Sunday, May 1, 2016

Big Nose Kate

Big Nose Kate approximately
40 yrs old

Mary Katherine Horony (Big Nose Kate), would not be known today if it wasn't for her "on again, off again" relationship with Doc Holliday and the Earp Brothers. 

Born in 1850 in Budapest, Hungary, was the highly educated daughter of a physician. Her family came to the US in 1860 arriving in New York where they spent the next year. In 1861 her father was appointed the personal physician to Emperor Maximillan I of Mexico. They lived there until the crumble of Maximillian's government, when they then moved to Davenport, IA. When Kate was 15 years old, both her parent died; her brothers and sister lived with her brother-in-law and Kate ran away. She stowed away on a riverboat headed to St. Louis, MO. In 1869 she entered a convent but didn't stay long. 

In 1874 she was fined for working as a 'sporting woman' in a sporting house in Dodge City, KS ran by Nellie "Bessie" Earp, wife of James Earp.  In 1875 Kate moved to Fort Griffin, TX where she met John Henry "Doc" Holliday. The two fought regularly and sometimes violently.  She helped break Doc free when arrested and wrongly charged for a robbery. They stole horses and ended up in Dodge City, KS until a visit from Wyatt Earp encouraging them and his brother James and his wife Bessie to move to Prescott, AZ in 1879. The moved to Prescott where they separated with Doc staying in Prescott with Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp.  Kate heard money was to be made in Globe, AZ so she moved there. She and Doc would meet off and on in Tucson until Virgil Earp, then US Marshall in Tombstone, sent for his brothers and Doc to help him with a situation in Tombstone.  Kate went to Tombstone to be with Doc and was there during the famous shootout.  She wrote later in a letter to her niece, "Doc returned to the room after the shootout, sat on the edge of his bed and wept from the shock of what had happened during this close-range gunfight. He said, 'that was awful, just awful."

Kate was with Doc Holliday in Glenwood Springs, CO when he died. She
returned to Arizona and spent 30 years of her life in the Cochise area until she was 80 years old. Weak and frail, she contacted her longtime friend, AZ Governor George Hunt wanting assistance in getting her into the Arizona Pioneers' Retirement Home in Prescott, AZ. It took Kate six months to be admitted since the home required that you live in the state 50 years and be a US Citizen. She was the first female resident of the home and died in 1950. a week before her 90th birthday. She is buried in Prescott at the Pioneer's Cemetery.

Kate was a larger than life character who lived to see stories of her own life and supposed death. In real life, she died in bed, having survived a world that was hard on women. Kate never denied that she was a rip-roaring, hard drinking, gun-slingin' prostitute. She was an independent woman who saw prostitution as a way to be in control of her own life, answering to no one.

Kate said of life: "Part is funny and part is sad, but such is life any way to take it."

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Prescott Center for the Arts

Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Rectory.  Built in the 1890s and in 1895 Fr. Alfred Quetu came to Prescott to minister to the local Native Americans. He set out to build a new church at a cost of approximately $6000. The first services were on February 17, 1895.

Father Quetu's assistent, Father Claessen died of typhoid fever and at that time it was custom to be buried under the church altar, which may have happened with Father Claessen.

The last religious services was in June1969 and then sold to Prescott Fine Arts Association. before taking over the facilities, one thing had to be handled and that was removing Fr. Claessen's remains and have him reburied. However, it was discovered that Fr. Claessen's remains were not under the altar...his corpse is still missing. There is an article dated June 2901 that he is buried beside the grave of Reverend Michael Murphy and later a monument was was dedicated in his memory. Where is the monument today?  No one knows.

Now known as Prescott Center for the Arts it is haunted. Many people have experienced various ghostly encounters. One is the cleaning lady who arrives early in the mornings before anyone else is there. In the main theater she has heard a voice calling her name over and over. When sweeping the dressing rooms out she has seen her name written in the dust pile by the door. 

A shadow has been seen floating effortlessly in front of a painted prop. One of the plays called for a bar scene and as the stage crew was setting it up, two glasses flew in the air and crashed to the floor. The crew left for the day.

