October! With a briskness in the air, it’s the time of year to enjoy fall colors, carving jack-o-lanterns, sipping pumpkin spiced lattes, and embracing ghosts and goblins. Halloween is one of my daughters favorite holidays and since this October finds her living in Phoenix, Arizona, I knew just the place to take her for a ghostly adventure.
First – on the home front, it didn’t take Ashton long to settle into her new home. She’s become quite proficient at moving. This however, is the first time she’ll be living with two straight guys – her roommates (one of which is her brother). Her entrance into the home might be compared to that of a tornado whipping through Kansas. She obviously has no trouble taking charge of a situation.
The first thing the whirlwind did was reorganize the kitchen and clean out the fridge, followed by some house cleaning and the rearranging of furniture. I’m not sure the guys initially knew what hit them, but they seemed to be ok with her take charge attitude and actually like some of the changes she made. I know they certainly aren’t complaining about Ashton’s culinary skills.
So once she felt settled, I took her on her first Arizona excursion. A little over an hours drive north of Phoenix is the quaint mountain town of Jerome. Jerome prides itself as being America’s largest ghost town.
This former copper mining town grew from a settlement of tents to a roaring mining community and is now a bustling tourist and artistic community. On the outside, Jerome doesn’t appear to have changed much over the past 100 years. Many of the buildings built in the late 1800’s are still standing and have been proudly renovated. However, due to the 30 degree incline of the mountainside, some of these historic buildings have slid a bit down the hill from their original location; the most famous being the town jail.
Checking out the famous sliding jail was first on our list followed by shopping. My daughter and I always enjoy strolling through shops especially when there are unique, one of a kind items like the huge kaleidoscope assortment at Nellie Bly’s.
In addition to the world’s largest collection of kaleidoscopes there are other one of a kind collectibles. Ashton and I were enthralled with the creative talents displayed in the numerous shops in Jerome. But all that shopping had us working up an appetite.
After climbing a bunch of stairs (remember this town is built into the side of a mountain and there’s nothing flat around here), we arrived at the Haunted Hamburger.
We dined outside and enjoyed drinks, a great meal, and an awesome view. But no ghosts. Only skeletons. Supposedly the building is haunted and you can read the story here if you’re interested.
With nothing spooky happening at lunch, we continued our search and trekked up the road to the Jerome Grand Hotel. Constructed in 1926, this Spanish Mission style building was once home to a modern and well equipped hospital.
By 1950, the hospital closed due to the slow down in mining, and the building stood vacant for 44 years. In 1994, the building was purchased, renovated, and turned into the Jerome Grand Hotel. There seems to be a high level of alleged hauntings, from strange moans, to coughs and images, to doors slamming without explanation making this a very popular destination for amateur ghost hunters.
After I was totally grossed out by some of the decorations, it was time for me to pull daughter out of the haunted Jerome Hotel…… not that we had any paranormal encounter mind you, but the place in general gave me goose bumps, and not in good way. Was it the decorations or the aura? Didn’t matter, it was time to move on. Somehow I didn’t sense Casper, the friendly ghost, lived here.
Next stop; the glass blower. Watching this artist create little glass blown pumpkins was much more to my liking, although daughter is still laughing about my unease at the hotel. Aren’t these glass pumpkins adorable?
The town of Jerome is well-known as being haunted and has been featured in several paranormal television programs and publications, but the over all history and vibe to this town is what keeps many returning…. me included.
Ashton and I shared a fabulous day exploring Jerome and October seems to be the perfect month to visit for a hauntingly good time. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for the mine tour or wine tasting (much to daughters dismay) or exploring some of the side streets. Having merely scratched the surface of this quaint town, she and I are already talking about a return visit. Next time Ashton wants to spend the night, some place haunted preferably. I don’t think so!!!
The Everything Ghost Hunting Book: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Exploring the Supernatural World