Old Bisbee has a reputation for ghost sightings. Of course where there are reportedly a lot of ghost sightings, there are charlatans who have figured out how to make a buck on the search for the apparitions. There are tours specifically to go through town after dark to hear the stories about the ghosts.
There is a mural that was done by Rose Johnson* on the Circle K entitled “Historic Bisbee”. At the edge of the mural, is a woman who is somewhat ethereal. Of course, some viewers see a ghost. Rather than listen to the guide, one of the tourists interrupted, “Is that woman really a ghost?”
* Rose Johnson was one of Bisbee’s more famous artists.
Josef visited us recently. He stayed at the Inn at Castle Rock. The inn has a reading area, a fridge, and a check in area.
Willa has the responsibility of cleaning the leaves out of these areas. She used the leaf blower instead of a broom. If that isn’t bad enough, the leaf blower is gas driven, leaving behind gasoline fumes.
Because often the wind moves the leaves around the entrance, Willa needs to repeat the operation periodically. Is there an intent to keep residents in their rooms?
Cheri has been in the process of moving her studio to a different location. The path to the studio is a multi-step stairway.
I was walking up the steps to see how Cheri was doing. I stopped to rest along the way. Across the street from where I was sitting a woman walked out of her house. She was carrying what looked to be a bunch of electronics.
She asked me if she could use my cell phone. I asked her why she didn’t use her own cell phone. She changed the subject; she asked whether the property that I was resting on belonged to me. I said no but it was half-way to my destination. As if on cue Cheri called me on her cell phone.
At this point the woman returned to her side of the street, and made a call with her cell phone (using her own phone!). Then she returned into her house, and I continued up the path. Meanwhile the woman was weeping in the house.
[Story from when we lived in Tucson ]
Rod runs a neighboring restaurant; in truth he only caters. But he does watch our house as a neighbor would. This is good for us because he often cooks very early in the morning.
If he sees somebody trespassing on our property he will send them on their way. Occasionally he will let us know about what he has encountered. These reports are sporadic and informal. The reports only tell us that someone was there; not who, how long, where, or when. In fact, the stories become quite jumbled, and inter-related. Time is irrelevant.
I am usually the one to take the reports. I filter them, and deal with the situation as necessary. Sometimes they only demand that I be diligent to check that the gates are closed. Other times they cause me to watch that the neighboring pizza joint locks their gate at night.
But the other day Rod informed Cheri that there were guys using my hammock in the backyard as if it were theirs. We checked it out, cleaned and swept the back yard, made plans as to how we would reinforce the backyard fences with a prickly pear barrier, etc.
The next morning I checked the backyard. The only marks in the sand were caused by birds and wind.
Now I understand how the boogie man developed.
The Madman would only talk to me when we were out of earshot of others. The more the Madman talked the more bizarre he got. He says that I have seen ghosts in Bisbee. How does he know what I have seen?
He said that the ghosts of Bisbee were Civil War vintage. They were mostly ghosts with amputations that were the result of Civil War injuries.*
Come to think of it, maybe I have seen a ghost or two. Maybe I was seeing a ghost at that moment. Every time that I have seen him, he seems to just magically appear from near the Grand Saloon. I don’t wish to talk with him again.
By now we were under a green ATM machine. His skin was sweating, giving him a palish green, beady appearance.
As I left, he reached in his pocket, and pulled out a flask. He sprinkled the contents on me. Am I now a Madman too?
* Fact check: Bisbee was founded in 1888 – a little too late for the Civil War.
I recently met a guy who had greeted me and my nephews on Main Street a long time ago. He was really weird.
Now, a couple of years later, I encountered him again. He was an even weirder character than the snapshot that we experienced the first time we met him. He told me his name but given the ensuing conversation, I think of him only as The Madman. He tries to show off his knowledge of my past as if he were Rasputin. However he is never right, usually way off.
He has about 10 teeth left, a scraggly beard, and longish scraggly hair. He acts as if he is delivering a message for only me.
He said, “You see things that others don’t see.” Duh.
“You have been here 30 years. You have another place up the coast that you can go to. Go now. Escape the coming wrath. Jessica prays for you every day.”
Either he thinks that I am someone else, or he is a terrible psychic.
I was in line to pay at the High Desert Market. The two woman ahead of me were buying some ceramic lizards. I hope that they looked at the underside of the lizards – “Hecho en México”.
Suddenly, one of them turned to me, and asked, “Are there ghosts in this town?”
I said that I didn’t know, and I asked her, “Why do you ask?”
She said that she had just seen two ghosts. They, the ghosts, had been walking with their father, and then when the women, looked again the girls had disappeared. Of course, any tourist to Bisbee might think there are ghosts. After all, there was a vehicle with “Ghost Hunter” painted on its side parked at the Castle Rock Inn last night. And any ghost sightings are good for business.
I asked her what the Spanish word for ghost was – Los Bantos. I left the market, and coming into the market were a very pale man, almost ghost-like, and his two daughters. Oops, this could be bad for the paranormal hype.
The girls were dressed in very colorful dresses. Somehow I had always envisioned ghosts, if and when they appear, as dressed in long flowing white caftans. Or maybe blue jeans and denim shirts. Hey, maybe the women were right about ghosts – but they had the wrong one. The ghost might have been the very pale man.
I was sitting at the bar at the Copper Queen with Gil, the guy with a sailboat in his yard near Bisbee. We were listening to Phil the guitar player and singer.
A well-dressed tourist came up to the bar, messing with his iPhone. He was a bit “off” from normal. [although not paranormal] Eventually he asked Gil if he was staying at the Copper Queen Hotel that evening. “No” replied Gil. Then he asked me if I was staying there. I also replied “No”.
He seemed to consider us half-way rational. Then, he asked us who in their right mind would stay in a hotel that was haunted; even crazier a hotel that advertised itself as haunted.
Gil told the guy that his in-laws were staying there that night. Rational no more!
Gil explained that the ghost-reports were a marketing scheme. Consider all those who had died in various places around the desert without stories about ghosts at their death-locations. In fact there was a woman who led a tour of the “haunted” places in Bisbee.
The tourist didn’t seem too impressed with Gil’s rational explanations. I probably didn’t help matters by commenting that those who believed in ghosts were much more likely to see them.
As I left the bar the tourist was ordering another drink, and mumbling to himself.