Monday, June 28, 2010
The problems between the Earps began right after Wyatt arrived in Tombstone in November 1879. Wyatt’s horse was stolen and a year later he found out that it was in Charleston on the Clanton’s ranch. After getting ownership papers proving the horse to be his, Wyatt and Doc headed out to their ranch. They were met by 18 year old smart mouth Billy, who was somewhat threatening to steal more of his horses. He finally retrieved his horse, which seemed to anger Wyatt and Ike as well. After that, the Clantons and the Earps both exchanged accusations that each was committing the many crimes happening in and around Tombstone.
On October 25, 1881, Doc Holliday confronted Ike about a stagecoach robbery which angered him. Ike got very drunk and belligerent and shortly afterwards, an argument with Holliday ensued. Morgan and Virgil threatened to arrest the both of them if they didn’t stop, so they did. They left the scene, Doc to get some sleep, but Ike stayed up through the wee hours playing cards with Tom McLaury and Virgil Earp. When the game was over and the other boys went to bed, but Ike kept drinking and was seen carrying his rifle in the middle of town, yelling like a fool, threatening Doc and the Earps. Virgil and Morgan were able to get the jump on Ike, knocking him out and throwing his filthy butt in jail. He was fined for carrying a weapon in the city, paid the fine and had a heated exchange of words with the Earps as he left.
Ike, along with Tom McLaury, later met up with his younger brother Billy and Tom’s brother, Frank, in back of the O.K. Corral. They were angered by what the Earps did to Ike and made strong threats against them. The Earps got wind of the threats, headed down the street towards the O.K. Corral, and was joined by Doc Holliday. They went there to retrieve the McLaury’s and Clanton’s weapons, and a few minutes later history was made. At 3:00 pm on October 26, 1881 in a vacant lot behind the O.K. Corral, a gunbattle ensused and at the end, three men were dead. There were reports by witnesses that Ike was unarmed and was able to skinned out unharmed along with Billy Claiborne, but his little brother Billy and the McLaurys were not as lucky. Afterwards there was a hearing against the Earps who were accused as being murderers.
In his usual fashion, Ike tried to spin the story making it look like the Earps and Holliday went to the corral with the intent to purposely murder all of them. He painted them as cool blooded killers and lied about other incidences from the past further making them look like liars and thieves. However, the Earps had a better defense and with all that Ike tried to do to get them convicted of murder, the charges were eventually dropped.
In December of 1881, Ike along with his brother Fin and Pony Diehl, attacked Virgil Earp in an attempt to assassinate him. Virgil didn’t die but was disabled for life. Ike was arrested but his friends provided him with an alibi, so the judge had no choice but to dismiss the case. There attempt to kill Virgil failed but in March of 1882, Ike along with Frank Stilwell and others, attacked Wyatt and Morgan leaving Morgan mortally wounded. He eventually died from his wounds causing Wyatt to remove Virgil from Tombstone for his safety. After Wyatt killed Stilwell, the Earp Vendetta Ride went after Ike and the other cowboys involved in the slaying of Morgan and the second attempt on Virgil’s life. Ike escaped again but his hell raising days were not over yet.
After getting caught cattle-rustling with his brother Fin, they were trapped at the Jim Wilson’s Ranch on Eagle Creek, near Springerville, Arizona by Detective Jonas V. Brighton on June 1, 1887. Fin surrendered quietly but not Ike. He was shot twice with the fatal blow going through his heart. He fell off his horse and hit the ground dead. There were many reports of where his body was buried, but it wasn’t until 1996 that a remaining relative, Terry Clanton, along with grave expert, James A. Browning, found where it was officially located. Under a large tree near the creek in Greenlee County, Arizona, is a shallow grave they believe to be his. Even though Terry has tried to get Ike’s remains buried in the Boothill Graveyard near Tombstone, the town’s officials feel that his remains shouldn’t be bothered.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
On December 25, 1881, William “Billy” Hutchinson and his wife Lottie opened the Bird Cage Theatre. It got its name from the 14 boxes that were referred to as “cages”. These cages are located on the second story balconies on both sides of the main hall. Each box had drapes that could be drawn while the prostitutes amused their cliental. Also found in the main hall is a stage where live performances were held and below was an orchestra pit.
