Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Creature Found in Phoenix Zoo Pond

During the latest cleanup of the Phoenix Zoo pond, they found a 62 pound “alligator-snapping turtle". This creature has been described as “straight out of prehistoric times” and found living in the deepest part of the pond located in front of the Zoo. The jaws are so strong that they are able to snap off a child’s arm or leg.

According to Wikipedia: “The alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America, the alligator snapper keeps to primarily southern U.S. waters, while the smaller, more aggressive common snapper inhabits lakes and streams from South America to Canada. These turtles can remain submerged for three hours. Typically only nesting females will venture onto open land. The Alligator Snapping Turtle is characterized by a large, heavy head, and a long, thick shell with three dorsal ridges of large scales giving it a primitive appearance reminiscent of some of the plated dinosaurs.”

The Phoenix Herpetological Society says that this creature does not belong in Arizona. They feel that it was an exotic pet for someone. More than likely they didn’t want the responsibility of taking care of it and dump it in the zoo’s pond. No one knows how long it has been in there but have the feeling it made meals of ducks, fish and other turtles leaving in the pond.

Apparently the zoo’s pond seems to be a dumping ground for unwanted exotic creatures. The workers have found approximately 600 non-native turtles living in the pond over the past four years alone. This particular creature is not only dangerous for the beings living in the pond but those visiting the zoo.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Buford House: Tombstone's Haunted B&B

Located on Stafford Street in Tombstone, Arizona, is the Buford House Bed & Breakfast. This adobe home was built in 1880 by George Buford, a prominent mine owner. At least two sheriffs, a mayor and state senator have called the Buford House their home. The owners Ruth and Richard Allen have played host to many famous visitors such as the Duke himself, John Wayne. Along with the living guests that have laid their hats in the B&B, many claim that there are others guests that have long since gone who seems to want to hang around.

One of those past guests is that of George Dahl who lived there with his father in the late 1800’s. At the age of 21 years, George asked his beloved Cleopatra Evans to marry him. Petra, which was what she was called for short, was only 17 years of age at the time. George had been in love with her since childhood. Knowing that he didn’t have enough money to support the both of them, he went to work for the mines. After returning nine months later, George appeared to be wealthier and ready to marry his lovely fiancé. Unfortunately, he was too late and Petra had fallen in love with another man. He was completely devastated and spent the entire night crying. His father was deeply concerned for his son and kept checking in on him regularly to see if he was alright. By morning, his tears have turned to anger and he left his home with gun in hand. Petra came to check on him and before she knew it, he had shot her about four times. George then put the gun to his head and shot himself, dying instantly. Petra crawled her way to the doctor but he refused to help her. He did not approve of her loving another man when she was promised to George. A surgeon, who mended wounded gunslingers, just happened to be in town and took care of Petra, who was close to death. He stitched up her wounds and she did recover. Even though Petra stayed in Tombstone, got married and had children, she was never accepted by the residence because of betraying George.

The Allens and many the guests that passed through the Buford House doors claimed to have seen George’s ghost hanging around the house. Many think he is still looking for his long lost love, Petra. Pictures taken by visitors have revealed a ghostly figure of a man in a cowboy hat who appears to be looking out the window. Owners have reported a mischievous ghost that will turn lights off and on or ring the doorbell at 3:00 in the morning. No one is ever there when they answer the door. Some female guests have reported their hair being touched or some unseen hand stroking the back of their necks. The lingering odor of lavender has been smelt by some in the rooms. Perhaps Petra is still hanging around as well.

There have been other reports of unusual activity at the Buford House. Strange looking orbs appear in many visitors photos. Some guests staying in the upstairs room have reported seeing a strange light in the room. There are no street lights outside the house, so they have no explanation for the light. Items left in the rooms while the guests were out, were moved and hidden by some playful ghost. One lady reported her wallet missing after searching the entire room once, they didn’t find it. They decided to give the room another once over and found the wallet under the bed. The wallet wasn’t there when they looked the first time. The money and credit cards were still inside.

Another interesting ghost that only a few have seen is that of a feisty old woman. One woman claimed that she saw the old lady ghost rocking on a chair in her room. She goes on to say that they had an argument about whose room it was. The ghost screamed at her, “this is my room, GET OUT!”, but she wouldn’t budge. According to the owners, this went on all night. All I have to say is that it doesn’t matter if you are dead or alive, stubborn is stubborn, lol.

This bed and breakfast is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Buford House B&B is just another noteworthy haunted place to visit while in Tombstone.

Friday, May 7, 2010

John Henry Thompson: Arizona's Most Colorful Sheriff

For 8 long terms, John Henry Thompson served as sheriff for Gila County in the years 1890-1912. He was born on December 19, 1861 in Bell County, Texas and in the early 1880’s arrived in the Payson area. He settled and farmed 160 acres which were located under the rim rock of the Mogollon Mountains. People gave him the moniker of “Rimrock Henry”, and that name that stuck with him his entire life.

