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The Bird Cage Theater: Tombstone, Arizona

for pictures of the investigation please click here.


Tombstone, Arizona, one of those towns so marked by violence that almost every building in the small community has recorded some sort of ghostly activity. Tombstone's long history of bloody shoot outs, including the brutal incident at the OK Corral, filled the Boothill cemetery to capacity. The center of this activity? The Bird Cage Theater.

Built in 1881, the Bird Cage Theater was built to entertain the incoming cliental for, at the time, the largest city in Arizona. The theater offered the finest in gracious entertainment, featuring vaudeville shows, musicals, a gambling hall and dancing floor, in which citizens could carry on conversations with the legends of the Wild West.

An article in the 1882 New York Times paper called the Bird Cage Theater, " the wildest, most wicked night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast". The name of "bird cage" came from the "14 cages" suspended from the ceiling overlooking the gambling and dance hall, in which the "soiled doves" entertained their customers, as well as throughout the building. Between 1881 to 1889, the theater never closed, and recorded at least 16 fatal gun battles leaving over 140 bullet holes throughout the building.

Investigation results:

This building, much like it was in the 1880's, literally caught me by surprise. I investigated this building alone, ( I advise this never be done), and found the activity so intense, that I could not keep up with all of the ghost commotion. I was literally transported back in time, with what's referred to as a place-memory haunting. I saw the Bird Cage, it's atmosphere, everything from the people celebrating, to the smell of cigars, and the scent of lavender perfume, as it was in the 1880's.

Paranormal residents:

Several slain gunfights; the ghost of a little boy who died of yellow fever; a former owner; the Aunt of the current owner, an unidentified violent entity, possibly one of the Clanton's, prostitutes, miners, and gamblers of the era.

In closing:

This theater is an amazing example in witnessing spiritual activity. Time wise, during business hours, would be 1-4pm. If you do encounter a place-memory haunting, you have little to fear. Spirits do not acknowledge the flesh, interacting only with each other, repeating the same scene over and over again. As with any haunting, if you do feel in danger, leave at once.