When most people hear “creepy New Mexico stories,” their initial reaction usually includes phrases like “Roswell” and “aliens.” But while UFO sightings and potential alien crash sites are definitely a part of the state’s freaky history, New Mexico offers numerous creepy legends and myths worthy of an entire season of The X-Files.
Stemming from local myths and histories, some of these tales are ghost stories involving individual spirits haunting their former mansions, while others focus on large groups of entities haunting places where they were harmed or murdered. Still other legends deal with unexplained phenomena like the Taos Hum and a possible gateway to Hell – in other words, if you’re looking for a spooky good time, New Mexico is the place to be.
Demonic Ghost Appears at Crossroads
This story involves a creepy ghost named La Mala Hora. She has the face of a demon, glowing red eyes, and sharp, pointed teeth. She appears in country crossroads after dark, and she is only seen by those traveling alone.
Some say she is a dangerous demon who enjoys terrorizing humans by paralyzing them or turning them insane. Other legends describe this creepy ghost as an omen of death. If you see her, then someone in your life will die very soon.
Ghost Town Haunted by Dead Miners
Dawson, New Mexico doesn’t really exist anymore because the town was abandoned after two deadly disasters. The only thing left of the old mining town is the Dawson Cemetery. The small town thrived in the late 1800s, but tragedy struck in 1913 when an explosion took the lives of nearly 300 miners. Ten years later, another explosion killed 123 men. The company closed down the mine, and Dawson became a ghost town soon after.
Now, visitors see misty apparitions and glowing lights near the cemetery gravestones. Legends say these lights are the headlights of the ghostly miners’ helmets.
Creepy Humming Noise Plagues Residents
This one is less of a story and more of a phenomenon.
According to a number of New Mexicans, the town of Taos is home to a creepy, endless humming sound that certain residents and visitors are able to hear. Those who can hear it describe the sound as something similar to a “far-away diesel engine.” The sound was so prevalent that a group of citizens petitioned Congress to investigate the noise in 1993.
Even creepier: this humming sound is a worldwide phenomenon. Is it caused by ghosts? Aliens? Giant evil Gods? We may never know.
A Shootout Haunts This Old Restaurant
In Corrales, New Mexico, the Rancho de Corrales is an old Spanish estate once owned by Diego Montoya. Five years after the couple of Luis and Louisa Emberto purchased it, however, a shootout occurred on the property after Luis found out his wife was cheating on him. Luis killed his wife, but was killed in the ensuing gun battle in his home shortly after.
Later, the estate became a restaurant seemingly haunted by the tortured couple. People heard voices and saw a woman dressed in 19thcentury clothing moving through the property.
Unfortunately, the property was destroyed by a fire in 2012, taking the haunted legend with it.
A Boy’s Ghost Haunts the KiMo Theater
Albuquerque, New Mexico is home to the haunted KiMo theater. The movie theater was built in 1929, a time when silent movies had just become immensely popular in mainstream America.
The theater grew in popularity, but disaster struck in 1951 when there was an unexpected explosion in the boiler room. The explosion destroyed much of the lobby, and it killed a six year-old boy named Bobby Darnall.
The boy’s ghost still haunts the theater, and he is often seen wearing a striped shirt and blue jeans. Sometimes he plays mischievous tricks on the staff and guests, but other times he’s simply playing around in the lobby.
Mansion Haunted by Former Owner
This ghost story is set in a historic mansion in Las Lunas, New Mexico. The prominent Luna-Ortero family first built the mansion in 1880, and the property stayed in the family until 1970.
After the family sold the mansion, it was turned into a fine dining restaurant. Shortly thereafter, a female ghost began haunting the guests.
The ghost appears in 1920s clothing and she looks very real. She is often seen sitting in an old rocking chair on the second floor. The widespread belief is that she’s the ghost of Josefina Ortero, one of the home’s former owners. Her spirit behaves more like a remnant of another era, as those who have seen her claim she merely sits at a table or roams the halls, preferring not to interact with the living.
Other legends tell of a ghost named Cruz, a former grounds keeper. While he does interact with the staff and patrons alike, he is said to be very friendly.
Hotel Haunted by Suicide Victim
Originally a private mansion, La Posada Hotel was built in 1882 by Abraham Staab and his wife, Julia Staab. They were wealthy, popular, and generous. They had six children and they seemed to be living a successful and happy life.
However, after Julia miscarried her seventh child, she became isolated and depressed. After a few more unsuccessful pregnancies, she went crazy and committed suicide in 1896. Ever since then, her ghost has haunted the property.
The mansion is now a hotel, and Julia’s ghost has been seen wandering the premises. She also turns the fireplace off and on, and she sometimes throws glasses around in the bar.
The Death Waltz, First Variation
This well-known ghost story is called “The Death Waltz.” It goes like this:
A young lieutenant named Johnny falls in love with a flirtatious and dramatic girl named Celia. After he is called to battle, he proposes to her and she accepts with much enthusiasm. She even promises to never marry if he dies at war.
Jonny dies in battle and Celia gets engaged to a new man within just one month. Jonny’s ghost is not happy about this, so he crashes the wedding (with no scalp and flaming eyes) and he kills Celia. Legend’s say, you can still see Celia’s ghost weeping near Jonny’s grave.
