The Ghosts of Tombstone

Apparitions Haunt “Too Tough To Die” Tombstone

Tombstone, Arizona was founded in 1877 by a prospector named Ed Schieffelin after he found silver. By the 1880s, Tombstone was booming with over 100 saloons, theaters, several restaurants, and even schools and churches.

Tombstone, Arizona, is a legend in itself. Known for its rich history, this small town in the Old West was home to some of the most infamous outlaws, lawmen, and cowboys in the 1800s. But with such a storied past, it’s no surprise that Tombstone is also said to be haunted.

Today, Tombstone is a popular tourist destination and ghost town where guests can visit numerous historic buildings from Tombstone’s past and maybe even encounter a ghost. Numerous buildings are said to be haunted.

The ghosts of Tombstone are a fascinating part of the town’s history and continue to intrigue visitors to this day. In this post, we will explore some of the most famous ghost stories associated with Tombstone. From the apparitions of famous outlaws to the mysterious sounds of long-dead cowboys, we’ll take a closer look at the legends and lore of this historic town. So, sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and get ready to be spooked as we unveil the ghosts of Tombstone.

Haunted hotels and their ghostly guests

Tombstone, Arizona, known as “The Town Too Tough to Die,” has a rich history filled with legends, including tales of the paranormal. As you wander through the streets of this historic Wild West town, you may find yourself drawn to the haunted hotels that have become infamous for their ghostly guests.

One such hotel is the legendary Bird Cage Theatre. This former saloon, gambling hall, and theater is said to be haunted by the spirits of those who met their untimely demise within its walls. Visitors have reported hearing phantom gunshots, the sound of laughter and music from long ago, and even witnessing shadowy figures moving about the dimly lit rooms.

T. Millers Tombstone Mercantile & Hotel, AZ
T. Millers Tombstone Mercantile & Hotel, AZ by Michael & Sherry Martin is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

If you’re seeking a spine-chilling experience, the Tombstone Grand Hotel might be just the place for you. Built on the grounds of the original Cochise County Hospital, this hotel is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a nurse who met a tragic end. Guests have reported seeing apparitions, feeling cold spots, and hearing mysterious whispers echoing through the halls.

Another haunted hotel that shouldn’t be missed is the historic Oriental Saloon. This once-boisterous establishment now stands as a reminder of Tombstone’s wild past. It is said that the spirits of cowboys, gamblers, and even a local lawman who met his demise during a shootout still linger within its walls. Visitors have reported seeing flickering lights, feeling a sudden drop in temperature, and experiencing an eerie sense of being watched.

Ghosts of Tombstone’s OK Corral

On October 26, 1881, Tombstone’s most famous event took place with the shootout at the OK Corral. While Virgil Earp, (the town marshal,) his brothers, Wyatt and Morgan, and Doc Holliday all walked away; Frank and Tom McLaury along with Billy Clanton were shot and killed on the spot.

Tombstone OK Corral
OK Corral, Tombstone AZ

The O.K. Corral, an infamous historical landmark in the heart of Tombstone, Arizona, is shrouded in eerie legends that continue to captivate visitors to this day. Steeped in the wild tales of the Old West, this iconic site serves as a chilling reminder of the blood-soaked confrontations that took place between the legendary lawmen and outlaws.

According to local lore, the O.K. Corral was witness to the notorious gunfight on October 26, 1881, a clash that forever etched its name in the annals of American history. The tension between the Earp brothers, Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan, along with their close friend Doc Holliday, and the notorious Clanton and McLaury brothers reached their boiling point on that fateful day.

O.K. Corral, Tombstone, Arizona
O.K. Corral, Tombstone, Arizona by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

As the sun cast long shadows across the dusty streets, tensions escalated, leading to a dramatic standoff. The air crackled with anticipation as the two factions squared off, ready to settle their differences with gunfire. In a matter of seconds, shots rang out, reverberating through the narrow alleyways, forever sealing Tombstone’s place in the lore of the Wild West.

But the legends surrounding the O.K. Corral don’t end with the gunfight itself. Many claim to have witnessed ghostly apparitions and heard disembodied voices echoing through the corridors of this historic landmark. Visitors have reported chilling encounters with the spirits of the fallen as if the echoes of that fateful day have been trapped within the very walls of the O.K. Corral.

Some claim to have seen the ghostly figures of the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday, forever reliving their final moments in an eternal loop. Others have described encounters with shadowy figures lurking in the dimly lit corners of the Corral, their presence sending shivers down the spines of those brave enough to venture close.

Bird Cage Theater Haunting

Nestled in the heart of Tombstone, Arizona, the Bird Cage Theatre stands as a haunting reminder of the town’s wild and lawless past. Step inside this historic landmark, and you’ll find yourself transported back to the late 1800s, a time when gambling, drinking, and debauchery were the norm.

In the 1880s, the Bird Cage Theater served as a theater, gambling hall, saloon, and brothel. Mysterious sounds of laughter and music have been heard. Many visitors report the smell of cigar smoke. Numerous tourists have taken pictures inside and when the film has been developed, apparitions appeared in the photographs.

Tombstone Bird Cage Theatre
Tombstone Bird Cage Theatre by Marine 69-71 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Known as the “wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast,” the Bird Cage Theatre was not only a lively saloon but also a theater and brothel. It witnessed countless gunfights, brawls, and even a few murders during its heyday. Today, it is said that the spirits of those who met their tragic ends still linger within its walls.

Visitors to the Bird Cage Theatre have reported a wide range of paranormal encounters. Some have claimed to hear whispers and laughter echoing through the hallways, while others have felt an eerie presence watching them from the shadows. The flickering candlelight and vintage decor only add to the spine-chilling atmosphere.

Crystal Palace, Tombstone, AZ
Crystal Palace, Tombstone, AZ by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

One of the most famous ghostly legends associated with the Bird Cage Theatre is that of a woman named “Suzie.” Suzie was a performer at the theater, and it is said that she fell madly in love with one of the cowboys who frequented the establishment. Tragically, their love story ended in betrayal and murder. Visitors have reported seeing a ghostly figure in a flowing dress, believed to be Suzie, wandering the theater’s balcony, forever searching for her lost love.

But Suzie is not the only spirit said to inhabit the Bird Cage Theatre. Many visitors have claimed to see shadowy figures in period clothing, hear disembodied voices, and even feel phantom touches. The overwhelming presence of these ghostly encounters has led paranormal investigators to deem the Bird Cage Theatre as one of the most haunted locations in the American West.

Hauntings at the Crystal Palace in Tombstone

One of Tombstone’s first saloons was originally known as the Golden Eagle Brewing Company. After being destroyed by fire in 1882, it was rebuilt and opened as the Crystal Palace. Among the phenomena reported are voices and footsteps that are said to be heard by visitors. Some believe that it’s the ghost of Doc Holliday’s girlfriend, Big Nose Kate.

Step into the Crystal Palace Saloon, and you may just find yourself in the presence of otherworldly beings. Known for its rich history and vibrant atmosphere, this iconic saloon in Tombstone, Arizona, holds more than just tales of cowboys and shootouts. It is said to be haunted by the spirits of the past, adding another layer of intrigue to this already captivating location.

The Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace in Tombstone by Scottb211 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Visitors and staff have reported numerous encounters with ghostly apparitions at the Crystal Palace Saloon. Some have claimed to witness shadowy figures moving about the dimly lit corners of the establishment, while others have felt an eerie presence or heard unexplained whispers. The air is thick with an energy that can only be attributed to the supernatural.

Legend has it that one of the most prominent ghosts haunting the saloon is that of a cowboy named “George.” George was a regular patron of the Crystal Palace Saloon during its heyday in the late 1800s. He was known for his love of gambling and enjoying lively nights filled with laughter and libations. Unfortunately, one fateful night, George met his untimely demise during a heated argument that turned into a deadly shootout.

It is believed that George’s spirit lingers within the walls of the Crystal Palace Saloon, forever trapped in the place where he once found solace and excitement. Many visitors have reported seeing a figure resembling a cowboy, dressed in period clothing, sitting at the bar or playing cards at one of the tables. Some even claim to have engaged in conversations with this spectral presence, only to have him vanish into thin air before their eyes.

Tombstone’s Haunted Buford House

George Buford was a miner who fell in love with Petra, the girl who lived across the street. One night while out, Petra accompanied another man on the walk home. Enraged, Buford shot her and then himself. Petra survived, but, Buford didn’t live through the confrontation.

Haunted Buford House in Tombstone, Arizona
Haunted Buford House in Tombstone, Arizona by Fritz Liess is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Now a bed and breakfast, both the owners and guests have seen the ghost of Buford, and some women report having their hair touched by unseen hands.

Boothill Graveyard

Nestled in the heart of Tombstone, Arizona, lies the hauntingly captivating Boothill Graveyard. This historic cemetery, with its weathered tombstones and eerie atmosphere, serves as the final resting place for the restless spirits of the Wild West.

As you step through the wrought-iron gate, a sense of foreboding lingers in the air. The hallowed ground beneath your feet holds the secrets of Tombstone’s turbulent past, where legends were born and lives were cut short in the blink of an eye.

Boothill Graveyard
Boothill Graveyard, Tombstone, Arizona by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The gravestones, weathered by time and the desert winds, bear witness to the tales of those who met a fateful end in this unforgiving frontier town. Names like “Three-Fingered Jack” and “Two-Gun Frank” echo through the ages, their stories etched into the annals of Tombstone’s history.

