Investigation Report

Location: Old Tucson Studios, Tucson, Arizona
Date: 12 October 2002
Weather Conditions: Clear
Humidity: 30%
Geomagnetic Storm Activity:Geomagnetic K-index of 4, Threshold Reached: 2002 Oct 12 1042 UTC; Synoptic Period: 0900-1200 UTC; Active Warning: No
Temperature: 76
Number of Photos taken: 1032
Number with possible targets: 71
Average EM Readings: 7 mg
Average M fields Readings: 1 mt
Average E Field Readings: 1 vpm
Cold Spots detected: None
Hot Spots Detected: None
Olfactory Phenomena: Perfume
Visual Phenomena: None
Type of Investigation: Ghost Hunt

All information and photos Copyright 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 by Cody Polston, Bob Carter and SGHA. All Rights Reserved.

Location Description and History

Old Tucson Studios is southern Arizona's premier outdoor entertainment venue with a full array of live shows, legendary gunfights, thrilling stunts, saloon musicals and stagecoach adventures, plus a variety of rides, food, shopping and fun for the whole family. From western movie heroes like John Wayne to current box-office stars such as Harrison Ford, many of Hollywood's legends have walked these rugged streets, the setting for hundreds of major motion pictures. We invite you to be a part of the more than 350,000 guests who visit the park each year to retrace the footsteps of their favorite stars and spend a day in the life of an 1880's western town.

Old Tucson Studios came to life in 1939 when Columbia Pictures chose a Pima County-owned site on which to build a replica of 1860's Tucson for the movie Arizona . The $2.5 million film, starring William Holden and Jean Arthur, set a new standard of realism for Hollywood westerns, initiating the move away from studio backdrop movies to outdoor epics.

Local technicians and carpenters built the town from scratch, erecting more than 50 buildings in 40 days. Descendants of the Tohono O'odham, Arizona's first inhabitants formerly known as the Papago, assisted in the set production. Without the convenience of running water, they made more than 350,000 adobe bricks from the desert dirt to create authentic structures for the film. Many of those structures still stand today.
After the filming of Arizona, Old Tucson Studios lay dormant under the desert sun. The studio was revived only briefly for the films The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. Hollywood then began taking notice of Old Tucson Studios, which soon became a favorite filming location. Hence, "Hollywood in the Desert." In 1947, Gene Autrey starred in The Last Roundup , followed in 1950 by Jimmy Stewart in Winchester '73, and Ronald Reagan in The Last Outpost.

During the 1950's, the Western movie era was in full swing nationwide.

In the fifties alone, such western classics as Gunfight at the OK Corral (1956) with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold (1957), and Cimarron (1959) with Glenn Ford were filmed at Old Tucson Studios.

Old Tucson offers a complete western town with 75 buildings including 32 practical buildings. The 320 acre location sets within the Tucson Mountain Park in the Sonoran Desert.

Although there are several areas around the studios that are allegedly haunted, our major focus was on the Grand Palace Hotel and Saloon.

The exterior is a two story building with a balcony on three sides. Interior features a bar with a staircase capping the left side. Three mirrors are located behind the bar. The staircase leads up to an interior balcony and three hotel rooms (unfinished). The balcony also features several opera boxes looking down onto a performance stage located at the front of the saloon. Also on this floor is the control room for the audio system that runs throughout the park.

Reported Phenomena

Paranormal phenomena has been reported in several areas of the studios by security guards. The first is the Grand palace saloon. Several ghosts, including one of a little girl, have been spotted throughout the building. The little girl is often spotted on the stairs leading to the second floor. Adjoining the saloon is Rosa's Cafe. The apparition of a young woman has been seen here and reports of unusual noises and moving objects are common place.
The most active location within the studios is the Arizona Theater, also called "The Story teller's. This is a small underground theater that many believe is haunted by a malevolent spirit.

