Tombstone Silver

Haunted Oriental Saloon

The Oriental Saloon was one of the most violent places in old Tombstone, and that may be why there is so much paranormal activity here.


Introduction

Oriental Saloon

The Oriental Saloon was a very popular spot in old Tombstone and there are many good stories about the saloon and its bartender, "Buckskin" Frank Leslie. It is said that Leslie was the fastest, most accurate shot in Tombstone and he was the cause of several men ending up in Boothill. At any rate, since the Oriental Saloon could be a violent location back in the day, I believe that the spirits are still restless in this area.

Paranormal Activity

One evening, I was leading a walking ghost tour through the streets of Tombstone and one of my stops was the Oriental Saloon. It had closed a couple of hours earlier, so I used a small flashlight to look through their large window while I spoke about some of the incidents that had taken place there. We started toward our next stop and a small girl on our tour tugged on my jacket and asked, "Who was that man in there?" I asked her what she meant, and she stated, "That man standing on the steps in the back of that last place. Who was he?" I knew that there was no one in that building at all, but she was so convincing that I turned our group around and went back to see who she was talking about. I shined my flashlight into the building, and she said, "There! He's on those steps drinking something. Don't you see him?" There was no one there, but I just told her, "Oh, honey, that's just a dummy that they keep there to fool people." I have no idea who she saw, but we quickly walked on to the next stop.

On December 28, 1881, about 10:30 at night, Virgil Earp left the Oriental Saloon and crossed the street toward the Crystal Palace. Some gunmen opened fire on Virgil from the dark and maimed his left arm so badly that he lost the use of it for the rest of his lift. That leads to the story of a residual haunting at the Oriental, which means that the ghost comes back and does the same thing repeatedly, about like a video on a repeat loop. This ghost shows up four or five times a year about 10:30 at night, but only on nights when things are quiet in Tombstone (like in the middle of the week). He comes out the front door of the Oriental, steps onto the board walk, leans against one of the wooden pillars in front of the door, and drags his hand down that wooden pillar like he is striking a match. He then crosses Fifth street but vanishes about halfway across the street. Folks who have seen this ghost disagree about who it is. Some say that his features look like Virgil Earp while others say that his face is so indistinct that we cannot really know who it is. What we do know, though, is that he makes that same fateful journey several times every year.

One of my favorite Tombstone ghost stories is about three women who decided to come to Tombstone from a nearby town one Saturday and find themselves a ghost. They spent most of the day walking up and down Allen Street asking the merchants where they should search for a ghost. The most common answer would have been something like, "Walk up and down Allen Street at about two o'clock in the morning. Use a flashlight and shine it into all of the building, and don't forget to look above the buildings since most of these buildings were two stories tall back in the day."

That night, the three ladies walked up and down Allen Street several times. They were very thorough and shined their flashlights in and above all the buildings. They had seen nothing and decided that their trip was a waste. Eventually, they stopped in front of the Oriental Saloon and looked down the street toward the Birdcage Theatre. They noticed a cowboy wearing a black hat and camel-colored duster walking toward them rattling the doorknobs on the businesses he passed. These ladies thought that it was a Marshal's Deputy doing a security check on Allen Street and if anyone had seen a ghost in Tombstone it would be him. Eventually, the deputy checked the doors of a building near the Oriental Saloon and then turned and started to cross Allen Street. One of the ladies called out, "Excuse me, sir..." Then, the man vanished from the middle of the street.

These three ladies were quite startled and decided that they had seen exactly what they had come here to see. Unfortunately, after they saw it, they were not so sure that they liked the experience. The next day one of them thought to call the Marshal's office to ask about the man doing the security check the night before. She was told that the office was short-staffed that night and no one had made security checks on Allen Street.


Location

This site is located at 500 E Allen Street. This is on the corner of 5th and Allen, so the Historic Trolley Tour passes this location.