Investigation Report

Location: Sosa-Carrillo Fremont House, Tucson, AZ
Date: 12 October 2002
Weather Conditions: Clear
Humidity: 11%
Geomagnetic Storm Activity: Geomagnetic K-index of 4
Temperature: 79
Number of Photos taken: 260
Number with possible targets: 7
Average EM Readings: 6 mg
Average M fields Readings: 1 nt
Average E Field Readings: 1 vpm
Cold Spots detected: None
Hot Spots Detected: None
Olfactory Phenomena: None
Visual Phenomena: None
Type of Investigation: Ghost Hunt

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

Location Description and History

Owned and occupied by the Leopoldo Carrillo family, this 1880's house was rented by the fifth Territorial Governor Fremont and his daughter in 1881. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Opened Wednesday through Saturday.
Some houses tell very specific stories of certain families and other houses tell a story about a particular time period.

The Sosa -Carrillo Fremont House is unique because it offers such a broad view of Tucson history and about the families that have helped shape this history. It all started about 150 years ago when Tucson was just beginning to experience many important changes in its social and cultural ways. The people who owned and occupied the house played many important roles in the rapid growth of 19th century Tucson.

The Sosa -Carrillo Fremont House is best known as the John C. Fremont House, it is ironic that John Fremont never even owned the property. In 1881 he rented the house from its owner the Carrillos, but it is well debated whether he ever actually set foot into the house.

We know that at this time he probably was in Tucson and that his daughter Elizabeth did live there. Many historians however, believe that he did not.

John Fremont is an important name in the early history of Arizona. He was an explorer of the American West, a civil war general and in 1880 he was made the fifth governor of the Arizona territory. As governor he did much to improve the financial state of the territory by supporting the railroad industry's production in the area. He did this by helping to utilize the rich soil for harvesting. In 1881 he rented the house from its owners and remained there until he left office the following year. The house's historical importance rests on the belief that he lived there, but the house is also central to Tucson history. This land where the house was built has a great historical significance, because there were numerous other inhabitants who lived there.

The house is adobe with plaster coating over the surface of the house sitting at the end of a brick walkway, but it is not that different from other adobe structures in Tucson. The house itself is very out of place when one is standing in the middle of the Convention Center. To the left of the house is the Music Hall, which is a huge ugly cement building that shoots straight up out of the ground and into the bright blue sky. The Music Hall is a drab tan building with vertical grooves running down the wall to attempt an appealing look. To the right of the house is the City Convention Center. The house sits right in the middle of a courtyard of the Convention Center. When you are standing and looking at it directly, it is hard to imagine that this house once sat in the middle of the barrio. Another hard thing to imagine is that there once was a major street here, just a few feet from the front door of the house known as Main Street. There are five brownish red doors across the front of the house. The door in the middle is the main entrance into the Sosa-Carrillo Fremont House. The rest of the building, white and very clean, must hide the history inside.

Although only two families ever owned the house many people rented it. Each person added his or her own history and the only way to get a full sense of this history is to experience the house first hand. By walking where so many had walked before, by standing where so much Tucson history took place, it is easy to understand how this house helped shape Tucson and feel what these inhabitants experienced.

According to historians, the Sosas was the first family to actually occupy the land and to build the first house. Back in the mid 1800's. Adobe house had to be rebuilt every 4-7 years. The adobe brick would just melt away. This one the reason The reader might see that house originally houses were build in 1836,1850 and again 1875. Homes prior to the 1860's were built entirely of organic material. They were built of mud brick.

The Sosa -Carrillo Fremont House was originally built somewhere between 1836 and 1850 by Jose Maria Sosa III and Solana Mendoza Sosa. It is interesting that modern sources give so many different dates for its construction and earlier stages of history. About the Sosa family however, we do have more information. The Sosa family is one of the oldest in the Arizona Sonora area: " The earliest written reference to the family was on 17 November 1706" (Solliday).

In 1798 Jose Maria Sosa, a Calvary man of the royal Spanish Army, is believed to have been the first person to acquire the land which was given to him during his marriage. It is on this land the Sosa -Carrillo Fremont house now sits. Jose Maria Sosa's son, Jose Maria Sosa II, became civil administrator of the local Mission land in about 1830.

About 1836 Jose Maria Sosa received the land grant for the land that the Sosa - Carrillo Fremont house now resides on. At that time, Tucson was still a walled village with only one main street. He owed thirteen acres in Tucson mission field. The field lay about where the La Quinta Inn motel is near today's St Mary Road.

One of Jose Sosa's sons, Manuel Sosa, was then gifted the land during his marriage. He was the first justice of peace for the US Army. He served as a scout until he was killed in an Apache raid in 1850. His widow, Luisa Campa; married his brother Calistio and sold the land grant in 1853 to the Carrillo family. The Sosa family then relocated to the Tempe area to start a new family.

The house had only two rooms and in 1875 was expanded to seven rooms and built in a style common to Arizona-Sonora architecture. Homes prior to the 1860's were built entirely of organic material. They were built of mud brick. Their roof construction deserves some mention for its uniqueness. The roofs were usually one to two feet thick when done, depending the house size. After the walls were built, many heavy pine timbers lay across the tops of the wall which supported the weight of the roof. Saguaro cactus ribs and ocotillo cactus stalks were placed on top of these. Finally hay, adobe mortar, and dry earth formed the weatherproof roof. Sometimes in the event of the summer torrential rainstorm, waters would cause these roofs to collapse onto unfortunate residents. The floors were originally hard-packed dirt, which were eventually covered with canvas sheets and rugs.

