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October 24th, 2013 | 8:42am

A Ghostwalkers Guide to Santa Fe

A city steepened in folklore and mythology, Santa Fe’s history is spattered with a myriad of legendary deaths and murders that gave this quaint town an ethereal reputation. Its modest 37.4 square miles are etched with paths that lead ghostwalkers to known locales regarded for their ghost sightings and paranormal activity. While most myths and legends come to life during Halloween, the ghosts of Santa Fe roam this historic town year-round giving believers and non-believers an extended opportunity to visit.                                                                     

Many argue that spirits roam freely among us each day; we just need to believe and be open-minded about their existence. The Inn and Spa at Loretto’s Ghostwalkers Guide gives you the tools and tips necessary to cultivate a ghost encounter. 

Below is information on five local ghosts within walking distance from the Inn. Seek them if you will, but beware, they may find you first!

1. Inn and Spa at Loretto - Sister George

The Inn and Spa at Loretto is built on the site that was formerly the Santa Fe Opportunity School. Sister George and several other nuns ran the school as part of the Sisters of Loretto, the Catholic order that also built the famous Loretto Chapel. In the late 1960s, a devastating fire destroyed nearly the entire school grounds, except the Loretto Chapel.            

In the early 1970s, the property was sold and the Inn and Spa at Loretto was built. In 1976, Sister George died and many say she returned to the school’s former property after death. Billie Frank, former concierge at the hotel, recalls “At one point when the fourth-floor was closed for renovation, the front-desk kept getting calls from that floor. I thought this was strange, but had no explanation for it. Then, one day, someone told me about Sister George’s affinity for phones and it all made sense. 

In addition to Sister George, there are other mysterious events that have happened around the Inn. Be sure to ask the employees at the Loretto Chapel, Luminaria, the Spa at Loretto, and the concierge if they know of apparitions who’ve settled at the Inn and Spa at Loretto.

2. San Miguel Mission

The San Miguel Mission was built in 1610, ten years before the Mayflower landed. Locals and tourists marvel over the construction of the building, the San Jose Bell, walking the old squeaky floors, and the St. Michael the Archangel Statue.  

In addition to the history, the San Miguel Mission is said to be hunted by numerous spirits. These spirits are as diverse as those who’ve worshiped and died at the mission. Visitors over the years have see orbs of light dancing through the interiors, while other guests have seen a woman dressed in white, kneeling in tears at the foot of the alter. On many occasions people have claimed to see a tall priest, dressed in a black cassock. Employees at the State of New Mexico offices, about a half of a block from the church, have seen this priest roaming in their building and the plaza. Oddly, most of these events occur around 10am. 

3. The Oldest House

La Cases Vieja de Analco or the Oldest House sits across the San Miguel church on the north side of the nave. Many ghost sightings have taken place at the Oldest house, the most spoken about legend is below: 

In the early 1600s a Santa Fe pair of brujas, female witches occupied the house. One evening Juan Espinoza, a young Spaniard, sought out the brujas. He wanted to win the love of a beautiful woman whom had no romantic feelings for Espinoza. The brujas united their potions to create a love concoction, they charged Espinoza gold. Long story short, the potion didn’t work and Espinoza wanted his money back. The brujas didn’t like Espinoza’s request and killed him with his sword. They were charged with murder, however, the governor declined the case and the brujas disappeared … so did Espinoza’s body.

The legend continues on the anniversary of Espinoza’s death, but no one knows exactly date. It said his head rolls down deVargas Street as if bowled out of the hands of a bruja.                                                                                                                     

4. The Pink Adobe

The Pink Adobe is located in the center of the historic Barrio de Analco, across the street from the San Miguel Mission, just two blocks south of the Plaza. For over 50 years a women, Rosalea, filled her days using her talents and energy to create a unique flavor, décor, and personality that makes this restaurant so special. After Rosalea’s passing in 2000, the Pink Adobe has continued to honor her work and legacy by keeping it true to her vision. It is said, before her passing, she would sit with her dogs in the corner of the bar while doing paperwork. Locals and tourists have reported they still see her sitting at the end of the bar to this date. She is said to just sit, not bother anyone.

5. La Llorona

No one knows when the legend of La Llorona began or where it originated. Though the story varies from source to source, the one frequent theme states she is the spirit of a hopeless mother who drowned her children and now spends eternity searching for them in water. Her movements have been traced throughout the Southwest and as far north as Montana on the banks of the Yellowstone River. Reports by locals state that she drifts between the trees along the shoreline of the Santa Fe River and floats along the current with her white gown spreading upon the waters; on many a dark night people have seen her walking along the riverbank crying for her children.

In addition to the above, the spirit frequently roams the halls at the Public Employees Retirement Association Building (PERA) near the Santa Fe River. Employees hear resounding cries through the walls and feeling unseen hands pushing them while walking the stairways.

REST YOUR HEAD. Check out our Ghostwalker Package and stay in the company of Sister George! The Package comes with your choice of accommodations and a copy “Santa Fe Ghosts” by Susan Blumenthal, so you can learn more about our ethereal friends.

Complete your ghostwalk experience by downloading these thrilling “Ghost Hunter” Apps to your smartphone or mobile device. 

  • Ghost Radar ® By Spud Pickles
  • Phantom Radar - The Ghost Detector By Inner Four, Inc. 

Disclaimer: This information was compiled through internet sources, interviews, and by the book Santa Fe Ghosts by Susan Blumenthal. This information may or may not be accurate.  We are not responsible for anything that might occur during your tour.

Posted by Sarah Sims, Marketing Specialist

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