Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cemeteries Of New Mexico - Looking For Those Haunted Caches

If you could see me know, you'd see the goose bumps.  I am so excited to be back into the caches of New Mexico.  I love this state and I love looking for the possible haunted geocaches.

I really want to start out with a couple of caches that are in an area that I am particularly fond of.  When I lived in Santa Fe, I spent some time in the little community of Madrid.  It's a tiny little area with some of the most unique people.  There's a great mine that you may be able to tour.  There's a small open area with a small amphitheater of concrete benches, where any artist could come to share their music, just a bit south of Madrid.  At least, there use to be an amphitheater.  Don't know for sure if it still remains.  Back in the 80's, Hank Williams Jr. stopped in to do a impromptu concert for the locals. In 2007 the movie Wild Hogs was released; a very large part of the movie was filmed there.  That is just one of dozens of movie that have been filmed in that area.  But this is not about the town as much as the unique graveyard and the caches that have been placed there. 

GC1G3FO, New Mexico Spirit Quest #1 A Little Bit Different, is owned by ClarksJeepN.   Tho I want to share a bunch of the photos, I'll start with the description.

Geocache description:

35mm size container. Bring your own writing utensil.

 I ran across a video with a couple of locals touring the cemetery.
WARNING! There is a bit of foul language from the locals.


And there is a part 2 as well.

!! Exciting Cache Series !!
“New Mexico Spirit Quest”
The New Mexico Spirit Quest is a series of caches placed by many individuals, near cemeteries and historic sites in hopes of paying respect to the many pioneer ancestors that have ‘walked’ before us. If you are interested in being a part of this project, contact may be made by sending an e-mail to the owner of “New Mexico Spirit Quest #1 – A Litttle Bit Different”. Use the ‘Send Message” link at the center of the page of their profile.

There are hundreds of cemeteries in the rural and mountain communities across New Mexico. This series will introduce you to many of them.

The cache pages will provide a virtual history tour of the cemeteries and tombstones.

NEW MEXICO SPIRIT QUEST is not affiliated with any other ‘Spirit Quest’ group. Special thanks and credit are given to SixDogTeam who started the Indiana Spirit Quest in 2004. The idea has rapidly spread into many states.

After locating the cemetery or historic site, take some time to reflect back on the lives of those pioneers and the effort it took to make New Mexico such a great state.

Caches should not be located inside the cemetery or near a grave...Do not disturb monuments. If you find a fallen US flag, please stick it back in the ground or in its holder. As always, please be respectful. And as payback to the communities we cache in please, even if you have never done it before, be sure to cache in, trash out.

The New Mexico Spirit Quest endeavor is an enormous and relentless task and will only flourish if there is a multitude of volunteer cachers willing to place these caches.

Each person that places a New Mexico Spirit Quest cache is responsible for its maintenance.

The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, Until it joins some larger way Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say. 

 Like I said - there are some great photos of these truely creative grave markers.   And - the views are amazingly beautiful

Just around the corner is yet another great little cache.  Bob8Bear   placed GC3837Q,  Sprit of Madrid  , near what some call the Cowboy, Hippy Cemetery. Check out the description and photos and a little bit of a video.  

Geocache description:

The cache is located outside of the Cemetery, but due to some nearby residences, stealth mode is always appropriate. 

There are two theories about how Madrid was named. In 1603 a Spaniard named Francisco de Madrid arrived in NM. It is possible that members of his family may have been in this area when coal mining began in 1835, and it is likely the community took the family name. It is also possible the name recalls the capital city of Spain. 

Coal production in the area peaked in 1920, and from 1920 to 1940 Madrid was a company-owned town of the Albuquerque and Cerrillos Coal Co. After WW II the demand for coal dwindled and in 1954 the entire town was offered for sale for $250,000. There were no takers.

Today Madrid is undergoing a renaissance as a tourist center, with ambiance replacing coal as the major resource. 

If you decide to explore the Cemetery, please be respectful of the area. There are some real creative grave markers in the northern section of the cemetery. The southern section appears to be older and is likely from the coal mining era. 

The best reading we could get showed our accuracy at 20 feet, so the coords may seem a little off. You are looking for a camoed bison tube, so bring your own writing stick. 

These are some really amazing head stones.

Check out this video.  There are a lot of them on YouTube, just in case you are as entertained as I was.

 Before I put little braids in my hair and do something that leaves me with serious munchies, I will share a different cache that may have resident spirits.

Not far away, between Madrid and Santa Fe is a little town called Cerrillos.  If you open yourself up to their existence, you will feel, if not see, the spirits that live in this area.  The moment you enter town, you know that you have stepped back in time just a little bit.  Layers of paint on the trims of old adobe buildings can not hide their age.  And then you have the dirt roads -

Here's a little story about one spirit that lives in the old general store.

The town of Cerrillos (Little Hills) is a charming, tree-shaded town located 27 miles south of Santa Fe. The village is one of the old traditional villages in Santa Fe County. Cerrillos officially came into being in the 1870s as a wild and wooly mining town, and little has changed in its appearance since then. It contains many old western storefronts and adobe buildings, complete with hitching posts, old grocery and western bar, old church, ancient cottonwood trees, dirt streets ,and railroad tracks. It can be seen in the Walt Disney movie, “Elfego Baca” and then later in “Young guns I and II. While there, if you go into the old General Store – which is still in operation – there is a cold spot, although no one knows why, or they aren’t saying, on your right even though there are windows directly in front of its location.

This area is rich with history thanks to a booming mining industry from the late 1870's.  Of course, with wealth comes the fun stuff.  Miners, bars, drinking, carousing and of course, fights that end in death.  The more success in mines, the more bodies that are left behind.  The more bodies that are left behind, the more ghosts that are around to welcome the modern tourist.

GC38383, Spirit of Cerrillos, was established by Bob8Bob; such a brave sole.  Check out this cache info.

Geocaching description:

The cache is located just outside of the Cemetery, so be respectful of the area. Stealth mode is always appropriate. 

The Village of Cerrillos was likely named for the hills 3 miles NW of the Village, which appear on some maps under the oxymoron name Cerrillos Hills, which translates to “little hills hills.” 

It was the minerals in these and other nearby hills that twice engendered a settlement in Cerrillos. The first was before 1680 when Indians mined turquoise here, and when the Spanish arrived they continued to work the turquoise mines. Turquoise from Cerrillos area even found its way into the crown jewels of Spain. 

The second mining boom was in 1879 when two prospectors from Colorado found promising gold and silver ore in the “little hills.” Cerrillos flourished and the mining camps of Bonanza and Carbonateville sprang up nearby, but they soon died after the precious metal veins ran out. But Cerrillos continued to survive due to the coal deposits needed by the AT&SF Railroad, which reached Cerrillos in 1880. 

At one time mining in Cerrillos supported twenty-one saloons and four hotels, and was once seriously considered as the capitol of New Mexico. 

The Cerrillos mining district is one of the oldest and most marked of the old spanish mineral developments in the Territory. Rich deposits of lead, zinc and silver were mined at the Mina Del Tiro, which is the oldest ore mine in the U.S. 

You are looking for a camoed match holder. If you decide to explore the Cemetery, please be respectful of the area.

From miners, to Indians, to Chinese laundry workers, the beautiful women of the local brothels  -  they have all left behind a bit of themselves.  Or should I say, they all have kept a little bit of themselves right there at home in Cerrillos.

- no different than the more secluded areas of New Mexico, when it comes to the haunting.  Dozens of areas around town have documented cases of ghost and spirits.  Many have attracted geocachers and have a nice little cache to find, if you dare.  I dare - I dare you to find these caches in the dark of the night. 

Kimo Theater is right in the middle of a very active area.  Not too far from the freeway that leads to Santa Fe.  Just a bit away from the world famous Albuquerque Balloon Festival.  What is the story here?  Well - the story is that the spirit of Bobby Darnall a young boy who died when a boiler exploded is said to haunt the theater.Although there are also reports of a young woman wearing a bonnet who has been seen wandering the hallways, the employees of the theater believe that Bobby is the most active ghost, and is prone to playing tricks and pranks on the crew. Whether it is just basic superstition or not, everything that goes wrong in the theater gets blamed on Bobby and cast members attempt to appease him by bribing him with doughnuts, leaving them out before performances so that he won’t interfere with their show.

Now for the cache - GC200ET - Halloween Haunts:Kimosabe 

Geocache description:

This cache is one of a series of Halloween caches we are placing in locations that are reputed to be haunted. Other caches in the series are: GC1ZZK2, GC1ZZAT, GC200EH, GC200EM, GC200DJ, GC200C1, GC200CY. Happy H(a)unting! 

This architectural gem is known for the many famous people who trod the boards there, but also for the six-year-old poltergeist. Bobby Darnall was killed there when a water heater exploded, then decided to hang around stirring up mischief. Bobby isn't alone; people have seen a woman dressed in Old West attire and a gentleman in a black suit and top hat. Perhaps they have united to form a ghostly family, although Bobby is the only one to have a shrine dedicated to him. 

10/28/09 Update: Coordinates do bounce around a lot in this area but we'll double check them on Friday. Magnetic, not too low, not too high, easy to feel without being too obvious even though it's a high traffic area.

 Nice job Readingdogs with this cache. I wonder if Readingdogs was involved in the other Halloween caches.  We'll know by the end of this post. 

Tealeaf did an amazing job with the description of this cache.  I have nothing to say but, take a look at the info on Team Tuxawuxa; New Mexico Challenge.

Geocache Description:

Team Tuxawuxa has completed all 33 counties of the New Mexico Challenge. For the custom cache, the 34th, the only request was that it be within a mile of the center of of Albuquerque which can be found at the dummy coordinates for the Quadrants: The Heart of New Mexico. Congratulations to Wayne who hit them all and Billy, Phil and various canines who were along for parts of the ride.

The cache is in Highland Park. It contains a log and you will need a pencil. The closest parking is on Silver. Up the hill from the cache, you can see the historic Albuquerque Press Club building. Here's some history on this fascinating place.

History of the Press Club (Whittlesey House) The Whittlesey House was designed by architect Charles Whittlesey and built at his family residence in 1903 on the western edge of the Highland east of Albuquerque. It is a three-story frame structure designed after a Norwegian villa. Low-pitch roofs with exposed log fronting, rough log-cut facades and a wide porch, which surrounds its eastern rooms, characterized the house. For the Whittlesey family this rustic and rough-texture structure was, no doubt a change in lifestyle from their previous Chicago residence. It stood, at that time, virtually alone on the Highland - the town not having grown in that direction. There was no vegetation or trees in the area. The view east to the Sandias and west to the town, river and volcanoes was unobstructed.

Albuquerque was known nationwide at the time for its good climate, conducive to the treatment of certain diseases. Located on the Highland near the house were two sanitariums. Indications are that the house was leased with its wide porches and open areas, to many people who came to this city for convalescent reasons. One particular nurse who came West with a patient and stayed on to become head nurse at the Albuquerque Sanitarium, passed the house each day on her way to work. She informed a suitor that if he bought the 'log' house she would marry him. Arthur B. Hall bought the house in 1920 and she married him. Clifford Hall, A.B.'s wife, lived in and eventually owned the house during the next forty years. It was 'home' to her more than to any family prior to or after her ownership. She brought the house through periods of extensive remodeling and interior style changes.

During the twenties the Halls were owners and proprietors of Hail's Royal Pharmacy, corner of 2nd and Gold. They kept the interior of the house predominantly Indian - much as Whittlesey had done. Navajo rugs covered the rough wood floors; the shelves lined with pottery by Maria, Tonita and Santa; Mexican furniture was common and wrought iron lights used when gas was added. Early New Mexico artists, such as Hongner, Redin and Van Hesler, were welcomed to the house, often painting and working on the wide porch. The Halls also collected Chinese furniture, some pieces having been left in the house by earlier leases that had died there. Much of the Chinese and Indian furniture is still in the family today.

In 1930 Clifford was divorced from A.B. Hall. By 1935, she was remarried to Herbert McCallum, but this too would end in divorce in 1938. As a source of income during these years, she would rent out portions of the house. The south porch was framed out and part of the first level was sealed off to make a separate apartment. The original stable was renovated and added to, making it an apartment complex. An additional apartment was built adjacent to it. As new building materials were introduced, Clifford resurfaced the interior walls of the house. Whittlesey's rough wood and burlap surfaces were covered by celutex, plaster and wood planking.

By the middle of the forties Clifford McCallum was working for Vanlandingham Studios, first as a seamstress and eventually, owner. During these years the rough wood floors were resurfaced with oak strip flooring. Knotty pine siding was introduced to some wall surfaces. An earlier color scheme of gold and red was accentuated through new furniture and draperies. Marble-topped European furniture pieces fill the main room. This, of all the rooms in the house was the visually richest. The immense lava rock fireplace, the filled bookshelves lining the walls and the rustic bark wall surfaces were contrasted against the golds and reds of the floor, furniture, draperies and incidentals.

The Highland Park 'log' house was a showplace during the thirties, forties and fifties. Clifford McCallum spent a great deal of her house and its surroundings. She opened her home to many people, among them William Lovelace, who brought his international guests to view the house. The Mayo brothers, whose clinic is known worldwide, were frequent visitors. William Keleher, Clyde Tingley and even Clinton Anderson, in his early political years, were friends and visitors to the house. In 1960 Clifford sold the house. Her increasing age, the extensive upkeep on the structure and numerous other reasons contributed to her decision. Zeta Mu Zeta House Corp. of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity purchased the house. The structure with its many rooms and apartment like situation suited the fraternity well. Little information was available about the fraternity's activities, their members having moved elsewhere, inadequate fraternity records, etc. The fraternity sold the house in 1966 to John T. Roberson, who leased the structure. The Albuquerque Press Club purchased the Whittlesey House in the seventies. There are public and private events held here that are not necessarily press club related. A Mardi Gras party and a wedding reception were being planned when I placed the cache.
We have a cacher connection to the house. Kingbee from Bloomfield told me "My Dad lived in the large house during the 1940's and had some good stories to tell. Like they never had to mow the lawn because it was part of the park, Elm street just kinda ended and then started on the other side, he would get cardboard boxes and slide down the hill, MaryLou Heffie later bought the house and they would listen to the macaw bird about the parties".

Ghostly events * The vast majority of reported phenomena are auditory in nature. The sound of high heeled shoes has been heard by several witnesses walking across the floors of the bar and lobby area. Noises have have also been associated with the poll table in a room downstairs. Voices and balls moving about on the pool table of their own accord comprise a few of these accounts. The piano in the lobby has also been played (3 notes) by an unseen presence. * The apparition of a woman in a black shawl has been reported on several occasions in various locations throughout the building. The bar staff have a ritual of leaving the "ghost" a shot of gin on the corner of the bar. * Cats at the club have been observed watching and hissing at a unseen presence. (info from southwest ghosthunter's association)


Lamy, New Mexico is a really 'in the middle of nowhere'.  It is a beautiful area but without a lot to offer, unless you are interested in boarding a train.  Some of the spirits of Lamy have decided they ahve no intention of heading out on any train.  Lamy has been reported to be home to many ghost, including Ramon, or 'the man in black', who is alleged to have been shot in the saloon.  Another ghost who regularly appears is 'the lady in white' who spend her time in the afterlife floating around the tables of the Legal Tender.  Nobody seems to know where she came from.

As for the cache, GC4E0FX - Spirit of Lamy, owned by Nodderbug (is that not just the best name or am I just that tired?) is once again a great sounding cache, but not too sure if it is one for night caching.  Especially if you are faint of heart.

Geocache description:

A tethered container adjacent to side road, and need not to bush whack. According to a resident, this cemetery is on private land and the locals are very sensitive about strange vehicles. A nearby home overlooks this quaint little area. Therefore, this cache is placed at an offset from the cemetery which can be seen from GZ looking .23 of a mile at a NNW direction.

Named after Archbishop Jean Baptiste LAMY, a Frenchman who was sent to New Mexico by the Catholic Church in 1851, LAMY became a famous railway stop on the mainline of the AT&SF RR. A spur line was built from here to Santa Fe to service the trades and tourist industry. LAMY village was in the center of the 16,547 acre LAMY Land Grant that Archbishop LAMY had taken in trust for the church.

LAMY Post Office operated from 1881 to 1963. LAMY is still a major train stop with the nearby Legal Tender Restaurant and Saloon, and lately a museum, open for business from time to time.

This "Spirit" cache is placed here in memory of those pioneers and settlers of this area. We solicit the volunteer efforts of cachers like yourselves to place a "Spirit" cache at or near a cemetery of your choosing.

It is obvious to anybody who reads my posts that I could most likely research and write about the cemetery caches every day.  But, there's other work to be done and other geocaching events happening that I want to learn about.  Especially the space bound travel bug.  So, for now this is the last haunted cache that I will write about.  For today.  Tomorrow is another day and another whim.

I can't justify calling this a community or a town - there just isn't much there.  Not much in the way of the living.  The history of this area tells all when it comes to the extent of possible spirits that linger.  It is a sad and tragic story and one that I would not want to tell much of.  But here's the basics.

In 1901 the Dawson coal mine opened and a railroad was constructed from Dawson to Tucumcari and the town was born. Then in 1906, the Phelps Dodge company bought the mine and increased development. Dawson went on to have its own newspaper, the Dawson News, a theater, hotel, modern homes, hospital, baseball park, golf course, bowling alley and more. Dawson's high school basketball and football teams went on to win many awards. Then disaster struck, not once, but twice. On October 22, 1913 at 3:10 P.M., an explosion in the mine killed 263 minors plus two rescuers. Then on February 8, 1923 at 2 P.M., another explosion killed 120 men. Surprisingly though, the town didn't die, but rather went on until the mine was closed down in 1950. When the mine closed, Phelps Dodge sold the whole town, buildings and all, to be carried off to other locations. Today, the cemetery is the main thing to see at Dawson. 

Amongst the rocky hills, lays the shabby remains of several grave stones.  The wood is rotted on many and the fences are fallen apart - these graves are not maintained.  To look at this, you would think - her lays the remains of this little community from long ago. Tho you may see crosses by the dozen, you know that is deceiving.  If you read it's history, you know that the real grave is far below the surface, in the mines where hundreds of men died.  It must be those men who's spirits can not be kept below and still surface to take a look at who has come to visit this old grave yard.

The cache seems to be an easy one to find, if you can find the area at all.  Let's hope your Garmin is ready for spuratic signal.  GCMGAW, Dawson Cemetery, was established by PRanger.  I wonder if PRanger has a relative that ties him to the area.  Think I'll have to send out a message and find out.
Anyway - here's the bit of info about the cache.

Geocache description:

This ammo can is located outside the gates of the Dawson Cemetery

 Dawson - In 1901 the Dawson coal mine opened and a railroad was constructed from Dawson to Tucumcari and the town was born. Then in 1906, the Phelps Dodge company bought the mine and increased development. Dawson went on to have its own newspaper, the Dawson News, a theater, hotel, modern homes, hospital, baseball park, golf course, bowling alley and more. Dawson's high school basketball and football teams went on to win many awards. Then disaster struck, not once, but twice. On October 22, 1913 at 3:10 P.M., an explosion in the mine killed 263 minors plus two rescuers. Then on February 8, 1923 at 2 P.M., another explosion killed 120 men. Surprisingly though, the town didn't die, but rather went on until the mine was closed down in 1950. When the mine closed, Phelps Dodge sold the whole town, buildings and all, to be carried off to other locations. Today, the cemetery is the main thing to see at Dawson. 

 Getting there : Turn off Hwy. 64 on to Dawson Rd., just south of the Colfax Tavern. Drive 5 miles on Dawson road and you made it. 

Please hide better than you found it.

That's it for now.  I am sure I will not be able to resist a few more post of haunted geocaches.  But, here is just one more little goodie for you.  This video of  Dawson Cemetery is great, especially if you don't think you will ever make it there yourself.  The shear silence of the person who taped it is quite eerie.

Do you dare?  Order this shirt here for the woman in your life or for yourself.  It's all in fun.

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