There's a lot more to Arizona than red rocks, desert, and canyons, particularly if you're looking for something of a slightly spookier nature. With its Wild West and precious metal mining history, there are plenty of haunted places in Arizona for any paranormal enthusiast who wants to have a supernatural experience. From a boothill graveyard where men were buried with their boots on to a stunning national monument, Arizona is a ghost lover's paradise.
The Territorial Prison in Yuma has an unusual history of occupants. Opened in 1876, it served as a prison until 1909, when overcrowding forced its closure. After that, several groups used the complex until it officially became a historic state park in 1961.
High school students, hospital patients, war veterans who used the facility for a clubhouse, and desperate homeless families housed during the Great Depression...you'll find all of these haunting Territorial State Park.
The spirits of inmates lurk in the shadows of the cells or wander the prison grounds. More than 100 prisoners died there during the tuberculosis epidemic. Guards shot men trying to escape, and inmates murdered their fellow prisoners. The prison cell block is highly active with spirits, especially the ghost of John Ryan, an unsavory prisoner who hanged himself in cell 14. He's credited as the angry, disembodied voice that tells visitors to get out. The other highly active cell is known as the dark cell. It houses angry, foreboding energy that anyone entering the cell immediately senses.
A more mischievous ghost is that of a young girl who appears in a red dress. She likely died during the Great Depression. She enjoys startling visitors by grabbing them with her small, icy hands. She also likes to pinch and poke anyone near her.
Casey Moore's Oyster House
Casey Moore's Oyster House in Tempe is a paranormal hotspot. William and Mary Moeur built the family home in 1910. William died in 1929 from a cerebral hemorrhage while standing by the main fireplace. His wife also died in their home from natural causes sometime during the 1940s. Their ghosts are seen dancing together on the second floor at 4 am.
After Mary Moeur's death, the house was a bordello and party house. In 1973, the building became a restaurant. It became Casey Moore's Oyster House in 1986. Many of the bordello ghosts remain as permanent residents. The most familiar one is the ghost of a dark-haired woman who may be a murder victim from the bordello. Patrons and staff see her, but whenever anyone looks directly at her, she vanishes into thin air.
Some of the resident ghosts are angry and toss silverware from tables, knock paintings off the walls, and send glassware tumbling from shelves. The light fixtures often sway for no apparent reason. Several ghosts are pranksters and enjoy rearranging table settings and furniture overnight to inconvenience the staff the following morning.
The Lost Dutchman
The Lost Dutchman State Park sits at the base of the Superstition Mountains near Apache Junction. The mountains cover 160,000 acres within the Tonto National Forest. The first humans inhabited the mountains over 9,000 years ago. Before the California Gold rush, Superstition Mountain was thought to have the richest gold mine on the planet. This belief was based on The Lost Dutchman, aka Jacob Waltz, who owned the hidden mine. He never revealed the location of his mine, although many people tried to follow him to it. The park is a popular destination for horse lovers, campers, hikers, and, of course, treasure seekers intent on discovering The Lost Dutchman Mine.
The mountains have a dark history as being an area where the Apache avoided because dark spirits dwelled there. Tales of missing people have spawned the stories of an energy vortex. Eyewitnesses report all kinds of strange and paranormal activity. A mysterious light frequently appears along the mountain range.
The Hermosa Inn
The Hermosa Inn is a "boutique hideaway'" in Paradise Valley. It opened in the 1930s. The original owner, cowboy artist Alonzo "Lon" Megargee, loved his creation and never left. His lean, tall figure appears throughout the hotel, still wearing his cowboy hat. Over the years, both staff and guests have had eerie encounters. Guests and staff report an unseen hand pats them on the head. They also hear slamming doors, and someone pushes beer bottles off the shelves. Lon doesn't mind startling folks since his reflection often appears in mirrors. The apparition of a ghostly lady in pink hangs out on the bridge by the pool.
Found in 1878, Boothill Graveyard is an iconic symbol of the Old West as the final resting place for Tombstone residents and gunslingers. The cemetery filled up by 1884 and closed.
Poltergeist activity is prominent in the graveyard and the Boothill Gift Shop. Shadow people wander, and disembodied voices echo through the cemetery. Eyewitnesses report hearing strange sounds and seeing odd lights and orbs. Apparitions appear in photos. The art of spirit photography is a popular daytime activity.
