Hauntings and myths in Flagstaff
Since becoming a permanent settlement back in 1876, Flagstaff has evolved into a town rich with history and paranormal activity.
Originally a trading location, Flagstaff slowly grew into an urban center over time. Within thirty years of being established, the city was home to many hotels and schools, including NAU, which are still in existence. Over time, supernatural manifestations began contributing to the town’s rich history.
Kristen Kuykendall, a desk clerk at the Hotel Monte Vista, said the majority of ghosts are just desperate for attention.
“Whatever is here is trapped and bored,” Kuykendall said. “They just want to be acknowledged.”
Established in 1927, the Monte Vista is famous not only for the many celebrities who have stayed there over the years, but for its ghost stories.
In room 306, for example, two prostitutes were murdered back when San Francisco St. was the red-light district of Flagstaff. Since then, men claim to wake up in the middle of the night frozen in place by spirits from the beyond.
Kuykendall herself has experienced weird happenings in the hotel.
“It was about 3:45 in the morning and I was making rounds upstairs when I was walking down the hall of the third floor and heard live piano music,” Kuykendall said. “There are no pianos in this building. I stopped and listened, and then it stopped playing.”
A few blocks west, another hotel is filled with the supernatural.
The Weatherford hotel, built in 1897, accommodated a honeymoon couple. The story goes that the husband, having left the hotel during a blizzard, died on the streets. Thinking her new spouse had abandoned her, the wife hung herself in the room.
Matt Bial, the general manager of the Weatherford, said the couple has scared patrons out of room 54.
“The guests came back and told me they did not get much sleep the night before,” Bial said. “They said they woke up and there was a couple having a conversation at the end of their bed. They went and slept in their car that night.”
Downtown Flagstaff is not the only area home to these spirits.
Surrounded by three graveyards, NAU provides many different cases of paranormal activity, primarily throughout the dormitories.
Jeanine Rashbaum, a junior microbiology major and orientation leader, said the most popular legend involves Morton Hall.
“During World War II, there was a girl staying in Morton named Kathy,” Rashbaum said. “She fell in love with a sailor, but he died at war. When winter break started, everyone went home, but she stayed and hung herself.”
Morton was closed temporarily following the incident. When it reopened, strange events began taking place. Girls found themselves locked in the bathroom, which continues to this day.
“Kathy likes to play tricks,” Rashbaum said. “If you say, ‘Kathy, can you please let me out?’ she will let you out.”
On the opposite end of campus is McConnell Hall, originally crafted by an insane architect. Supposedly built so each room receives approximately six minutes of sunlight throughout the day, McConnell is shaped like a biohazard sign from an aerial view.
“He just wanted a building with that much light,” Rashbaum said. “There is a rumor that one room does not get the six minutes [the architect] wanted, so he went in there and killed himself.”
Though he lives in a town harboring these horrifying stories, Bial said the majority of ghouls are merely seeking their place in history.
“It is like their little space in time,” Bial said. “They have been able to seal that moment in the timeline of life.”