By Melody Romancito | October 26, 2013
I give paranormal walking tours from Taos Plaza. Many times people ask me if there are enough ghosts in the downtown area to warrant a tour and I say there are more than enough. There are so many stories and accounts of well-known spirits I can keep visitors busy for more than the usual two hours we spend on the tour – and that’s just in the downtown area alone.
Besides all the haunted sights to take in on the plaza and Kit Carson’s Memorial Park, there are historical accounts of hauntings to take in — along with local urban legends – although it is a great stretch of the imagination to use the words “urban” and “Taos” in the same sentence.
During the tours we poke around in the alleyways and byways of the downtown historical district, and there are few buildings that don’t have some sort of paranormal designation. There are accounts of odd calls to Central Dispatch in the wee hours of the morning to report a roving weeping woman who dodges headlights in the Bent Street parking area. There have been late-night complaints of a loud party in the Blumenschein Museum courtyard on Ledoux Street. And let’s not forget the story behind the three unmarked graves of in the cemetery. According to local lore, the graves mark the final resting place of three Taos Brujas (witches). They were buried under blacktop to make sure they could no longer do harm from beyond their graves.
Sometimes, we’ll encounter locals on our walk and we’ll ask “have you had any paranormal experiences?” They are happy to relay what they have heard or perhaps even experienced for themselves.
There are even instances when we have had our own experiences on the tour.
Do You Smell That?
Once, we were sitting in the lobby of La Fonda – one of our favorite resting points. I was describing previous owners, including Robert Poole and his sudden demise by a disgruntled customer in 1909 and the Karavas family who remodeled and renamed the hotel.
As I mentioned the name of former owner and ladies’ man Saki Karavas, fresh vanilla-laced cigar smoke wafted in from some unseen gallery. The scent was heaviest in the lobby area. Cigars were Saki’s signature — he almost always had one in hand. The smell of burning cigars is one of the constant claims of the paranormal for those who visit, work or stay at La Fonda. (In paranormal circles, souls of the dead that have returned to the land of the living in the form of scents often associated with them are known as “Perfume Ghosts.”)
I don’t just give a standard tour. Depending on the ages and interests of the group on the tour, I slant the scope and detail to fit the audience. Recently one of the folks on the tour was actually a paranormal investigator from the Midwest. He was looking for in-depth information about the kinds of spirits that might haunt the downtown area. I was able to go into detail about some of the claims in the area.
If there are children on the tour, I make sure and check with their parents because I don’t want to be responsible for “marking someone for life” by relaying the grizzly details of the murder of Governor Charles Bent or by going into graphic depictions of the lives and deaths of those sold into slavery on the plaza before the priests were able to persuade traders to move their market north of town.
The thing about Taos is, for a town its size, it has had a very dramatic and turbulent past. Along with baggage like that come unsavory characters, unforgivable acts and a lot of misery. That’s a perfect recipe for ghosts and the paranormal.
People ask me if I am afraid to walk through the streets of Taos at night, and I have to say yes. I’d be a fool not to be afraid – but that isn’t going to keep me from studying what I’m sincerely interested in and from sharing what I know about Haunted Taos with anyone who is interested.
Watch the video below for more information about the Ghosts of Taos walking tours.