A Lady in Red drifts about the town, possibly the ghost of a prominent businesswoman, China Mary. Another nighttime spectral wanderer is Billy Clanton, who was killed in the famous OK Corral gunfight. Billy's ghost emerges from the cemetery at night to wander through the town. He takes the rap for most of the poltergeist activity around town. The gift shop has its own type of paranormal activity with merchandise often found rearranged and out of place. Eyewitnesses report clothing racks rotate on their own.
Prescott's Palace Saloon is part of Arizona's historic Whiskey Row and the oldest operating bar in Arizona. The ambience of the Old West makes it special and popular for locals, tourists, and ghost hunters. The Palace and much of Whiskey Row burned to the ground twice; the first fire happened in 1883, and the second in 1900. The Palace Saloon is filled with ghosts and paranormal activity.
One of the ghosts is Nevins, a mortician with a gambling problem, who lost everything in a backroom poker game. His spirit still appears there, playing cards. Every night at last call, a phantom cowboy saddles up to the bar and requests his last drink.
Employees of the Palace have reported sounds of breaking glass when nothing has been touched. A prankster ghost enjoys pushing glasses off the rack, knocking over a mannequin in period dress, and throwing chairs and bottles across the room.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyon de Chelly National Monument near Chinle is an 80,000-acre National Monument and part of the Navajo Nation. This part of the Navajo tribal lands is open to the public. It's where The Native American Warfare at Massacre Cave occurred in 1864. This battle was the final one in what is known as the Navajo Wars. More than 8,000 Navajo surrendered.
There are many accounts of hauntings. People report seeing shadow figures and hearing the phantom sounds of battle. Hikers and campers commonly hear disembodied yells, screams, and cries. In addition to the gruesome battleground, you can visit the Anasazi ruins with over 100 examples of this ancient culture. Overnight campers in the canyon report experiencing a sudden drop in temperature and hearing odd noises. A few people claim to have ghostly encounters or witness apparitions of ancient Navajo spirits. Visitors also report hearing phantom drumming, chants, and footsteps.
Sahuaro Ranch Park
The 17-acre Sahuaro Ranch Park in Glendale is the highlight of the park system. The park boasts the historical ranch with its original 13 buildings still intact. Many of the buildings are open to the public, as are the gardens and orchards where peacocks roam.
Visitors claim to see and hear a variety of apparitions and sounds. Some of these reports include disembodied whispers, knocks, and loud bangs. A disappearing woman wearing a long period style dress appears inside buildings or wanders the premises. The ghost of a man, possibly a ranch hand, shows up indoors and outside as though attending to chores. The ghost of H.W. Adams, the original owner of the ranch, also appears. Paranormal investigators have discovered equipment moved from their original placements.
Monte Vista Hotel
Any list of haunted places in Arizona isn't complete without Flagstaff's Monte Vista Hotel. This famous historic 73-room hotel was a haven for gangsters in the 1930s and for movie stars up until the 1960s. It is known for its resident ghosts and the enormous paranormal activities that take place. Some of the cast of resident ghosts include a bellhop, elevator attendant, mobster, and dancing couple. Some of the other paranormal activity guest and staff witness includes rocking chairs that rock on their own, a baby's disembodied cries, and missing light bulbs. Shadow people flit around corners and down halls.
Jerome Grand Hotel
The Jerome Grand Hotel in Jerome originally served as a hospital for local miners between 1927 and 1950. It remained abandoned for nearly 40 years until the building was rescued and renovated to become the Jerome Grand Hotel.
Some of the apparitions guests experience include nurses moving down the hallways or in and out of rooms. They also hear disembodied voices, moaning, and a heart-stopping scream. Slamming doors and phantom footsteps are a common paranormal activity. A bearded miner walks hallways and turns lights on and off as he passes.
The elevator is a hotbed of paranormal activity. Many encounter the ghost of Claude Harvey, the hotel maintenance man who was found dead underneath the elevator. While his death was ruled as an accident, rumors still persist that he was murdered.
By all accounts, room 32 is the most haunted guest room. It's the gruesome scene of two suicides, one involving a man rolling his wheelchair off the room's balcony. The ghost of a small boy also appears in the room. The bathroom faucets turn on and off by themselves, and doors open and close on their own.
Most Haunted Places in Arizona to Visit
Arizona's most haunted haunted places offer paranormal enthusiasts many options. Any of these places make a great place to begin your exploration of Arizona ghosts.