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10 Haunted Places to Visit in New Mexico
Are you a thrill-seeker looking for a spine-tingling adventure? Do you believe in the paranormal and want to experience it firsthand? Then look no further than New Mexico, a state rich in history and legend, where ghostly tales and eerie occurrences are aplenty.
From haunted hotels to spooky cemeteries, this list of the top 10 haunted places in New Mexico will surely give you the chills. From the site of a notorious outlaw’s hanging to a former insane asylum, these locations are sure to provide an eerie and unforgettable experience. So grab your ghost-hunting equipment and get ready for an otherworldly journey through the Land of Enchantment.
Related: Top 10 Haunted Asylums
10 Hotel Parq Central
Hotel Parq Central, located in the heart of downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a beautifully restored historic hotel that offers a unique blend of luxury and elegance. Built in 1926 as a hospital, it became a mental health hospital in the 1980s before converting to a hotel in the 2010s. However, some say that the hotel’s past is not quite as serene as it appears on the surface. Many guests and employees have reported strange and unexplained occurrences, leading some to believe the hotel is haunted.
One of the most commonly reported ghostly experiences at Hotel Parq Central is the presence of a ghostly nurse. Many guests have reported seeing a woman dressed in a nurse’s uniform walking the halls, only to disappear when approached. Some believe this ghostly guest is the spirit of a nurse who worked at the hotel when it served as a hospital during World War II.
Another ghostly presence that is said to haunt the hotel is that of a former hotel employee. Staff have reported seeing the ghostly figure of a man dressed in a suit wandering the halls and even appearing in guest rooms. Some have reported feeling a sense of unease or being watched while in certain areas of the hotel.
9 The Double Eagle (Stabbed Lovers Haunted Restaurant)
The Double Eagle, located in Mesilla, New Mexico, is a popular dining spot known for its delicious food and spooky atmosphere. However, some say that the restaurant’s history is not just confined to the menu but also to its ghostly inhabitants.
The restaurant is said to be built on the site of a tragic double murder that took place many years ago. According to local legend, a couple was brutally stabbed to death in the very spot where the restaurant now stands. Some say that the spirits of the murdered couple still linger in the restaurant, unable to find peace.
Many guests and employees have reported strange and unexplained occurrences at the Double Eagle, leading some to believe that the spirits of the murdered couple still haunt the premises.
8 Haunted RV Campground
Rumors of a dark past have long haunted the campground located in the Santa Fe National Forest. It is said that in the late 17th century, a priest came and brutally killed the Native American inhabitants of the land. To this day, many believe that the spirits of those who were killed still linger on the site.
The campground has gained a reputation as a hot spot for paranormal activity, with many guests reporting strange and unexplained occurrences. From sightings of disappearing state troopers to shadows moving in the trees and the sound of chanting voices coming from the forest, the campground has garnered attention from paranormal enthusiasts.
In 2019, Outside Magazine listed the campground as one of the 15 Most Haunted Campgrounds in the United States, further cementing its reputation as a destination for those interested in the paranormal.
7 Dawson, New Mexico
Dawson, New Mexico, once a bustling town, now stands as a haunting reminder of its tragic past. The town was built around the Dawson coal mine, which opened in 1901. However, the mine’s history was marred by two devastating explosions that claimed the lives of hundreds of miners.
On October 22, 1913, an explosion in the mine killed 263 miners and two rescuers. A decade later, another explosion killed 123 men. Despite these tragedies, the mine continued to operate until it was finally closed in 1950.
As the mine was the lifeblood of the town, the closure of the mine resulted in the sale of the entire town by Phelps Dodge. Today, all that remains of the once-thriving town is a cemetery where many of the victims of the mine explosions are buried. The spirits of those who were killed in the explosions are said to still linger on the site, and many visitors to the town report strange and unexplained occurrences.
6 The KiMo Theatre
The KiMo Theatre was built by Oreste Bachechi, who realized his dream of creating a cultural institution for the community, only for him to pass away a year later, leaving the management to his sons. They transformed the theater into a venue featuring Vaudeville shows and movies and hosting stars such as Vivian Vance, Gloria Swanson, Tom Mix, and Ginger Rogers.
However, no institution is immune to tragedy, and the KiMo Theatre experienced a heartbreaking event in 1951 when a boiler explosion in the basement destroyed part of the original lobby and killed a six-year-old boy named Bobby Darnall. Bobby had been sitting in the theater balcony with friends and ran down to the lobby after being frightened by something on the screen, only to be caught in the explosion caused by the boiler located beneath the concession stand in the lobby.
