Restless spirits roam Tombstone’s streets.
These streets or intersections have existed since the beginning of Tombstone. They have original buildings, replicas of buildings, and some of the original homes and businesses.
The streets have seen many events of the early wild days, especially during the rough and rowdy mining days when there was a struggle with the rough element verses the law authorities, disasters like disease epidemics and out of control fire, and mob violence and moments of injustice.
The hot spots of paranormal activity have been experienced by many along the whole length of Allen Street, the main drag through the business downtown section. This includes both West Allen St. and East Allen Street, the intersection of Allen Street and 5th Street, and the part of Allen Street where the Crystal Palace Saloon and Oriental Saloon sit across from each other.
The Intersection of Toughnut and First Street is another hot spot, and is located along the street that runs parallel to Allen Street.
Tombstone isn’t the only historical town that comes with resident spirits, who are restless and trying to work through past traumas they went through while alive, sometimes too upset about their deaths to move on to the spirit world.
Other historical places, such as Williamsburg Old City, Placerville, Harper’s Ferry National Park, Deadwood, Parkersburg, Gettysburg, Prescott, Kern County Museum: Pioneer Village and The Living History Pioneer Village also have had histories of events that caused pain, death, winners and losers, and all the occurrences that can lead to restless spirits.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
Frontier towns have always been threatened by the possibility of fire, being built out of wood. People who die in disasters try to grieve by crying, or by showing others what happened to them.
Deadwood, SD (All the buildings in the bar and red light district were burned to the ground by a fast-moving fire. People had no warning or time to flee, and many were burned to death).
Prescott, AZ (Fire destroyed the Palace Tavern and Restaurant among other buildings on the main drag. People probably died in the fire).
Harper’s Ferry, WV (Buildings in this town were burned and destroyed several times during the many Civil War skirmishes, killing many residents).
Tombstone’s Allen Street, AZ (All the buildings on Allen Street burned to the ground either in 1882 or 1886. People in the saloons and brothels were burned alive because there was no warning from the fast-burning fires).
People who suffer terrible disappointments while alive that are either life-changing or life-ending often try to have a redo of their fateful events, hoping to change the outcome. They may also try to reenter their former lives or even perform their former job in this world.
Gettysburg, PA (Spirits of soldiers who suddenly lost their lives are still fighting the Civil War, trying to continue to man their posts in the attics of homes and buildings near the battlefield. The spirit of a Texas Ranger at Devil’s Den has stepped into the role of picture-taking expert and spectral docent).
Harper’s Ferry, WV (John Brown’s grand plans for a slave-empowered rebellion ended in a disappointing bloody disaster, for his men and for himself as well. The slave soldiers never showed up. Two of his sons were killed along with eight of his men when the U.S. Marines retook Harper’s Ferry, and his life ended in failure and disgrace, being hanged like a common thug. As a spirit, he appears as a solid person, and is warmly greeted by tourists and townspeople, who forgave him a long time ago. He enjoys pleasing the tourists and even poses for pictures with them).
Tombstone’s Allen Street, AZ (Three spirits, (Henry Clinton, Morgan Earp, and Virgil Earp), who are active on this street suffered life-changing incidents where they unexpectedly died from unexpected violence or wound up in a physical state where they couldn’t do what they loved. All three want a redo and try to reenter their former lives in today’s reality).
The turmoil caused by conflicts that erupted between the lawful and the lawless, between those with great differences of opinions, sometimes results in kangaroo courts, mob justice, and deaths that were not pleasant at the hands of people who were out for revenge. People who die unjustly or in a horrible way at the hands of the authorities or a mob, are often restless as spirits and can look for ways to release their anger or find ways to amuse themselves at the expense of the living.
Placerville, CA (Three men who were accused of robbing miners were caught, severely whipped and then made to stand trial in a kangaroo court without a defense lawyer. They were hung on the town’s hanging tree by a mob, slowly strangling to death. Afterwards, they were buried in unmarked graves. When a restaurant was built on the land where they suffered and died, their spirits took out their anger on the people in the restaurant).
Whaley House, CA (A tall cowboy by the name of Yankee Jim was the leader of a gang that caused trouble and stole. While members of his crew were sent to prison, he was given the death sentence, and suffered a bad hanging where he strangled to death. His spirit protested his sentence and torturous death in the Whaley’s house that was built on the grounds where he died, starting when the Whaley family lived there. Recently, he started to enjoy the pretty young docents and forgot most of his anger. To help one docent, he appeared as a solid, real person behind the docent, and smiled at her visitors, who then smiled at the docent, making her feel more relaxed).
Toughnut and First Street, in Tombstone (After being hung by an angry mob, the spirit of John Heath got his payback by having fun scaring the living in playful ways).
