Friday, February 26, 2010

Bisbee Part Four: Bedtime

The bar at the Copper Queen Hotel had that old western feel to it. We were entertained by a couple, singing and playing a keyboard and guitar. Mike was the only one who didn’t drink so he decided to walk around the hotel on his own. He stopped off at the front desk to read what other guests had written in a book about their experiences. The books sat on the front desk and had some interesting stuff about our rooms (401 & 404). After that he walked around each floor. When he got to the fourth floor near our room, which is also near the area where Albert’s ghost usually hangs around, he saw something. The story is told that if Albert is trying to manifest, you will see a dark shadow and smell cigar smoke. Sure enough, Mike saw a dark shadow dart across the hallway in that area and smelt cigar smoke afterwards. He came back to the bar and told us of his experience. I was very intrigued and went with him back up to the fourth floor. We walked around the area a couple of times and took pictures. I never saw anything or smelt cigar smoke. After we finished walking around all the floors, we went back to the bar.

It was time to walk around Bisbee a night time. Some areas were pitch black with stairs leading up to who knows where. The ground was wet and the air was crispy and cold. We must have walked around for about an hour before heading back to the hotel. I took many pictures, especially around the area where my son got the weird ghost photo. I tried moving my thumb back and forth to see if I could get the same effect, but it looked more like a thumb and not a ghost. I still have more experiments to try.

It was almost midnight when we all decided to head back to our rooms to try and get some sleep. After everything that happened in the room earlier, that wasn’t going to be easy. Mike and I shared the bed closest to the door. He decided to just sleep on the top of the covers with a blanket, while I tucked myself under the sheets. Tricia was across from Mike on the other bed and Kelly was next to the wall. Not one of us could get a solid hour of sleep. We tossed and turned, except for Tricia who couldn’t sleep at all. Sometime in the middle of the night, Mike sudden sat up and then Tricia followed. He said that someone pulled his foot real hard and almost took his sock off. Right after that, Tricia had her foot pulled rather forcefully. When I sat up and saw her, she had a terrified look on her face. I heard Kelly asking what happen because she felt someone touch her face. Later that night Kelly felt someone touch her back. As for me, I felt my back and leg touched and kept hearing whispering just like I did the last time I stayed in that room.

What an eventful evening for all of us at the Copper Queen Hotel. I can’t wait to return to see what other spooky adventure waits us. There is never a dull moment in Bisbee and the Copper Queen Hotel.

Don’t forget to check out:
Part One: Arrival and walk Around Town
Part Two: Evergreen Cemetery
Part Three: In the Darkness

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bisbee Part Three: In the Darkness

After returning from the Evergreen Cemetery, the plan was to hit the bar, then walk around Bisbee, and then sit in the rooms, in the dark, to see if we can get any noise from the spirits. We went up to the rooms to see if anything else was disturbed. Because we had strange occurrences happen earlier in the rooms, everyone wanted to sit in both rooms in total darkness first.

We started out in room 404, Billy and Marsi’s room. Mike and I sat on the floor near the bathroom door, the other ladies sat on the bed and Billy sat in the corner by the “closet”. This room was small with a queen bed, night stand, dresser, and a corner closet, which was basically a bar with hangers. The bathroom had a claw foot tub and was also small in size. The room was just fine for the couple. Billy put a quarter on the dresser and Mike turned the water on in the bathroom sink. The little boy ghost, Billy, is known to make his appearance in the bathroom especially if the water is running. Mike started asking questions and wanted Billy’s ghost to shut the water off. He asked this over and over. There was one point where the water sounded as if someone ran their fingers under it. While asking questions, Mike started to feel dizzy and a heavy feeling come over him. At the same time, we all heard some banging in the bathroom and the water sounded like it shut off and then quickly back on. Mike felt someone touch his hair, so he jumped up and shut the bathroom door. While Mike was asking for the boy’s spirit to shut off the water, Billy felt like a small child was sitting in his lap. He also kept hearing “I can’t” over and over in his head. We turned on the light because Kelly, Marsi, and Mike wanted to sit in the bathroom. The quarter that was on the dresser was now on the floor. No one heard it fall or was near the dresser when the lights were out. While they sat in the bathroom, I put the quarter back on the dresser and shut the lights off. Right away they opened the bathroom door complaining of a heaviness they felt in that room. Not long after that Mike called us in because his disposable camera was slowly spinning on the sink. The moment I walked in the bathroom, I felt the heaviness too. We sat there a short while, and then the heavy feeling went away. Nothing more happened so we decided it was time to sit in room 401.

