Not much goes on in the desert, so you’re bound to hear a few creepy things when people have a chance to sit down and listen. Arizona ghost stories are a time-honored tradition dating back decades. Mostly centered around hotels and other Arizona haunted places, ghosts and urban legends are littered all over the state. However, most of them aren’t very malicious in nature. Most seem to be lost souls, waiting for some kind of closure.
But there aren’t just ghosts in American Southwest. There are plenty of Arizona legends and horrible creatures. Monster sightings aren’t uncommon in parts of the state, and the fact that Nevada’s Area 51 isn’t too far off means there have been a few notable UFO sightings over the years. So, if you’re curious about some of the weirdest stuff to ever come.
Luana’s Canyon Echoes with the Voices of the Dead
During the 1800s gold rush, everyone wanted a piece of the action. A family that headed west built a cabin in the canyon and the father would go out into the mountains to search for gold. He’d come back every few months to provide food for his family, but one month he didn’t come back. His family started starving to death, which drove the mother insane. Instead of watching them die, she put on her wedding dress and chopped her children up. After she realized what she did, she began wailing and begging forgiveness. The mother’s screams can still be heard at night in the canyon.
A Suicide Victim Still Haunts a Dorm
During Christmas Break of 1953, a student at North Arizona University named Kathy was depressed and so poor she couldn’t afford a trip home. She ended up hanging herself and was discovered by the cleaning lady. Her spirit is reportedly still around and causing all sorts of disturbances. Lights go on and off, strange smells pop up, and people have even seen her from time to time. Her favorite pranks are pulling blankets off people who live on her old floor. There have also been reports of her locking girls in the bathroom despite the fact the bathroom doesn’t actually have a lock.
The Phoenix Lights
In 1997, a famous alleged UFO sighting occurred. Unlike most sightings, however, this one was reported by thousands of people all within the same time frame. Two sets of lights were said to be in a triangle-like formation that slowly moved across the sky. Even the governor of Arizona saw the lights and thought of them as “otherworldly.” Of course, the Air Force later said the second pair of lights were flares dropped from an aircraft during an exercise… but that doesn’t explain the first set.
A Murder Lead to a Famous Hotel Being Haunted
Since its opening in 1900, the Hotel Weatherford has had a very famous list of guests, including William Randolph Hearst, Wyatt Earp, and President Theodore Roosevelt. But its most infamous guest may be the ghosts of a murdered couple from the 1930s. There have been reports of guests waking up to find a bride and groom sitting on their bed. People have also seen a female figure moving around the hotel ballroom. Distant voices are also regularly heard.
The Hotel Vendome Suffers from a Multispecies Haunting
Located in Prescott, AZ, the Hotel Vendome was once the site of heartbreak and death. Abby Byr, her husband, and her cat moved to Arizona to combat her tuberculosis. Every so often, Abby’s husband would go out and get medication for her. But one time he never came back, and a heartbroken Abby starved herself (and, by extension, her cat) to death in Room 16. By the 1940s, many guests started reporting that they saw Abby in her room, still waiting for her husband. Apparently, she’s quite friendly, despite all the sadness.
Of Course Tucson’s ‘Antique Mall’ Is Haunted
It turns out there’s a haunted antique mall in Tucson. There’s one area that used to be a furniture store with an antique typewriter that hasn’t been used for many years, but many people can still hear it typing away. When someone investigated the sound, there wasn’t anyone to be found near the typewriter.
There have also been reports of furniture rearranged during the night, radios behaving oddly, time dilation, vanishing figures, and phantom sounds of broken glass.
Stranded Ghosts on Route 85
A newlywed couple was driving through Ajo, AZ, in the 1950s on the way to their honeymoon at Lake Tahoe. Unfortunately, they were driving at night and didn’t see a huge boulder in front of them until their car slammed into it, killing them both. It’s been said that if you drive around the area at midnight, you’ll encounter their car with the couple alongside it trying to call for help.
The Museum Club Is Haunted by Its Former Owners
The Museum Club is an institution of Route 66, both for being a great place to hang out and for the fact it’s freaking haunted. The good news is the ghosts are actually really nice. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, the place was owned by a couple that unfortunately lost their lives in the club. The wife, Lorna, broke her neck on the stairs and her husband killed himself shortly after.
According to the staff, Lorna still shows up from time to time. She shows up at the bar, where people often think she’s the bartender and men will hit on her, only to find her gone when they’ve bought her a drink. Lorna’s husband usually clinks bottles together at the bar or rearranges them as a prank. The staff doesn’t find them scary at all and instead think of them as guardians.
The Hotel Monte Vista Is Home to Some Unsavory Guests
The Hotel Monte Vista doesn’t just have one ghost; it has a whole bunch. There’s a phantom bellboy that knocks on doors, a bank robber from the ’70s, a ghost who is constantly coughing, and the specter of a woman roaming the halls. Patrons of the Overlook Hotel would feel right at home here.
The Mogollon Monster
That’s right. Arizona has its own Bigfoot. It’s said to be over 7 feet tall, possess incredible strength, and have red eyes. It’s also supposed to smell terrible, with the odor describes as similar to a «dead fish, a skunk with bad body odor, decaying peat moss and the musk of a snapping turtle.» And it’s extremely violent and loves decapitating deer.
Reported sightings have been all over Arizona, with the earliest dating back to 1908, when someone claimed to see the beast near the Grand Canyon. That report claimed the creature had long white hair and two-inch-long claws. There was also a sighting in 1940, which claimed the creature had deep-set and expressionless eyes.
In 2006, a member of the White Mountain Apache Nation claimed there were several sightings of the monster. These reports said the creature was all black, but no one encountered any violence.
A Mysterious Woman Roams This Administration Building
The apparition of a woman has been seen roaming the halls of the Northern Arizona Council of Governments Head Start Administration Building in Flagstaff. People have also heard voices and found various objects moved around. Doors are suddenly locked and the keys no longer work. Telephones ring without anyone calling, even after they’ve been unplugged. It’s also been reported that the faucets turn on and off. Hopefully, the water bill isn’t too high.
First reported in Puerto Rico, the Chupacabra has a reputation of being seen in many southern states, including Arizona. The name literally means “goat-sucker,” which comes from reports of it drinking the blood of livestock. The first reports of the creature were in 1995, but the lack of evidence has put it under the realm of an urban legend for now. It’s largely reported to be reptile-like with leathery gray skin and spines running down its back.