Several people have seen shadows move across the upper part of the proscenium. Others have heard a children's choir singing. Scripts have been moved and found in different places. But the most unsettling haunts are by one female ghost who likes to play with the office copier and three male ghosts believed to be Father Alfred, Father Michael and Father Edmund. 

Prescott Center for the Arts has a yearly event called Prescott Ghost Talk where Arizona legends come alive! The enactment of historic ghostly folklore focuses on true stories and urban legends passed down through the years. 

With the sound effects and mixture of haunted house eerie surroundings, you never know who might show up at the performance. 

To hear more of the stories of the Prescott Center for the Arts and many others contact A Haunting Experience Tours and make your reservation or purchase tickets.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Let's Talk Ghosts

There are several different types of ghosts or spirits and we are going to talk today about the most common one.  This one is the one we may see or hear or feel and is called Intelligent hauntings.  It is a spiritual entity who is aware of the living world and interacts with it. They may communicate with the living by talking or moving objects. 
Do you see the Knights Templar?
A guest on my tour captured this
picture at the Masonic Temple

There are several reasons why ghosts/ spirits/ entities remain.  They don't know they're dead, or committed suicide, or they have unfinished business.  Some remain because of a loved-one who is grieving so much they stay hoping they can comfort them.  Some just love it here and don't want to leave so they may hang around for years.  Some are confused and don't know how to cross over.

Spirits have the same personality dead as when they were alive.  Were they mischievous alive?  They will be as a ghosts.  AND they are always around you. They love to be noticed yet they know they may scare you so they may do little things to get your attention.  If you don't totally freak out, then they may do bigger things so you will know they are around.

Another reason they may stay around is because of an attachment to a location or object/relic due to some emotional bond and they are staying with. AND sometimes when you handle that object at an estate sale or antique store, you may bring that entity home with you.  I've seen it happen, several times so doing a prayer of protection is always a good thing.

Appearances - ghosts or spirits show up in different ways.  Some can be seen with the naked-eye.  Some are seen when you take their picture. (Always take three pictures. If it's a reflection it will show up in all three pictures.  If it's a ghost, it will only show up in one picture.)  I always tell my tour groups to take photographs of windows.  Not just "haunted" places but places they feel drawn too or connected too.  Then enlarge the picture and you might be surprised what is looking back at you.

BUT on that note I must add: Whether you believe in ghosts or not, always be respectful of the area you are visiting and the people around you.  Remember, you are in THEIR place.

Ghost may show up as an apparition. An apparition is a cloudy vaporous mist, it's usual colors are gray or white but may show up in other colors when photographed.  

See the apparition at my patio door?  I sent it to a group that will test photos to see if they are real or not.  This is what they sent back to me.  Yes there was a woman standing on my patio.

Next we have Orbs the most photographed anomalies captured on film. They most often show up as transparent or translucent balls of light hovering above the ground. Some, when photographed have a lingering trail.

There is a lot of controversy regarding Orbs. Some believe that orbs are a paranormal phenomenon, such as spirits, ghosts, energy beings or even interdimensional visitors. They maintain that an orb is the most natural shape for energy to assume. Others believe orbs are airborne objects and the way digital cameras are constructed use a sensor instead of film because their lenses generally have a greater depth of field and orbs are just a technical "glitch."

No one has the true answer to whether Orbs are spirits. It could be dust particles in the air or on your camera lens but when the circumstances are right, it could be a spirit.  
My cat was watching something fly
across my living room. I got my
camera and took these pictures of
2 orbs flying across the room.

A bright Orb is more likely to be real than a faded one. Orbs that are bright and show a vibrating effect within the photo are likely to be real.  A slight trail is also something that indicates it is real.

My thoughts: If you are inside, not kicking up dust, things are calm and you get orbs in your picture, then it is very possible a spirit. When outdoors, avoid shooting when windy, raining or snowing.  Even very cold, calm nights can produce an orb. These simple precautions will eliminate a lot of misleading orb-like anomalies.

I would say to rely on You; Your intuition and what You feel.  Be calm, walk around the area to get a feel for the surroundings and allow the spirits to get a fell for you. DON'T be in such a hurry to take pictures, they will still be there. But the calmer you are, your sense of caring and compassion will encourage them to stay.  