In 401, we opened the bathroom door just slightly and got in our positions. Mike sat on the floor by the bathroom, and I sat on the bed by the door, the 3 ladies laid down on the other bed, while Billy sat on the chair in the corner. After turning the lights out, we noticed a large gap under the door letting the hallway’s lights in. Billy put his coat on the floor under the door to cover the light. Now things get interesting. The very first thing we all heard was a loud moan which sounded like it came from inside the room. Mike caught the moan on his recorder. He started asking questions and then taunting the spirits as “Dr. Phil”. I have to admit that it was a pretty good imitation and almost had me peeing my pants from laughing so hard. It must have worked because he saw a shadow moving in the bathroom and then a shadow hand reach around the bathroom door. As he moved rather quickly between the beds, we noticed that the bathroom door was opened more than it was originally. As we looked at the bathroom door, it appeared to be opening more. This door was a sliding door and not one that swings. At this point, we were all officially getting spooked. Not only did the bathroom door appear to be slowly opening, but we heard the room’s doorknob jiggle a couple of times. It also sounded like it was jiggling from inside the room.

While all the chaos was going on, Billy was sitting quietly in the corner. He told us that he again felt a child near him and a child’s voice saying, “he is mean”. We weren’t sure if he meant the ghost of Albert or Mike because of the taunting. Billy tells us that while we were checking out the bathroom door, he was watching his coat move up and down by the door. Sure enough you can see the light coming through the side of the door and the coat was moving up and then down. It wasn’t the entire coat, just the top half. This was his heavy winter coat and wouldn’t move easily. It was almost like someone was pulling it up and then letting it go. Billy went over to the door to see if there was any sort of breeze that could be moving the coat, but felt nothing. Kelly went by the door with the recorder but couldn’t see what would cause this to happen. This went on for a few minutes and then just stopped.

After all we experienced in both rooms, it was time to hit the bar and have a stiff one or two. It appeared that both Mike and Billy had attracted the spirits, because most of the experiences happened to them. I’m just sorry that it didn’t occur to me to grab my video camera to capture the coat moving up and down. I was excited about what was happening and it totally didn’t cross my mind. Next time, video camera in hand, and bring scotch tape and a ruler. If the bathroom’s door moves or any other objects in the room, we will be prepared to prove it.

This isn’t the end, part four is next…

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bisbee Part Two: Evergreen Cemetery

In 1912 the old cemetery, located in Brewery Gulch in Old Bisbee, was closed and replaced by Evergreen Cemetery. By 1914, the bones of the residents buried there were all removed and relocated. Because some of the records were unfinished and many of the tombstones have rotted away, many feel that there are still buried souls are under City Park’s grounds where the old cemetery used to be.

Buried in the Evergreen Cemetery are many of Bisbee’s most prominent residents from its colorful past. Many played important roles in the history of Bisbee and are part of Bisbee’s ghost stories. Perhaps the Copper Queen Hotel’s most famous ghost like Julia Lowell, the prostitute that killed herself after her lover rejected her, can be found there. Maybe little Billy and Albert, the fourth floor's most active spirits, are buried there too.

