Last week, after I posted my last Freaky Friday, one of my wonderful readers sent me this note: “Research Copper Queen Hotel in Bisbee, AZ! I’ve stayed there and had two experiences! I was there with a friend and when we walked in to the room the hair on my arms stood straight up! I said, “Just here for a visit, stay if you like, just don’t spoil our trip” and then tension eased. Later I mentioned I wanted to take a bath in the big claw foot tub. The water in the tub turned on! I said thank you and took a bath!”
First, I admire her courage in stepping into a bath that was drawn by a ghost. Actually, I admire her courage in staying the room. But second, I really appreciate her comment and sending me in the direction of the Copper Queen Hotel. I really enjoyed it!
In a New York Times article from August of 2010, The Copper Queen Hotel is featured in a story called, “A Hotel Where Some Guests Have Been Dead for Years.” Great title, right?!?!?
This is how it begins, “Many hotel guests would complain if they were awoken by bumps in the night or if they found their things had mysteriously disappeared from their dressers. But not visitors to the Copper Queen Hotel, a rustic old place that is considered Arizona’s longest continuously operated hotel.
The Copper Queen is haunted, or at least that is what the owners claim and what numerous guests have affirmed over the years with stories about mysterious voices, odd sounds and smells, and even levitating objects. For many, a quiet, uneventful night at the Copper Queen, which dates to 1902, is a dire disappointment.”
There are ghost tours that are specifically geared towards guests staying at the hotel. The Old Bisbee Ghost Tour runs a tour on the 1stand 3rdThursday of the month for guests. “Enjoy the excitement of hunting for the ghosts of the Copper Queen Hotel. See if you can find Billy, or how about a dance with Julia Lowell (don’t you just love the smell of her perfume?) By the way keep an eye out for the gentleman with the top hat!
Rent a room on the 1st or third Thursday of the month and join us on a guided Ghost Hunt lead by our trained Ghost Host from the Old Bisbee Ghost Tours. They will teach you the proper use of tools for investigating the paranormal. You will then travel the hotel in search of paranormal activity. Join us for a late-night coffee and snack and hear of haunting tales from the hotel. Then explore the building with the ghost hunting equipment on your own. Must have a room at the Copper Queen Hotel to partake in the Hunt.”
Not one of the usual amenities you find at most hotels— Motel 6, we’ll turn the lights off and scare the crap out of you!
Author Renee Gardner, who wrote “Southern Arizona’s Most Haunted” was quoted in a Fox 10 article about the Copper Queen. “Inside the Copper Queen Hotel, there are 16 entities that are believed to reside inside. It holds the honor as the oldest continuously operating hotel in Arizona and is the crown jewel of the town. The hotel still maintains its turn of the century charm. Built originally for executives, it now hosts mostly tourists, many of them hunting ghosts.
Three ghosts appear to be the most active. The first is a smoking man who walks the hotel’s 4th floor, guests have claimed to smell cigar smoke, and for the living guests smoking is not allowed.
The second is Julia Lowell, a prostitute who fell in love with one of her clients and was rejected.
“Julia’s overreaction to this was killing herself, they believe she hung herself outside her room on the third floor,” said Renee Gardner.
“Guests in her room have reported strange encounters. They’ve claimed that she will get into bed with them, that Julia will take the covers off their feet and tickle their toes, then do a seductive dance at the edge of their bed,” she said.
The third is Billy, a little boy who drowned in a nearby river. His mom is believed to have worked at the hotel.
“Billy is a trickster, he is a prankster, he will play little practical jokes on people, like hiding their shoes underneath their bed, stealing their keys, moving their jewelry,” said Gardner.
A family eating dinner at the hotel reported a strange encounter. “Their little girl kept climbing underneath the table, she would come, but she would climb back underneath. They finally asked her what she was doing, and she said she was playing with Billy. They had no idea who Billy was, they had no idea there was a little boy ghost, and the daughter had no prior knowledge of him at all,” she said.
Guests are encouraged to write about their stay in a book kept at the front desk.
Renee Gardner leads the ghost hunt; she doesn’t detail all the spirits that many claim haunt the halls of the Copper Queen. She wants ghost hunters to figure that out on their own.
“We’ve had people who have had to sleep in the lobby, they have checked out of their rooms completely and slept in their van,” said Gardner.
But clearly, many believe some guests never did check out.”