Introduce yourself to the room, whether you see or feel someone. Ask questions: What is their name and is there anything you can do for them.  THEN ask them if they need or want help crossing over. If they do, will you know what to do to help them? If you would like to know how to help them with this, contact me at:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hangings in the Old West town of Prescott, Arizona

Capital punishment was the law in Arizona since Arizona became a federal territory in 1863.  In 1790 the US Congress passed a law declaring hanging to be the method for all federal executions.  Even when Arizona became a state, capital punishment remained in effect and hanging was the method employed.

In Prescott, Arizona Territory the hangings took place on the east side of the plaza or in the vicinity of Honor Island Park on West Gurley Street.

The Hanging of James Fleming Parker
James Fleming Parker was hung in the Courthouse Square in Prescott, AZ on June 3, 1898.  A known robber/murderer, escaped from jail along with one of this fellow prisoners.  In the process, Parker shot and killed the Assistant District Attorney in the courthouse square.  When captured Parker was sentenced to death and hanged in the square.  He was buried in the Potter's Field of the Citizen's Cemetery in Prescott, AZ.

From the book, Outlaw Tales of Arizona, 2nd: True Stories of the Grand Canyon State's Most Infamous Crooks, Culprits, and Cutthroats by Jan Cleere, it is written:  "As the black hood was placed over his head, he asked it be removed so he could shake hands with everyone on the scaffold.  When he got to the jailer, he gave him a message for the other prisoners. 'Tell the boys that I died game and like a man', he said.  He requested his old friend, Sheriff George Ruffner replace the hood.  As he did so, Ruffner sprang the trap that sent Parker to his death."

Hidalgo and Rentezia hanging
Elijo Hidalgo and Francisco Rentezia were hung on July 23, 1904, for the murders at Goddard Station. This was the first hanging to take place in Prescott since the 1898 hanging of James Fleming Parker. After a prayer, the two prisoners rose, and at this time their hands and feet were bound, and black caps were pulled over their heads.  Sheriff Roberts pulled the lever and just before the trap door dropped, they heard Hidalgo say, "Adios amigos! Adios everybody!"  This photograph was taken from one of the courthouse windows.

The last hanging in Arizona was July 13, 1936, and was near Coolidge Dam with makeshift gallows and the preparation was so poorly planned that the victim hung by his neck and strangled for nearly 30 minutes before he died. Though the execution was considered "private", the horror of the event was widely discussed.  About that time the US Congress took action and stated that the method of execution should be that of the state in which the crime was committed.  The gas chamber replaced the gallows.  (Excerpts from The Prescott Courier, March 1988 by Budge Ruffner, Columnist.)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Arizona Pioneers' Home - Yes It's HAUNTED!!

Arizona Pioneers' Home 1912
In the early 1900's, an idea for a retirement home in the Arizona Territory originated with three prominent Arizonans.  They thought Arizona should provide a rest home for aging settlers who moved to Arizona to help establish the area.

When first built, the rest home could hold 40 men.  It was open to destitute men who were at least 60 years old and who had been living in Arizona for 25 years.  In 1916, it was expaned with a women's wing adding to house 20 women.  It was also opened to disabled miners in 1927.
Arizona Pioneers' Home 2012

The expanded complex can hold 155 residents. Applicants must have lived in Arizona for 50 years. 

One guest at the Pioneers Home was Big Nose Kate. She was a Hungarian-born prostitute and later longtime companion and common-law wife of Doc Holliday.

She was admitted to the Pioneers Home as the first female resident.  She died there in 1940 and is burred in the Pioneers Home Cemetery under her name Mary K. Cummings.

Another resident known as William H. Bonney (born William Henry McCarty, Jr.) better known as Billy the Kid moved in to the Pioneers Home as John Miller.  The long story short is that after his death, in an old trunk he had with him were items that only Billy the Kid would have.  This link will share a detailed account of John Miller.Another Billy the Kid?

