Tombstone’s Haunted Big Nose Kate’s
Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers were overnight guests at the hotel the night before the gunfight at the O.K. Corral on October 26, 1881.
Unfortunately, not even two years after the hotel’s opening, on May 25, 1882, a devastating fire started next door to the Grand Hotel in the bathroom located at the back of the Tivoli Saloon. (Another source indicates the fire started in a nearby Chinese laundry.) The Grand Hotel was one of the first businesses in town to be lost.
The establishment was eventually rebuilt and is now Big Nose Kate’s Saloon. The long bar in the basement of the original Grand Hotel survived the fire and can be found on the main level.
Reported paranormal activity has included picture frames falling off the wall, whiskey bottles falling, cutlery flying off tables, cold spots, freezing winds blowing through the basement on hot days, odd specters showing up in photographs, a lamp falling off of the ceiling, footsteps, feelings of being touched and even pushed, ankles being grabbed while walking downstairs, doors opening and closing with no help from human hands and voices singing and talking as well as sightings of the “Swamper” and other spirits.
On Paranormal TV Truth Be Told, Bartender Jerry Fowler tells the story of one night when he was alone closing up for the evening and heard footsteps behind him “just as plain as day.” He knew no one else was in the building, and when he turned around no one was there. He also talked about an incident that concerned another bartender who was closing up for the night. He saw a “cowboy” standing at the bar in a duster. When he went to tell him he would need to leave, the cowboy disappeared. He left without closing up for the night and didn’t return.
Michael House worked as a bartender for a few weeks. He had an experience when he was downstairs “climbing up a rope.” The rope “gave way” for no apparent reason and he landed on his back. He used to hear people running back and forth upstairs, but no one was there. One day in the kitchen, he saw a pan fly across the room. He also claims that there is an entity that enjoys playing around with the waitresses, pinching their rear ends and elevating drinks on their trays as they are carrying them. People have also reported being hit in the chest and face by an invisible force. They call this entity “The Phoenix.”
A legend associated with the original hotel is that of a handyman who lived in the basement in its beginnings. He was called The Swamper and used a tunnel that led from the basement to the mine shafts of the old Toughnut Mine. By all accounts, he was a quiet man who didn’t cause any problems; but, he supposedly hid a cache of silver nuggets somewhere in the basement. The Swamper must have died before he was ready because he is said to still be there guarding his treasure.
During the excavation work to prepare the building to open as Big Nose Kate’s, Michael House said that there were many difficulties throughout the process including machinery breaking down and people getting hurt. House believes The Swamper didn’t want anyone finding his silver.
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