Gadsden Hotel Investigation

Location: Douglas, Arizona

Date: Thursday night into Friday morning, October 2-3, 2003

Moon Phase: Half

Solar Weather: Solar flares-active, geomagnetic activity-unsettled

Investigators present: Hillary M., Robert H., Paul M.

Equipment: Olympus C-3000 digital camera, RCA digital voice recorder, Sony digital video camera with Nightshot, Cannon SureShot Owl 35mm camera, Extech EMF meter, Olympus 2000 Digital Voice Recorder, Extech IR thermometer, Sony Hi-8 Cam, Olympus C-4000 Digital Camera, Trifield EMF meter, Olympus D370 digital camera

History: Wyatt Earp and Geronimo were still battling with blazing glory throughout this part of the country, Arizona had yet to become a state and the Gadsden Hotel first opened her doors, providing gracious hospitality to all who passed through. Named for the famous Gadsden Purchase, the hotel became home-away-from-home for cattlemen, ranchers, miners, and businessmen in the newly settling territory. Nearly every Arizona Governor has stayed in the Governor's Suite, so did Eleanor Roosevelt.
  The Hotel was leveled by fire and rebuilt in 1929. Purists question the tale of Pancho Villa's impromptu ride up the stairs, noting the Mexican revolutionary was assassinated in 1923, six years before the new hotel opened. Management will be quick to point to newspaper accounts that indicate that the marble stairs survived the fire, and be just as quick to show you the chipped surface on the seventh stair that people talk about to this day. The Hotel nearly died again a decade ago, this time a victim of neglect. The Gadsden was rescued in 1988 by its current owners, North Dakota wheat farmers Doris & Hartman Brekhus.
  Besides the Gadsden's colorful past, perhaps most splendid, is her architecture. The spacious main lobby is majestically set with a solid white Italian marble staircase and four soaring marble columns. Each capital is decorated in 14K gold leaf-worth $20,000 in 1929. The building is constructed of structural steel and reinforced concrete. The finest materials and fixtures were used, even the plumbing is installed with all copper pipes throughout. An authentic Tiffany stained glass mural extends forty-two feet across one wall of the massive mezzanine. An impressive oil painting by Audley Jean Nichols is just below the window. Vaulted stained glass skylights run the full length of the lobby.
  There are some interesting stories on the internet regarding the ghosts of the Gadsden Hotel. One site it names it as one of the fifty most haunted sites in the country. Several apparitions have been witnessed here, and a story written on the courtesy menu in room 333 speaks of bed shaking and guests being levitated.

History taken from the Gadsden Hotel's website at

Investigation: We arrived at the Gadsden Hotel late on the night of October 2, 2003, exhausted from our day of traveling, and from our investigation on the Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone just an hour before. We decided to check out both rooms, and then hit the hay. We had specifically requested the two most haunted rooms in the hotel, rooms 128 and 333. Room 128 was spacious, if stuck in the 70s with the red shag carpet, and room 333 had no air conditioning. Robert volunteered to take room 333. Exhausted, Paul and I slept fairly well, and could report no paranormal occurrences. I did wake up several times during the night from loud noises, but being that our room was right off the lobby, this could easily be explained.
  We awoke at 5:00 a.m. to begin investigating. Since the only elevator is an antique, and there was no operator on duty, I walked the two flights of steps up to the third floor. Paul said he would meet me up there in a few minutes. As I walked down the very still and quiet hallway towards Robert's room, I snapped a picture in front of me. There, was a large, pink, moving orb on the door in front of me!
After inquiring with Robert about any strange occurrences during the night (he reported none), we walked back to the stairs to wait for Paul. The hallways of the Gadsden are laid out like a huge "H", with the stairwells and elevator in the part of the hallway that joins the two longer ones.
  The three of us began recording at 5:15. Almost immediately, I got a moving orb in the stairway. Standing right next to where I got the moving orb, Paul got an EMF reading of 2.6, which moved quickly up to 3.8. I took another picture and got an orb right over him. The EMF shot up to 4.8. A few minutes later, while Paul was reading a 6.5 on the EMF, I got another orb in front of him. As he walked up and down the hallway, trying to trace the readings to power lines in the walls and ceilings, I kept getting pictures of an orb next to him. We then moved up to the fourth floor hallway, but got nothing there.
  Intrigued, we decided to move back down to the third floor hallway, which seemed so active earlier. We retraced our steps, but now, Paul could get nothing over a 1.2 on the EMF meter. I also noticed from the pictures on my digital camera, that the orb was gone. Whoever had been curious about us earlier had left the vicinity.
We then moved up to Robert's room, #333. As we were setting up, Robert noticed that his digital recorder would not stay on by itself. The batteries were fine, but the recorder turned itself off twice. He then stated that the same thing happened out in the hallway earlier. We obtained a few orbs in this room, but nothing spectacular.
  We then decided to move down to room 128. When we reached the second floor hallway, which looks out over the lobby, I started taking pictures of the columns and stained glass. There, in one of the pics, was a bright moving orb. We then moved into the room, where we did track an orb moving around the room, but again, not much else. We ended the investigation at 6:15.

Conclusion: The Gadsden Hotel certainly has enough history to warrant several hauntings. We have to say that we have doubts about the levitation and shaking of beds. The rooms themselves did not seem to be very active at all. However, the EMF fluctuations and related pictures that we obtained in the center part of the third floor hallway cannot be ignored. We also obtained two EVPs in this hallway. We would like to go back to the Gadsden, someday, and conduct a more thorough investigation.

Submitted by Hillary Murdoch