Arizona October 24, 2016
5 Truly Terrifying Ghost Stories That Prove Jerome Is The Most Haunted City In Arizona
If you ask anyone in Arizona the location of the spookiest town, chances are they will point you towards Jerome. The old mining town certainly looks like it could be haunted with its winding streets, weathered buildings, and other areas of the town slowly decaying.
Given that Halloween is just around the corner, now is as good a time as ever to hear a few ghost stories. Today, we’re going to focus on stories that originate from Arizona’s Ghost City that may cause the hairs on the back of your neck to rise. Enjoy!
You’ll hear of multiple hauntings that occur in this hotel, which was built in 1898, including spooky occurrences happening in the bar area and in the hotel rooms upstairs. But rooms 1 and 2 are rife with ghostly activity, which includes everything from hearing the radio randomly turn on (even when unplugged) and spotting figures standing in the room at odd hours. However, there is at least one gruesome story that happened here.
Anna Hopkins, the wife of the local mining company’s chief engineer, believed that her husband was in some kind of relationship with a local schoolteacher and decided to enact revenge herself. In 1922, Hopkins threw carbolic acid into the face of the teacher in the downstairs cafe of the Connor Hotel. The stories are a little hazy as to what happened to the teacher; some say she survived her injuries and relocated to Spokane, where she later died while other stories state that the teacher suffered a painful death a few weeks later as a result of her injuries. What we do know, however, is that a few months later Hopkins was convicted of assault for the incident.
At one point in time, prostitutes could be found throughout Jerome, when brothels were located right next to saloons and women could walk throughout the town to “advertise” their business. Eventually, these businesses were re-located in the streets behind Main and these became known as the old Cribs District or “Husband’s Alley.” These businesses were located right behind the saloons, where men could get a few drinks, gamble, then sneak right out the back door for another kind of entertainment.
Sex work operated on a hierarchical scale. At the high end of the scale were classy ladies who worked in brothels operated by madams who had a pretty cushy job. They often only provided (expensive) companionship for lonely men living in a town almost devoid of women, and had access to healthcare, security, and education. At the low end of the scale were women working in the cribs, who somehow managed to see 30 to 80 clients per day. It was a rough job that had no guarantees or safety and many women who worked in the industry succumbed to the illnesses or violence associated with the job.
There are many stories about the horrors these sex workers endured and history just barely remembers a few who died at the hands of their clients. One woman, named Sammie Dean, died after being strangled in 1931 by the son of a powerful member of town. She is said to haunt the building she previously lived in and there’s no doubt that the spirits of other women who died from similar fates still linger in the area.
Jerome Grand Hotel
Jerome’s famous old hospital turned hotel is often called the most haunted place in town. Built in 1926 as the United Verde Hospital, this was actually the fourth hospital to be built in town and operated until 1950. It maintains a spooky presence in town, sitting on the hill above any other building and can be seen from nearby communities like Clarkdale.
As the hospital of an old mining town, there’s no doubt this building saw a lot of horror and a lot of deaths during its 24 years of operation and hotel guests regularly report numerous incidents. These include everything from hearing keys attempting to unlock doors, items moving in the rooms, sounds typically heard in hospitals, and other odd occurrences.
One haunting in particular comes from the hospital’s old maintenance man, Claude Harvey, who was found dead in 1935 from a gruesome elevator accident. Some of the hotel workers report hearing or even briefly seeing Harvey still at work in the floors downtown stairs.
United Verde/Phelps Dodge Mine
Once upon a time, mining jobs were both lucrative and extremely dangerous. While death rarely occurred inside the mine, it wasn’t uncommon for miners to die from injuries sustained during the job. These usually occur in jobs associated with explosions but any injury that involved something like leg amputation would probably result in death a few months later after infections invaded the body.
According to some people, miners still haunt their old work place, including the spirit of Headless Charlie. You can probably guess that Charlie lost a certain body part during a mining accident and a tale is told that he wanders the old mine in search of it. The mine is currently closed and off-limits, so you’re unlikely to run into him but if you somehow find yourself near an abandoned mine shaft, definitely don’t enter.
Jerome’s first silent film theatre happens to be in pretty good condition...from the inside. The original signage from the Liberty Theatre is long gone but you’ll find the upstairs floors laid out the same way as when it closed in 1929. This building is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a former patron. The woman immigrated to the United States from Germany and was involved in a passionate, though tumultuous, relationship with another immigrant that eventually ended in her death.
Following an argument, the woman left to calm down while watching a movie. Little did she know that her boyfriend followed her to the theatre and sat behind her during the movie. He waited until a particularly loud scene when the organ music thundered through the theatre and strangled her to death. The woman’s ghost is said to haunt the upper floor of the theatre.
Those stories were pretty creepy! I would recommend checking out one of the many historical tours offered in the town, such as those provided by
Ghost Town Tours for detailed accounts of various haunted places in Jerome and a chance to “search” for a ghost. Do you have any similar experiences from visiting Jerome or other parts of the state? If you want to explore other areas in Arizona that are known to be haunted, check out our article that features some spooky ghost tours.