Ghost tour scares up history, mystery in downtown Mesa - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Ghost tour scares up history, mystery in downtown Mesa

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Posted: Saturday, October 9, 2010 9:00 am | Updated: 5:15 pm, Mon Nov 5, 2012.

Are there mischievous and subtle spirits lurking along the aisles and basements of businesses lining West Main Street in downtown Mesa?

The voice of a young boy comes from the basement of Mystic Paper, but no one is down there.

Items not falling but flying off shelves at will at the Evermore Nevermore gothic shop — as if someone gave them a hard swat.

Knocking sounds on a brick wall of Queens Pizzeria and Bakery — but just where is the knocking coming from?

And why were there tunnels running underneath business buildings along West Main Street in downtown Mesa between Center Street and Robson in the early 1900s? What were they used for?

As Halloween nears, people can learn more about the history and haunted legends of business buildings in downtown Mesa, or they can try their hand at being an amateur ghost hunter.

The Mesa Historical Society and the Mesa Convention and Visitors Bureau are hosting the fourth Annual Ghost Tour and Historical Walk Oct. 22-23 in downtown Mesa.

The cost of the tour is $10 for adults and $6 for children ages 3 to 12. The tour includes eight business buildings, most with basements and the Arizona Museum of Natural History, which used to house a territorial jail and later the city jail in the early 1900s. Tickets must be purchased in advance online by visiting www.MesaHistoricalMuseum.org or purchased the day of the tours.

Four paranormal groups from around Arizona also will be along for the tour with state-of-the-art video cameras and detection devices to see what kind of spectral vibes come from the alleged haunted buildings, and business owners will tell stories of supernatural experiences.

“We have no clue what they’ll find,” Lisa Anderson, director of the Mesa Historical Museum, said of the paranormal groups. “I find it fascinating, but I’m skeptical. I’m interested in seeing what they find.”

People on the tour 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Oct. 23 are urged to bring their flashlights and cameras to tour the Mesa Historical Museum complex at 2345 N. Horne St. — in the dark. One of the museum’s buildings — the auditorium building of the former Lehi School in particular — is believed to be haunted. Visitors and museum workers have reported sightings of a spectral man believed to be the caretaker of the former school who died in the projector room of the auditorium sometime in the 1970s, according to Anderson.

And if that isn’t spooky enough, the theme song of the once-popular local “Wallace and Ladmo” TV show comes on at will in the museum, usually when volunteers are working in the building alone. To play the song, Anderson said, it has to be physically selected — but no one is there to do so, she said. 

Downtown business owners have experienced similar incidents that remain unexplained. Ron Floyd, owner of Sun Dust Gallery at 48 W. Main St., who has a sprawling brick tunnel-like basement with a sealed-off door to the tunnels running underneath the businesses, said that about eight months ago he had a stack of plate glass about 2 feet tall near the bottom of the stairs in his shop with a larger, thin piece of glass on top of it. When he came into his shop one morning, the pieces of plate glass were spread evenly apart and the larger thin piece was lying nearby.

“I don’t know what did it,” Floyd said. “The pieces of plate glass were thick, so I could see how they weren’t broken, but the larger piece should have been broken. No one was in here that I know of.”

Amanda Tucker, part-owner of Evermore Nevermore, a gothic shop at 127 W. Main St., believes they have a ghost who may not be happy with where things are placed on their shelves and described their small basement as “eerie.”

“We’ve heard and seen things get knocked over and off the shelves,” Tucker said. “They won’t fall off the shelf, they’ll get knocked off the shelf, like someone sweeping their hand across the shelf and tossing it off — and no one’s there. There’s an overwhelming feeling of not being alone.

“One time, we had a psychic in here to see what they would determine, and they did not want to be in our basement alone because they had a feeling of uneasiness and unrest down there.”

Anderson said, “We hope that no one gets too scared on the tour. We want to keep it a family-oriented event. It will be something for everyone.”

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