Hotel Parq Central
Visitors to Albuquerque’s high-end Hotel Parq Central and its Instagram-worthy rooftop cocktail lounge, Apothecary, might not be aware of its history as a location for haunted happenings. Before it was overhauled and made into luxe accommodations, the building spent decades as a hospital and psychiatric facility. It’s not just recent visitors who’ve seen ghostly apparitions, either. Former patients of the hospital claim that during their stays, they experienced disembodied voices, objects being moved by unseen forces, and a feeling of constantly being watched. To this day, visitors often have the feeling of being watched, too, and a group of ghost hunters supposedly communicated with the spirit of a former patient using a flashlight. Grab a drink, book a room, and keep your eyes and ears peeled!
One of the state’s most famous haunted locations, the story of the ghost that supposedly dwells in the KiMo Theater reads like something straight out of a scary movie. In 1951, a water heater exploded in the theater, killing several people, including a six-year-old named Bobby. His ghost is a poltergeist, a spirit that likes to cause mischief. It’s tradition for performers at the KiMo to leave Bobby a small gift or treat — often donuts — to earn his affection and trust so he doesn’t interfere with their performance. He supposedly messes with the electricity, opens and closes doors repeatedly, and drops cables and other equipment from the ceiling in order to distract the performers and make them forget their lines. Are these stories true, and is there really a poltergeist that haunts the historic theater? We chatted with Larry Parker, the general manager of the KiMo Theater, to hear his take — spoiler alert: He’s not a believer.
St. James Hotel
Built by Henry Lambert in 1872, the St. James Hotel was the backdrop for numerous shootouts during its Wild West days — it still boasts the evidence in its dining room ceiling where 22 bullets are still wedged. It’s located in the heart of Cimarron, 40 miles south of Ratón on N.M. 62. Train robber Blackjack Ketchum, and outlaws Jesse James, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Billy the Kid stayed in the hotel during its heyday, and today, you can stay in rooms named for these famous guests. It is said to be the location of more than 26 murders, and the victims supposedly wander the hotel. In fact, room 18 — supposedly haunted by the spirit of T.J. Wright, a gambler who was murdered after a winning hand — remains un-booked as though he, or his ghost, were still staying there today.
The Wild West is still alive and well through the wanderings of three ghosts said to frequent this rugged hotel, saloon, and restaurant in Chama. Guests have reported hearing the sound of a woman — said to be a frontier judge who was poisoned in the hotel when several local men took offense to her leadership position — choking and gasping for breath. Across the hall, the hotel staff has heard a small girl’s cries. They believe they are from the ghost of a youth who died there of an illness more than 100 years ago. The specter of a cowboy is also said to wander the hotel’s halls. Pair these events with other mysterious sightings, and this hotel, which is located directly across the street from the famed Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, and you’ll have plenty to investigate during your next ghost hunt.
A visit to northeastern New Mexico is a must for amateur ghost hunters. Free of charge and open Tuesday through Saturday as well as by appointment, the Herzstein Museum is a must-see for history buffs, with exhibits focusing on the Santa Fe Trail and the Dust Bowl as well as rooms restored to look how they did in eras gone by. Even more intriguing? Confirmed ghost activity! In March of 2018, a crew of paranormal research investigators spent time in town and discovered strange, unexplained noises such as stairs rattling with no one walking on them and poltergeists knocking objects over. In addition to the museum, the group also noted ghost activity at the town’s movie theater and courthouse. If you’re in town, the museum proprietors will give you a personalized tour.