After having dinner, we decided to go to Evergreen Cemetery. Autumnforest (Sharon) had told me of her experiences there and said it was a must for us to see while in Bisbee. We found a map showing us the location of the cemetery, and piled in one car to find it. The sun was going down by the time we got there. The gate said that they lock up after sunset so we decided to find another way in. We ended up parking near an abandoned building. While Kelly and Marsi tried to get inside the building, Mike stood outside and kept watch. They couldn’t bust down the door (crazy girls), so they just gave up. We found an old gate at the back of the building to gain entrance to the cemetery. The cemetery was much bigger than I expected it to be. As you look out upon the cemetery, there are many headstones that seem to go on forever. The graves that we first came upon were more recent and had 2009 dates on their headstones. We didn’t see any with 2010 burial dates on the any of the headstones we walked by. As we walked on, the dates were getting older and older. Some dated as far back as 1800’s. As the sun went down and the cemetery got dark, we started to get an eerie feeling all around us. At one point, Mike started to feel dizzy and ill while standing by a group of graves. As he moved out of that particular area, he felt better. I thought I was hearing whispering all around me, which gave me chills. Even though we never saw a ghost, we felt the many spirits that were buried there. We definitely want to go there again and do more exploring in the dark. We also want to find Julia, Billy and Albert’s graves.

Next is part three, our experiences while sitting in both rooms in the darkness…

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bisbee: Part One - Arrival and Walk Around Town

I decided to break the trip up into four different parts. There were several things that happened, which would make for one very long post.

There were six of us that went to Bisbee on this trip. Along with myself, there was Mike, his sister Kelly, his other sister Tricia, and a married couple, Marsi and Billy. We started out having breakfast in Phoenix and left for Bisbee around 11:00 am. The road trip down there was scary because of the pouring rain. Every time the truckers went by our car, we were covered with water making it hard for Kelly to see. Things changed when we got near Bisbee, Mother Nature decided to excite us with snow. We were not sure at first that it was snow coming down; after all we are from Phoenix or southern California. Once we did, it was like giddy little children were in the car.

The three hour drive took us four hours to get to the Copper Queen Hotel. After parking and heading to the hotel, it continued to snow. Mike wasn’t prepared for that and had his flip-flops on. After getting our rooms, he quickly changed into his sneekers. Mike, Tricia, Kelly and I stayed in room 401 (again) and Marsi and Billy stayed in room 404. Marsi and Billy have never been to Bisbee so we decided to walk around the town first. Before leaving Mike put his recorder in the bathroom and shut the door, while I put mine on the nightstand near some cookies. Mike arranged the cookies side by side to see if they move while we are gone.

The snow had disappeared and turned into rain by the time we got outside the hotel. After walking a short distance, the rain stopped. Since Kelly had been to Bisbee several times, she became our tour guide, pointing out all the history and places known to be haunted. In Bisbee, there are owners whose stores, restaurants and bars have many stories of ghosts haunting their establishments. Many of the homes there are shared by ghosts as well. We made our way to the Oliver House and knocked on the door to see if we could go inside. No one answered so we left. We went back to the Copper Queen Hotel to regroup before having dinner.

When we got back to room 401 it had an unsettling feeling. Mike noticed that the cookies were now on top of each other when he clearly put them side by side. Kelly noticed that one of the small shampoo bottles from the hotel was lying on the floor outside the bathroom door. Everyone swears that they did not put it there or moved the cookies. While we were puzzled and scared about what we saw, Marsi and Billy came in our room and said that a drawer was opened on their nightstand. Billy clearly remembers closing it. Marsi said that the pen on the dresser moved. She put it next to the pad and found it on the pad. Before leaving for dinner, Mike put his recorder in their room (404) on the bed, and put the pen in the center of the pad with the tip pointing towards the top. He said that doing that was a tip he got from Ghost Hunters. In our room we put the cookies back side by side and next to my recorder. We added other items as well.

After dinner, we went to Circle K and then to the Bisbee cemetery. (Our experience at the cemetery will be my next Bisbee post.) When we got back to the room, nothing had been disturbed in room 401. However in room 404, the pen Mike placed on the pad had moved. It was lying sideways and only the tip was still on the pad. They even tried to debunk the movement by slamming the door shut to see if the pen moved, but it didn’t.

