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Ghost Hunting at Arizona’s Jerome Grand Hotel

Jerome Grand Hotel, Photo by Jamie Davis

Jerome Grand Hotel, Photo by Jamie Davis

In connection with my next book project, Haunted Hotels, I found myself in Jerome, Arizona in early January checking into the Jerome Grand Hotel. Beautiful place, right?

Travelers who come here without any advance knowledge of the history of the building have a pretty good chance of figuring out what the building used to be before it became a hotel based on a few visual cues below.

When you are walking down the hallways, you may notice these chutes in the wall:

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Upon closer examination, you realize that the chutes contain instructions:

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Wait, what? Just what sort of garbage requires draining?!

Next, you might notice some weird lights over the doors, exhibit cases containing bones, and everyone’s favorite resident (who resembles me after I have been flying standby from Savannah to Arizona on Delta).

The weird lights are nurse’s call lights. I don’t know if the bones are real. But I do know that the Jerome Grand is largely unchanged since the days when it was first opened by the United Verde Copper Company as the United Verde Hospital in 1927. The hospital was closed in 1950 and sat vacant until 1994.

The solarium is gorgeous during the daytime, but when you are sitting there, you can’t help but think about the fact that you are sitting in the former psych ward, and that the patients who came before you didn’t sit on the sofa. They enjoyed the view while sitting in a three-point restraint chair, much like our friend from above.

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The Solarium at the Jerome Grand Hotel. Photo by Jamie Davis

 

The tour we went on took us into the boiler room, and we got to try out some of the hotel’s ghost equipment around the death site of Claude Harvey, which was ruled an accident but is speculated to have been murder, and “Hoff” who was a suicide from after the hospital closed down. Sometimes, when you take a tour, you get some interesting stories but you dismiss them as just stories. I think there is something deeper than a bunch of good stories to tell the tourists when they visit Jerome.

I have only been home a few days from my trip, but the documents I have collected upon just a cursory request from the Historical Society have yielded some interesting results. I have Claude Harvey’s death certificate and Coroner’s Inquest. Without a doubt, his body was found face down on April 3, 1935, with his head under the elevator. The hotel itself has a list of deaths they have verified so far as well. The count is thought to be somewhere around 900.

There is a story about a patient who wheeled himself off the balcony of Room 32, and of an executive who shot himself in the head in that room as well. (This is the room we spent the night in, by the way, alone – with no other hotel guests in the building). I have been unable as of yet to find the real person associated with the balcony story, but I just finished Herbert V. Young’s book entitled Ghosts of Cleopatra Hill. Mr. Young worked as secretary to the general manager of the United Verde Copper Company from 1912-1955. This book was first published in 1964. On page 99 he speaks of an obituary that flashed over his news service. It was for Thomas Taylor, and the news read:

…one of the most colorful figures in the history of mining in the West died today at the United Verde Hospital in Jerome at the age of 67. His death followed a self-inflicted bullet wound. Mr. Taylor had been in poor health for some months past, having undergone a series of mouth operations in New York. Worn down by suffering, and evidently in the fear it might be necessary for him to undergo further operations, he performed the act which ended in his death.”

Perhaps the executive in Room 32 is Thomas Taylor. The hotel has a death certificate on file for another suicide that can be verified. Guthrie May Patch jumped from her room on the third floor, and they call Room 37B hers. We had a weird experience with flashlights in that room, for whatever you think that means: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFRmrxAfDQc

The place did not feel dark to me, although there are certainly enough verified suicides onsite to argue that it has a dark past. I kept hearing the same stories from locals about different people walking up the hill to the site of the former hospital after it had closed down and taking their own lives. What was going on in Jerome that this could happen more than twice? I just don’t know. Maybe we will never know, but it’s very weird and unsettling to think about.

The other potentially dark factor is the speculation that miners who were injured beyond the ability to ever return to work for United Verde could have received substandard or even outright negligent care. Remember, this was a hospital owned by the mining company. That means they are in business to serve the company, not necessarily to protect the interests of all of their patients. I have not conducted any interviews with former staff members to substantiate that speculation. But I know from working as a paralegal in medical malpractice cases (both plaintiff’s work and defense work) that things like that happen. Patients die when the money runs out. Patients die when hospitals are under staffed. Does this contribute to the hauntings at the Jerome Grand?

Well, you know what they say. Expert opinions may differ. Reasonable minds may disagree.

Jamie_DavisJamie Davis is the author of Haunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums, and the owner of IJD Paralegal Services, LLC. Her second book with Llewellyn Worldwide will be about haunted hotels and is slated to be released in October 2016. In the meantime, you can keep up with her through her website: http://jamiedaviswrites.com/

Sorry guys, this page is copyright Mysteriousheartland.com, 2015. You do not have permission to copy this for any reason. Please learn how to cite your work.

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Comments

  1. Donna Gerron says:

    My brother stayed there a few years ago. He said he would never go back. That places scared the crap out of him LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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