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Mesa's haunted history on display

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Posted: Friday, October 7, 2011 12:30 pm

Blame it on evil spirits or just the practical joke of a ghost.

Ghost chasers and those interested in knowing which downtown Mesa businesses are haunted and have experienced paranormal activity were temporarily unable to purchase tickets for the Mesa Historical Museum’s Annual Mesa Ghost Tour, as the museum’s website crashed last week. 

However, organizers of the tour wanted people to know that tickets for the popular tour still are available for the event held along Main Street between Robson and Center Street in downtown Mesa from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 21 and 22. The museum’s website, also is back up for ordering tickets online.

This year, the haunted tour has a different twist: For the first time, it will be held at night, creating a more spooky atmosphere.

“The evening is when people want to hear ghost stories,” said Alice Jung, collections manager for the Mesa Historical Museum and chairwoman for the tour. “This year, we’re going to focus more on the ghostly aspects of downtown Mesa, and not the history of the buildings. There’s a lot of history in downtown Mesa, and a lot of things happened there in the early part of the 20th century.

“We want people to know that tickets are still available.”

There will be a lot of stories of ghosts and strange happenings, especially from the old city jail in the basement of the Arizona Museum of Natural History (formerly Mesa City Hall), businesses such as goth shop Evermore Nevermore, Queens Pizzeria, Mystic Paper and SunDust Gallery.

The gallery features mysterious brick tunnels in the lower level, which once ran under all the downtown businesses in the early 1900s for reasons unknown. Some of the doors to portions of the tunnels are sealed off, leaving one to wonder what’s lurking behind them.

In other businesses such as Evermore Nevermore, items have been seen flying off the shelves as if someone gave them a good swat.

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

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

This year, the Nile Theater, Urban Picnic sandwich shop and the Eclectic Monkey Emporium, a thrift shop, are joining the tour.

The Eclectic Monkey (formerly Good Store) building at 220 W. Main St. was one of the early grocery stores in Mesa. The thrift store’s owner, Glenn Blackmore, said there’s a door to a basement that has been sealed off by a light coating of concrete.

“I don’t know if it’s a small basement, a large basement or the size of a closet,” Blackmore said. “Ron Maher of Maher Flooring sealed it off when he put tile in here and poked his head in the door to see what was back there. He said it was spooky. There could be ghosts wandering around in there.”

Tickets also are available for the Mesa Historical Museum’s Paranormal Investigation, which will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Oct. 15 with the Phoenix Arizona Paranormal Society, and Arizona Paranormal Investigations. The team will explore the museum’s buildings at 2345 N. Horne in Mesa. The buildings were built in 1913 and 1937, and formerly housed Lehi School.

Using the latest technology, the investigators will seek to capture and explain ghostly happenings. Do pianos really play themselves, do objects move on their own — and who has been seen sitting in the museum’s wagon?

For multimedia from last year’s investigation, go to

Participants must bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a flashlight. No children younger 16 can attend this event. Light refreshments will be served. Tickets cost $25, and all proceeds go to benefit the Mesa Historical Museum.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6533 or

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