Saturday, July 28, 2012


Tombstone, Arizona, bills itself as "The Town too Tough to Die" - and that may well be true. Even the dead in Tombstone do not really die, it seems, since so many of them have been seen well after they left this earthly sphere.

Most people know, or have heard, of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The Corral still stands, and it contains statues of all the men who participated in it, placed roughly where the real gunfighters stood on that October day in 1881. The Cowboys (a gang, not a group of cowhands) have been seen there, sometimes with guns in hand; cold spots have also been experienced, which may, ironically, be pleasant to some visitors who have braved the Arizona summer heat. One of the men killed that day, Billy Clanton, has been said to rise from his grave in the famous Boot Hill Cemetery and walk back to town.

Virgil Earp, another of the fighters at the O.K. Corral, was shot in the arm after the gunfight, causing a lifelong disability. Some believe that his ghost is the one seen crossing the road near the place where Virgil was ambushed by the unknown assailant who robbed him of the use of one arm.

The Bird Cage Theatre, which has been a museum since 1934, is haunted by many apparitions dressed in 19th-century clothing. A stagehand holding a clipboard walks across the stage; loud laughter and the clinking of glasses are heard.

Buford House was once the residence of George Buford, who lived there with his father in the 19th century. George fell in love with the young woman across the street, who was named Cleopatra but went by the easier name of Petra. When Petra made the mistake of allowing another man to walk her home after going out with George, he was convinced that he had lost her - as indeed he did, because the next time she visited him, he shot her twice, then shot himself. Petra survived, but George died. He still haunts his former home.

Then there is Boot Hill itself. The cemetery is renowned for the fact that most of its inhabitants "died with their boots on" - in other words, they died suddenly, usually in a gunfight or ambush. The men who died during the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral are buried here; so is one Lester Moore, whose grave marker is memorable:

Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs with a .44
No Les
No More

Several photos purporting to show ghosts have been taken in Boot Hill; odd lights and strange sounds have been experienced.

For a real taste of the Wild West, it would be hard to beat Tombstone - with the added attraction of many famous and infamous ghosts.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Haunted Peruvian premises

Lima is the site of La Casa Matusita, said to be horribly haunted.

Stories about the hauntings vary. One story has it that a man murdered his entire family in that house, before killing himself. Another states that guests at a dinner party were given hallucinogens (in the food? Drinks?) and the party turned into mass slaughter.

The second floor is said to be so badly haunted that to go there is to lose one's mind. Rumor has it that in the 1960s, a TV reporter attempted to disprove the story, entered the second story, and quickly went insane.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Another famous ghost

George Reeves made his most famous film appearance in 1939, when he appeared as Stuart Tarleton in Gone with the Wind. A string of forgettable movies followed, in which Reeves was a supporting player, sometimes uncredited.

Stardom came when Reeves was cast in the title role in the TV show Adventures of Superman. (There is a common misconception that Reeves was the father of the late Christopher Reeve, who played Superman in several movies during the 1970s and 1980s. In truth, the two weren't related in any way.) He took his part so seriously that, aware of his effect on young viewers, he quit smoking and not making public appearances with his girlfriends when children were to be present.

The show ran from 1952 to 1958, and Reeves even made an appearance as Superman on I Love Lucy. The series was canceled in 1959, but was due for a revival for the 1960 - 61 season.

It would never happen. In the early morning of June 16, 1959, George Reeves went to his bedroom, claiming that he was tired. His fiancee, Leonore Lemmon, was in the house, along with a few friends. At around 2 a.m., they heard a gunshot - yet it took them 45 minutes to call the police. Reeves' death is still regarded as suspicious:

- He was shot in the temple, yet there were no powder burns around the wound, which suggested that the gun had been held away from his head.

- He was lying on the bed, but the gun was found between his feet.

- The spent shell from the gun was found under his body.

- His body showed several bruises.

- There were no fingerprints on the gun.

However, all concerned with the case are dead; Leonore died in 1990, and Toni Mannix - his former girlfriend, thought to have been so jealous of Leonore that she hired a gunman to kill Reeves - died in 1983.

Reeves hasn't rested easily. He has been seen in his former bedroom, wearing the Superman costume that made him so famous. He then disappears slowly.

