Fox Tucson Theatre

The Fox Tucson Theatre after an $80,000 remodeling that included a box office and an all-glass front in October 1956.

Arizona has its fair share of ghost stories and places that are known to host a ghoul or two.

How many of these haunted places have you visited? Chances are you've walked by at least a handful 👻👻

Hotel Congress recently celebrated 100 years in business.

Hotel Congress in Tucson

Hotel Congress is believed to be home to a number of supernatural guests. Some of the most notable spirits include a man who is often seen peering from a second-story window, a maid who is always cleaning and a man with a top hat who struts around the lobby. In a 2003 interview with the Arizona Daily Star, Hotel Congress co-owner Shana Oseran mentioned a time when a spirit came to the aid of a guest. 

"One night, someone asked me for the woman desk-clerk they had just spoken to," said Oseran. "But we only had a male desk-clerk working that night, so I knew it was one of our ghosts."

One of the rooms is also said to be the permanent home of Vince Szuda, a longterm guest who checked in during the late 1950s and lived in the hotel, at a set rate of $7 a day, until his death in 2001. Vince was known to be a fix-it man who was constantly borrowing butter knives from the restaurant. 

The lobby of the Fox Tucson Theatre in 1956.

Fox Theatre in Tucson

Opened in 1930, the Fox Theatre was a vaudeville and movie house that provided entertainment to Tucson before closing down in 1974 with the decline of downtown. In 2000, the Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation went to work restoring the building to its former glory and the theater reopened in 2006. 

There are a number of ghosts said to call The Fox home, including a man who roams the entrance and lobby of the theater asking for spare change.

"He would actually interact with people, and when they would go and give him money it would just fall through his hands and the man would disappear," said Becky McKiddy-Gydesen, owner and founder of the Tucson Ghost Company.

McKiddy-Gydesen has also claimed to have seen a presence near the door of the projection booth upstairs when no one was inside the theater. People who work in the booth have reported experiencing unexplained noises, lights and movement in the room.

In 2018, a handful of Tucsonans explored Colossal Cave during a ghost tour.

Colossal Cave in Tucson

Colossal Cave, on the outskirts of Tucson, has an epic history fit for a movie. 

In the late 1800s, the cave was a hideout for bandits who held up a train near Tucson and escaped with $72,000 worth of gold and currency, according to the cave's history. Some even say part of that stolen fortune could still be hidden somewhere in the cave.

The shadowy figure of a man has been spotted inside the cave and is believed to be one of the robbers looking for his lost loot.

One ghost, described as the "Lady in White," has been seen standing around the entrance of Colossal Cave.

There's also the ghost of a woman who's often found crying around the grounds. The story goes that she accidentally fell to her death when trying to escape a bear who was chasing her.

The last ghost is that of former Colossal Cave owner Frank Schmidt who is said to hang out in the gift shop and join a tour from time to time before mysteriously disappearing.

Old Main on the UA campus in 1906.

Old Main in Tucson

Built in 1891, Old Main — located at the heart of the University of Arizona campus — has served as a symbol of the UA's deep Southwest history and commitment to academics.

It's said when Old Main was being built, a construction manager named Carlos Maldenado would often stay in the unfinished structure in hopes of detouring Tucsonans — who were still unhappy about the town getting a university instead of a state asylum — from burning the building to the ground. 

One morning after one of these stays, workers returned to Old Main to find Maldenado sitting in a chair in the second floor of the building with his back turned to the entrance. When they got closer to Maldenado the workers realized he was dead.

So as not scare the public, authorities declared Maldenado's death a heart attack and the murderer was never caught.

Maldenado's ghost is described as a shadowy figure who is seen roaming Old Main — especially if there is construction going on in the building.

F-16s grounded at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base's Aircraft Boneyard on Oct. 17, 2019.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson

The Davis-Monthan Air Force Base boneyard, the mothballed aircraft storage area on Tucson's east side, was established in 1946 to store World War II bombers and transports. It became the nation’s primary storage center for military aircraft in 1964, according to this Arizona Daily Star story.

According to the Tucson Citizen, security police patrolling the boneyard have seen the specter of a fighter pilot, dressed in World War II-era gear slowly walking among the old aircraft, perhaps searching for his own plane. 

