you have heard the stories of "hauntings" in Tombstone. By chance
you may be one of the many who have claims of "sightings" in town.
After visiting town you may be enjoying your many photos that
were captured while on your adventure in Tombstone and find yourself
puzzled as to just what it is that is in the photo. Or you may
be wondering why a certain part of your photo was blacked out
or out of focus. What are these orb-like images you find only
in certain snapshots? These situations and the questions that
arise from them are all part of the "other" visit to Tombstone.
There is the daytime visit
where the history is told by stagecoach drivers atop their perch
directing your attention to the many historic and interesting
locations in town. Re-enactors dressed as if they are ready to
take on the next troublemaker in town will be happy to share with
you an interesting conversation about gun fights in town. There
are also historic buildings where one can visit the past through
the looking glass in the many museums to our town's history. And
your daytime visit also offers you the opportunity to shop and
eat or drink where history was made. And then there is the "other"
visit to Tombstone. An adventure to be sure!
With a dedicated spirit and
a hunger for history, Tricia Rawson has crafted a guided tour
of Tombstone that takes place after dark. After the stagecoaches
have left the street, after the cowboys have taken their boots
off, and after the shops and restaurants have turned their lights
off. Many folks will stay awake and walk the streets of Tombstone
after dark hoping for a sighting of that elusive spirit on the
boardwalk. But Tricia offers that spirit seeker an adventure in
history as well as her own take on perhaps why there are so many
stories, so many photo mysteries and a variety of sightings. So
come along with me as I tell you about my experience during one
of "Tombstone's Spirit Walks".
The hour was approaching
and I was trying to keep awake for this opportunity to view Tombstone
in a different light. Not being one of those night owl folks the
meeting time of 11:00 seemed so late but after dressing warm and
topping my head with a wooly cap we left the house to meet our
guide Tricia and start this exploration. I immediately noticed
her sense of respect for this specialized expedition. We were
encouraged with a moment of silence that was offered as a prayer
of protection. And the journey began. This journey was a trip
back in time. Tricia's take on the history of Tombstone is so
much more than multitudes of stories surrounding a 30 second moment
in time. She explains each location on the tour. Her words are
not only the language of her research but also an expression of
her understanding of the times that these places saw. I appreciated
her enthusiasm for the "real thing" as she put it. The locations
that survived the wrecking ball and today offer us a glimpse into
life in Tombstone as it was.
Her descriptions of what
is today an empty lot created a visualization of Tombstone's business
district in its heyday. Picturing the staircase leading up to
the point where many an attorney entered the building of justice
as I heard her description brought this corner to life. I could
imagine the properly dressed businessmen preparing for this days
activity. I could see the millinery shop with the hats on display
and the ladies awaiting a dress fitting. I learned of history
on this corner seldom spoken of.
Tricia explained the location
of falling bodies after the altercation on Fremont Street that
forged its way into history as no other such event could. I began
to realize that each time that I had walked past these places
of history I truly had not taken the time to think about the impact
on history that each location held. I was thankful that Tricia
created what will always be an ever-present reminder of how many
people have walked each of these paths in Tombstone.
Allen Street. Probably one
of the most notorious streets of drinking, gambling, ruckus and
violent deaths known to western history. What would be in store
for us here I wondered. Ranging from the west end "hop" china
town section where fine food or laundry services would never overshadow
prostitution and the opium element to the far east end of town
where tents and cribs lined the streets and the red light was
always on. In-between these defined locations of Tombstone were
numerous businesses. There were medical offices for life saving
situations as well as mortuaries for when the doctor could not
save a life and whose window displays were the most recent to
die awaiting their trip to boot hill. There was many a beer barrel
plank saloon as well as the finest in accommodations with splendid
eateries and gentlemen's clubs. The noise would be ever present.
Glasses clinking, conversations as to the day's mining finds,
billiard balls cracking their way across the table, and music
playing and competing for an audience amongst the many revelers
in these busy establishments. The descriptions this tour guide
gave made you almost think you could not only see this activity
but also hear and smell it as well.
Tricia gave us the descriptions.
She explained locations of these establishments. She reminded
us of events that took place here on Allen Street. She shared
her love for this history and created a most unique trip down
Allen Street. A trip destined to remain with me forever.
Not to forget the reason
why this city became so populated, Tricia includes in her tour
the other part of Tombstone. The part often overlooked. But this
town was founded on mining, silver mining. And to have such a
boomtown as Tombstone there had to be places these miners called
home. Perhaps nothing more than a simple shanty or miner's cabin,
but home it was. We are shown where these dwellings dotted the
streets close to the 24-hour a day working mines. Beds would see
shifts of miners taking their time to rest when not busying themselves
with the women and drink of Allen Street. These same cabins would
see young men writing letters to loved ones at home far away.
These same beds would see many a miner take his last breath as
he succumbed to the eventuality of the life of an underground
miner. Tricia brought these back streets of Tombstone to life
reminding us of the harsh life the young men had to live in this
The tour was approaching
an end. We neared the destination of many a tale of spirit. I
wanted to remember it all. We had passed by a variety of locations
each with its own story to be told. I know what I had felt. Tricia
explained some of her feelings and we were told stories of experiences
by past spirit walkers on her tour. We bade our farewells to the
spirits on the streets of Tombstone and concluded with another
hour of conversation and photograph dissecting under the roof
of yet one more spot in Tombstone where the history longs to be
Each person that takes this
tour will perhaps come away from it with a different understanding
of the history of Tombstone. Each walker will have his or her
own unique experiences. Not all find the elusive shadow, the flickering
light, and the movement behind curtains or smell the Chinese food
cooking but each will experience Tricia's own "Special Touch"
of history as she guides you on your "other" visit of Tombstone.
These tours are available
by contacting Tricia at 520-457-9191. She encourages you to dress
warm, wear appropriate walking shoes and be sure to bring a camera,
lots of film and nerves of steel, a strong heart and a true spirit
for the thrill of hunting spirits. Monies donated for this one
of a kind tour are being set aside for one of Tricia's passions.
Donations go towards headstones for the forgotten.
Are we the only ones walking
these streets of Tombstone? Are there "others" out there with
unfinished business? Do you have a story to tell or photos to
share? Be sure and check out our photos of this unique experience
below and contact us with any feedback or your own story. If you
have taken one of Tricia's special tours and want to share your
experience we look forward to hearing from you. If your stay in
Tombstone offered you a chance to visit with these spirits please
tell us your story in your own words. JH