My story centers around an old copper mining town in Arizona called Bisbee. It's only eight miles north of the Mexican Border and is a little slice of the 1880's, right down to the Grand Dame hotel in town. The Copper Queen.
I lived in California growing up but moved to Texas in my 30's and wound up engaged to the love of my life. Unfortunately, the timing was off for us then. He was recently a widower, and I had a young son, an ex-husband who was a pain and an ill, elderly Mother. Regretfully, we called off the marriage and I moved back to California. To make this short, seven years ago I moved back to Texas, ran into my boy through a strange set of circumstances and we decided pretty quickly that someone - maybe his late wife or maybe my late mother or father wanted us to finally get it together and stop faffing around. This is where the Copper Queen comes in! Honest! We were getting married! And we wanted it be an adventure.
He wanted to get married in Tombstone, Arizona but I had wanted to see Bisbee for a very long time. We looked around for wedding venues and you could be married in the upper sitting room of the Copper Queen Hotel. They're only 30 miles apart so we could spend a day or two in Tombstone also. Perfect! After the wedding we could spend a couple of days exploring Bisbee and then see the Gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone.
The hotel itself is a four story, stucco fronted mansion, with a series of terraced steps leading up to it. It overlooks the entire town. It's rumored to be very haunted and it conducts ghost tours twice a week. Not far from it are the copper mines which also have a reputation for spirits being seen. We checked in and they had two rooms from us to choose from: The Julia Lowell Room (reportedly haunted by a prostitute who killed herself) and the John Wayne Room. He was a frequent guest when he was shooting films and was known for having the room closest to the bar; so that he could find his room after a night of drinking in the saloon at the hotel.
They took us first to see the Julia Lowell room. I walked in and was immediately hit with "I see you." Not on my wedding night, no thank you! I noped out of there as fast as humanly possible. My oblivious fiancée argued about it all the way down to the John Wayne room and couldn't understand my 'not just no, but hell no' attitude. The John Wayne room was an homage to his movies. Fiancee settled down pretty quickly when he saw it. He'd been a cowboy in Kansas at 20 so this was nirvana to him.
We got married in the sitting room on the third floor in front of a beautiful fireplace at sundown. In Levis. Much to the amusement of people wandering through going OOPS and gingerly backing out of the wedding! It was funny and sweet and we loved it. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant and followed it up with a few drinks in the hotel saloon.
We got up to our room and unlocked the door. I flipped on the light switch. It flipped back off. I did this a couple more times and each time the lights all switched off again. Okay... Then we turned on the TV. It died. We had to call down to the office and have them bring up a whole new TV. This was getting interesting. I had the feeling of energy everywhere in this hotel, but whatever it was felt curious, not threatening so I shrugged if off. At least the lights were finally working.
We finally went to sleep somewhere around one am. I have no idea what time the noise woke me up but I was hearing people in the sitting room or common room on that floor arguing. It was a man and a woman and I couldn't tell what they were saying but it was the kind of fight where you hiss insults at each other. They had also turned on an antique radio that I had seen because I could hear music too loudly through the door. I couldn't have told you the name of the song but it reminded me of the Tennessee Waltz. I looked out of the peephole but the sitting room was to the left. All that I could see was the stairwell leading down to the lobby. I wasn't about to open the door.
My husband told me not to overreact and maybe they'd quiet down. Instead they got louder and to the point where they were yelling but trying to keep volume down because of area being a public space. I asked my husband to go out and break it up but he refused to go out and get involved in a domestic dispute. Especially between drunks. Things sounded like they were breaking glasses. Was she throwing things at his head? After about 20 minutes of this I got fed up and headed for the door. As I did, it sounded like the argument moved into another room a couple of doors down. I heard their door open and slam twice. The voices were still yelling but they were behind a closed door now. Still - this was ridiculous. I called the manager on duty down in the lobby.
The manager listened to me rant for a couple of minutes, then said "Ma'am, can you come down to the lobby?" Thirty seconds later we were downstairs and I smiled apologetically and pointed to the room where the noise was. He looked at me with the blankest expression. I grabbed my husband and he too told the manager all about the drunken roaring fight that had been going for quite a while. The manager turned the printed register around to face us where we could see the room assignments.
The room two doors down? Empty, unoccupied. The room next to us. Empty. Two more rooms close to us. Empty. His expression clearly said that he thought that we'd lost our minds. Now, the lobby is one floor down and you can almost see it from the open stairwell. They had heard no fight, no door slams and they hadn't heard the music. Thank god my husband heard it too. Anyone coming from the bar would have had to pass through the lobby and the manager on duty would have seen them. Besides, as it turned out the bar had been closed for a couple of hours. He even pointed out that there were cameras in the lobby. No one had come in or out.
I had tried to nope my way out of a haunted wedding but the Copper Queen had the last word. We're going back there in January for our anniversary. We haven't tried the mine tours yet. It could be even more interesting.