Although there are a few exceptions, the ghost mainly makes it presence known to women. When women enter the theater alone and sit in the back row of the theater in the dark, they began to hear noises on the stage which resemble footsteps. The footsteps then "jump" down off the stage and move towards the women at the rear of the theater. Suddenly, the subtle light coming from the theater's exit lights are blocked as if someone is standing before them. This is following by either a tapping sound or heavy breathing. Usually the women turn on a flash light at this point, revealing that no one is there.

On occasion, the ghost makes its presence known to men. This has only happened to male security guards that the "ghost" doesn't like. They often end up quitting their jobs and the few that have not refuse to enter the theater alone.

The school house is another studio building that has unusual phenomena associated with it. Security guards hear the sound of children and the lights go on and off by themselves. The door also seems to unlock itself, much to the display of the security guards.

The hauntings are not limited to specific buildings however. The ghost of a cowboy has been seen and heard walking about the town's streets. Security guards have heard the sound of footsteps and spurs moving down the streets surrounding the saloon and town hall. One security guard actually saw the "cowboy" walk right past her and through the locked door of one of the studio's shops.Another phenomena that occurs through the studios is called "Shadow man" by employees. Basically it appears like a dark human figure that seems to follow (or stalk) security guards and visitors.

Other unusual activities that occur are the random turning on of building lights around the studios.

The Investigation

This ghost hunt was a part of a series of pre-recordings that was done for radio by 93.7 KRQ in Tucson Arizona. The 93.7 KRQ "Ghost Patrol" consisted of radio DJ "Donovan" and the shows producer "Polo". They had heard of strange occurrences at the studios and put us in contact with the head of security who allowed us access until dawn.

We arrived at the studios around 9:00pm and were treated to VIP seats at the studios fall event called "Nightfall". After the park closed for the evening, around midnight, we started a basic ghost hunt for the radio station. Teresa, one of the studio's security guards, lead us throughout the grounds on a tour, describing what she and other guards had witnessed in various areas.

The first location we visited was the Grand Palace saloon. Several interesting pictures were taken from the balcony that show a strange reddish mist around the stage area. Unusual EM fields were present at the time those photos were taken. Recent activity had been reported in Rosa's cafe which could be accessed through the saloon by three west doors. In Rosa's we found one interesting EM field near the center of the room but the field acted more like a man made field in its behavior. One interesting thing that occurred while outside of the cafe is that music started playing on the cafe's loud speakers in the patio area. We were told that this was not possible because all of the loud speakers throughout the studios were connected together and if music was playing in Rosa's, then it should also be heard throughout the park.

Teresa escorted us back into the palace while one of the radio crew waited at Rosa's patio. Once inside the audio booth we were able to verify that the studio's sound system was indeed turned off, but music could still be heard at the cafe. as we left the Grand Palace and Teresa was locking the door, she and one of our investigators distinctly heard a male voice say "Goodnight" from inside of the saloon.

The next location we were taken to was the studio's carousel, added as a "park attraction" many years ago. This is the only known location in the present day studios where a death was known to occur. Several years ago a security guard had no choice but to shoot a trespasser who made threatening advances and posed a danger to the guard. We found a few stray EM fields in this area but nothing really substantial that would relate to paranormal activity.

Next, we went to the Arizona Theater, an underground area which is not being currently used. This is a favorite place for the security guards to hang out as it is the only building that keeps its air conditioning on after dark. We searched through the building but did not locate any interesting readings.

We also toured the Town Hall, the High Chaparral set and moved along the train tracks to the ruins of a old rail car. None of these locations yielded any interesting data. however there were several sightings of the "shadow man" by radio DJ's and a few of our investigators.

Overall the studios are quite creepy at night. With Nightfall in full swing, it only added to the ambiance.

Click on the thumbnail to view the larger image.



Initial Conclusions

Night photography at the studios can be difficult due to the amount of dust in the air that yields false positives (orbs). However there are so many stories from the people that work there and it is a secure environment after dark. The few unusual EM fields we encounter coupled with unusual photographs make this location definitely worth another look.

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