Are the towns of Clarkdale and Cottonwood, Arizona haunted? The MVD Ghostchasers and the Verde Valley Spirit Seekers teamed together to present a paranormal workshop in these two north central towns on Saturday, July 21, 2012. Twenty-seven paranormal investigators caravanned to Clarkdale, situated in the valley below Jerome. Several of the eager ghost hunters represented teams such as After Dark Paranormal, the Reaper Team, AZ Paranormal, Canyon State Paranormal, and Ladies Investigating Paranormal Spirits.
The first stop was at the Clarkdale Historical Museum. This building was once a clinic for the smelter workers and a nurse lived on site. It later served as a Police Station with a jail cell in the basement. Historian Jess Valdez talked about the ghosts and superstitions of Clarkdale and nearby Patio Town. Then the investigators broke into three groups, descended into the basement, and did an EVP session to try and learn the identity of the shadow figures seen in the building.
The Clarkdale police chief escorted the group next door to the current Police Station. Some of the officers working the night shift have heard doors open and close, mysterious footsteps, and shadows in what was once the fingerprinting room—now a restroom. A bullet hole graces the chief’s office. The building was once a hospital constructed during the Spanish Flu epidemic and the doctor resided in what is now the courtroom.
The Clark Memorial Clubhouse was constructed in 1926-1927. The building contained an Auditorium, Ladies Lounge, Kitchen, Reading Room, and a Men’s Lounge. There was once a 4-lane bowling alley in the basement. Cells from an unused jail are still present in the basement as well. A voice box session was held by the group in the basement at the men’s locker rooms.
A stroll down “suicide alley” was a must. This was a location where bootleggers secretly moved their goods, and rumors of an attempted suicide have been reported. People in town report an uneasy feeling walking through the alley late at night. Walking down the Commercial block of Main Street, the group learned about the attempted bank robbery foiled by the mighty Sheriff Jim Roberts who they say shot and killed the driver of the getaway car. Roberts died on his beat near a building on Main Street and some believe he is still out there keeping the town safe.
There was a visit to the Newstand pool hall for appetizers and a chance to come inside from the warm humid afternoon. The building has always been a saloon establishment. One bartender said she was working late at night after closing when she suddenly heard the pool balls click and move around as though the spirits decided to take on a game of billiards. Shadows have been seen roving about—perhaps waiting to play the next game.
The group waited near the gazebo in the neighboring park as the restaurant, Su Casa, prepared the banquet room for our evening fiesta. Some townsfolk say the area around the Gazebo has strange energies or perhaps a portal is located there.
At last dinner was served at Su Casa–a Mexican restaurant that is rumored to be built over a former burial ground. Some of the employees express uneasy feelings or see things out of the corner of their eyes. Cindy Lee gave a brief but informative talk on “Old Time Ghost Hunting Equipment” and “Quantum Physics in Paranormal Phenomena.” Debe Branning demonstrated how to dowse a cemetery using the Police Chief and two other paranormal investigators as her ‘dead souls’. Conversations were lively and new friendships were developed.
After dinner the teams loaded back into their vehicles and headed to the Valley View Cemetery between Clarkdale and Cottonwood. At the cemetery, the group armed with dowsing rods, used their skills to locate the gravesite of the notorious Sheriff Jim Roberts. As a summer storm brewed in the sky, several guests snapped interesting cemetery photography complete with dark skies and mini bolts of lightning.
Darkness fell as the group headed over to the Cowboy Cemetery where several of the miners and their families are buried. Deb Wilbur and Ginger Mason talked about some of their experiences investigating late at night in the old cemetery.
The investigators met back together at the old Cottonwood Jail as it began to rain. The jail was first occupied in 1930 by the Yavapai County Justice of the Peace, and used for the overflow of bootleggers and criminal acts associated with bootlegging. Joe Hall was called Cottonwood, Arizona’s bootlegger king and first to be jailed in the new facility. Many say there was a Joe Hall/Al Capone connection. Al Capone’s name is still carved on the outside wall of the jail cell. The jail is the sight of several suicide hangings. In the past, paranormal teams have caught shadows on camera, and recorded EVP of knocks responding on command. With the building currently under restoration and investigating in an active storm center, the current investigators may have uncovered brand new paranormal evidence.
Cottonwood Hotel owner and historian, Karen Leff, met the group at the jail and walked them down rainy Main Street to point out a few of the known haunted locations. We passed by a building once owned by bootlegger Joe Hall—now an antique store that is reported haunted. Karen said she had a visitation from the ghost of Joe Hall when she rented a room in the back of the building. We stopped at an open lot that was the location of another pool hall. Murder and mayhem was once a part of the daily routine at this site. Karen also took the group inside the very haunted Cottonwood Hotel and told them some more of Cottonwood’s haunted history.
Robin from the Cottonwood’s Parks and Recreation Department opened up the Cottonwood Civic Center for the investigators to explore. This building was once used for a dorm for soldiers during World War ll, and mysterious shadows have been seen behind the stage. Another EVP session was held behind the velvet curtains.
At last the hearty ghost hunters made it to their final destination. The building was once an American Legion Hall and now a club for local children. Everyone unloaded their sleeping gear and found a spot to roll out their sleeping bags. Paranormal equipment was brought in and set up to monitor every section of the building—including the basement. The rain finally subsided and a few of the ghost hunters headed back out to some of haunted locations they had visited earlier in the day to seek more evidence. Ghost stories, haunted locations, and techniques were shared. New ghost hunting alliances were made. A hauntingly great time was had by all.
Watch for more stories later this week on some of the locations that were visited at this workshop. Photos, experiences and perhaps, some of the evidence will be shared for your reading pleasure!
DON’T FORGET TO CLICK ON THE ABOVE SLIDE SHOW!
For more information visit:
MVD Ghostchasers: www.mvdghostchasers.com
Verde Valley Spirit Seekers:
Canyon State Paranormal Investigations: Find them on Facebook
AZ Paranormal: Find them on Facebook
The Reaper Team: www.reaperteam.com
After Dark Paranormal: Find them on Meetup
Ladies Investigating Paranormal Spirits: http://lips365.weebly.com
Karen Leff at Cottonwood Hotel: www.cottonwoodhotel.com