Monday, May 30, 2016

Casa Grande Mountains: The Black Mist

About 5 miles from Casa Grande, AZ, sits a mountain range where many like to visit and hike.  The paths may be treacherous at times, but even the more skilled hiker loves to test themselves.   Sometimes in the evenings when the weather is cool, some will take a drive up to the mountains and enjoy the view.

But, there seems to be something else hanging around the bottom of the mountain scaring visitors.  An eerie black mist has been seen by witnesses as hovering over the roads and following their cars or anyone hiking the trails at night.  Some have reported being immersed in its shadowy haze and feeling uncomfortable.  This black mist seems to have a mind of its own and chasing people away from its mountain.

Some have their ideas of what the mist could be.  One thought is that it could be smoke from the guns from the nearby shooting range.  But because this shadow is following people, this theory didn’t seem to make sense.  Others hypothesize that since this land is where the Hohokam Indians once lived, maybe this mist is from the ancient tribe and protecting the ruins that are in the area.  Whatsoever the explanation is, many have seen the black mist and are terrified of its haunting nature.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Crater Range: Honeymooners' Ghosts

Crater Range is the section of Route 85 which lies ten miles north of Ajo, AZ.  Many take this path from Phoenix to Lake Tahoe.  Sometime in the 1950’s a happy couple, full of wedded bliss, took this thoroughfare on their way to Lake Tahoe for their honeymoon.  This stretch of highway has mountains with huge boulders looming above.  The moon was not visible this night making their drive almost impossible to see clearly on the pitch-black road.  It was around midnight when the unbearable drive caused them to hit an enormous rock on the side of the road.  The couple died instantly.

Countless people who drive Crater Range at midnight say they have witnessed a car on the side of the road and a couple flagging them down.  The local residents claim that this is the ghosts of the twosome that lost their lives on this same route.  While some just pass them by, others have attempted to help them by offering a ride.  The pair would get in the back seat and sit in silence.  As soon as the motorist left the Crater Range area, the duo vanished.

So if you are ever heading towards Lake Tahoe on Route 85 at midnight, be aware of the honeymooners who crashed their car and asking for help.  They may just be manifestations who are forever lost in a place called Crater Range.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Arcosanti: Museum Anniversary Open House

In 1970 an unusual experimental town was constructed and named “Arcosanti”.  Arcosanti is located about 70 miles north of Phoenix and was built using a concept called, arcology.  This principal combined architecture and ecology and developed to show how a town can “demonstrate how urban conditions could be improved while minimizing the destructive impact of the earth.  The town aims to combine principles such as minimal resource use and access to the natural environment.”

Arcrosanti was constructed as a tentative town and located on 25 acres of land preserve.  With the most current structure completed in 1989, this site housed around 50 to 150 inhabitants who were either students or volunteers living on this location.  There are 13 buildings which are quite a few stories high and include a visitors’ center, café, gift shop, a bronze-casting apse, a ceramics apse, two large barrel vaults, a ring of apartment residences, and various stores.  All these places surround an outdoor amphitheater, a community swimming pool, an office complex, and Soleri’s suite which is a two-story “Sky Suite” at the highest point of the complex.  This space is reserved for overnight guests.

“Many features are particular to the design and construction of Arcosanti, for example the use of tilt-up concrete panels that are cast in a bed of silt acquired from the surrounding area, which gives the concrete a unique texture and colour and helps it blend in with the landscape. Many of the panels were cast with embedded art. Most of the buildings are oriented toward the south to capture the sun's light and heat — with roof designs that admit the maximum amount of sun in the winter and a minimal amount during the summer. For example, the bronze-casting apse is built in the form of a quarter sphere or semi-dome. The layout of the buildings is intricate and organic, rather than a North American style city grid, with a goal of maximum accessibility to all of the elements, increased social interaction and bonds, and a sense of privacy for the residents.” (Wikipedia)

Today, Arcosanti contains its own greenhouses, gardens, and agricultural fields.  The place has workshops and classes where students from all over come to participate in.  There are plans to build more structures such as a large-scale building which will be the biggest one in the town.  Present day construction is done by workshop participants and volunteers. People visiting the bizarre settlement can take a guided tour or spend the night in one of the guest housings.  Arcosanti sales metal and ceramic bells made from the bronze located in the town and donations/fees for the workshops taught there to keep it going.

Sharon and I will be there on Saturday, June 11th at the 10 year anniversary for the museum.  We will be selling and signing our books.  We would love to meet you if you can come.  Here is the press release:

High Desert Heritage Museum holds Anniversary Open House – Everyone Welcome!

Cordes Junction, Arizona, May 10, 2016. The High Desert Heritage Museum, Inc. will celebrate a double anniversary on Saturday, June 11, 2016. June marks the tenth anniversary since the Museum was established and the second anniversary at its present physical location in Cordes Junction, Arizona.

Guest speakers for the event include Sharon Day and Julie Ferguson, co-authors of “Abandoned Places, Abandoned Memories” of the desert. Julie Ferguson is the author of “Arizona’s Back Roads: A Guide to Ghosts, Outlaws and Miners.” A book signing will follow the presentation.

Prescott guitarist and singer Paul T. Morris will provide entertainment (sponsored by Yavapai County Supervisor Pam Pearsall), and CEO Jeff Stein of the Cosanti Foundation/Arcosanti will MC the festivities.

