Skip to main content

Arizona Hauntings: The Ghost of Wilson Canyon

The following story comes from the March 28, 1914 edition of the Madison Journal:

Williams, Ariz.--  In Wilson Canyon, southeast of Williams, is an uncanny spot wherein horses shy and bolt from terrors heretofore invisible to the human eye. At least three wagons have been wrecked there by runaways that started without apparent cause. But at last a veritable ghost has been materialized on the unshaken testimony of two young residents of the locality, Wright Clark and "Tex" Ownby.

They say that on a recent Sunday evening about dusk they were riding down the Wilson canyon trail when their horses became frightened, snorting and prancing in terror. The boys looked to the right and saw, emerging from behind a juniper tree, the form of a man at least six feet in height, with long gray hair and beard, clad in buckskin and dragging an old-fashioned gun about as long as himself.

Boys and horses stood as though enchanted, while the apparition circled them noiselessly. The circle about complete, the figure stopped and  still without sound dropped the butt of the gun to the ground. Then it was the boys departed without delay, to pull up their foaming and trembling steeds a couple miles away and determine it had not been a dream.

Pioneer residents declare the description of the ghost exactly fits that of an old trapper named Wilson, after whom the canyon was named. Eighteen years ago one summer day he wounded a bear and chased it into the canyon. The beast turned back upon him and as he had no charge in his muzzle-loading rifle he climbed into a juniper tree, but not to safety, for the bear followed, dragged him by the foot to the ground and killed him.

Popular posts from this blog

The Incest Capital of the World?

At the far eastern edge of Kentucky, nestled in Appalachia, resides Letcher County. In spite of its isolation and poverty (approximately 30% of the county's population lives below the poverty line), Letcher County has managed to grow at an impressive rate, from a population of just 9,172 in 1900 to a present-day population of nearly 25,000. However, even if Letcher County tripled or quadrupled its present population, there's still a pretty good chance that virtually all of the county's inhabitants would be related to each other-- thanks to one particularly fertile family whose astounding rate of reproduction can put even the friskiest rabbit to shame.

Around the year 1900, Letcher County was the home of a man by the name of Jason L. Webb, who made national headlines for having the one of the largest families in the world. According to newspaper reports of the era, Jason had 19 children, 175 grandchildren, and 100 great-grandchildren. Perhaps even more impressive was his b…

The Ticking Tombstone of Landenberg

If you look closely at a map of Pennsylvania, you'll see an anomalous semi-circular border at the extreme southeastern part of the state. This circle, known officially as the "Twelve Mile Circle", serves as the border between the Keystone State and Delaware. Much of the strange circle is surrounded by Chester County, one of the three original Pennsylvania counties created by William Penn in 1682. While there are many historical points of interest in Chester County, few are strange or as steeped in legend as the Ticking Tombstone.

Near the London Tract Meeting House in Landenberg is an old graveyard which contains a tombstone which is said to make eerie ticking noises, much like the ticking of a pocketwatch. Landenberg locals claim that the ticking is the result of two very famous surveyors who arrived in town during the 1760s- Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.  A young child supposedly swallowed a valuable pocketwatch owned by Mason and later died, and the boy's head…

Jenny Hanivers, Mermaids, Devil Fish, and Sea Monks

Three centuries before P.T. Barnum attracted flocks of crowds with his mummified Fiji Mermaid (which turned out to be a papier-mâché creation featuring a monkey's head and a fish's body), sailors around the world had already began manufacturing "mermaids".  Known as Jenny Hanivers, these creations were often sold to tourists and provided sailors with an additional source of income.  These mummified creatures were produced by drying, carving, and then varnishing the carcasses of fish belonging to the order rajiformes- a group of flattened cartilaginous fish related to the shark which includes stingrays and skates.  These preserved carcasses can be made to resemble mermaids, dragons, angels, demons, and other mythical creatures.

Jenny Hanivers became popular in the mid-16th century, when sailors around the Antwerp docks began selling the novelties to tourists.  This practice was so common  in the Belgian city that it may have influenced the name; it is widely believed …