Ghosts said to mingle with guests at haunted Arizona hotel

Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:50am EDT
 
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By Tim Gaynor

DOUGLAS, Arizona (Reuters) - Manager Robin Brekhus was skeptical about her Arizona hotel's supernatural history until the day she went to the basement in search of candles during a power outage and glimpsed a figure in a long duster coat and cowboy hat in the beam of her flashlight.

"It was like he wanted me to make eye contact with him and acknowledge that I saw him," she said, recalling how she then sprinted up the steps to the spacious lobby with its Italianate columns and Tiffany & Co. stained glass mural - a new believer.

In its heyday in the early decades of the last century, the lobby of the Gadsden Hotel was known as the "living room" of the remote Arizona ranching town of Douglas, hosting cattle barons, cowboys and executives from the local copper mining industry.

While many hotels in the United States claim ghosts, staff and guests at the Gadsden have recorded scores of supernatural encounters from the top floor right down to the maze-like basement - not just at Halloween, but year round.

This Halloween, the hotel is embracing its haunted history as never before, with a visiting blues band from Tennessee set to play at a bash in the lobby. Guests can come dressed up or not, and ghosts are more than welcome.

The 160-room Gadsden Hotel, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, opened in 1907, but was badly damaged by a fire, and reopened in 1929. Since then, little has changed.

The lobby retains the original white marble steps leading to the large mezzanine, up which Mexican bandit-turned-revolutionary Pancho Villa once reportedly rode his horse.

Visitors ride one of the oldest manual elevators west of the Mississippi to their rooms, many fitted out with original furnishings, aging drapes and pictures that recall the hotel's bustling heyday.   Continued...

 
Most of the doors in the basement of the Gadsden Hotel are labelled for staff and guests who are visiting or ghost hunting inside the hotel in Douglas, Arizona, October 29, 2012. While many hotels in the United States claim ghosts, staff and guests at the Gadsden have recorded scores of supernatural encounters from the top floor right down to the maze-like basement - not just at Halloween, but year round. Picture taken October 29, 2012. REUTERS/Samantha Sais