Nellie Cashman Restaurant Investigation Report
Location: 117 S. 5th St, Tombstone, Arizona
Date: Sunday night, October 5, 2003
Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous
Solar Weather: Unknown
Investigators present: Hillary M., Robert H., Paul M., guest
investigator Jonathan H.
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
Biography of Nellie Cashman: The following biography was written by Bob Katz and can also be found at the following website:
Described by her biographer, "Pretty as a Victorian cameo and,
when necessary, tougher than two-penny nails," the extraordinary Nellie
Cashman wandered frontier mining camps of the 1800s seeking gold, silver and a
way to help others. Throughout the West, she was variously known as Frontier
Angel, Saint of the Sourdoughs, Miner's Angel, Angel of the Cassair and The
Angel of Tombstone.
Born in Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland, about 1850, Nellie Cashman emigrated to the United States in the 1860s and settled in Boston. While working as bellhop in a prominent Boston hotel, she is said to have met and chatted with General Ulysses S. Grant, who urged her to go west.
Nellie took Grant's advice and used her accumulated savings to travel with her sister Fannie to San Francisco in 1869. Fannie married and began raising a family within a year, while Nellie hired out as a cook in various Nevada mining camps, including Virginia City and Pioche. With her savings from these jobs, she opened the Miner's Boarding House at Panaca Flat, Nevada in 1872.
Before long, Nellie joined a group of 200 Nevada miners headed to the Cassiar gold strike at Dease Lake in northern British Columbia. Here, too, she operated a boarding house for miners and gained notoriety for organizing a rescue caravan to a mining camp where a scurvy epidemic had broken out. Together with 6 men and pack animals loaded with 1,500 pounds of supplies, she completed the 77-day journey through as much as 10 feet of snow and arrived in time to nurse almost 100 sick miners back to health.
When the Cassiar strike played out, Nellie headed for the silver fields of Arizona. She arrived in Tucson in 1879, where she opened the Delmonico Restaurant, the first business in town owned by a woman. The Delmonico was successful despite (or perhaps because of) her habit of feeding and caring for hapless miners.
In 1880, Nellie sold the Delmonico and, following the silver rush in the San Pedro Valley, moved to the new silver boomtown of Tombstone, just after the arrival of the Earp brothers.
Once in Tombstone, she bought a boot and shoe store which she ran briefly before opening another restaurant, the Russ House. Named after the original in San Francisco, Nellie served 50-cent meals, advertising that "there are no cockroaches in my kitchen and the flour is clean."
During her years in Tombstone, Nellie gained a reputation as an angel of Mercy, and became a prominent and influential citizen. A lifelong, devout Catholic, Nellie convinced the owners of the Crystal Palace Saloon (one of whom was Wyatt Earp) to allow Sunday church services there until she had helped raise enough funds for construction of the Sacred Heart Church.
She was also active raising money for the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, the Miner's Hospital and amateur theatricals staged in Tombstone. She was famous for taking up collections to help those who had been injured or fallen on hard times, especially miners. Always the pragmatist, Nellie found the members of Tombstone's red-light district sympathetic and charitable to her causes, and relied on their generosity to help others in need.
Nellie's community services in Tombstone continued to expand. She served as an officer of her church to hear the impromptu confessions of 2 of the 5 men who were to be hanged for the Bisbee Massacre of December 1883. The following year, when a group of miners attempted to lynch mine owner E.B. Gage during a labor dispute, Nellie drove her buggy into the mob and rescued Gage, spiriting him away to Benson, Arizona.
After returning from an unsuccessful gold expedition to Baja, California, her widowed sister Fannie died of tuberculosis, leaving Nellie to raise her 5 children. Nellie sold the Russ House restaurant and spent the next years, children in tow, wandering the mining camps of Wyoming, Montana, and the New Mexico and Arizona territories. It is said that all 5 children became successful, productive citizens under her care.
In 1898, Nellie joined the Klondike gold rush to Canada's Yukon Territory. She arrived in Dawson, the center of Klondike diggings, where she opened a restaurant, a mercantile outlet and a refuge for miners where she provided them with free cigars. During the 7 years Nellie lived in Dawson, she became famous as one of the great figures of the Klondike gold rush. She was renowned by miners and mine owners alike, and celebrated by the likes of Jack London, Joaquin Miller, Jack Crawford and Robert W. Service.