On January 12, 1887, John married Carrie L. Nash and then moved to the town of Payson and was selected Postmaster. The sheriff of Globe at the time was Glenn Reynolds who was shot to death after escorting the Apache Kid and other rebel Apaches to the Yuma Territorial Prison. Afterwards, Jerry Ryan was appointed to fill the position of sheriff. His term was short lived when he died six months later. He drowned trying to save a family friend. John decided that he wanted the position and needed his neighbor and close friend, John W. Wentworth, to endorse him. Wentworth was a man of importance, a miner and Justice of the Peace in Globe. He wasn’t sure if Wentworth would agree, after all Thompson’s cattle did meander onto Wentworth’s land and destroying his mining equipment. After using his step-father, O. N. Cresswell as a mediator between the two of them, Wentworth finally made the recommendation. On June of 1890, after swearing to the oath of office for sheriff of Globe, Thompson moved his family there. He continued to get elected as sheriff until 1896 when he decided not to run for another term.

Thompson, like many others, was hit with gold fever and decided to travel up to Alaska to see if he could get lucky and strike it rich. In 1890 he returned to Globe but no one knew if he ever found any gold. He started a partnership with Dick Barley in the feed, fuel, and livery stable business. In 1900, he got the bug to run as sheriff again, and added his name to the ballet. He easily won the position at the same time his businesses were thriving. Thompson was able to buy property in town and rent out some of the buildings. He also built his family a brand new home. He took another break from running for sheriff when some of his old mining claims had problems and took up much of his time.

Thompson couldn’t stay away from running for the office of the sheriff of Globe. In 1908, he ran for a sixth time and won. He ended up as Globe’s sheriff for a total of eight terms which ended in January 8, 1912 at the urging of the county supervisor. Thompson and some buddies were having some drinks in the Globe saloon just a few days before Christmas in 1911. All of a sudden a shot rang out and the bartender was dead. Upon investigation of the body, the bullet was a match to Thompson’s gun. He and his friend, Harry Temple were accused of the crime of murder. They were watched over by Frank Haynes, who took over for sheriff after Thompson resigned. They were found not guilty but Thompson’s career as sheriff was over at the age of 51. He had racked up the most arrests and convictions than any other sheriff in Arizona history.

Thompson spent the next 20 years working for the Arizona highway department, selling real estate, mining, and cattle ranching. Carrie died in 1926 and in July of 1932, he married a widow named Allie Smith. Thompson and Wentworth butted heads over many issues throughout the years until his death on August 2, 1934 in Globe, Arizona.

This Wild West lawman, prospector, and businessman have been described by many as Arizona’s most intriguing sheriff.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tubing with the Ghosts

One of our Arizona traditions is to go tubing down the Salt River. You usually go with several friends and family and head down to the Lower Salt River. The first thing you do is to park at the place where you rent tubes and then grab a bus to take you upstream to the higher elevation to get started. There is usually a crowd of various types of people of all ages and sometimes they bring their pets. I don’t recommend that because those poor animals are terrified of being on the river. I also don’t recommend stringing tubes together. That will just get you into all kinds of trouble on the rapids especially when there is a fork in the river. More times than none, the entire group will hit the bank and fall off their tubes. We usually attached with our feet so when the rapids move faster, we could unhook and go solo. We would have one person attached to the cooler which had its own tube and another person would be attached to the plastic container which usually carried the dry foods, suntan lotion and other items. There are several clever people that will attach a stereo to a tube providing music so we can jam down the river. We usually will stop mid-way at the bridge to take a break from tubing. We use this time to eat and reapply our suntan lotion.

It is fun but not without problems. You are basically floating on top of a tube for at least four hours, baking in the harsh sun. You must have plenty of lotion, a tee shirt to cover your shoulders later on, a towel to cover your legs later on, a hat and sunglasses. You should have plenty of water to stay hydrated along with other beverages. We usually bring beer but drink responsibly. The problem is, not everyone will. Not only do they fight with others but they do stupid things and don’t watch the ever changing current of the river. Here lies the place where the ghosts come in. I can’t tell you how many people have drowned because they were too drunk handle the dangerous situations they get into. They lose all cognitive thinking. Some are not adults but children that were not being properly watched. Then there are the ones that are drunk, strip off their swim suits or clothes, and jump off very high cliffs not knowing what lies below. This decision has been fatal for some. There have been reports from those who have been at the river in the dark of night of seeing ghosts and hearing unusual noises. I’m sure there are many lost souls hanging around at the river that have died from a tragic accident.

Spending the day tubing can be a fun day for all but you need to do it responsibly. These days, I don’t go tubing anymore because being in the sun too long just makes me feel ill. I have my memories and they are good ones. Here is a video I found that will give you an idea of what it is like:

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Is Dustin Pari Still a GHI Team Member?

I was emailed this post on In the article, the question was brought up did Dustin Pari leave GHI for personal reason, or was he simply replaced, or is he taking a season off.  They used Twitter as one of their sources to show that Dustin was not with the GHI team when they were investigating.  Whatever the reason for Dustin's absence, personal or not, the show will still go on. GHI will still have Robb, Barry and Paul and take us to some amazing places to investigate the haunts. Here is the article on Dustin.