As more and more settlers came to Tucson, more building material came with them and such building advancements were able to take place. Some rooms were covered with wooden floors. Up until 1880 adobe brick was an abundant, and well used material, but it had no great structural strength; walls had to be massive and solid with few voids. The average of these exterior walls 22" to 30" thick and inside walls were 10 to 24 inches thick. The outside of the abode structure were usually a lime white wash or veneer lime plaster. Most houses had hard packed dirt floors and then rough sawn pine planks by the end of the 1880's.

Reported Phenomena

It seems that every old house has a ghost, some good, some bad. This is true for this place too, it seems, and it gives it a modern sense of excitement because everyone wants to visit a haunted house. "We have ghosts," Bette the assistant curator said, "at least three of the Carrillo's died in the house." He died in September 1890 and his second wife Elvira, died in the house in 1906. There has been a sighting of a man and there have been two sightings of two different women. "We hear sounds all the time. We hear the door opening and closing but nobody is there. That is a constant. It happens almost every week." Many odd unexplainable things happen at the house and Bette has been witness to many of these strange events.

One door opens and rings bells letting the curator know when someone has entered or has exited the house. Frequently, Bette hears this bell ringing and when she goes to investigate, she finds the door open. Sometimes this happens even when she is the only person in the house. She looks outside and nobody is outside the house walking or running away. Sometime she hears papers shuffling like someone is sorting papers when she is the only one in the house. There have been sightings of a person hunching over, grabbing their stomach, and of someone standing at the large mirror in the zaguan of the house.

Therefore, these ghosts could be a number of people who have died in the house. Carrillo and his wife both died in the house and it is very likely that throughout the years, others have died there. The whole house has the feeling of being friendly and warm. When I asked Ms. Richards, if anyone ever had been murdered at the Sosa -Carillo Fremont House, she said that as far as she knew no had. Bette told me that many people have died there. Perhaps the house is haunted, and if it is, it's one of many haunted houses that are found in Tucson.

The Investigation

This ghost hunt was done in conjunction 93.7 KRQ for their Halloween special. The ghost hunt was prerecorded and would be aired on the 31st of October. We arrived with Polo (Producer) and Donovan (D.J.) around 8:00pm. We were greeted at the door by several of the museum staff and many guests that had been invited to attend.

For the focus of this ghost hunt, we decided to focus mainly on the breezeway although we did search other areas of the house and property. After performing a brief search for strange EM fields, the lights were turned off as various people moved about the house in search of something unusual. This was when the first problem of the evening raised its head. There were far too many people moving about, making our efforts very difficult. Bob quickly remedied the problem by leading all of the guests outside to the rear of the house to search out there. Now we were able to get a better overview of the building.

after taking two photographs that had unusual shadows in them, Cody set up a camera position by the front door with the Trifield meter placed next to the mirror that the museum staff would often see figures in. After about 15 minutes, the alarm on the Natural Trifield meter went off and Cody began taking photographs of the area. The first picture clearly showed an anomalous image and while the flash on the camera was charging up, Polo walked in through the back door, on his way to talk to Cody about a strange noise that the rest of the group heard outside. Cody took a second picture and the image was still there.

As the flash was charging, Polo walked across the room and just as he crossed the area near the Trifield, a third picture was taken. Immediately, Polo stopped and stated that he had just walked through "something". The third photograph also contains the same anomalous image, with Polo walking through it.

Having just met Polo hours before, Cody did not want to freak him out so he innocently asked why he though that he walked through "something". Polo had visible goose bumps on his arms and said that that area (in front of the mirror) was really cold. Odd, because the building does not have air conditioning. The flash recharged again and the fourth photo revealed an orb-like image in the photo. The anomalous image had disappeared.

The team met up shortly afterwards and the photographs were downloaded into a laptop computer for the museum staff and guests to see.

Further searches of the building revealed nothing of interest, although the radio station had gotten so excited over the photographs that they forgot all about the psychic, who was left waiting outside the front door for several hours.


Click on the thumbnails to view the larger image


Initial Conclusions

The three photographs, thumbnailed at left, are the photos taken of Polo as he walked through an anomalous "mist" as the Natural Trifield meter's alarm sounded off.

Rather than speculating on what this object is, it is easier to rule out what it is not.

  • The image is not digitally manipulated ( the pictures were shown to the museum staff and guest on site minutes after they were taken).
  • CCD residual imaging is unlikely because there is not enough contrasting elements in the previous photographs to produce such a artifact. Also, these digital artifacts will dissipate after the photograph is taken as the excess energy is dissipated. The anomalous image is clearly in three different photographs.
  • The image is not caused by lens flare. (looks nothing like it and other photos taken from the same area contain nothing).
  • The image was not caused by moisture on the lens. The location had low humidity and did not have air conditioning.

It is also interesting that the alarm Natural trifield meter (set to sum) was activated while the pictures were being taken. The meter registered a steady 6 nanotesla during the event that lasted roughly 45 seconds.

Polo described the feeling he had experienced as " walking into a freezer". Goose bumps were apparent on his arms and his skin felt very cool.

The area where the camera was aimed is the location where staff and visitors report seeing figures or having other phenomena occur.

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