We reviewed our recordings left in the rooms. On my recorder, we caught some banging noises and shuffling like something plastic was being moved. Could that have been the cookies moving? We don’t know but the recorder was near them. Mike’s recorder in the bathroom got more action. He caught some strange banging noises and footsteps that sounded like they came from inside the bathroom. These footsteps sounded like they were made by boots. Later in the recording, he caught a kids voice saying, “You wanna play a game?” followed by footsteps. It also sounded like it came from the bathroom. There were no kids staying on the fourth floor according to the hotel employees, so we can’t explain this one. On his recorder in room 404, there was shuffling sounds, weird banging, and some movement. It could have come from the hallway, but we just don’t know. Our adventure continues…..

I just wanted to add, sorry for not commenting much last week. Along with planning for this trip, I helped my daughter out and watched my granddaughter more times than I usually do. This kept me away from my blog reading time. I plan to get caught up this week hoping that nothing else comes along to stop me…..thanks.


Friday, February 19, 2010

The Haunted History of the Copper Queen Hotel

This Saturday, February 20, 2010, Mike and I will be heading back to the Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee, Arizona. We are going with his two sisters and some friends. They have booked two rooms (don’t know which ones yet) and we are spending one night there. Last time we walked around Bisbee twice, once in the day and then after midnight and took many pictures. We spent an hour or two in the one of the rooms in complete darkness conducting an EVP session. We did experience a couple of coins falling off the dresser by some unseen force. We are not experts in ghost hunting, just love doing it. We also try not to disturb any of the other guests staying at the hotel. For the most part, we just have fun and see if we can get any paranormal evidence. I have researched the history and haunts of the Copper Queen Hotel and even added Ghost Hunters experience when they investigated the place.
Brief History:
Built in 1902, the classy hotel was built 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.

During the 1920’s – 30’s, when prostitution was tolerated in Arizona, a prostitute named Julia Lowell “serviced” many men in rooms on the third floor. At the age of 30, Julia fell in love with one of her gentleman callers, who happened to be married. He enjoyed her company but didn’t feel the same for her. He also didn’t think she was good enough to marry. Julia was so upset that she killed herself. Hers is the only reported death in the hotel. Julia is known to haunt the third floor, especially room 315, known as Julia’s Room. She’ll only appear to men, sometimes as a bright white smoke. Some of the men have reported hearing a female voice whispering in their ears. Men who have slept in room 315 are awakened in the middle of the night to Julia doing a striptease dance. Afterwards, she’ll just smile and fade away. Other men have reported their sheets and blankets being pulled back, exposing their feet. They report that it feels like someone is rubbing their feet.

An eight or nine year old boy, whose mother worked at the hotel, was wild and loved running up and down the 4th floor hallway. The reports are that his name was Billy. He drowned while swimming in the San Pedro River. The ghost of the boy has been seen on the 4th floor and dining room of the hotel. Guest have reported hearing a child running up and down the 4th floor hallway when no children were staying there at that time. He is known to hide various items belonging to hotel guest, especially those staying on the 4th floor. Some guests have reported hearing a young child crying when they turn on the bath water. They have also reported seeing him wrapped in a bath towel. Some children eating in the dining room have seen him under their tables.

A ghost of an older gentleman, known as Albert, has been seen in the lobby, stairways and rooms located at the southwest corner of the 4th floor. He is described as a tall man, with long hair, beard, nice black suit with a black cape and top hat. Some have caught the scent of cigar smoke after he was seen.

A woman, in a black dress, has been seen walking up and down the grand staircase and also in the dining room. Her name was reported to be Ruth.

Another ghost of a man seems to like the third floor as well. Employees hear their names being called and heavy boot steps walking up and down the hallway floor.

Another employee has seen a ghost of a former employee named Rose sitting in a chair in the lobby. She appears to be watching the main entrance door.

Ghost Hunters Experience and Reveal:
The personal experiences: Jason and Grant with the thermos camera saw a shape in the hallway and a very light figure of a person in “Billy’s room” on the armoire.
*Jason and Grant in “Billy’s room” experience high EMF (electronic magnetic field) readings. Steve and Brian also experienced the same.
*Steve and Brian heard a noise, while in “Billy’s room”. Looking towards the area where the noise was, they noticed that the luggage rack had moved.
*two mini DVD cameras were set up, one in Billy’s room, where Brian slept, and one in Julia’s room, where Grant slept.

