Like so many other places in the Old West of America with violent histories, Tombstone is one of the most famous ghost towns of America, and is also one of the most haunted locations in Arizona. The streets of Tombstone themselves are said to be the pathways of many lingering spirits, destined to replay events from many a tragic death that has occurred in Tombstone.
The spirit of long dead Marshal Fred White, who was accidentally shot by Cowboy faction leader, Curly Bill Brocius on October 28, 1880 haunts the area. White, the first marshal of Tombstone, had gained the respect of the Clanton Gang, and in fact, had arrested other "Cowboy" members on a number of occasions, rarely having any problems when doing so. Early in the morning of October 28th, Curly Bill and several of his cohorts were making sport by shooting up the town.
When White went to disarm the gunman, a shot was accidentally fired, hitting White in the groin. Having thought that he would make a full recovery, two days later he died. Today, he is said to haunt the street in front of the shooting site, which was an empty lot where the Bird Cage Theatre was built a year later.
Another cowboy, that of a man moving along in a long black coat, has also been seen on numerous occasions. Crossing the road, the apparition is often seen near the site where Virgil Earp was ambushed and shot in the arm, crippling him for life. The spirit is never seen to make it across the street, causing many people to believe that this may actually be the ghost of Virgil Earp himself.
However, lawlessness alone was not the only cause of numerous deaths during Tombstone's heyday's. Tombstone twice suffered terrible fires, the first in June 1881 and a second in May 1882. During these two infernos, which both wiped out significant areas of the business district, more than 40 men lost their lives in the crowded saloons and brothels that burned to the ground. These long-dead, and apparently still suffering men are also said to make themselves known, appearing complete with dramatic burns. Other people have reported the smell of smoke and burning materials when there is no explainable reason.
It appears as if something remained behind from that day. It's said that several people have seen the figure of someone who resembled Billy Clampett walk across the corral. Others have seen spirits that they associate with the Earp brothers. Although neither of them died in Tombstone, it would appear that this was case of a "residual haunting", an image apparently caught in time to repeat itself on occasion.
A very famous photograph was taken at The Boothill Cemetery, showing a small man rising out of a grave and carrying a knife, about 20 feet behind the man in the centre of the photo.
A woman with a head resembling that of a goblin is occasionally seen swallowing gasoline in Emerald Gulch at the stroke of midnight. The locals say this ghost could be the soul of a person who lived and died in Tombstone a long time ago.
A woman wearing a long white dress has also been seen on the streets of Tombstone. One legend tells that she is a fretful mother whose child died from the yellow fever outbreak in the 1880's, and devastated by this, she took her own life later. Another version of the story claims that she was a brothel madam who was hanged and continues to stalk to streets in search of her executioners.
The spirit of a lady appearing to have words cut into her leg can repeatedly be spotted striding through a Tombstone vicinity burial ground. It has been thought that this ghost takes pleasure in terrifying foolish people who come looking for ghosts in Tombstone.
A female ghost with maggots crawling out of her ears has been spotted very frequently residing in an empty dwelling in Tombstone. This is definitely a menacing ghost that you wouldn't want to encounter.
Also in Tombstone is the Birdcage Theater, a bullet-ridden Old-Western saloon that has stood in place since 1881. The legend states that a jealous woman murdered another who was flirting with her husband by using a stiletto heel to cut out the offending woman's heart. So far, with at least 26 deaths in the building, there is no surprise that there are 31 different reported spirits that haunt the Birdcage. The former saloon is now a museum, and staff members there have reported seeing apparitions, while many people both inside and out have heard the ghostly echoes of music and laughter.
The spirit of a lady with a switchblade in her head has been occasionally seen burying a body by a large rock in Landin Park before dawn.
Residents of Tombstone and tourists alike have seen a former brothel madam, reportedly hanged in her nightgown, and a man dressed in western gear leaning against a post.
The ghost of a guy having lost half his head is rumored to have been seen on a small number of instances on the top of Ajax Hill, smoking a cigar.