My husband, Ted, and I took a 10th anniversary trip to Arizona in September 2012. I can’t help myself–on any and every vacation, I must visit the haunted places that I’ve seen on TV, and my anniversary trip was no exception. Fortunately, Ted is a good sport, and off we went for lunch at the infamous Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee, which I first heard about watching the Spirits of the Old West episode on the SyFy channel’s fabulous Ghost Hunters series.
The hotel restaurant has a lovely outside area, and as we ate, Ted and I questioned our waitress about her ghostly experiences in the restaurant. She told us she was new, but that the staff told her about frequently seeing a ghost in the kitchen and sometimes seated at a table in the dining room.
The Copper Queen Hotel actually embraces their ghosts, and they include a description of them on their website: ‘There are three resident ghosts at the Copper Queen Hotel. The first, an older gentleman, tall with long hair and a beard, is usually seen wearing a black cape and a top hat. Some claim they smell the aroma of a good cigar either before or after seeing him. He appears in the doorways or as a shadow in some of the rooms in the southeast corner of the fourth floor, near the Teddy Roosevelt room.
The second and perhaps most famous, is a female in her early thirties but the name of Julia Lowell. The story goes that she was a lady of the evening on Brewery Gulch and used the rooms in the hotel for her clients. She supposedly fell madly in love with one of the gentlemen and upon telling him, he no longer wanted anything to do with her. She then took her own life here at the hotel. Her presence is felt on the west side of the building on the second and third floors.
Our third and youngest ghost is a small boy, age eight or nine. It is said that he drowned in the San Pedro River. It’s believed that his spirit found its way to the hotel because a relative, perhaps his mother or father was employed here at the time. He’s the most mischievous of the three. Guests, on the west side, and also on the second and third floors, have reported objects in their rooms moved from one table to the next! A few have reported that you can hear his footsteps running through the halls and sometimes his intoxicating giggle. Others claim that when they run bath water, they feel his presence. He is never seen, just heard.’
There’s another spot that’s haunted and that’s the ladies room--I know firsthand because I had a little encounter of my own when I went in to freshen-up. The minute I walked in, I could feel colder air and a heaviness that I didn’t feel in the hallway before I entered. My Spidey-sense kicked right in and no one had to whisper ‘Get out!’ into my ear to make me want to immediately leave that room. But, I had to go. I did not go, though, because as I started to enter the booth, I felt something brush against my cheek. I didn’t scream; but I did run out of that bathroom and all the way down the hallway. Afterward, I admonished myself for not trying to help the ghost find the light. In my defense, it was very scary in there; but still, that would have been the right thing to do and I wish I had at least given it a try.
The hotel keeps a journal in the lobby for guests to record their ghostly experiences, and while I was there, I bought a copy of The Ghosts of the Copper Queen Hotel: A Journal of Actual Experiences from the Historic Copper Queen Hotel written by John David Krygelski. If you like ghost stories, you’ll love this book; from which I learned much, including that rooms 311, 315, and 406 are to be avoided unless you want to share your space with a ghost!
The Copper Queen Hotel, 11 Howell Avenue, Bisbee, AZ 85603, started construction in 1898 and was completed in 1902. Earlier this year, the Copper Queen was featured in a New York Times article, A Hotel Where Some Guests Have Been Dead For Years.
Thank you for reading my column! For more about me and my books, please visit my website at www.sherricortland.com. Ozark Mountain Publishing recently offered my soon-be-released fourth book, Guide Group Fridays, for a very special pre-publication price of $12. Click here for more information about Guide Group Fridays and a link to Ozark’s special offer.