BIG NOSE KATE’S SALOON HISTORY
Big Nose Kate’s Saloon is located in the center of Allen Street; this street runs through the old town of Tombstone. Big Nose Kate’ Saloon started by another name, The Grand Hotel. An article from the newspaper “Tombstone Epitaph” ran a story on the grand opening of this Hotel, dated September 9, 1880.
Though the Courtesy of Mr. H.V. Sturm an Epitaph reporter yesterday paid a visit to and made a brief inspection of the new hotel christened the grand which will be formally open for dinner this evening at five o’clock. The general size and character of the structure have been mentioned so often during the course of construction that further mention would be superfluous and we will confine ourselves to a description of the interior appointments of it. Passing into the building by the front entrance the first thing that strikes the eye is a wide and handsome staircase covered by an elegant carpet and supporting a heavy black walnut banister. Thence upstairs to the main hall, and turning to the right we are ushered into a perfect little bijou of costly furniture and elegant carpet known as the bridal chamber. The room occupies half of the main front and is connected with the parlor by folding doors through which the reporter passed, and entering the parlor was more than astonished by the luxurious appointments. A heavy Brussels carpet of the most elegant style and finish graces the floor, the walls are adorned with rare and costly oil paintings; the furniture is of walnut cushioned with the most expensive silk and rep, and nothing lacks, save the piano which will be placed in the position shortly. On down through the main corridor peeping now and then into the bedroom, sixteen in number, each of them fitted with walnut furniture and carpeted to match: spring mattresses that would tempt even a sybarite, toilet stands and fixtures of the most approved pattern, the walls papered, and to crown all, each room having windows. All are outside rooms thus obviating the many comforts in close and ill-ventilated apartments. Returning we pass down the broad staircase and turning to the left are the office and reading room. Here we meet Mr. R.J. Pryke, the polite and affable clerk, so well known to Yosemite tourists in California. The office fixtures are as is common in first class hotels and fully in keeping with the general character of the house. The dining room adjoining next invites inspection. Here we find the same evidence of good taste in selection and arrangement that is so marked a feature of the whole interior. Three elegant chandeliers are pendant from the handsome centerpieces, walnut tables; extension and plain, covered with cut glass, china, silver casters and the latest style of cutlery are among the many attractions of this branch of the cuisine. Thence into the kitchen where we find the same evidence before mentioned; an elegant Mountain range 12 feet in length, with patent
heater, hot and cold faucets, in fact all the appliances necessary to feed five hundred people at a few hours notice are present. The bar occupies the east half of the main front and is in keeping with the general furnishings. Want of space prevents more than this cursory glance at the Grand and its appliances for the comfort and convenience of guests. The Grand (no pun intended) invitation ball will take place this evening.
There were 2 fires in the town of Tombstone, Az. The 1st in 1881 a whiskey barrel blew up destroying part of the town. The 2nd one on May 26, 1882 was started by an outhouse that blew up and destroying Big Nose Kate’s Saloon. The 2nd floor is no longer there only the staircase and balcony open. Many years ago in the late 1800’s, Big Nose Kate’s Saloon was once the Grand Hotel. This great hotel hosted such infamous personalities as Wyatt and Virgil Earp, Doc Holliday, as well as the Clantons and McLaurys. And as legend and folk lore have it… in this hotel was a janitor and odd job man, known simply as “The Swamper”. He was a trusted and honest helper who was given his accommodations as part of his hard earned pay. “The Swamper” had his own special bedroom which was located in the dark basement of the Grand Hotel. This was his own special and private place where he could enjoy peace and solitude away from the hustle and bustle of the hotel’s many guests. Within his private domain where no guests were invited, he also kept secret his passion for silver. The basement was deep enough below the surface of the ground to afford entrance into one of the catacomb mine shafts which ran underground beneath the hotel as well as most of Tombstone. “The Swamper” spent many painstaking hours over a period of years tunneling an entrance into the shaft. When the digging was completed, he could gain access to a thick vein of silver where he extracted ounce by ounce of the glorious silver nuggets. This mine entrance is still a prominent feature of the bar’s basement. Today the shaft that the Swamper dug into the mine is covered with boards and protected by an iron bar gate. The seven arches on the outside are all that remain of the Grand Hotel above ground. The floor joists of the building are original having survived the fire. When the building was being renovated, digging had to be done in the basement area to make room for a spiral staircase to allow access for the customers. Artifacts, mostly old bottles and tin, were discovered as the excavation occurred. According to local legend, the charred remains of the Grand Hotel collapsed into its basement, leaving only a small section of it accessible. If people died in the fire, their remains may still be hidden.
CLAIMS OF ACTIVITY
There’s an entity that the staff calls Felix. He’s dressed in 1880’s attire, wanders the halls and rooms of the building.
There’s a female entity nicely dressed in 1880’s attire with shoulder length ringlets holding a parasol she enjoys the musical entertainment from the balcony.
At the bar in the basement a male entity has been seen sitting wearing a long sleeve shirt.
1880’s cowboys been seen standing in doorways, sitting at both the basement bar and the 1st floor bar.
It is said the 2 mannequins which reside in the closed off balcony have been known to be moved by an unseen presence.
Glasses on the bar and tables have been moved by themselves. Various other items have a tendency to move by themselves also. Doors and cupboards open by themselves. Trash can lids lift themselves off the cans and drop to the floor and roll.
Booted footsteps and jingling spurs are heard on the stairs from the 1st floor to the basement and the 1st floor saloon.
A playful cheeky entity hangs out on the main floor and basement…some say it is Felix.
Male unseen presence likes to pinch the waitresses, pull on their bows and hide their pens. Also, the entity likes to push female employees on the lower part of the staircase which leads to the basement. The entity likes to call their names.
Another male entity is protective of female employees.