So many more interesting residents can be found at:  Arizona Pioneers' Home History

Is the Arizona Pioneers' Home haunted??  A definite YES I was told by one of the staff at the home.  Footsteps heard a night when everyone is asleep but the creepiest thing she said was...they have a TV room where residents gather to watch a movie, hang out together.  After the movie ended everyone went to their rooms but they left the TV on.  So the staff went over and turned off the TV.  As she's walking out of the room, the TV comes back on. She goes back over, turns the TV off and starts to leave the room...and it comes back on.  So she decided she's fix that, she walks back over to the TV, reaches down to unplug it and it wasn't even plugged in.  Needless to say, that freaked her out.

Spirits stay around for many different reasons - because they don't realize their dead or they like being here or they have unfinished business or they committed suicide.  Whatever the reason, they have the same personality dead as they did alive.  We don't always need to know why they are staying behind but respecting them is important.

If you would like to find out more about the history of this incredible "old west" town and the amazing ghosts stories or even experience a ghost or two, visit our website and make your reservations for our tour.  A Haunting Experience Tours

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Historic Citizens Cemetery - 1864

I have always loved cemeteries, even as a child.  There's something special about them, the energy, the history and the stories it can tell you about the town.  Citizens Cemetery in the old west town of Prescott, Arizona is like that...history everywhere.  And the town celebrates this history with their annual Reenactments.  

Reenactor at
Citizens Cemetery

Days Past:  Citizens Cemetery holds a century and a half of history

On June 2, 1864, the local newspaper, The Miner, noted that the Hon. Joel Woods, a visiting legislator from Colorado, was accidentally shot and killed in the forest near town while on a hunting expedition.  He was buried "in a beautiful ground just east of town which will be reserved for a public cemetery."

This was the beginning of Citizens Cemetery located at 815 E. Sheldon St. in Prescott.  To find out more please click on the link below:  

Days Past: Citizens Cemetery

Days Past:  Reenactors to resurrect Prescott pioneers at citizens Cemetery

In 1864, local residents came together to establish the City of Prescott.  In June of that year, the need arose to bury a pioneer, Joel Woods, in what would become Citizens Cemetery.  He was the first of many men and women who would be laid to rest there.

Unlike the storied "Boot Hill" of elsewhere, citizens Cemetery was to boast few notorious occupants.  Instead, everyday pioneers would be interred here.

During the reenactment others will come back from the grave as part of the program.  Check back on A Haunting Experience Tours for dates of the upcoming dates for 2014.  You will have fun and learn something new about this wonderful town.

This was the beginning of Citizens Cemetery located at 815 E. Sheldon St. in Prescott.    To find out more please click on the link below:  

Days Past: Reenactors to resurrect Prescott

A Haunting Experience Tours touch on stories of some of the people buried here at Citizens Cemetery as well as the location where some took their last breath.  

To find out more about the upcoming tours, please check out our website at:

A Haunting Experience Tours

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Haunted Hassayampa Inn

Hassayampa Inn
Welcome to the Hassayampa Inn, built in 1927 when the previous hotel (Hotel Congress) burned down and when hundreds of citizens bought shares in the project to build first-class lodging in downtown Prescott.  

The year it opened, its most famous legend was made.  The story goes... a very young bride named Faith Summers checked into a balcony suite with her much older husband. Faith's husband went out to buy cigarettes and never returned.  Faith walked the halls and lobby waiting for his return. After three days Faith took her own life by hanging herself from the flag pole on her balcony outside her room...or so the story goes.

When the hotel staff allowed me to visit Faith's room, I had several things happen to me that confirmed that Faith or someone's presence was in that room.  Room 426 and it can be rented.  Are you brave enough to stay there?

I would also like to share the adventure that my friend wrote about her stay in Faith's room.  Debe Branning - Haunted Hassayampa Inn 

I've done hundreds of tours in Prescott and always take the group into the lobby of this beautiful hotel.  Have "ghostly" things happened to me while on the tours? Definitely YES!!!  So many things from knowing when the "Night Watchman" is close by, being tapped on the shoulder by "Silas" a miner who died in the fire of the previous hotel, to stories that guests at the hotel have told me.  I share these and many more stories on my tour.  To find out more about the upcoming tours, please check out my website at:  A Haunting Experience Tours

Darlene Wilson
Owner and Tour guide

To find out more about the beautiful and haunted Hassayampa Inn check out their website:  Hassayampa Inn