John Wesley Heath’s Story
John Wesley Heath, disappointed with his lawman’s salary, turned to a life of crime. He planned a robbery in Bisbee with a group of vicious men. He moved to Bisbee and opened a dancehall with partner Nathan White, staying there while the others went to rob the Goldwater and Castaneda Mercantile that USUALLY held the $7,000 dollar payroll for the Copper Queen Mine. At this time, there was no bank in Bisbee.
The robbers arrived at the Mercantile but the payroll money hadn’t arrived. They robbed the owners and the people inside. Many people wound up dying before the outlaws escaped with hardly anything. They were caught and held in Tombstone. John Heath was arrested too after his confederates told all about him, and John confessed his part in it.
The robbers were convicted and hung on a portable gallows. John Heath was given life in prison. An angry mob broke into the jail and hung John from a telegraph pole. At the death inquiry, a false statement claiming that he died from emphysema was given.
The spirit of Virgil is described as being a tall, older man, wearing a cowboy hat, a knee-length black coat, walking with an awkward limp.
Ambushed crossing the street from the Oriental Saloon to the Crystal Palace Saloon on Allentown Street where he had his office on the second story.
He was shot nineteen times, most of the bullets mainly hitting his back and left arm, and he crumpled at the center of the street. His shattered shoulder was operated on, and he lost the use of his arm. He had to retire from law enforcement and left for California, where he lived out his life. He also suffered a bullet lodged near his hip.
Virgil must have been terribly disappointed about being surprised in the street and not being careful enough, which resulted in him having to leave a job that he loved dearly.
He tries to change this outcome by reliving the moments before he was shot.
His foggy apparition has been seen walking to the place where he was ambushed, before falling to the ground and disappearing.
In his mind’s eye, he still has an office on the second floor.
As a spirit, he finds some peace in keeping a lawful eye on folks who need to be reminded that politeness and good behavior are the behavior standards in the Crystal Palace Saloon.
He will step into situations much like he did while alive.
An example of this is given in the story listed under Tombstone; our Crystal Palace story.
Henry’s Unforgettable Disappointment
Henry Clanton was so sure that with his friends, he was finally going to be able to kill the Earps, who he had been in a feud with, having the hope of being able to get away with being the bully in town.
Unfortunately he was greatly disappointed as he died there, and he can’t let it go.
Wants a REDO
The spirit of Henry Clinton has been seen at the corner of Allen Street and 5th Street, which is near the OK Corral.
He keeps a look-out for his enemies at this corner. Is he repeating the event, and trying to defeat his foes?
People have seen the cowboys who were killed in the OK corral draw their guns as if they want a redo.
The spirit of Henry is trying to return to his life in this world.
Henry Clanton’s apparition has been seen leaving Boot Hill Cemetery and walking into Tombstone.
He still likes to hang out at The Birdcage, where he sits in the Clanton’s box.
He probably goes to Big Nose Kate’s Saloon and Restaurant as well, being the original place of the Grand Hotel.
John Wesley Heath’s Hard Lesson
Crime doesn’t pay.
He had a huge disappointment! Instead of making more money, he got life in prison but even then wound up being executed in a horrible way at the hands of a mob.
Heath Finds Peace
After he died, his spirit was restless.
He got his jollies frightening people by walking up behind them, making them feel cold, and sometimes even speaking to them.
Eventually, what happened to him became public, which must have given him some satisfaction that his murder had come to light.
Victims of 1882 & 1886
Fires caused unhappy souls.
Spirits are stuck in their painful deaths suffered, and work out their restlessness by appearing all over town, showing the living their burned bodies.
Personal experiences abound as these paranormal activities have startled the living, both tourists and Tombstone locals, for over a hundred years. Because they happen without warning and quickly, it is difficult to catch hard evidence. As they were in life, the spirits of Virgil and Henry were not big talkers, but men of action, and have no time to talk to paranormal investigators.
Probably so for the burn victims, and Virgil Earp and Henry Clanton.
The spirits of Clanton and Earp find ways to have peace in ways they enjoyed in this world. Virgil is the spectral behavior enforcer in the Crystal Palace, and Henry gets his chuckles in the Bird Cage and Big Nose Kate’s Restaurant and Saloon.
Virgil may try to undo history by walking into the trap, and Henry tries to be more prepared for the showdown in the OK Corral. The burn victims are still wandering around in pain.
UNKNOWN: The Spirit of John Wesley Heath – not much now-a-days is reported about his activity. Perhaps he has found enough peace by getting his chuckles and taking good-natured revenge against the townspeople that he was able to pass over. Also, the knowledge of how he was murdered finally did come out to the wider public, which must have been satisfying. Or, he may have found peace in a house nearby where he was executed.
The whole length of Allen Street; both West Allen Street and East Allen Street
Intersection of Allen Street and 5th Street.
Allen Street where the Crystal Palace Saloon and Oriental Saloon sit across from each other.
Intersection of Toughnut and First Street.
- Haunted Tombstone, by Cody Polston, HAUNTED AMERICA, 2018.
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr