During my two-year stint as a resident of the Old Fort Lowell Historic District on Tucson’s northeast side, my paranormal curiosity was continually fed by intriguing tales of ghosts and hauntings.
These accounts of hauntings aren’t limited to Fort Lowell park, where remnants of the United States mililtary camp are preserved. Reported paranormal activity circulates well outside of the boundaries of the park, and even into some of the old homes in the general vicinity. The accounts of ghosts and hauntings are known to have been circulating since the year 1900, nine years after the last living soldiers left Fort Lowell.
According to many accounts, the spirits of soldiers who died at Fort Lowell have never left.
It was first reported around 1900 that the ghost of a solder haunted the ruins of the old Fort Lowell. Residents of the area allegedly spent much time participating in a crude early form of ghost hunting. The residents were said to have spent countless hours, along with countless rounds of ammunition, firing at the ghostly soldier. The soldier would simply disappear upon attack.
It is said that the soldier turned the tables on one attacker and fired back in defense with a blast of rocks.
The newspapers of the time started covering the story. On December 14, 1900, the Arizona Daily Citizen (predecessor of the Tucson Citizen newspaper) reported that “reputable citizens” continued to see the ghost. The story stated that these reputable citizens were preparing for a gun battle with the said spectre soldier, scheduled to take place that very evening.
The ghost was victorious, as the paper reported on December 28th that the ghost had returned to steal resident’s turkey on Christmas Eve. The Republic in Phoenix also ran the stories, as interest in all things paranormal grew at the time.
If the reporting stemmed from an ”inside joke” of some sort, there seems to be a missing article somewhere and we don’t get the joke today. Perhaps the stories were inspired by a reporter’s vivid imagination?
We’ll never know.
Interestingly, the stories have sparked my imagination about those pre-Tucson Citizen / pre-Paranormal Old Pueblo weird news accounts by the Arizona Daily Citizen, written well over a century ago. The newspaper published their last story about the ghost April 13, 1901 - not long before the name of the newspaper changed. Later that same year, records indicate that the Arizona Daily Citizen changed their name to the Tucson Citizen.
Isn’t it ironic that not long after the Tucson Citizen ceased distributing a printed publication in 2009 (transforming into the online TucsonCitizen.com) that the Paranormal Old Pueblo blog was born into it?
We seem to have come full circle here. The thought intrigues me.
However, I am also intrigued by ghostly tales around Fort Lowell.
There are still reputable citizens living in the Fort Lowell area more than a century later. The reports of ghosts and hauntings in the area have not ceased.
For example, a woman I know shared with me that her father’s home, the home she grew up in, is haunted. The old house stands near Craycroft and Fort Lowell Roads, and it houses at least one ghostly resident. The woman’s father still lives in the home and claims to have witnessed strange events, in and around the house, over the span of more than four decades.
Most interestingly, he said that he began hearing the sounds of the wagon wheels turning, along with the clomping of the horses’ hooves upon the hard, dry desert ground. He stepped outside one day and witnessed a ghostly horse-drawn wagon, steered by spectral soldiers. The eyes of the soldiers remained focused on their destination ahead, toward Fort Lowell Park. Then, the ghostly wagon simply vanished. According to the homeowner, he witnessed this event on more than one occasion and got used to it.
After a while, when he would hear the sounds approaching, he would simply go about his business and let the wagon drive by in peace. He says that the neighbors have learned to do the same.
Is the Fort Lowell area haunted? Or does the area simply spark our imaginations into a wild frenzy when we think about the soldiers who risked (and even lost) their lives at Fort Lowell?
We’ll never know.
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