The Open House will be held from 11am-1pm and will include free brats, sauerkraut, potato salad and dessert. There will also be a raffle of donated craft items by local artisans and a 50/50 raffle. Raffle tickets will be $1 each or 6 for $5. Everyone is welcome.

The High Desert Heritage Museum is located at 19600 East Stagecoach Trail in Cordes Junction, Arizona across from the Family Dollar store. The Museum also houses the High Desert Tourist Information Center that serves thousands of travelers a year from all over the world.

Cliff Hersted 19600 E. Stagecoach Trail
Cordes Junction, Arizona 86333 Phone: 928-273-5413

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bisbee Copper Queen Mine

The mine was discovered by Lt. Dunn in the late 1870’s while he was out looking around for Apache Indians.  He and his men camped near a spring located somewhere in the Mule Mountains on a flat piece of land.  This locale is where Old Bisbee now stands which is near the mine.  While taking an evening hike in the area, Lt. Dunn came across some fascinating stones on an incline on the south side of the canyon.  He kept the rocks a secret and enlisted the aid of a prospector, George Warren as a partner to dig the claim.  His military status would not allow him to pursue prospecting the minerals.  George couldn’t keep his big mouth shut and shared the information with others.  He and his buddies took over the claims leaving Dunn left out in the cold.

Bisbee became one of the largest copper producing towns with Phelps Dodge as it owner.  The mines were in operation for almost 100 years before closing in 1975.  In that time, the mines yielded over 6.1 billion dollars in minerals which consisted of copper, gold, silver, lead, and zinc.

Today, you can take a tour inside the tunnel of the Queen Mine and see where the copper was excavated.  You ride on a mining train and travel deep into the belly of the mine where billions of dollars’ worth of minerals were unearthed.  Millions of visitors have delighted in riding the authentic mining experience in the tunnels where numerous have worked for many years.  Take a voyage back in time to a place where history stands still.

For more information on the mine tour, check out their website:

Friday, May 20, 2016

Copper Queen Hotel: Room 402

When I am visiting Bisbee for a couple of nights, I usually stay at the Copper Queen Hotel.  Some of the times when I lodged there was to do a ghost investigation at this well-known haunted hotel.  My friends and I were never disappointed.  We had lots of activity in room 401 such as whispering, objects moving, doorknobs jiggling, dark figures in the bathroom, and a couple of friends grabbed by unseen forces.  After leaving the room for awhile, we found all our bathroom toiletries tossed outside the bathroom door.  Needless to say, this room did not disappoint our ghost hunting juices.

While Sharon and I were in the Grace Dodge room on the third floor, we did a seance to communicate with the little boy spirit, Billy, who liked running around on that floor and messing with guests.  We had Dale the Doll on the couch with his hat over his eyes during the session.  It lasted about 12 minutes and we noticed that Dale's hat was no longer on his head.  Sharon found it underneath him, basically he was sitting on it.  The only way it could have gotten there was for him to be lifted up and it was placed there.  We could not explain that.

Just recently I went back to Bisbee with my sister-in-laws and we stayed in room 402.  I did not go there to look for ghosts, just to have fun, shop and tour the town.  Nothing weird happened in that room while we were there.  However, when I was there with my friends a few years earlier, the boys stayed in that room.  While we were all in the room with the lights off having an EVP session, we heard coins on the dresser slide across and hit the floor.  No one was near the dresser when this happened.  Also, a friend had his hair pulled by unseen forces.  I didn't tell my sister-in-laws until we were leaving.  I didn't want to scare them.  So, if you want to sleep with the ghosts, stay at the Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee.  It is a wonderful place with an ass-kicking bar where local bands entertain the guests.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Bisbee Red Light District

Early 1900's on Brewery Gulch.
Like many of the mining towns in Arizona, Bisbee had its Red-light District too.  The district spread out from O.K. Street, to Brewery Gulch and Main Street.  During Bisbee's heyday from 1892 to the early 1900's, the Red-light district was booming.  Many men would enjoy the company of the soiled doves that worked in each of the over twenty different houses in the area.  There were as many as 100 girls at one time laboring in the ward with some as mere fledglings. They all had pseudonym keeping their real identities a secret.  Some were even buried under those names.

The district was active until 1917 when a military camp was formed during WWI and established near the small town of Lowell just south of Bisbee.  The Federal Government's regulations would not permit such a camp to be withing three miles of a Red-light area.  The law-makers decided to shut the district down until the war was over, but it never opened for business after that.

Today, some of the houses still stand and are now private homes or apartments.  Other houses no longer exist and are just stairs leading to empty lots with displays of old metal bed frames of what used to be there.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Bisbee OK Street Jailhouse

The OK Street Jailhouse in Bisbee was constructed in 1904 and was part of the County Jail.  It was shut down in 1915 when the jails got too crowded for the tiny jail to hold.  A much bigger facility was built to hold all the law breakers.  We were told that John Wayne wanted to buy the building and change it into a private residence.  But he died before that would happen.

Today, the building has been remodeled as a small inn where you have the entire place to yourself.  The office is now where you enter the premises with the living room, kitchen and half bath located where the "Drunk Tank" used to be on the first floor.  On the second floor you will find a sitting area, the bedroom, closet, and bathroom with a shower and Jacuzzi tub.  On this floor is where the "serious offender" were held.  It is one of your many choices of places to stay while in Bisbee.  Also, there are many shops, restaurants and other places within walking distance from the jail.  Check out their website: