Friday, April 11, 2014

Hauntings: Jerome, Arizona Ghost Town

Jerome, Arizona

Jerome, Arizona, is the largest ghost town in the US.  When huge deposits of ores were discovered, mines opened, and the town grew from 250 residents in 1890 to 15,000 in the 1920s.  One mine produced nearly 33 million tons of copper, gold, silver, lead and zinc ore from 1876-1953.  After the mines played out, the population fell to less than 100.

During its prosperous copper mining years, the town was called the "Wickedest City in the West” by a New York newspaper.  In those days, people died of diseases, in mining accidents, in gunfights, were stabbed, strangled, or beaten to death, overdosed on opium, or committed suicide.  With its colorful history, it’s no surprise the city is filled with restless spirits.

The town’s Community Center has had so many ghost sightings, it’s nicknamed “Spook Hall.”  One of the ghosts is a forlorn lady dressed in 18th century clothes and was allegedly a prostitute stabbed to death by a miner.

At the turn of the century, prostitution thrived in Jerome.  Madam Jennie Banters ran a bordello.  The building is now called Mile High Inn, but the ghosts of Jennie and her employees are still seen on the premises where they move things and turn on the radios and ceiling fans in the rooms.  A spectral cat has been glimpsed walking down hallways only to vanish, and sometimes it leaves pawprints across freshly made beds.  The cat is believed to have been Madam Jennie’s pet.

The Jerome Grand Hotel used to be a hospital.  Guests now report hearing coughing, moaning, and the sounds of labored breathing.  In 1935, a man named Claude Harvey was accidentally crushed beneath the elevator.  Since then, strange lights have appeared in the shaft, the elevator doors open and close by themselves, and guests report hearing the elevator moving up and down even after the power’s been shut off.

At the abandoned Phelps Dodge Mine, a miner was  decapitated in an accident.  His head was found, but his body fell down a shaft and wasn’t recovered.  People who visit the old mine report hearing footsteps, horrible screams, and seeing the apparition of a headless man.

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