The Shady Dell – A Ghostly Tale

This is an another story from Bisbee, AZ that took place back in the spring of 2009.  I was truly terrified!

Over this past weekend I went down to Bisbee, AZ for a yearly trip I take with some girlfriends. Bisbee is an old mining town and the locals say there are more spirits than people. The town has quite the history.

For a change of pace we decided to stay at The Shady Dell campground which features a series of refurbished campers from the 1940s and 1950s that you can rent.  We decided on the Tiki Bus which is a converted 1947 bus done up in Polynesian style, complete with Tiki gods and a grass roof on the inside.  One thing I happened to notice is that this campground is at the edge of an old cemetery.  I didn’t think much about it though.

We arrived this past Friday and marveled at the outdoor bar and all the antiques inside, including old music records and funky 1950s lamps.  After relaxing for a while we three decided to hit the hay.  The bus has one full twin mattress and one smaller twin mattress.  Both are located across from each other.  I shared the larger bed with one of my friends and decided that I would sleep on the inside closest to the wall.  It was a windy night and the trees above the bus kept scraping the metal roof.  It was very loud at times.  After about an hour of sleep I woke up.  The mattress was very uncomfortable.

I laid there awake for some time when all of a sudden I heard what sounded like nails scratching down the side of the mattress.  Now I have a pet ferret who likes to climb on things.  The sound was identical to when she is trying to climb up on the bed and loses her footing.  The only problem was my ferret was at home.  My blood went completely cold.  I tried to reason with myself that it was the wind outside.  But then again, this sound was only inches from my face and it was definitely the sound of scratching on fabric –not metal.  Now my heart is beating out of my chest.  I calmed myself down when I started to feel something moving in the mattress.  I could hear it through the pillow.  What the heck is that?  After repeating the Lord’s Prayer several times, I convinced myself that it was the springs in the mattress.  After all, I thought, everything in here is vintage.  Why not the mattress?

I turned over on my back and started to feel like things were touching my face and hands.  It felt like a spider web at first and then graduated to what felt like someone sprinkling sand over my face.  I’d go to wipe it away and nothing was there.  Let me say that at this point I was completely terrified.  In addition to the Lord’s Prayer, I conjured up every prayer I had learned as a child and said them over and over again in my mind until what ever it was went away.  After what seem like an eternity, the sun came up.  I’ve never been so grateful!

One of my girlfriends went down to the restroom to take a shower and I let my other girlfriend know about the strange experience.  She and I lifted the mattress up to find that it was a futon mattress –no springs.  So that ended that theory.  I had also thought that maybe an animal had gotten into the platform the bed was at from the wheel well of the old bus.  Then I discovered that the wheel wells were not even close to where we slept.  I only told her about the scratching sounds and the feeling of movement through the mattress. I  did not mention the feeling of stuff falling on my face (this will come into play later).

After a wonderful breakfast at Dot’s Diner, which is a restored 1950’s diner on the premises, we spent the day downtown and explored the shops and galleries.  My birthday was last week so my girlfriends decided they wanted to take me out to dinner.  We ended up at the Copper Queen Hotel, which is the oldest continuously running hotel in Arizona.  They first opened their doors in 1902 when it was built for executives from the Phelps Dodge Corporation who ran the nearby mines.  I would also like to mention that Ghost Hunters did an investigation there a few years ago.  I actually got to meet the lady who accompanied them around the hotel on a different visit to Bisbee.

After dinner we sat on the patio to people watch and enjoy a few drinks.  I got up to use the lady’s room which consists of two stalls.  In the stall next to mine the toilet suddenly flushed.  That’s funny, I thought.  I didn’t think anyone else was in here.  I waited to hear if someone would exit but there was nothing.  Only silence.  I went to wash my hands and noticed that the other stall door was open and there indeed was no one in there. Needless to say I finished up quickly and went back to join my friends.

All day long I was dreading sleeping on that bus.  I thought about sleeping in my friend’s car.  Later in the night we stayed up playing dominoes.  I didn’t feel quite as frightened as the night before.  When it was time to go to sleep, my friends were nice enough to let me have the smaller twin bed. My one girlfriend who I had relayed the experiences to of the night before, decided to sleep in the spot I had then.

It took a long time for me to fall asleep but when I did I was awoken to sound of a gasp/scream from the girlfriend that stayed in the same spot I had on the larger bed.  I asked her if she was okay.  She said, yeah, bad dream.

In the morning she told me she had dreamt that she was being buried alive in a coffin and could literally feel -get this- like sand was falling on her where she was being covered up.  I had never told her that part.  I still haven’t.  I didn’t want to freak her out.

Most of the weekend I spent on the unnerved side.  I’ve been to Bisbee many times and although I have written about one other occurrence, it really wasn’t as terrifying as this.  The campground itself is very cool.  I highly recommend it.  Just beware that people there talk about the ghosts as if they may mention the weather.  I would definitely go back but I would think twice about ever sleeping on the Tiki Bus again!

Here is their web site:

10 thoughts on “The Shady Dell – A Ghostly Tale

  1. ElizabethFrank123

    That is soooo scary, I would’ve gone home to be honest, things like that freak me out! You’re very brave to have stayed there haha

    • I think I would have liked to go home at that point. The second night I was absolutely dreading sleeping there. Where we had already paid though we decided to stay. I’m going back to that area next weekend and will not be staying in that same town. Too many creepy things have happened when I have.

  2. Oh my gosh, this one definitely gave me chills! The fact that you and your friend both had similar experiences when sleeping in that spot is just … eerie!

  3. Wow this is a very spooky story! Indeed weird but very interesting!
    now I’m a bit spooked. 🙂

  4. Man, that was super-scary! Especially the part about the sand.
    I love that patio outside the Copper Queen’s bar. In the summer, they spray a fine mist of water everywhere. With an ice-cold draft beer? Divine.

    • That was one of the scariest nights of my life. There was a guest book that was left in the bus and we went through it to find that other guests had also had unexplained experiences there, too. Creepy.

      The Copper Queen is awesome. That is so cool that you are familiar with the place as well. An ice-cod draft beer is a must! I hope to bring my friends there for drinks and dinner when they are out visiting in a few weeks.

      • Hello, Great story. Have you ever read or checked into magnet places, (ones that have unusual sensory reaction or real pulls?) Also, out in the woods scratching is not an uncommon occurence..was there food in that cool van? The dreams? I have no answer for that. Many times I am thinking and C says, ‘did you call me?’ From miles away. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the dead could come back from wherever? Well good write, great relate, enjoyable read, thanks..Peace Tony and CC

        • Hi Tony, thanks. Glad you enjoyed it. I still get shivers just thinking about it. I have heard that certain areas, like for instance, those with a lot of granite in the ground, seem to attract that kind of activity. Limestone too. Where it is a mining town, mainly for copper, maybe it is attracting this as well? Another theory I’ve heard is that certain materials act as a tape recorder, if you will, of events that happened in the past. Then it replays itself over and over again, hence activities of the same nature happening on the same night each year. Interesting stuff.

          As far as the old bus was concerned, we did have some food for the weekend but there was no evidence of mice getting in. No droppings or holes chewed into anything. But who knows? There could have been a logical explanation for the scratching sound and I was too scared to see it.

          I do believe that couples are more likely to experience clair-audio sensations. Not sure why that is but I suppose if you are around someone long enough it is likely that it’ll happen. I remember my father telling me that he would sometimes hear my mother calling to him when she wasn’t home. So much unexplained.

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