Okay, now let’s check out the haunted reviews at Tripadvisor and see what living guests had to say about their stay:
My niece was up for a haunted experience, so we stayed in Billy’s room. Upon entering my sister placed her purse on the table and the alarm clock went off and turned off after a few seconds. We sat down to discuss what our touring plans would be, and the drawer opened, my niece and I laughed but my sister was scared out of her wits.
My boyfriend and I stayed at the Cooper Queen for its reputation for being haunted. We stayed in a room on the second floor. It was well appointed for an old hotel. The wallpaper was period. If you are looking for a modern hotel this is NOT it. If you want history you have come to the right place. Don’t be surprised it comes with built in musty smell. So bring your air freshener if you are sensitive. We did not see any ghosts but there was a loud bump in the night that emanated from under the bed. But let me go back to before bed. We were with another couple and so three of us were exploring while the fourth decided to go to bed earlier. After our exploration which included sitting by a nice pool, but too cold to go in, I went back to my room and could not get in. This being a historic hotel they still use regular keys. No matter which way I turned it the door would not opened. I proceeded to bang on the door to let my boyfriend know I could not get in. When he finally answered the door, I found out there was a second dead bolt with no key that was locked. My boyfriend SWEARS he did not lock it. HMMMM!! was this the action of a ghost?? Or just an extremely drunk boyfriend? We will never know.
I have stayed at the Copper Queen twice. First time in the Roosevelt room which is reportedly haunted. After all this is one of the reasons to stay here. I can vouch that we did experience some unusual rocking chair action in the early morning hours
We arrived late at night. Our room smelled sickly stinky like it hadn’t been opened up in 100 years. We specifically requested a room with no ghost, but after we regained our composure from the overwhelming aroma we saw a ghost standing on the bed! It was a non-refundable room but were more than happy to make a quick exit and drive to a non-haunted hotel thirty minutes away.
(Terri adds – I had no idea you could request non-haunted when you book a room.)
My wife and I get off on old hotels. And haunted hotels. The Queen is indeed an old one and does have its share of antique charm and ghosts. I’ve stayed in better (The Hassayampa Inn in Prescott comes to mind), but I’ve also stayed in worse (The Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff).
Speaking of ghosts, no sign of the gentleman in the top hat or of Julia Lowell herself (I think she stayed away because I was with my wife). But we MIGHT have had an encounter with the nine-year-old boy who is also said to haunt the property. On our second night, I was startled awake by the slamming of a door and a child’s giggling in the hall outside of our room. This is one of the pranks typical of this young ghost. However, I was too worn out to investigate and instead went back to sleep.
As for the ghosts, another room had the television go on at 1:00 AM by itself and in our room, the message light would come on and there weren’t any messages and the front desk said they had not activated it. HA!
We told many locals around town about our room, and they looked at us funny and asked, “Seen any ghosts?” We laughed. I am a paranormal investigator but did not do any investigating on this weekend. My husband hates it. I did have a man whisper “Karen” in my ear at 3 AM, and my husband said that a dog that sounded like a pit bull barked in his ear around the same time. I got my SB7 out while my husband was in the shower and got a “Mornin’ ” from a nice sounding lady spirit. We had a pretty good time here. I would come back but get a nicer room. Book a lot further out.
I asked the family for comments” Don’t go”. The guy at the front desk was very nice when he moved us to another room where the A/C worked, We left Lilly’s room, where the water from the shower wouldn’t come out for one son and worked fine for the other. We were there for less than 30 minutes, when my husband had a whisper in his ear . The bed closest to the window kept feeling like someone was sitting or bouncing on it. When we came back from dinner, the A/C wasn’t working so we were changed to the Roosevelt room. We were happy with the room, until the middle of the night the banging and clanking kept us up all night. We thought it was the A/C again, yet it was working fine in the morning. Right before we were leaving, I sat on the bed in the Roosevelt room and again the bed bounced or felt like someone sat down next to me. Our teenage boys were up, showered and packed to leave a little after 6:00 am! So either the Copper Queen Hotel has a few items to repair or the ghosts are just too active for us. The staff was nice, and the hotel was clean and very historical.
I’m not sure how I would feel about a ghost jumping on my bed or sitting down next to me on it. Wait, I am sure – I wouldn’t like it at all.
Like what you read? Find more stories by Terri Reid here.