It is said that Jonny served at Fort Union, a military post that is now a national monument.
The Death Waltz, Second Variation
This is an alternate version of the same tale recounted above. The details are a bit different, but the crux of the story is mostly the same.
The story goes a young lieutenant on the western frontier fell for a gold digging woman and was completely blind to her less than desirable traits. When he was called out to fight the Apaches, she told him if he died she would never marry another man. Well, then the men came back to the fort our lieutenant was nowhere to be seen. Very quickly, his intended announced she was marrying another man and soon the wedding day approached.
At the wedding ball, a ghoulish figure showed up. The musicians kept playing as if possessed while the figure took the bride from her husband, then danced with her while all watched in a strange trance. The life drained from her until she died. The ghoul vanished through the door. A few days later, the body of the lieutenant was found.
Children’s Hospital Plagued by Spirits
The Carrie Tingley Children’s Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico is haunted by numerous spirits and ghosts. The facility first opened in 1937 as a hospital for children with polio. It is named after the wife of Governor Clyde Tingley because she influenced his movement to create more hospitals throughout New Mexico.
It’s still open today, but the hospital is filled with paranormal activity, including creepy dark-hooded figures, glowing (empty) rooms, and “the sounds of children crying, voices, and even a heartbeat can be heard in the empty areas.”
Ghost of Woman Cries for Her Children
The ghost story of La Llorona is prevalent throughout the Southwest with various versions, which naturally includes New Mexico. In this version, the weeping woman is the ghost of a mother who drowned her children for purely selfish reasons. Before her death, she was a widow who fell in love a prominent nobleman. However, the man refused to marry her because he did not want to raise another man’s children. In response, the woman drowned her two kids.
She instantly regretted her decision, and she drowned herself because of the immense guilt. She is cursed to wander near rivers, creeks, and canals forever while she weeps for her children.
Restaurant Haunted by Murder Victims
The family’s youngest son fell in love with a maid, and his disapproving mother ordered him to end the relationship immediately. One day, the judgmental mother returned home early from a trip to find the two embracing, and she went into a murderous rage. She stabbed the girl with a pair of scissors, and then she literally stabbed her own son in the back. The woman never spoke again out of guilt and regret. The ghostly couple still haunts the mansion (now a restaurant) but they are relatively playful spirits.
Gateway to Hell on Boy Scouts’ Property
This paranormal story involves the Urraca Mesa in the Philmont Scout Ranch (owned by the Boy Scouts of America). The Mesa is creepy for quite a few reasons. First, compasses don’t work there. Second, it’s been struck by lightning more than any other location in New Mexico. Third, it’s widely believed to be a gateway to Hell by Navajo tradition.
According to Navajo beliefs, the Mesa was once a battleground between humans and the supernatural forces of darkness. This violent battle opened up a portal to hell, and only certain protective cat totems stand in the way of it opening entirely.
Visitors of the area have seen strange creatures. They’ve also heard creepy voices, and they’ve even seen a floating blue light above the mesa.
The Maria Teresa Has a Self-Playing Piano
A historic building in Albuquerque dating back to 1783 has since become a place for fine dining. It’s also said to be one of New Mexico’s most haunted buildings. Up to four different spirits have been counted moving through the establishment. In addition to phantom figures, the piano often plays on its own… and it’s not a player piano.
People also have felt being touched by an unseen hand, ghostly reflections, hearing voices, and objects that move on their own accord. At the very least, we hope the food is good!
A Business Man’s Spirit Still Enjoys Good Theatre
The Wool Warehouse Theater Restaurant in Albuquerque was built in 1929 by Frank Bond, a successful wool tycoon. It features an Egyptian motif in its architecture, as the designer had just returned from the region.
It’s said that during performances, you can spot a man in a lightly colored double breasted suit standing to the side of the stage. The figure is thought to be Mr. Bond, who is enjoying the performance from beyond the grave. However, behind the stage, strange occurrences have happened, such as unseen hands grabbing the performers or people hearing strange noises from inside the walls.
Abandoned Insane Asylum Haunted by Victims
The site of an abandoned insane asylum in Albuquerque’s North Valley is haunted by numerous former patients.
According to local legends, the facility was once managed by an evil doctor who experimented on patients (often resulting in their deaths). Witnesses say these murdered patients now haunt the site, and people feel a sense of “oppression” when they are nearby.
Visitors of the abandoned site have even seen a creepy dark figure following them, and the same spirit has appeared in multiple photographs taken there over the years.
The Screaming at Haunted Hill
There are foothills at the end of a street called Menaul Boulevard in Albuquerque where apparently an old man lived in a cave. He brought prostitutes to his home and killed them. People who visit the foothills often report hearing screams, footsteps, and bodies being dragged. There have also been sightings of a phantom old man walking with a lantern in the dark.
Never House Your Business at the Site of a Mental Hospital
The Xilinx building in Albuquerque is a technology development up, but back in the day, it used to be a mental hospital. And because the creepiness of those places never really goes away, the staff of the Xilinx building often report strange occurrences in their offices. People have heard banging sounds, groaning in the courtyard, and whispers in the offices. Objects have also moved on their own and figures have been seen roaming the hallways.