Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The supernatural legacy of Hangman’s Warehouse and the EEO
SIERRA VISTA Herald/Review ^ | Amanda Shell

Posted on 06/12/2011 3:58:49 PM PDT by SandRat

SIERRA VISTA — Places across Southern Arizona, like Tombstone, Bisbee and Old Tucson, have been able to keep their Wild West history very much alive. The historic pasts of these locations have been so well preserved that it sometimes feels like many of their original residents still thrive among the living through interactions that can only be explained as “paranormal activity.”

The paranormal is a concept that people may choose to believe in or not. Regardless of beliefs, people know where to find supernatural activity within Cochise County, in ghost towns and in tourist towns.

But one place goes unnoticed, despite its importance in the area. One of the most prominent supernatural areas within our community lies right behind the gates of Fort Huachuca, a place that maintains a vivid history, stained by death, battle and angst.

Fort Huachuca’s Public Affairs Officer Angela Moncur shared the story of Hangman’s Warehouse, located across from what is today the Equal Employment Opportunity Office. Hangman’s Warehouse stood as the post’s hanging gallows from the late 1800s to early 1900s. The warehouse acquired its name after two men were hung beneath its side windows in 1942 and in 1943.

In 1942, Pvt. James Rowe was hung after a small dispute turned into a brutal murder over a carton of cigarettes. Rowe was in the barracks when a fellow soldier angrily approached him with accusations of his stolen cigarettes. Rowe defended himself, even though he had the carton stashed away in his boot. The soldier was persistent, and claimed he saw Rowe take the carton. Rowe grew furious and pulled out a small knife, then repeatedly stabbed the man in the neck.

The following year, Staff Sgt. Jerry Sykes’s ex-girlfriend and her husband, a 1st Sgt., were having a Christmas party off post. Sykes and the woman had been having an affair. The woman’s husband had been out buying liquor for the party when Sykes picked her up and took her to a nearby bar.

Several drinks later, Sykes and his lover drove onto post, where they got into a heated argument. Sykes parked in a secluded clearing, where he pulled a knife out of the glove compartment and viciously stabbed her in the neck, side and chest.

Graves for both Rowe and Sykes remain in the Fort Huachuca Post Cemetery in the far right region. Their graves are sectioned away from the other graves because they mark the bodies of murderers.

Faces have been seen in the high risen windows of the warehouse, along with strong scents of cigar smoke and the sound of agonizing cries.

Across from Hangman’s Warehouse sits the Equal Employment Opportunity Office, which was originally built as the first Fort Huachuca jail. EEO Director and AEP Program Manager Beth Ford and Complaints and ADR Manager Martha Aoki said they’ve each had encounters with the paranormal while in the EEO building.

Aoki recalled once being alone in the building while she was working in her office, she heard the microwave in the room next to her office turn on and smelled the aroma of cooking food. She went to see if another employee had come in, but Aoki was alone. The microwave had turned off and there was no food to be found.

That wasn’t the only time something strange happened while she was alone in the building.

“I was here working behind my desk, when I heard the radio in Effron’s (supervisor) office turn on, playing country music,” she said. “I walked in jokingly saying ‘What kind of party are you throwing in there?’ Because he hated country music. When I was completely in the office, I realized nobody else was in there.”

Ford said a co-worker’s son would periodically stop by the EEO to visit his mother and take candy from her desk. Once, when people in the office thought they heard his footsteps, they were mistaken.

“He used to always wear cowboy boots,” she said. “One time, we all heard cowboy boots and the sound of spurs coming down the hallway. You could tell someone was walking, the footsteps were that clear. We all thought it was our co-worker’s son coming to visit his mother, but he wasn’t in the building — nobody else was wearing cowboy boots.”

Both Ford and Aoki remembered when a co-worker’s young daughter pointed out to her mother a woman standing in the building across the street.

“As she looked into the building across from the EEO, a woman dressed in a white gown was standing in the window looking back at her,” Aoki said. “Jolted, the women walked to the next window to see the same apparition in the window across the way. The only strange thing was that in the other building there was a wall between the two windows, meaning that the ‘woman’ across the way had to have walked through the wall to be standing where she was.”

A paranormal investigation group set up audio equipment in the EEO building over a six-hour period, they said. When the audio was played the next morning, the words “Help me!” could be clearly heard with the naked ear.

“Help Me” was a common phrase bellowed by the prisoners held captive in the jail. The opened cells faced the hanging gallows (Hangman’s Warehouse). The stench of death and the sight of men being hung filled the heads of the helpless prisoners, who knew this would soon be their fate.

Fort Huachuca’s most well-known paranormal presence is that of a young girl who inhabits the Carleton House.

Named after Brig. Gen. James H. Carleton, the building was constructed as Fort Huachuca’s first hospital in 1880. With only eight beds and a downstairs morgue, the Carleton House was the only place on the fort where wounded and ill soldiers could find relieve.

