The "Aspook About Ghosts" Tour

A Haunting Experience in Santa Fe's Misty Past

We called the "A Boot About" guided tour company in Santa Fe at 505.988.2778, and were set up for our walking tour of the spooky side of the city. They go out every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at 5:30 PM, and the cost is a reasonable $10/person. We met our tour guide, Edward Allesandro, with the rest of the group in the lobby of the Eldorado Hotel and we were off.

The information on the remainder of this page represents the stories that we heard on the tour, read in some of the books on the area, and found in pamphlets that we found here and there.

Grant Corner Inn

We found at least three different tales about this place, so this is kind of a combination of the those. This house was originally built in 1905 at 122 Grant Avenue by a couple new to the area. Shortly thereafter, a sickly child was born to the family who required constant attention. The father died, and the mother eventually married a man who was less than the perfect husband. The child continued to worsen, and the mother threw herself into caring for the young boy. Visitors to the house often heard the youngster crying and banging on the walls of his upstairs room while his mother was downstairs visiting. As the child grew, he was confined to a wheelchair, and when he rolled too close to the stairway he and the chair would tumble down noisily. Even with the constant attention of the mother, the child finally died.
The woman and her husband moved away and sold the house. Over the years that followed, lights were seen in the upstairs room that had belonged to the boy. When someone finally purchased the house, noises were heard in the child's room that sounded like he might still there. Today the house is a B&B, and you can request the boy's room, which is on the second floor at the back. The window where the light sometimes appears is just to the right of the smaller window that you see in this photo.

Palace Ave

Along Palace Avenue are plaques set into the sidewalk that are memorials to artists who have lived in Santa Fe area. Nothing scary here, but it is interesting to walk along and see the prestigious names.

Governor's Palace

The city of Santa Fe was taken and re-taken several times as control passed between the Indians, the Spanish, the Mexican government, the French and finally the United States. During one of these power shifts, the Indians were embraced in a fierce and losing battle. They fell back into the Governor's Palace to make their final stand, and were eventually slaughtered by the attacking soldiers. Workers today still hear the prayers and cries of the dead when the building is dark and still.

La Fonda - the Inn at the End of the Trail

Just for a bit of history, the street named "Old Santa Fe Trail" really is the place where the trade route came into town. From recorded history, there has always been an inn on the Plaza at the end of the trail. Today, you'll find La Fonda there - it is very upscale, and is where the President stays when he is in Santa Fe. As it turned out, President Clinton was stopping by there while we were in town.

La Plazuela Restaurant

Just off of the lobby of La Fonda is the La Plazuela restaurant, which is in the spot that was once a courtyard outside of the old hotel. There is a history of dignitaries and historians staying at the inn, and as legend has it that a high ranking politician who was a guest there caught his wife with another dignitary, and killed the man. At that time justice was swift and severe, and the politician was hung from the limbs of one of the courtyard's trees. Many years later, the ghost of the man is said to still be seen in the restaurant, wandering about aimlessly.

Sena Plaza

Not far from the famous city plaza is Sena Plaza, which is now occupied by shops and restaurants. The building was built during the 1600's right about the time of Shakespeare's death. It had the honor of serving as the state capital at one time. You can tell that it was built during the early days of Santa Fe, since its construction is fort-style - a large courtyard with many windows. The outside walls were originally solid to fend off attack, but they have since been modified to accommodate the modern shops. Our guide reported no ghosts here - just an interesting historical stop.

141 East Palace Avenue

Just up the road from Sena Plaza is an office building that was once the old Courthouse. When a trial was over and a person had been sentenced to death, there were no automatic appeals or long delays. They were simply escorted out to the large tree in front, and the punishment was carried out. We were told that the spirits of the dead sometimes show themselves in the night, frightening the passersby and the night workers.

The Sisters of Mercy Convent

When St. Vincent's Hospital was founded, the order of the Sisters of Mercy set up their convent beside it so that they could attend the sick. It is no longer a convent, just another one of the city's historic buildings.

Old St. Vincent's Hospital

There were several tales about the old hospital: A father and son who were brought in from a tragic accident, both of whom died, but the baby's cries can be heard to this day; an old woman who died in the hospital and still remains to turn lights on and off; and a spirit in the basement who had been known to grab at people as they went about their chores. All in all, it sounded like a creepy place to be after the sun goes down!

La Posada

This was a very interesting place, and one where we'll probably stay on a future trip. Not only is it a beautiful hotel & spa, but there's a legend that goes with it as well. This was originally a dairy farm owned by Aaron Staub, located at the end of the stagecoach run from Denver from Santa Fe. While it was prosperous, there were marriage problems between Aaron and his wife Julia. The last of their twelve children was sickly, and when the child died, the terrible event sent Julia into reclusion.
She died in her room after an illness, although some say that Aaron shot or strangled her. In room 101, which was the room she died in, guests report cabinet doors slamming, things moving around, and other disturbing phenomenon. This portrait of her hangs in one of the public areas of La Posada today.
Apparently Julia Staub isn't content to only inhabit her old room, though. Hallway rugs have been bunched and crumpled just after being laid out, and the form of Julia has been seen at the top of this staircase. We explored the hotel, and it is beautiful. It may be worth saving up a bit to stay here on our next trip to Santa Fe - and of course, we'll have to stay in room 101.

Lorona Bruja de Acquia

(The Crying Witch of the Ditch)

By the time that it was getting dark, our guide broke out the campfire-type ghost stories. In the old days of the Santa Fe trail, the wagons of the poor who were in town to trade were forced to camp down by the river. Because of the rough crowd, there were weekly fights and murders. As the story goes, a woman fell in love with a local army officer, and persuaded him to marry her. They had two children, and while the wife stayed home to keep care of the kids, the officer took an eye to some of the other ladies, and when his wife found out she took their two kids down to the river and threw them in. She jumped in afterward and killed herself. Her spirit supposedly walks the river at night, calling for her kids. It had gotten too dark to take photos, so this one was done the next morning.

PERA - Public Employment Retirement Building

Again, this is a daytime photo of one of the sites that we visited after dark. Reportedly, the PERA building was built on a plot of land that was the pauper's cemetery in the old days. When they were digging the basement, many of the coffins and bodies were encountered. Our guide told us several haunting tales of goings-on in the basement today, to the point that we wouldn't want to spend an evening there alone!

The Oldest House

The evening was wrapping up when we stopped by the so-called "oldest building" in America. While this fact is constantly disputed, the tale that we heard was that two witch sisters once lived in the house, and the townspeople eventually tried and beheaded them. The ghost of one of the sisters is sometimes seen in the road beside the house at night, wandering up and down, wailing her lamentations.
Well, we had a great time on this walking tour, and highly recommend it. The evening was a lot of fun with some history mixed in, and the guide was very entertaining!