The chill of October is settling in the air, which means Halloween is just around the corner. One of the best ways to celebrate the spookiest season is by going on a ghost tour in Albuquerque. Full of fun frights and terrifying tales, a ghost tour is a perfect way to spend an autumn evening. I went on two ghost tours to inspire your next spirited adventure.
Albucreepy Ghost Walk: Taverns and Tales
The first ghost tour I went on was offered by TourABQ and called Albucreepy Ghost Walk: Taverns and Tales. Approximately two hours long, this tour takes you on a 1.5-mile stroll through the Sawmill area and Old Town, with spooky stories about spirits and stops along the way to indulge in some spirits of another kind at a few local spots.
The tour begins and ends at Hotel Albuquerque. Just walk through the main entrance and you’ll spot the TourABQ table. After checking in, I got to spend a few minutes taking in the beautiful lobby of Hotel Albuquerque. With Southwestern-style wood furnishings and iron chandeliers, the hotel has a distinct New Mexican feel.
Once everyone arrived (coincidence that there were 13 people in our group?), it was time to head out. The first stop was outside Sawmill Market, the previous home of the American Lumber Company and Paxton Lumber Co. Our tour guide Jordan was extremely knowledgeable, regaling us with frightful stories of those who met their unfortunate end while working at the old sawmill. There were also stories about the Salvador Armijo house, a historic building with a long history tied to New Mexico, and the Painted Lady Bed and Brew, a remodeled 19th century brothel and saloon that has plenty of ghostly activity.
The most exciting and spooky thing to happen on the tour occurred just outside the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. Jordan brought a coffin bell. Coffin bells were used to prevent people from being buried alive. If someone accidentally got buried and woke up underground, there was a string inside the coffin attached to a bell they could ring, and that would signal to a person at the graveyard to dig up that coffin. The coffin bell was set on a bench, and as we were listening to a story about a ghostly figure that someone once saw on that bench, the bell rang. The man sitting next to the bell swore he didn’t touch it and it wasn’t breezy, but everyone was still a little skeptical. The story continued, and everyone stood up to look at some pictures. No one was near the bell, but sure enough, it rang loud and clear yet again. Was it the ghostly spirit haunting the premises? Possibly.
After that scary experience, everyone was ready for a drink. Introducing people to local taverns is another big part of the tour. On this particular day, we stopped at two places – Ponderosa Brewing Company and The Taproom at Old Town. These places are great to rest for a moment, sip on a beer and talk to the other people on the tour. One of the many great things about the Albucreepy Ghost Walk is it can be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. These tours provide a wonderful opportunity to meet some new people and bond over things like a potential encounter with a ghost.
Ghost Tour of Old Town Albuquerque
The second ghost tour I attended was with #AbqTours, which hosts history and ghost tours of Historic Old Town. The ghost tours take place every evening, beginning in Plaza Don Luis. If you arrive early, it’s a great opportunity to shop at some of the local stores in the area.
With hundreds of years of history dating back to the 18th century, it’s no surprise there are a few spirits haunting the Old Town area. Our tour guide Shane took us around to just a handful of them. One of the more interesting locations was known as the Springer House in the early 20th century, but is now the Covered Wagon. Back in the day, the location used to be a saloon and brothel where one of the workers named Scarlet was reportedly murdered. I got chills multiple times as we walked around to a couple locations where the ghost of Scarlet had purportedly been spotted.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, this tour is a great opportunity to learn more about the history of Old Town. One such opportunity is the story of the ghost of Old Sarge. It’s reported he was a Confederate soldier whose spirit lingers long after the Confederacy occupied Old Town. Some people may be unaware of the role Albuquerque played in the Civil War, but through ghost stories like that of Old Sarge, you can learn about the Confederate occupation of Old Town.
While there were no potential ghostly run-ins on the tour, we did get to listen to some recordings of EVP – or electronic voice phenomena. Ghost hunters often use them when searching for spirits, asking questions to the air and listening back to see if there are any responses to their questions. I sometimes struggle to understand what normal humans are saying to me in person, so it was hard for me to make out any voices on the recordings. But, it was still fun to potentially hear voices from beyond.
Just like the Albucreepy tour, a ghost tour in Old Town can be enjoyed by visitors and locals. Anyone can enjoy a spooky walk around Old Town, hearing stories about those who supposedly continue to haunt long after their deaths.