Many famous and notorious legends frequented the Bird Cage. Performers such as Lillian Russell, Lotta Crabtree, and Eddie Foy Sr. have performed on the stage along with Fatima, the belly dancer. Others like the Clantons, Earps, Bat Masterson, Doc Holliday and even Pete Spence, laid down many silver coins for a shot of whiskey. The basement was set up as a poker room and where the story is told that the longest-running poker game in history was played there. This game was played 24 hours, and apparently lasted eight years, five months, three days, with over 10 million dollars exchanging hands. Some of the participants were Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, Diamond Jim Brady, and George Hearst, with the house getting 10 percent of the profits. The game ended when the ground water seeped into the mines, flooding many of the buildings. In 1889 the town went bust, along with the Bird Cage Theatre and the building had to be closed.
Perhaps one of the most notorious prostitutes at the Bird Cage was named “Gold Dollar” because of her long gold hair. It was said that a woman named Margarita came to town and took a shine to Gold Dollar’s boyfriend Billy. She loved sitting on his lap and flirting with him. One time Gold Dollar got wind of Margarita sitting on Billy’s lap and she headed to the Bird Cage Theatre. She threatened Margarita and told her that she was going to cut out her heart. They got into a brawl and Gold Dollar stabbed Margarita in the chest, and cut her heart out. The angry ghost of Margarita has been seen walking around the Bird Cage Theatre.
In 1934, the Bird Cage Theatre’s new owners opened the place back up for show. They found everything in the building the exact way it was left, even the poker table. Today the Bird Cage stands as a tourist attraction and a visual look into its colorful past. With its violent history, there is no short supply of ghostly activity reported there. Several ghost hunting teams such as Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures and Ghost Lab have investigated the place with incredible results.
Some of the ghostly claims that have been reported are crowd noises, music, card shuffling and the smell of cigar smoke. A stage manager was said to be killed there when a sandbag dropped on him. His ghost can be seen walking across the stage. A gift store owner saw the spirits of three cowboys in the gift store just standing in the back, and then disappeared. In the poker room in the basement, a lady in a white dress has been seen in the security cameras when no one was in that room at that time. They even have a photo of a white ghostly figure on the stairs leading down to the basement. The apparition appears to be a woman in a bonnet holding her dress as she walks down the stairs. A female employee was helping an older gentleman find his wife only to have him disappear on her. A tourist found a rare gold coin ($25 birdcage chip with only 3 in existence) on the table in the poker room. No one can explain where it came from because it wasn’t there before. In some pictures, a ghostly figure of a cowboy can be seen in the stagecoach in the back area of the theater. During a séance, an owner was choked by a spirit’s unseen hands. Also, the smell of cheap lilac perfume can be smelt in various areas of the building.
On audio they captured the sound of a piano (music) playing. If Brian and Steve heard it they would have said something but did not. On video they caught the cord lift up and unwrap itself by some unseen force. That was pretty cool.
Apparently, there is lots of spirits still haunting the Bird Cage Theatre; those that died there and those that did not get to finish their game.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
It has be a long time since I had a meal at the Old Spaghetti Company. Any place that serves up pasta with a side of ghosts has my attention. Sitting in downtown Phoenix, Arizona on Central Avenue is an old building which once was two houses where the Cole and Baker families resided. Both houses were built in the 1920’s and were merged together when the Cole family bought the Baker House in the 1940’s. With an addition built between the houses to unite them into one establishment, a furniture shop was the first store to open its doors in the newly renovated building.
The building was eventually sold to the Barrow Family and then to a Phoenix business man in the 1970’s. He turned the building into a restaurant and the Spaghetti Company was born. It remained as such until 1996 when they sold the property to the Old Spaghetti Factory.
Shorty afterwards the ghost stories started to become more apparent after employees and guest started experiencing strange occurrences. One time when two Phoenix police officers were enjoying their dinner, they heard the loudest bone-chilling scream, almost like someone was being murdered. This visually shook up the employees as well as the officers. The scream came from an abandoned area on the second floor of the Baker house portion of the building. After being gone a long time to check out the incident, the officers came back downstairs and warned all the employees to not go up there but never elaborated on why.
There have been stories told about murders in that section of the building along with ghost sightings. An old man was bludgeoned to death while sleeping and a woman was shot and killed. Most of the paranormal activity was reported by the ones that worked there. The reports are from hearing someone whispering their names when they were alone, white masses floating in some of the rooms, tables and chairs moving on their own, lights turning off and on, and the sound of a woman crying in the basement. They also noted that under the buildings were bizarre tunnels that no one knew existed.