Since then, the theater staff has noticed a strange phenomenon, where if the performers in a show do not leave a small offering, such as a toy, picture, doughnut, or candy, strange occurrences or mishaps seem to happen during the show. As a result, the theater has designated a specific area for performers to leave these offerings in order to ensure a smooth performance.
The memory of Bobby still lingers in the KiMo Theatre, and many believe that his spirit continues to haunt the theater to this day.
5 Casa Real Health Care Center
Casa Real Health Care Center, located at 501 Galisteo Street in Santa Fe, is a senior care facility that has been the source of many eerie reports since its construction in 1985. Built on the site of an old prison graveyard, the center has been known to have a heavy, oppressive energy.
Employees, patients, and visitors have reported strange happenings since it was built, including cold spots moving throughout the rooms, unexplained moaning sounds heard in the north and south wings, and an overall uncomfortable feeling. The fact that the center was built on top of an old graveyard and next to another building with a haunted reputation might have something to do with the eerie atmosphere at the Casa Real Health Care Center.
4 Clayton, New Mexico
Clayton, New Mexico, is the most haunted town in New Mexico. The Herzstein Museum, which showcases exhibits on the Santa Fe Trail and Dust Bowl, is said to be one of the most haunted places in the town. In March 2018, paranormal investigators reported strange noises around Clayton.
The legend of Black Jack Ketchum, a western outlaw who was hanged and buried in the town, adds to Clayton’s ghostly reputation. It is said that Ketchum’s ghost haunts the halls of the courthouse where he was hanged and the jailhouse where he was kept prior to his execution. The legend also states that his grave is in the dirt path between the Catholic and Protestant sections of the cemetery.
3 The Hotel Eklund
The Hotel Eklund in Clayton, New Mexico, is said to be home to a few ghosts. With a history dating back to 1892, the hotel has had ample time to be infested by the paranormal. The hotel, which started as a mercantile, now operates as a three-story sandstone boutique hotel, saloon, and restaurant. The tin ceiling in the saloon still bears bullet holes, a testament to the hotel’s wild past.
Co-owner Keith Barras says, “Old buildings have stories” when asked about the ghostly presence in the hotel. He, his wife, Jeannette Vigil Barras, and his sister-in-law, Jo Beth Vigil Price, purchased the hotel in 2011. Jeannette’s family has a long history in Clayton, and her great-uncle Cipriano even had a gunfight in the saloon when he worked behind the bar, where he shot a man dead after he knocked her great-grandfather unconscious.
If that story wasn’t crazy enough, the hotel has a very prominent ghost; The ghost of a maid named Irene. She is said to haunt Room 307 of the Hotel Eklund. According to legend, Irene’s ghost causes creaking floorboards and makes mysterious faces appear in the wallpaper. She was even claimed to have stroked the hair of a guest as she fell asleep.
2 Otero County Courthouse
Workers at the Otero County Courthouse in New Mexico have reported strange and unexplained occurrences that they believe to be paranormal. Over the years, they have even tried to capture the supposed ghostly activity on video. In one instance, a donation jar was seen falling to the ground with no one around it. Surveillance footage captured the odd incident, and employees say similar incidents happen frequently in the courthouse.
“Something pulled my hair back, and obviously there is nothing here to get your hair stuck on, so automatically I said stop pulling my hair,” said Teresa Gonzalez, an employee at the courthouse.
Many employees theorize about the identity of the ghost, but there’s never been a clear answer. Kenneth Shaffer, another employee of the courthouse, said, “They say in the late 1960s or early 1970s, a guy hung himself, so we think it’s him.”
Locals and visitors alike have taken to the internet to share their theories as well, many claiming to have seen the ghost of a young man wearing a suit from the early 1900s.
1 The Penitentiary of New Mexico (PNM)
The Penitentiary of New Mexico, located in Santa Fe County, is a maximum security prison with a dark past. The prison had a violent riot in 1980, which resulted in many deaths and hostages taken by the inmates. Although the prison denies any ghost stories, many visitors and staff have reported eerie experiences.
Cell Block 4, the location of the riot, is considered to be one of the most haunted areas in the prison. Reports have been made about the presence of a mysterious shadow entity and unexplained noises, such as cell doors slamming shut. Other areas of the prison known for ghostly activity include Cell Block 3, the Tool Room, and Laundry Room. Some staff members and even members of the New Mexico National Guard have reported seeing the ghostly shadow.