The wild and haunted west

The wild and haunted west
March 13, 2009
JC Harris

ve always had a fascination with the old west. The freedom, the wide open spaces, the whole lifestyle associated with the people who braved the unknown and settled the west. I never stopped to think about the hardship and tragedy that these people faced. What brought this realization home to me was a series of investigations I went on in Arizona last December. The whirlwind trip had our team investigating three locations in three days. Each location was incredible with activity and could have easily warranted a three investigation on its own. The really cool things about the locations we picked was that they a not notorious for being haunted like the Birdcage Theatre or the OK Corral. The first was the old company hospital in an old copper mining town that has been converted into a beautiful hotel and restaurant. The second was the old Navajo County courthouse and jail. The third, which I am going to discuss in this article, was the old Brunswick Hotel in downtown Kingman.
The history of Kingman is extremely fascinating. Apparently the town was built on the blood stained land of a slaughtered Navajo village that stood in the way of the approaching railroad. A series of tunnels were built under the town by Chinese labor which interconnected all the buildings downtown. These tunnels were home to these Chinese who lived and maintained an almost separate existence from the world above, a world that was filled with cowboys, gamblers, gunfighters and prostitutes. That is where the Brunswick hotel came into play. The Brunswick was one of the first buildings erected in Kingman. It was the local saloon, brothel, restaurant and hotel. It definitely saw more than its share of tragedy and trauma. From a child riding a tricycle down the stairs to its death to the sick dying from influenza to sorted love affairs being found out and ended in a blaze of gunfire, violence and death were a way of life for the early residence of Kingman.
We were fortunate to have three very gifted psychics with us on this investigation. The most interesting thing that became apparent was how the different personalities of the psychics allowed them to connect with entirely different spirits. While one was watching a child riding a tricycle on the third floor, another was describing the cruel existence of the Chinese laborers in the basement while the third was recreating some of the exhibitionist nature of a prostitute on the stairs just above the first floor. As the psychics exchanged floors they picked up on entirely different spirits than the others. Never did they pick up on the same entity but we were able to confirm, through historical documents and EVP’s, that the spirits they sensed had indeed inhabited the hotel and died on the premises. The spirits were able to connect with the psychic that they were most comfortable with or could identify with.
By midnight the psychics had concluded their initial walkthroughs, which were filmed for later verification, and we had split up to begin the investigation. We had already had some personal experiences and were anxious to get started. I had approached one investigator earlier in the evening and noticed him sweating profusely. I called him by name with no response. Suddenly he turned and walked out the front door. I followed, calling his name over and over. He was actually walking different with a very distinct swagger to his gate like a cowboy from an old western. He stopped and lit a cigarette as he leaned against a post. As I walked up to check on him I noticed his eyes. They were dilated and staring straight ahead. I reached for his shoulder to get his attention. I could see the sweat rolling down his forward yet the temperature was in the lower 30’s. As I grabbed his shoulder he turned and walked back into the building. I followed him to the front desk and got right in his face. I repeated his name several times before he finally snapped back to reality. It was obvious that we had been dealing with someone else for the last few minutes. I found out later that he had fallen or been pushed down the stairs leading into the basement just prior to the incident on the porch.
Finally everyone was back and ready to investigate. A couple of the psychics had been uneasy, to say the least, since we had arrived. The whole downtown area had a feeling of sadness and anger. One of them compared it to a house in Kansas in which we had all had experienced some negative energy. The negativity continued to plague us all night. We had problems with our equipment and even had a confrontation between a couple of the team members. On the bright side, the paranormal activity was incredible. One of the investigators made contact with a spirit who used her flashlight to answer questions. Her intuition was dead on as she asked a series of questions of the entity to which he answered by turning the light on and off. We captured many EVP’s that backed up the answers that she had obtained from the flashlight turning on and off. She had also told us about the building and one particular Madame who had once operated a thriving business in the hospital before we even arrived on the premises. It was like we had a forth psychic with us.
Overall, the night had been successful with personal experiences, psychic hits and physical evidence. We had more than the usual issues of batteries dying prematurely, equipment failure and short tempers. I can’t help but believe that the violent history of this building hadn’t played a part in all this. All the anger, pain and passion that had been such a prevalent part of the past had to carry over to the present. These emotions are what made our personal experiences so intense. Historical documentation was used to back up what we found as well as personal experiences and stories from the wonderful staff at the hotel. They treated us great and were more than accommodating.
The Brunswick hotel in downtown Kingman, AZ is not in most books on haunted places to visit. That’s what makes it so great. It hasn’t been exploited and over investigated. If you want to experience the ghosts of the old west and get the chance, go to the Brunswick and spend the night. Just don’t count on getting a lot of sleep.
The investigation was filmed and will be part of an upcoming movie called “Dead Whisper II”.
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