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The Shady Dell

 

Over this past weekend I went down to Bisbee, AZ for a yearly trip I take with some girlfriends. Bisbee is an old mining town and the locals say there are more spirits than people. The town has quite the history.

For a change of pace we decided to stay at The Shady Dell campground which features a series of refurbished campers from the 1940s and 1950s that you can rent. We decided on the Tiki Bus which is a converted 1947 bus done up in Polynesian style, complete with Tiki gods and a grass roof on the inside. One thing I happened to notice is that this campground is at the edge of an old cemetery. I didn't think much about it though.

We arrived this past Friday and marveled at the outdoor bar and all the antiques inside, including old music records and funky 1950s lamps. After relaxing for awhile we three decided to hit the hay. The bus has one full twin mattress and one smaller twin mattress. Both are located across from each other. I shared the larger bed with one of my friends and decided that I would sleep on the inside closest to the wall. It was a windy night and the trees above the bus kept scraping the metal. It was very loud at times. After about an hour of sleep I woke up. The mattress was very uncomfortable.

I laid there awake for some time when all of the sudden I heard what sounded like nails scratching down the side of the mattress. Now I have a pet ferret who likes to climb on things. The sound was identical when she is trying to climb up on the bed and loses her footing. The only problem was my ferret was at home. My blood went completely cold. I tried to reason with myself that it was the wind outside. But then again, this sound was only inches from my face and it was definitely the sound of scratching on fabric --not metal. Now my heart is beating out of my chest. I calmed myself down when I start to feel something moving in the mattress. I can hear it through the pillow. What the heck is that? After repeating the Lord's Prayer several times, I convinced myself that it was the springs in the mattress. After all, I thought, everything in here is vintage. Why not the mattress?

I turned over on my back and started to feel like things were touching my face and hands. It felt like a spider web at first and then graduated to what felt like someone sprinkling sand over my face. I'd go to wipe it away and nothing was there. Let me say that at this point I was completely terrified. In addition to the Lord's Prayer, I conjured up every prayer I had learned as a child and said them over and over again in my mind until what ever it was went away. After what seem like an eternity, the sun came up. I've never been so grateful!

One of my girlfriends went down to the restroom to take a shower and I let my other girlfriend know about the strange experience. She and I lifted the mattress up to find that it was a futon mattress --no springs. So that ended that theory. I had also thought that maybe an animal had gotten into the platform the bed was at from the wheel well of the old bus. Then I discovered that the wheel wells were not even close to where we slept. I only told her about the scratching sounds and the feeling of movement through the mattress. I did not mention the feeling of stuff falling on my face (this will come into play later).

After a wonderful breakfast at Dot's Diner, which is a restored 1950's diner on the premises, we spent the day downtown and explored the shops and galleries. My birthday was last week so my girlfriends decided they wanted to take me out to dinner. We ended up at the Copper Queen Hotel, which is the oldest continuously running hotel in Arizona. They first opened their doors in 1902 and was built for executives from the Phelps Dodge Corporation who ran the nearby mines. I would also like to mention that Ghost Hunters did an investigation there a few years ago. I actually got to meet the lady who accompanied them around the hotel on a different visit to Bisbee.

After dinner we sat on the patio to people watch and enjoy a few drinks. I got up to use the ladies room which consists of two stalls. In the stall next to mine the toilet suddenly flushed. That's funny, I thought. I didn't think anyone else was in here. I waited to hear if someone would exit but there was nothing. Only silence. I went to wash my hands and noticed that the other stall door was open and there indeed was no one in there. Needless to say I finished up quickly and went back to join my friends.

All day long I was dreading sleeping on that bus. I thought about sleeping in my friend's car. Later in the night we stayed playing dominoes. I didn't feel quite as frightened as the night before. When it was time to go to sleep, my friends were nice enough to let me have the smaller twin bed. My one girlfriend who I had relayed the experiences to of the night before, decided to sleep in the spot I had then.

It took a long time for me to fall asleep but when I did I was awoken to sound of a gasp/scream from the girlfriend that stayed in the same spot I had on the larger bed. I asked her if she was okay. She said, yeah, bad dream.

In the morning she told me she had dreamt that she was being buried alive in a coffin and could literally feel -get this- like sand was falling on her where she was being covered up. I had never told her that part. I still haven't. I didn't want to freak her out.