This building served as the hospital until 1885, when it was closed due to inadequate conditions. It later served as a mess hall, schoolhouse, chapel, café and to this day remains as quarters for officers and their families.

Despite the many services this building has provided over the past 106 years, one customer seems to have never left.

“Charlotte” continues to roam the hallways of the Carleton House looking for her child. Within the first five years of the building being a hospital, it housed a woman who gave birth to a baby boy. No one knows exactly when the woman died, but it is known that she and her baby died within a few days of each other.

“Charlotte” thought the corpse of her child was improperly handled. She died in despair because no burial was held for her baby.

Families that have occupied the Carleton House have experienced her presence frequently. A rocking chair was left in a corner of the house, and has been named “Charlotte’s Corner.” It rocks by itself, and when moved, it has been known to cause a ruckus throughout the building.

Aoki said the Carleton House was given to the post Chaplin years ago for a time. His time there included quite the chilling story.

“He wasn’t a believer in the paranormal when he moved in, and ignored the stories of ‘Charlotte,’ calling them a bunch of bull-hokey,” she said. “Now, the Chaplin’s daughter was very ill at one point, and so the Chaplin and his wife took her upstairs one night and put her in between them, in their bed. They both fell asleep, but their daughter was wide awake. When the Chaplin and his wife awoke the next morning their daughter was gone. Scared, the Chaplin ran downstairs, only to find his daughter lying peacefully on the rocking chair. ‘How did you get here honey?’ he asked. ‘Charlotte brought me downstairs and rocked me to sleep daddy,’ the young girl said.”

Other places on Fort Huachuca, such as Alvarado Hall, building 22420 and the post cemetery, have also been documented as haunted territories.

“Nothing on this Fort surprises me anymore,” historian Steve Gregory said.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; US: Arizona
KEYWORDS: ghosts; hangmanhouse; jail

1 posted on 06/12/2011 3:58:56 PM PDT by SandRat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SandRat

Interesting stories. My in-laws live in Hereford - I wonder if they will read this piece.

It must be an amateur writer. The “Chaplin”?

2 posted on 06/12/2011 4:15:37 PM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Darwinism is to Genesis as Global Warming is to Revelations.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TenthAmendmentChampion
Places across Southern Arizona, like Tombstone, Bisbee and Old Tucson

It must be an amateur writer. The “Chaplin”?

I agree. Old Tucson is a movie set, not a real town.

3 posted on 06/12/2011 4:22:02 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

Who writes this stuff? The men may well have been hung, but when referencing execution the term is always always Hanged.

4 posted on 06/12/2011 4:49:37 PM PDT by Freedom4US
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SandRat

From down in Mexico, the Sonora desert reaches up past Phoenix, and has a very old reputation as a haunted and magical place. Tucson has a magnetic attraction to all sorts of fortune tellers, psychics, etc., one of the largest assemblies of such people in the US.

In pre-historical context, a thousand years ago, there was a major trading route through the area, linking South America all the way to New England. Chaco canyon, NM was the equivalent of Chicago at the time, a major center for trade. Their typical currency was pieces of turquoise, and Chaco had the equivalent of a bank there, with tens of thousands of pieces in the ruins. It has been restored since formal archaeological work began in 1896.

West from there, the trade route continued until it reached the Salt River in Arizona, then turned south, heading to the three great Mesoamerican Indian empires of Mexico at the time.

South of the border, there are still a lot of brujos (witches) and large numbers of allegedly monstrous but mostly invisible entities, some areas so infested with them that the Indians won’t live there.

5 posted on 06/12/2011 4:57:22 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Freedom4US

There were a few typos in this piece - in one place the writer says “soldiers could find relieve.” I think she meant relief.

The story of Charlotte was creepy, though. One to remember for the next campfire (if we ever have one of those again).

6 posted on 06/12/2011 5:15:53 PM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Darwinism is to Genesis as Global Warming is to Revelations.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: SandRat
"The paranormal is a concept that people may choose to believe in or not."

I don't recall in which book CS Lewis discussed the matter, but he remarked on his dislike for the the terms 'paranormal' and 'supernatural'. He felt they were expressions of human vanity, suggesting that we had a firm grasp on, and were already capable of fully explaining all that was natural or normal.

7 posted on 06/12/2011 5:23:37 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TenthAmendmentChampion

Yes, and hung instead of hanged.

8 posted on 06/12/2011 8:37:33 PM PDT by Amberdawn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Amberdawn

I wrote this article during my first college journalism course, at the age of sixteen.

9 posted on 10/10/2013 4:39:01 AM PDT by Shelly22
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Shelly22
It's a fine article for a 16-year old. Well done. Best of luck in your endeavors.
10 posted on 10/10/2013 5:17:18 AM PDT by Justa
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson