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.

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