Most of the weekend I spent on the unnerved side. I've been to Bisbee many times and although I have written about one other occurrence, it really wasn't as terrifying as this. The campground itself is very cool. I highly recommend it. Just beware that people there talk about the ghosts as if they may mention the weather. I would definitely go back but I would think twice about ever sleeping on the Tiki Bus again!

Here is their web site: http://www.theshadydell.com.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Jennifer40, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Jennifer40 (19 stories) (200 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-07-09)
Zzsgranny, bummer that they are booked! You could try The Sleepy Dog Inn. It used to be a miner's cabin and is now owned by an artist. The Copper Queen, which is known as a haunted location, is also a great place to stay (and eat). Tombstone is only about 20 miles north of there. Check out the Birdcage Theater. That is also another haunted location. Happy planning. 😁 If I can help you out, just let me know.

Jennifer ❤
zzsgranny (18 stories) (3312 posts) mod
 
5 years ago (2012-07-06)
Jennifer40: Thanks for getting back to me with all that info...Yeah, the town seems very interesting, ghosts or not 😆...I looked into reservations at the Shady Dell, and they're booked solid through the middle of September... I may have to find other lodging LOL... But that's okay, gives me an excuse to go back 😆...And Tombstone would be great too...Hum, maybe both?
Jennifer40 (19 stories) (200 posts)
+1
5 years ago (2012-07-06)
Hi zzsgranny! To this day I still don't know what really happened but will say that I was terrified. There is a book inside the bus that other visitors have written in and it sounds like we weren't the only ones to have an encounter. Bisbee seems to be full of spirits. Everytime I am there something out of the ordinary happens. I camped there a year or so before this experience at another campsite in my own camper and had something else strange happen (see 'Was it the Ghost of a Miner?'). Nowadays I stay in the Holiday Inn in Tombstone when visiting that area, which for the most part, has been 'experience' free.;-) I hope you will post about anything you might experience there. It is also a wonderful town to explore and shop. Lots of history. I also suggest doing the nightly ghost tour while there. There was a wonderful woman named Renee that conducted them. Have fun!

Jennifer ❤
zzsgranny (18 stories) (3312 posts) mod
 
5 years ago (2012-07-04)
Jennifer40: I know it's been a while since you've been here and this story was posted but something very interesting just happened 😆...I'm planning on going to Bisbee for vacation, and was researching the Shady Dell, as I think my husband would enjoy the funkiness of the B&B...I decided the Tiki Bus was the one I wanted to stay in, but I wanted to know if the park/trailers were haunted... My Google search turned up your story in the #1 spot 😆...I think it's fate, I gott'a go now! 😆
Jennifer40 (19 stories) (200 posts)
 
9 years ago (2009-05-19)
Hi Elpe12,
I'm pretty sure it was manual as nothing there is all that sophisticated. However, when I'm back there in a few weeks I will check to be sure. I wondered too, if the plumbing might just be old and the water pressure might also be off as well. Who knows?

Thanks for reading and for your input.

Jennifer ❤
elpe12 (2 stories) (12 posts)
 
9 years ago (2009-05-18)
Do you remember if the toilet at the Copper Queen was manual or automatic? If it was automatic, that could be somewhat of an explanation.

I did watch the Ghost Hunters episode when they investigated the Copper Queen. What I remember is that in a certain room, a female prostitute killed herself in despair over unrequited love. One of the investigators actually had the covers pulled off his feet while sleeping in that room the night of the investigation.

The son of an employee died in an accident unrelated to the hotel. During the investigation, there was a high EMF reading in a room confined to an area about three and a half to four feet high; the size of a child.

This is all I remember of the episode. I hope it helps someone.
Jennifer40 (19 stories) (200 posts)
 
9 years ago (2009-05-18)
Angelfeathers, I'll keep you informed if I find anything out on my next trip to Bisbee, and yes, that would make a good R.L. Stine book title! 😁

Ghostluvr, I did end up telling my friend about the experience we both had being identical. I think she was more fascinated than anything else. I also let her know that I posted it here and got some really interesting feedback. She will be coming to Bisbee with me in a few weeks so we'll see if we have anything else happen while away.

Jennifer ❤
Ghostluver (4 stories) (123 posts)
 
9 years ago (2009-05-17)
Really interesting! I think that you and your friend should get together and talk about it. I think that she should now about what happened. I really think it was interesting that you both had sort of the same thing! I also think that the sand of both of your faces means something, like something is going to happen or something.
angelfeathers (106 posts)
 
9 years ago (2009-05-17)
Jennifer and James -- I think you two may be on your way to "uncovering" the secret of the Tiki trailer! (Sounds like the title of an R.L. Stine book, doesn't it?) 😆

Jennifer, hope you'll keep us informed of your adventure in Bisbee. I have a feeling that it's going to eventful.

James, here's the website from which my info came: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/9256/strange_facts_of_the_sixteenth_century.html?cat=53 I've heard it somewhere else, as well; but can't recall precisely where, at the moment.

The author also takes a stab at the derivation of the phrase "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater," which is pretty gross. Don't know whether she's correct or not, but it was good for a chuckle!

Blessings,
A.
Jennifer40 (19 stories) (200 posts)
 
9 years ago (2009-05-17)
Angelfeathers & James, the information provided is fascinating. It wouldn't surprise me if there were some unmarked graves in the area given the close proximity of the cemetery to the campground.

One other thing I thought about was that Bisbee is a mining town. I'm sure there were cave ins from time to time there as well. That could also explain the 'buried alive' dream and the sand.

I'll be going back to Bisbee in a few weeks but this time I'm bringing my own camper and we'll be staying at a different campground. I think I may do some exploration over at The Shady Dell.

Thanks again,
Jennifer ❤
JamesRobiscoe (419 posts)
 
9 years ago (2009-05-16)
Jennifer--You've "unearthed" colorful explanations for those colloquialisms--thanks! The above-ground bells devised for coffins reached a zenith in the 19th century--the Victorians were very crazed by the idea of being buried alive. Their patents were numerous for quite elaborate bell designs and for other devices as well.
The lead poisoning from tankards theory is interesting, although I thought pewter was generally used (lead is awfully heavy; soft, too, and not very practical).
I'm inclined to go with a mistaken burial of someone thought to be dead--maybe shot in some wild gunplay, or sick unto death from cholera or whatever disease rampant in an unsamitary and doctorless area. Of course it could've been intentional burial alive, too.
It's horrible to consider in any event, and worse that you get signals without being able to do anything about it.
Noteworthy is that your third friend experienced nothing. Be watchful; new material may come your way.
Peace, James
angelfeathers (106 posts)
+1
9 years ago (2009-05-16)
Continuing in JamesRobiscoe's theory -- (bear with me for a moment, and you'll see the connection...)

Are you aware about the origins of the phrases "saved by the bell," "dead ringer," and "graveyard shift?" They come from 16th century England, when people often drank ale from lead tankards. The interaction between the alcohol and lead sometimes made people go comatose. Sometimes, the coma was so deep that those people were thought to be dead. Sometimes, those people were BURIED ALIVE.

To reduce the possibility that this would happen, undertakers began running a string from the "dead" person's arm, up through the soil, to a bell where the headstone would be. If the "dead" person woke from a coma, he could move his arm and ring the bell. Hence: "Dead ringer." Also, workers were hired to walk the cemeteries at night to listen for the bells, hence: "graveyard shift."

Anyway, your story made me wonder if the ale-and-lead-tankard problem may have occurred in the American Old West. Was someone in the Shady Dell cemetery buried alive? Is that, as JamesRobiscoe suggested, the message to take away from your experience? Food for thought.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

A.
Patch (3 stories) (91 posts)
 
9 years ago (2009-05-16)
Well, it might maybe help you find out at least something by watching that episode. Just to see if they had similar experiences.
Jennifer40 (19 stories) (200 posts)
 
9 years ago (2009-05-16)
Thanks Patch & James for your input. Patch, I did see that episode of Ghost Hunters. The hotel I mention in my story was where they conducted their investigation. James, I have no idea what was going on in there but it was definitely strange. I felt very uneasy in there and was quite eager to leave. I would like to think that there was some logical explanation for it but I really don't know.

Jennifer ❤
Patch (3 stories) (91 posts)
 
9 years ago (2009-05-16)
Hmmm... I can't give you any input really but it's an interesting story to say the least.
Thank you for sharing your story:)
Did you ever watch the ghost hunters episode where they went there?
JamesRobiscoe (419 posts)
 
9 years ago (2009-05-16)
Jennifer40--I like your rational approach in search of explanations. Your friend did not have the phenomena but the dream instead. Do you think someone was scratching at his/her coffin down in the ground below you, and that the sensation of sand was to pinpoint precisely towards that definition? Hope you've written this out in your Experience Journal.

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