Friday, July 6, 2012

A former inn

The 18th-century Old Post Inn, located in Crawford, Scotland, was once the sixth stop on the stage route between Edinburgh and London (there were forty, in all).

Two of the ghosts haunting the now-abandoned building are those of children, both girls. One was the daughter of the innkeeper, who was accidentally run over by a coach in Watling Street (the main street). When the inn was still in operation, she could be seen on the premises, singing to herself. The other girl was (so the story goes) hanged for stealing bread. She was five years old.

The third single phantom is that of a coachman, believed to have died in 1805. Perhaps the most interesting sighting is that of Roman legionnaires, seen marching down Watling Street. Since the street was lower, in Roman times, than it is now, the specters are seen only from the knees up.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Murderous Ghost

Eastern Kentucky. June, 1938.

Carl Pruitt came home one evening to find his wife in bed, enjoying the company of another man. The other man escaped through a window; Mrs. Pruitt was not so lucky. Carl strangled her with a length of chain, then committed suicide.

Not surprisingly, the Pruitts weren't buried side-by-side. They weren't even buried in the same cemetery. Mrs. Pruitt rested in peace, it seems, but Carl did not. Weeks after his internment, a strange pattern began to appear on his tombstone. The pattern looked like a chain, and as it expanded, it formed a cross. Then, the pattern ceased to grow.

About a month after the cross formed, a boy named James Collins was riding his bike, with some friends, past the cemetery where Carl lay.  Collins threw some rocks at the now-famous tombstone, chipping it in places. As he rode on with his friends, he lost control of his bicycle. The speed increased, and Collins and cycle crashed into a tree. Somehow, the bike chain encircled Collins' neck and strangled him.

Collins' friends told the story of Collins throwing rocks and damaging the tombstone, but examination showed it to be sound - no chips anywhere.

A few weeks after Collins died, his grieving mother paid a visit to Pruitt's tombstone and destroyed it with a small ax. The following day, when hanging the family laundry, she slipped - and the clothesline, which was a chain, caught her around the neck. Despite her efforts to free herself, she strangled slowly.

It is said that after Mrs. Collins' death, the tombstone reappeared, unmarred.

Evidently, while the news of these mysterious deaths had spread, it was insufficient to prevent others from attempting to damage Carl Pruitt's cursed tombstone. After the second tragic death in the Collins family, a local farmer drove his horse-drawn wagon past the cemetery, with three family members. The farmer, claiming that he didn't fear ghosts, pulled a revolver and shot the tombstone several times. The horses bolted. The rest of the farmer's family jumped from the wagon and landed safely, while the farmer attempted to control the horses. As the wagon came to a bend in the road, the farmer was thrown from his seat - and caught his neck on a chain in the traces. He was slightly more fortunate than the other victims; rather than strangling, his neck broke.

The Pruitt tombstone showed no signs of damage, of course.

The police were now called in to investigate (but what could they have done about the events?). One of the officers laughed at the local superstitions as the two of them searched the area, photographing the tombstone. Finally, they left the cemetery and drove away - and then officer who had laughed took a look in the rearview mirror and saw a light coming from the cemetery, in the area where Pruitt's tombstone was located. This officer happened to be driving, and he noticed that the light was coming closer all the time. He increased his speed - and the car ran off the road, rolling many times.

The other officer was injured, but not seriously, and he checked on his partner, to find him dead. When the car went off the road, it roared between two posts, which had a chain hanging between them. The chain had, of course, attached itself to the officer's neck, so that he was almost decapitated.

This latest tragedy was more than enough for most of the inhabitants of the area to stay well away from the cemetery. Unfortunately, one resident, Arthur Lewis, decided to prove that the rumors were just that - rumors. He didn't believe that the tombstone was unlucky in any way, so he decided to destroy it.

Lewis did have the good sense to tell his wife what he planned to do. He set out one night, hammer and chisel at the ready, and made considerable noise breaking the tombstone. However, even more noise was heard when he began to scream hysterically. Quite a few men living near the cemetery checked for the source of the noise, and found Lewis dead.

With the chain from the cemetery gate around his neck.

And Pruitt's tombstone was in pristine condition.

Pruitt soon had the whole place to himself. All the other bodies were reburied elsewhere, and Carl's grave became completely overgrown. Finally, strip mining obliterated the grave in 1958.