Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Ghost of Boot Hill Cemetery

Boot Hill Cemetery was established in Tombstone, Arizona around 1879 and was closed in 1884 when a new city cemetery was opened.  Before it closed, however, it saw the burials of approximately 300 persons, many who died tragically and unexpectedly, or with their "boots on."  After its official closure, a few outlaws, among others, were allowed to be buried there.  Today, it is a tourist hot spot, not only for visitors interested in seeing the graves of three men killed at the OK Corral, but for those wanting a more ethereal experience as well.

In 1996 Terry Ike Clanton, descendant of the Clanton Gang, was visiting the cemetery with a friend--a man named Kelly who lived Southern California.  Clanton took the man's photo dressed in full 1880s western garb against a backdrop of the beautiful mountains. He positioned Kelly to the left of the photo in order to get a better view of the mountains, and shot with black and white film for a more authentic feel.

When the film was developed, what appeared to be a gentleman wearing a black hat appeared in the background.  The cemetery was overgrown, giving the phantom in the background the appearance of a man kneeling, having no legs, or perhaps...even rising from the grave.  Upon studying the photo, many believe that the phantom is holding a knife, the blade of which comes right up under the man's collar.

The negatives for the film have shown no tampering, and many psychics who have examined the photo believe that the "extra" in it is more accurately dressed as someone from the 1920s or 30s.  To this day, the photo has yet to be successfully debunked, despite countless recreations, some conducted by the owner of the photo himself.  The photo has even appeared on a recent episode of Ghost Lab.

Mr. Clanton runs the Tombstone Arizona website that links to many interviews and television appearances.

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