We were asked to write a guest post for the popular tourism website TaosWebb.com – here it is for those unable to follow the link through Facebook (a quirky problem with social media and link shortening services)
The colorful alleyways and streets of Taos are cheerful in the daytime, but at night on a quiet Taos street, who is to say what might brush up against you in the dark?
I give paranormal walking tours from Taos Plaza. Many times people ask me if there are enough ghosts in the downtown area to warrant a tour and I say there are more than enough. There are so many stories and accounts of well-known spirits I can keep visitors busy for more than the usual two hours we spend on the tour – and that’s just in the downtown area alone.
Besides all the haunted sights to take in on the plaza and Kit Carson’s Memorial Park, there are historical accounts of hauntings to take in — along with local urban legends – although it is a great stretch of the imagination to use the words “urban” and “Taos” in the same sentence.
During the tours we poke around in the alleyways and byways of the downtown historical district, and there are few buildings that don’t have some sort of paranormal designation. There are accounts of odd calls to Central Dispatch in the wee hours of the morning to report a roving weeping woman who dodges headlights in the Bent Street parking area. There have been late-night complaints of a loud party in the Blumenschein Museum courtyard on Ledoux Street. And let’s not forget the story behind the three unmarked graves of in the cemetery.
Sometimes we’ll encounter locals on our walk and we’ll ask “have you had any paranormal experiences?” They are happy to relay what they have heard or perhaps even experienced for themselves.
There are even instances when we have had our own experiences on the tour.
Once we were sitting in the lobby of La Fonda – one of our favorite resting points. I was describing previous owners, including John Poole and his sudden demise by a disgruntled customer and then Karavas Family, who remodeled and renamed the hotel.
As I mentioned former owner and ladies’ man Saki Karavas, fresh vanilla-laced cigar smoke wafted in from some unseen gallery. It was heaviest in the vestibule. The smell of burning cigars is one of the constant claims of the paranormal for those who visit, work or stay at La Fonda.
I don’t just give a standard tour. Depending on the ages and interests of the group on the tour, I slant the scope and detail to fit the audience. Recently one of the folks on the tour was actually a paranormal investigator from the Midwest. He was looking for in-depth information about the kinds of spirits that might haunt the downtown area. I was able to go into detail about some of the claims in the area.
If there are children on the tour, I make sure and check with their parents because I don’t want to be responsible for “marking someone for life” by relaying the grizzly details of the murder of Governor Charles Bent or by going into graphic depictions of the lives and deaths of those sold into slavery on the plaza before the priests were able to persuade traders to move their market north of town.
The thing about Taos is, for a town its size, it has had a very dramatic and turbulent past. Along with baggage like that come unsavory characters, unforgivable acts and a lot of misery. That’s a perfect recipe for ghosts and the paranormal.
People ask me if I am afraid to walk through the streets of Taos at night, and I have to say yes. I’d be a fool not to be afraid – but that isn’t going to keep me from studying what I’m sincerely interested in and from sharing what I know about Haunted Taos with anyone who is interested.
For more information about the Ghosts of Taos walking tours, visit ghostsoftaos.com
Paranormal Taos Playlist (1 hour 6 min, 9 videos, includes promos and investigations)
Ghosts of Taos Promo