Swamper was the “handyman” at Big Nose Kate’s who helped out at the Grand Hotel. His bedroom was located in the basement where he tunnels dug to mine for silver. It is believed he is still there protecting his silver and the tunnels to the silver. It is also reported that people have “seen and felt him” grabbing their ankles on the 3rd step from the bottom stair. He was murdered. Some people say they you can see the “rough looking man” ordering them out of basement. It is also said that if you say his name you can feel an eerie presence.
PARANORMAL INVESTIGATION SUMMARY
ARRIVAL TIME: 9:00 P.M.
INVESTIGATION START TIME: 11:00 P.M.
EQUIPMENT TEAR DOWN: 3:20 A.M.
DEPARTURE TIME: 4:00 A.M.
WALK THRU AND EMPLOYEE INTERVIEWS:
Caryn, the general manager, gave a guided tour explaining claims and location. In the bar area, waitresses have their skirts and hair pulled and their name called. Also, objects such as glasses, cup holders, and bottles have been moved or thrown during daytime with customers present. In the kitchen, one of the employees saw what appeared to be an apparition of a cowboy sitting at one of the tables on the outside patio. On the stairway leading down from the kitchen to the gift shop (which was the original bar area), sometimes blood appears on the stairs as well as people being shoved. In the gift shop, people have been touched and their name called. In the mine area, an apparition of “swamper” has been known to appear on the bed. We did find out that the bed is not original and burlap was the material that would have been used in that time period for bedding. Misty, one of the bartenders, was interviewed also. She said that one of the supposed spirits name is Charlie, which was told to her by a psychic. She later related the name Charlie with “swamper”. She claims to have had her skirt pulled and lifted, her hair pulled to the side, name called, answers to direct questions, bottles fall and land right side up, and bottles even do a domino effect. If she says she doesn’t like someone, then objects get thrown at that person. Also, she has witnesses a shot glass slide across the bar with customers sitting there.
Tiffany Fazio (Producer from FOX NEWS) had skirt pulled and hand felt touching her. Female investigators felt hair being pulled and ribbons in hair being pulled. Camera crew for FOX NEWS, producer, and correspondent witnessed lantern falling from nail on the bar. Female voices were heard having a conversation in bar area by several investigators. Andy (Founder of West Coast GAPS) heard his name called while in bathroom. Shaun (Tech Manager of West Coast GAPS) heard a male voice curse at him and told him to “Get out”. While at command center, Dimitra and Andy heard objects being moved in main bar area while nothing was moving on camera. Steve (Investigator-in-training) was setting up a camera in the gift shop and felt his shirt being tugged from behind with Marianne witnessing it being pulled. Marianne and Dimitra (Investigation Director and Event Manager of West Coast GAPS)heard a women say, “Hello” when walking back from the women’s bathroom.
The lantern – Andy found that the nail is angled with a head and that after several attempts of balancing the handle on the nail and twisting the lantern, concluded that the lantern would have to be physically lifted off of the nail. Andy went outside and spoke at a loud volume at the doorway with other investigators inside. The investigators were unable to hear him which dismissed that the female voices were coming from outside. Due to the surface of the bar and tables, glasses could be moved when the bottom comes in contact with a wet surface. One of the claims is that blood appears on the stairway leading from the gift shop downstairs up to the kitchen area. We found that there is a pipe leaking and when water contacts the stairs, it discolors the wood and appears red. The apparition seen by the kitchen worker was seen through glass doors. The glass was smudged when we arrived and the right lighting could have caused visual matrixing.
EQUIPMENT USED AND AREAS COVERED:
8 Channel DVR System (Command set up in kitchen service area)
3 Long Range IR Cameras (Bar from above cage, middle of bar room from top balcony, picture stage from far left corner)
3 Mid Range IR Cameras (Back stairway shooting down, mine shaft room, dressing room from behind gift shop counter)
2 Wide Angle IR Cameras (Bar from middle of bar room, mine and gift shop from back of gift shop)
3 Stationary H2 Audio Recorders (On the bar, back stairway, gift shop counter)
1 Roaming H2 Audio Recorder (Used in each EVP session)
Sound Board with 4 channels (Center of bar room with 90 degree separation)
HD Sony Camcorder (Bar room from picture stage)
EVP SESSION ASSIGNMENTS AND LOCATIONS:
Session 1: Andy, Shaun, Marianne, FOX News and camera crew at the bar
Session 2: Tom, Steve, Shaun, Kris, FOX News and camera crew in gift shop
Session 3: Makayla, Dimitra, Teresa, FOX News and camera crew at the bar
Session 4: Shaun, Michael, Kelly, FOX News and camera crew at the bar
Session 5: Andy, Teresa, Marianne at the bar
Session 6: Andy, Tom, Steve at the bar
Session 7: Makayla, Shaun, Kelly, Marianne starting in gift shop and ending in bar
PICTURES DURING INVESTIGATION:
The evidence was limited in what we found at the location. In one video clip on camera 6, we can see the reaction to Tiffany’s (Producer from FOX News) skirt being pulled. The clip may or may not show her skirt being pulled, but does show that she reacted to what she believes was someone touching her. In another clip from camera 7, Steve (Investigator-in-training) had his shirt pulled from behind, but the clip again is a reaction and may or may not show his shirt being pulled. There are only a couple of audio clips that are possible EVP’s. Most of the evidence is personal experiences and are not hard evidence that can be backed up with video or audio.
After reviewing the evidence, West Coast GAPS has determined the location to be inconclusive in having paranormal activity. Even though there were many personal experiences, we are unable to verify them with hard evidence. We were unable to debunk most of claims and with a lack of evidence supporting the claims, we have concluded that Big Nose Kate’s Saloon requires further investigation
before making a determination on the location having paranormal activity.