Some have said the headlights of their patrol vehicles go out during these encounters, and flashlights don’t function. Others said the ghostly figure walks through the security fence and across Kolb Road before disappearing.

A photo of the Santa Rita Hotel in 1954. 

Santa Rita Hotel in Tucson

Before it was demolished in August 2009 to make way for the Tucson Electric Power headquarters, the Santa Rita Hotel stood on the corner of East Broadway and South Sixth Avenue. When it was time to close up shop, the spirits of the hotel did not go quietly. According to a 2009 Arizona Daily Star story, several months before the building was torn down, police were called to investigate the empty hotel after a security guard claimed to have heard something eerie.

"The guard heard footsteps coming from the fourth floor, but police searched the hotel room by room and found nothing. A week later, a guard reported that a light on the fourth floor came on, and it sounded like someone was moving around in the room. Police checked the room and adjacent floors and found no one.

"In recent weeks, construction workers near the hotel say they've heard stories of rocks skipping down the hallways and doors slamming shut. And a Star reporter walked by the building Monday night and heard a creepy belly laugh emitting from the building. He hopped a fence and spoke to a security guard, who said the noise didn't come from the hotel."

Parapsychologist Amy Allan of the Travel Channel's Dead Files has said the Santa Rita Hotel was just as inhabited by spirits as the San Diego's Whaley House, which is considered to be one of the most haunted places in America.

When asked if the Tucson Electric Power building is a supernatural hotspot, TEP spokesperson Joseph Barrios said it's not unusual to see groups of people hanging out near the doors during the month of October to talk about their predecessor's haunted history. However, it seems the spirits may have vacated when the Santa Rita Hotel did. 

The Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee, Ariz., on May 16, 2017.

The Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee

The Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee will make you feel like you've gone through a time machine to the turn of the century.

Completed in 1902, the hotel was built by the Phelps Dodge Mining Cooperation as a way to host investors and VIPs who were visiting the booming mining town.

Over the years the Copper Queen has collected a number of ghosts that haunt the building in their own unique way. This includes a bearded man in a cape who is seen — or smelled — smoking a cigar in the lobby of the hotel.

A young boy named Billy who supposedly died in the San Pedro River now haunts the hotel because his mom used to work there. It's said he enjoys playing with children who stay over.

Horseshoe Cafe in Benson, 1940s.

Horseshoe Cafe in Benson

Take a quick road trip out of town heading east on I-10 to Benson where you can find the Horseshoe Cafe located right across the street from the town's train station.

The cafe opened in 1938 and has been a landmark to locals and drifters alike — with its horse-head-shaped neon sign and large mural on the side of the two-story building that depicts three cowboys riding horses.

It's said at some point during the cafe's history an old woman who lived upstairs died in the building — and she has been ghosting up the place ever since.

People have described seeing the woman looking out of the windows of the second story, walking around near the staircase, and showing up in the back of the restaurant.

A ghost dog, who is believed to be the pet of the old woman, has also been heard barking from the second floor.

Birdcage Theater photo via Facebook

The Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone

Known as the "wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast" according to the New York Times in the late 1800s, the Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone was considered one of the happening places to go during the town's heyday.

It's said the theater is home to 26 ghosts.

Music and voices have been heard in the middle of the night as if a big party is being thrown. Guests and staff have reported seeing ghosts and others have claimed to have been touched or pushed by unseen forces.    

The familiar Gadsden Hotel in downtown Douglas, which opened in 1907, was designed by architect Henry Trost and also served as a meeting place for the businessmen of the day.

The Gadsden Hotel in Douglas

Built in 1907, the Gadsden Hotel is a historic four-story building that sits on the corner of G Avenue and 11th Street in Douglas. 

The hotel has hosted a number of notable people including John Dillinger — who stayed at the Gadsden the day before he was apprehended in Tucson, according to the hotel's history.

It's said that in the early 1990s, Pancho Villa rode his horse down the grand marble staircase of the lobby — a chip seen on one of the marble steps is supposedly from the horse's mighty hooves.

Over the years, guests and staff have witnessed a number of unexplainable occurrences in the hotel. 

Room 333 is considered one of the most haunted spots, with reports of strange noises, the television turning on and off, and guests being touched by a ghostly presence.

A figure in the shape of a man has also been spotted in the basement and sometimes he is described as having no head or no face.


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