Vulture Mine: A Dead Man's Playground

In the middle of nowhere and 70 miles north of Phoenix in the desolate Arizona desert, lies what some refer to as “a real ghost town”. Vulture City once was a booming mining town but now lies empty with many bad, angry spirits hanging around the dirt grounds and decaying buildings. Strange things like ghosts, shadow figures, voices and footsteps have been reported by those who work at the mines or just there for a visit.

In 1863, an Austrian prospector named Henry Wickenburg discovered a quartz deposit containing gold. He later sold that deposit to Benjamin Phelps who was acting in behave of a group of investors. They later became the Vulture Mining Company. By the 1890’s the population of Vulture City was over 5,000 men, women and children with the Vulture Mines prospering. Many of those were there for any opportunity they could grasp onto, but others were brought there by greed. This family mining town quickly turned into an unsafe place to live. The Assay office was where the gold was stored in underground vaults. There were two guards on duty at all times but with that much gold, the outlaws got restless. The Assay office became a huge target and was constantly attacked by bandits, Indians, and other greedy bastards wanting to get rich quick. There were reports that over $200,000 in gold was removed from the mines, and that is 1930’s prices. Today that number would exceed millions of dollars.

It got so bad with all the sordid people coming into town, that all of the folks living there were afraid to leave the perimeter in fear of risking their lives. The murder and rape cases were all to frequent. The US Army was called in to help, but was booted out of town when they turned out to be as corrupt as the miners. There were no lawyers or trials in Vulture City. Anyone convicted of a crime was hung by vigilante committee. Only some were buried in the cemetery, the rest were buried right where they were killed.

Today some believe that this “dead man’s playground” is full of bodies buried in it. They feel that the spirits of the miners seem to be hanging around and still protecting the gold. Groups investigating the mines have reported rocks being thrown at them through windows, unseen footsteps and heard disembodied voices. Even the Ghost Adventure boys had to check out this ghostly active town and got more than they bargained for. Here is a bit of what they found:

Zak starts things out with a tour of the place with stories and experiences by the East Valley Paranormal Society. They start out in the Assay’s office where the rocks flying through the window happen quite frequent. They also captured an EVP saying, “You’re gonna die” along with bootsteps on the ceiling while dirt fell on them. They took the boys to the Bordello where if you say the name of a soiled dove, Mexican Rita, lots of activity starts to happen. People have seen shadow figures and heard voices in that building as well. The next active place was the Generator building where an employee heard a voice saying, “I’m not free”. They next walk over to the quarry where in 1923 seven miners underhandedly walked into the mines at night to steal the high grade of ore. Their act of greed came with consequences because as they removed the gold from the column, it got thinner. It could no longer hold the mine and collapsed on the men. Their bodies were never found but there are those who believe their spirits are still there and haunting the area. Zak’s EMP meter was showing activity near the quarry which is today a huge hole. The boys felt the eyes of the dead miners watching them. The guide took the boys to the old school house next. An investigator tells them that she felt hands shove her into another investigator and saw a figure in the building moving around. While doing the interview, they heard a woman crying, unseen footsteps, and felt chills. Zak kept saying that Vulture City/Mine was a real ghost town.

It wasn’t the ghost the GA boys would have to worry about that night; it was Mother Nature’s fury. Arizona experienced the most amount of rain in one day than it did the entire previous year. After going to town to get rain supplies, they were stopped by a flash flood on the only road leading to Vulture Mine. They got out of their car and played around in the wash quickly rushing across the street. Soon afterwards the cops stopped by to kick their ghost hunting butts out of there. It was two days later when they finally were able to do the lockdown.

With a prop gun and silver coins as trigger objects, they set out to investigate this abandoned town during thunderstorms. While in the Assay office, a rock was thrown in the window and hit Nick in the leg. This was just the beginning of a very active night. It seems that all over the grounds and in the buildings they captured many voices. One was a woman’s voice saying “what’s that?” and another was a man who said “I want your money”. While Nick was in the vault, he recorded a voice telling him to “take the gold”. Their cameras caught the sound of someone walking with boots on, a man screaming, a female crying, and loud banging on the walls. The old school house seemed to be haunted by the spirits of the children that once went there. Many of the children in the town died from influenza and other diseases. And of course, Aaron had his eye bulging moments when a child’s voice was captured making fun of him and the broken piano was heard playing. Was it the thunderstorms that brought out all this activity or is Vulture Mines just a hotbed of paranormal activity.

From the moment I have heard about this place and saw the GA show featuring Vulture Mine, I have wanted to visit or do an investigation there. On our next trip, Sharon and I will be stopping there to take photos, videos and see the place in person. Will we get any unusual activity? We shall see!


  1. I can't wait. That place has been on my to-do list forever!

  2. I'd not heard of this place, but it sounds like it was rough, a reminder of how a valuable resource will always be a focus, and bring out the best and worst in people.

    That's some photograph too!

  3. Sis, I can't wait either. I just have to see this place in person.

    Porky; greed usually brings out the worst in people. Living in a mining town had to be a rough and dangerous place to live and survive.

    Sucio; I imagine it is but they never meantioned the possible connection.

  4. wuts da story of mexican rita?


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