The reveal: the figures on the thermos camera were debunked. One ended up being a reflection on the armoire of Grant, and the other, a quick shot of Grant in the hallway.
*nothing showed up on the camera in Billy’s room
*on the mini DVD in Julia’s room, where Grant was sleeping, they caught the blanket being pulled back and off Grant’s foot, exposing his foot. His other foot did not move, but they still couldn't say who or what did that. We all know that it was Julia!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Interview with GHI's Dustin Pari

I wish I could say that I conducted the interview, but I didn't.  Steve Eramo posted it on SciFi and TV Talk's Blog.  It was nice to read a positive interview from someone on the GH and GHI teams.  Here is the link to Dustin's interview.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Oatman Massacre

I always love it when an interesting story falls into my lap, especially when it has to do with the history of Arizona. This one came courtesy of my friend Pam during our coffee talk. Pam and her husband love to travel around Arizona in places many of us will not get to see. Armed with a GPS and surveyor maps, they take their 4 wheel drive truck and head out into the desert to parts unknown. One of the places they came across is where the Oatman massacre happened. I haven’t heard of this story, so I did some research and now I’m sharing it with you.

In January 1851, the Oatman family along with an emigrant party entered Arizona which was part of the New Mexican territory. Mr. Royse Oatman was a member of the party which had around ninety members. Many arguments caused the group to divide up with the Oatmans, the cook and about twenty or so others heading off on their own. By the time they arrived in Tucson, their provisions were just about depleted, and many from the group decided to stay.

Two other families besides the Oatmans decided to head off to California where they felt that a better life was waiting for them. Not packing well for the long journey, they pushed forward across the ninety-mile desert. Around the middle of February they arrived at the Pimo villages hoping to replenish their supplies. Since it had been a bad season, the Pimos had nothing to spare. The Wilder and Kelley families decided not to push on but Mr. Oatman wanted to continue. With his supplies almost gone, Mr. Oatman was wondering about the miles of desert between the Pimo villages and Fort Yuma with much more desert beyond that before reaching California.

Soon to arrive from Fort Yuma was a Dr. Lecount, who did much exploring of the Pacific coast, and told Mr. Oatman that the route was safe. He saw no hostile Indians and encountered no other problems along the way. This news gave Mr. Oatman much hope and he decided to continue to California right away. On March 11, the Oatman family, along with a sparse supply, Dr. Lecount and a Mexican guide, took off on the long journey to Fort Yuma. After seven days, Mr. Oatman realized that his family and oxen were unable to continue and needed help. Dr. Lecount and his guide went ahead for help but were attacked by Indians and had their horses stolen. His guide went ahead with the Dr. Lecount following far behind. He left a card tied to a tree to warn the Oatman family about the Apaches attacking them. The Oatmans missed the warning, pushing on and right into massive storms. Miles from any towns and terrified, Mr. Oatman tried not to show any fear but some of his family saw him shed tears while resting in the wagon.

The next day while in a rough mesa, they unloaded some of the stress off their road weary animals by taking many of their personal items out and pushing the wheels to ease the burden. They came upon a flat area near a river and stopped there to rest. After crossing a creek bed and dense thickest, they found themselves at the foot of a rocky bluff. They realized that they needed to unload more items from the wagon in order to make it over the hill. Sitting at the top and seeing the long dusty road for which they have already passed, Mr. Oatman felt worried about what lied ahead for his family. Will they starve to death before reaching their destination, he just didn’t know.

Shortly afterwards, he noticed a band of Indians approaching them from the road. The Oatman children went to their father for protection and he told them not to be afraid. He tried to stay strong for his family and assured them that the Indians would not hurt them. He figured that if they treat them with kindness, the Indians would react in kind. When they approached, Mr. Oatman spoke to them in Spanish, asking them to sit. They sat down, asked for tobacco and pipes, smoked together in what seemed like a token of friendship. Then they asked for some food and all they were able to give them was a little bread. Afterwards, the Oatman family began reloading their wagon and noticed their visitors were looking a bit eager. Then unexpectedly, the Indians started yelling, raised their clubs and unleashed their fury on the family. Their fourteen year old boy, Lorenzo, was first and was struck in the head, and then Mr. Oatman was beaten many times before falling to his death. Mrs. Oatman clung to the youngest child, screaming for help before they both were bludgeoned to death. Lorenzo lay bleeding to death while his sisters Olive, who was sixteen, and Mary Anne, all of eleven, were dragged aside. They pushed Lorenzo’s bloody body over a cliff where he fell about twenty feet onto the rocks below. Olive and Mary Anne where taken hostage by the Apache, while Lorenzo lay dying below.

Lorenzo didn’t die and was able to climb back up the hill where the dead bodies of his parents, brothers and sisters, were still lying beaten and bloody. Not seeing the bodies of his sisters, Olive and Mary Anne, he sadly knew they were taken captive and knew their fate was not good. He managed to reach a river, sleep for a few hours, and then try and reach the Pimo villages. After a few days of crawling on his hands and knees and suffering from dehydration, he laid under a bush to die. Lorenzo’s journey was not to end there, he overcame being surrounded by a pack of wolves, the harsh elements of the desert before coming upon two Pimo Indians that fed him and gave him water. Leary of them because of what he had been through, he pushed on alone until he came upon two white-covered wagons, the Wilder and Kelley families. He told them what happened to his family. They waited a few days for Lorenzo to gain his strength and travel the ten days to get to Fort Yuma.

Lorenzo’s story doesn’t end at Fort Yuma and the story of his two captive sisters was also able to be told as well. After witnessing their family being brutally murdered, Olive and Mary Anne were taken through the desolate area by the Apaches without wearing any shoes. Eleven year old Mary Anne became weak and kept lacking behind. Her and Olive’s feet were cut and bruised and their clothes torn from the trauma they endured. As Mary Anne started to fall from weakness, one of the Indians picked her up and carried her across his back. After traveling over two hundred miles, they finally arrived to a valley with several huts where the Apache lived. The girls were greeted with loud screams, wild dancing and put in the center of a circle. They both prayed that death would take them away before any more painful acts would be bestowed upon their very frail bodies.

For many months the girls were treated harshly by their captors, who often didn’t bother feeding them sometimes for two days at a time. Mary Anne was growing weaker and became too ill to work at times. She and Olive would sing hymns and pray that God would take them away from all the suffering they had to endure. By March of 1852, the girls were traded to a band of Mojave, who took them back to their tribe in Colorado. Even the Mojave were having trouble with their crops leaving them in short supply of food. Mary Anne was so weak and wasting away that Olive knew her little sister was dying. Not long after while lying in her sister’s arms, Mary Anne passed away. Olive was allowed to bury her sister in a small grave that she kept nurtured.

Many years have gone by and Lorenzo had never given up on trying to find his sisters. With the aid of Mr. Henry Grinnell, who organized an expedition, he was able to keep up the rescue efforts. After wandering into Arizona and hearing Lorenzo’s story, he was compelled to help him search for the two sister that were taken captive so long ago.

Mr. Grinnell, with the help of Francisco, a Yuma Indian, he was able to purchase Olive from the Mojave. He met Olive for the first time in Colorado where she was sitting on the ground. Her hands covered her weathered painted face and she was wearing the clothes of the Mojave. As he asked her questions, she cried and never took her hands off her face. Several days after arriving at Fort Yuma she finally talked and saw her brother for the first time since the massacre. He took her to his home in Los Angeles, then they moved to Oregon and finally settled in New York.

In 1854, Mr. Poston found the bones of the Oatman Family, gathered them up and buried them in unmarked graves. Using a penknife and a board from his wagon, he carved the family’s name and date into it.

(The photos come courtesy of my friend Pam. She said the area had an eerie and creepy feel to it.)