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The OTHER Visit to Tombstone
by Janice
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Tombstone's after hours history tour   Perhaps 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 town's heyday.

   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 heard.

   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


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Cochise County Cowboys
from Joyce Aros
Who were the Cochise County Cowboys? This book fleshes out the peripheral characters of the Tombstone Saga!

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Click on images for a larger view

Orbs over Trisha and Janice outside of Schieffelin Hall.

Some small orbs around Janice while viewing China Mary's supposed residence.

Orbs surrounding the OK Corral site.

Is there something other than just Trisha and Janice on this tour?.

Can you spot the orbs in front of the spot that once housed Hafford's Saloon?

Some small orbs around the front of the Courthouse.
Click on images for a larger view


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