Death & Arizona: Six Instances of Disappearance & Paranormal Activity

Written By A.R. Arthur

A.R. Arthur (formerly A.R. Salandy) is a Black Mixed-race poet & writer who has spent most of his life in Kuwait jostling between the UK & America. He is the EIC of Fahmidan Journal/Publishing & Co, Reviews Editor at Full House Literary & Poetry Editor at Chestnut Review. Twitter/Instagram: @ararthurwriter

Having been born in Arizona, I have always been fascinated by the lore I heard about throughout the state. From the Superstition Mountains, to hauntings and shoot outs in Tucson, Arizona is more than the Grand Canyon state, it is an otherworldly place with a great melding of spirituality, alien sightings and most importantly, paranormal activity. Let’s explore six of the spookiest instances of paranormal activity arising from the peculiar deaths that have imprinted themselves on the minds of Arizonans far and wide.

The Superstition Mountains – Apache Junction

Having experienced the mystery and fear surrounding this mountain range, I can say that strange figures and freak storms appear out of nowhere. Apache lore states that the entrance to descend to the “lower world” or hell is deep within this mountain range. Numerous hikers have disappeared. In 2011 some human remains were found while others remain lost to these rugged mountains. Hundreds have gone in search of hidden gold over the years and lost their lives as a result but local Native Americans continue to dissuade curious visitors every year. Most recently, Khayman Welch wandered off for a walk disappeared without trace and the search for his remains is still on going.

Haunted Phoenix Hotels: Westward Ho & Hotel San Carlos

Westward Ho is still visited by thrill-seeking paranormal enthusiasts who aim to find the ghost of a woman in a bright red dress that roams the buildings floors. Residents and visitors have reported hearing loud conversations and music from the 1940s and 50s from empty rooms at random through the night.

Hotel San Carlos presents us with an even stranger account of ghostly sightings. Leone Jensen, who committed suicide soon after the hotel’s grand opening is said to haunt guests who awake in terror. Others have also committed suicide in the hotel leading to the belief that a collection of apparitions live in this hotel exacting their retribution by placing fear in many guests who stay. Further, having been built on the site of a former school, numerous visitors have reported hearing child-like laughter and talking throughout their stays at this hotel.

Haunted Jails: Arizona State Prison Complex, Florence & Estrella Jail

The Arizona State Prison Complex has been the focus of numerous haunting stories. With numerous death sentences carried out since 1910, is it any wonder that that both inmates and officers have witnessed a multitude of instances of ghoulish screams, strange howls and mists that appear in human form staring on at onlookers? Particular attention should be paid to the area surrounding the death chamber where onlookers have spoken of otherworldly sightings.

The Estrella Jail, an all-female jail in the state’s capital, Phoenix is known for paranormal activity, violence and rumored deaths. Famously, an officer reported seeing a man in the cell block alongside loud pounding on the control room door and a furious inmate that looked on at him with “demonic, black eyes”. Reports of attacks and a paranormal entity known to those working there as “The Sergeant” have also been mentioned. Despite the jail’s history, it continues to be active.

Hotel Congress – Tucson

The Hotel Congress is over 100 years old and is known to locals as a dwelling where numerous former residents, now long departed, continue to reside throughout the hotel, and its service areas. One ghost in particular is that of Vince who spent over 36 years living at the hotel before his death. Many visitors claim to still see him inhabiting the hotel’s bar area as if continuing to live on despite his earthly remains being no longer.

The Orpheum Theater – Phoenix

Founded in 1886, this theater is home to numerous spritely ghosts that often engage with performers and their audiences. Most notably, Maddie, a ghost that appears as a young girl who is typically spotted in the mezzanine. She is known for her mischievousness and is said to quiet down loud spectators and even disapprove of certain behaviors should they be disruptive to the audience. Some theater goers have experienced other apparitions that are less friendly and more frightening with shoves, growls and even moans said to be heard on occasion.

Birdcage Theatre – Tombstone

The town of Tombstone is known for massive gun-fights and battles between cowboys throughout the 1800s including the infamous O.K. Corral shootout. This theater is no exception to ravages of violence and gore of the time; it is still said to be inhabited by numerous ghosts who lost their life at the theater and on its grounds. With 16 different gun battles, many claim to see cowboys lurking in the shadows and bloodied phantoms peering out on unsuspecting tourists who speak of eerie fear and anxiety whilst visiting. Some say demonic spirits also inhabit this theater to absorb the darkness of such wanton death.