It was integrated on October 2, 1876 and got its name from Chief Ouray from the Utes Native American tribe.  The settlement saw a growth in residents to over 1,000 people by 1877.  On December 21, 1877, the Denver & Rio Grande Railway reached Ouray, but was shut down and left abandoned on March 21, 1953 because more people preferred driving instead of taking the railroad.
Today, every building on Main Street are registered as National Historic District structures, many of which were built in the late nineteenth century.  It is called “Switzerland of America” since it is flanked by three very sheer mountains.  Ouray relies heavily on tourism for its survival.   It offers an array of fun activities such as ice climbing, mountain biking, hiking and four-wheel drive off-roading excursions into the San Juan Mountains.  There are lots of places to shop and eat along Main Street.  Bikers love traveling to Ouray from the nearby towns of Silverton and Durango and ride the Million Dollar Highway.  It is called this because of its extraordinary scenery with many waterfalls, but has treacherous sharp turns, steep ledges, and lack of guard rails.  Needless to say, it was worth the drive to see this quaint little town.