Phoenix ghost tours give city history

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By Sarah Blais By Sarah Blais
By Sarah Blais By Sarah Blais
By Sarah Blais By Sarah Blais
By Sarah Blais By Sarah Blais
By Sarah Blais By Sarah Blais

PHOENIX -- The famous ghost tour at the Hotel San Carlos may have come to an end in October, but the rest of Phoenix continues to be haunted by its many other spiritual presences.

Every Saturday at 7 p.m., Phoenix Ghost Tours shows off buildings associated with the supernatural in the downtown area. Notable stops include the Westward Ho, Orpheum Theater, Hotel San Carlos, Seamus McCaffrey's and the YMCA.

It's an outdoor tour of the haunted buildings, though Ghost Tours is working on getting access inside some of them. The ghosts can supposedly be seen peeking out windows or appearing in pictures as orbs.

At the Westward Ho, resident Dennis McGarry leads the group inside the old hotel, which is difficult to get into unless you know someone. He tells stories by the outdoor pool (which many people don't know of) about how the subsidized home used to be the party-central of Phoenix.

Joe Atredies used to hold tours at the San Carlos, and created the walking tour in October. He researches state archives, death certificates, and buildings' history to find new haunts.

"A lot of this stuff can't be found on Google," said Atredies, "It surprises lots of people [how haunted Phoenix is]."

He is thinking about creating a new tour route, as well as an electronic voice phenomenon session, where people can go into a haunted room at the Westward Ho and ask questions to spirits using a special machine that picks up very low sounds.

"Nothing will pop out and scare you, but if you love history and ghosts, you'll have a good time," said Atredies.