Legend has it that the spirits of these notorious outlaws and lawmen still roam the grounds of Boothill Graveyard, forever tied to the land they once ruled with a fierce determination. Many visitors have reported strange occurrences and unexplained phenomena during their visits, from whispers in the wind to inexplicable cold spots in the midst of the scorching Arizona sun.

One particular grave that draws both curiosity and trepidation is that of the infamous gunslinger, Billy Clanton. Known for his involvement in the legendary Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, his restless spirit is said to wander the graveyard, forever seeking justice for his untimely demise.

As you wander through the rows of weathered tombstones, take a moment to pay your respects to these fallen legends. Listen closely, and you may hear the whispers of their tales carried on the desert breeze. But be wary, for the spirits of Boothill Graveyard are not to be trifled with. Respect their final resting place, and they may grant you a glimpse into the captivating history of Tombstone.

Tombstone Courthouse

The Tombstone Courthouse stands as a haunting reminder of the wild and lawless days of the Old West. Stepping into its historic halls is like taking a journey back in time, where echoes of the past seem to linger in the air.

Originally built in 1882, the Courthouse served as the seat of justice for Cochise County, Arizona. It witnessed numerous trials, some of which involved notorious outlaws and legendary lawmen. The building itself exudes an eerie ambiance, with its weathered stone walls and creaking wooden floors that have borne witness to the dramas and tragedies of the past.

Tombstone Courthouse
The Hanging of the Historic Tombstone Courthouse by Crunchy Footsteps is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Legend has it that the spirits of those who met their fate under the watchful eyes of the Courthouse judges still roam its halls. Visitors have reported hearing disembodied voices, feeling sudden drops in temperature, and witnessing unexplained phenomena. The apparitions of cowboys, saloon girls, and even the infamous gunslingers of Tombstone’s past are said to materialize, providing a spine-chilling glimpse into the town’s tumultuous history.

One of the most notorious spirits rumored to haunt the Courthouse is that of a ghostly judge, forever presiding over the courtroom in spectral silence. Witnesses claim to have seen his ethereal figure dressed in a black robe, his stern gaze fixed upon an invisible jury as if passing judgment from beyond the grave.

The haunted halls of the Tombstone Courthouse have become a magnet for paranormal enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Guided tours offer a thrilling exploration of the building’s dark secrets, sharing tales of spectral encounters and the lasting imprint left by those who found themselves at the mercy of the law within these walls.

Tombstone Epitaph building

The Tombstone Epitaph building stands as a silent witness to the haunting tales that have echoed through the streets of Tombstone for centuries. This historic building, once home to the renowned newspaper that chronicled the wild and lawless days of the Old West, holds secrets that continue to send shivers down the spines of those who dare to explore its halls.

Legend has it that the spirits of the past still linger within the walls of the Tombstone Epitaph building. Visitors and employees alike have reported eerie occurrences and unexplained phenomena that defy rational explanation. Whispers in the wind, shadowy figures darting out of sight, and inexplicable cold spots have all been experienced within the building’s confines.

Tombstone Epitaph building
Tombstone Epitaph Newspaper Building by Lynn Friedman is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

One of the most chilling tales associated with the Epitaph building involves the ghost of John Clum, a former owner, and editor of the newspaper. It is said that his spirit can be seen wandering the corridors, dressed in his signature period clothing as if he is still overseeing the operations of the newspaper. Some have even claimed to hear the sound of a printing press churning out the latest headlines, long after the building ceased its publication.

Another chilling tale revolves around a young woman named Molly, who met a tragic end in the building during the turbulent times of Tombstone. Visitors have reported feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness and despair when entering certain rooms, as if Molly’s spirit still lingers, forever trapped within the confines of the Epitaph building.

Ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts from around the world have flocked to the Tombstone Epitaph building in search of answers and encounter with the otherworldly. Many have captured eerie photographs and recordings that seem to provide evidence of the supernatural presence within its walls.

Additional Haunted Locations In Tombstone

Formerly where Campbell and Hatch’s saloon stood and where Morgan Earp was shot and killed while playing a game of billiards, stands the Red Buffalo Trading Company. Activity includes the sound of footsteps and objects moving on their own. Many people claim to have seen the ghost of Morgan Earp, along with an unidentified female spirit.

Other places in Tombstone are also alleged to be haunted including the Boot Hill Graveyard, Schieffelin Hall, Nellie Cashman’s Restaurant, and even the streets themselves. With all of its ghosts and ghost stories, along with the history of the town, it’s no wonder so many people love to visit Tombstone.


3 Places to Find Fall Colors in Arizona

Unlawful Stop and Search in Arizona?


Leave a Comment