In 1898, Nellie headed even farther north and established mining operations in the Koyukuk wilderness, 60 miles from the Arctic Circle. It is said that in her 60s, she ran a dog sled team 750 miles across the frozen Arctic.
Nellie Cashman finally gave up her wanderlust and settled in Victoria, British Columbia in 1923. When asked by a reporter for the Arizona Star why she never married, Nellie replied, "Why child, I haven't had time for marriage. Men are a nuisance anyhow, now aren't they? They're just boys grown up." Nellie Cashman, the "Saint of the Sourdoughs," died in Victoria two years later, on January 25, 1925.
History: The building which houses the Nellie Cashman Restaurant is an adobe building built in the late 1800s. Most of the strange occurrences seem to happen in the dining room, although the office just off the dining room seems to stay chilly, for some unknown reason. Things here are often miss-placed, or go missing altogether. Voices are sometimes heard. Once, when a patron was making fun of the ghosts, a bottle of mustard jumped off the table and spilled all over her shirt. One morning, the owner opened the restaurant and found a painting that had been securely fastened to the wall over the fireplace, was on the floor about six feet away from the wall. The painting was undamaged and the nail was still in the wall. The owner also saw two apparitions, that of a man and a woman, walk through the dining room side-by-side. More information on the Nellie Cashman Restaurant can be found on their website, through the following link:
Investigation: We first arrived at the Nellie Cashman Restaurant at
about 8 p.m. on Saturday night, October 4, 2003 just for dinner. I had read
about the site on the web, and was anxious to check it out. Almost as soon as we
got there, I asked the waiter about the ghost. He was more than willing to give
us the stories, and let us take pictures. As I walked around the dining room
taking pictures, I noticed that in two of the pictures, there was a strange
anomaly that resembled a small moving orb. When the owner came out to talk to
us, I asked her if we could conduct a min-investigation after they closed the
following night. She said that was not a problem, and asked us how much time we
The following night, we arrived at 8:30, and immediately began taking EMF and temperature readings and background photos. We asked that the ceiling fans and large air-conditioning unit be turned off, to stop air circulation. We recorded no unusual EMF or temperature readings.
At 8:50 p.m., we spread out around the dining room and began an EVP session. We obtained an EVP two minutes and twenty seconds into the recording session, in response to asking if the spirits' minded if we took their picture. At that same time, Paul and I, from different vantage points, each got pictures of a small orb in the hallway leading back to the kitchen. At 9:19, I tracked an orb, in three sequential pictures, moving toward the front door along the ceiling. Two minutes later, we obtained an EVP which sounds like "get out of my house" in response to us asking if there was anything they'd like us to know. We ended the session at 9:25. After briefly interviewing Ms. Skinner, we packed up our equipment and left the premises.
Conclusions: After returning home and analyzing our pictures, we found that the original 'moving orbs' that were obtained during our dinner the first night, were actually a natural anomaly caused by the reflection of the flash off of glass. Therefore, the pictures, which initially led us to investigate the restaurant, were not paranormal at all. However, we also found that we obtained a picture, which I believe, contains a partial apparition. This image was not noticed until the picture was lightened. Three EVPs were obtained as well, and three pictures of moving orbs. No video was taken during the investigation. Considering that the investigation was less than an hour in duration, the results we obtained lead us to believe that the Nellie Cashman Restaurant is a very active site. Also, considering how little we seemed to get in Tombstone that weekend, in terms of investigation results, I have to say that I am quite impressed by the haunting within the restaurant.
Although strange occurrences happen often at the Nellie Cashman Restaurant, it seems that no one, patrons or staff, has ever felt threatened by them. So, if you're ever in Tombstone, and craving a home-cooked meal served by a friendly staff, stop into the Nellie Cashman Restaurant. Tell them PRSNA sent you!
We would like to thank the owner, Anita Skinner, for allowing us to conduct an investigation of her restaurant.
Submitted by Hillary Murdoch