535 E Allen St, Tombstone, AZ
Want to know the most haunted home in Tombstone? Ask locals, and they’ll point to the Buford House.
Built one year before the infamous “Gunfight at the OK Corral,” this adobe building has entertained two sheriffs, a mayor, an Arizona senator, and American icon John Wayne. Yet Buford’s most infamous inhabitants are those that didn’t leave home.
In 1888, three children died from diphtheria at the residence. Another alleged occupant, George Daves, killed himself at the property in an attempted murder-suicide. Now a top spot for paranormal activity, Buford House accommodates poltergeists in the “Town Too Tough to Die.”
It's no secret that Tombstone is the most haunted site in the southwest. This silver-mining town has interred everyone from outlaws and lawmen to madames and murderers. Their specters stalk Tombstone today, disembodied and desperate for the grave.
Travelers report faucets turning themselves off and back on again. Lights flicker and fade, feebly finding their way through the dark. Doorbells ring whenever there's no one around. Guests encounter cold spots. Some feel the strange sensitivities of electric sensations; one woman felt a mild "zap" of what she considered a supernatural entity. Who are the ghosts of the Buford House?
Whenever George Buford commissioned the Buford House, he had no idea that it would witness the deaths of three of his seven children.
Buford was a prominent Texas mining executive, and the Buford House was to be one of Tombstone’s finest. By 1886, it was Tombstone’s spookiest.
In less than six years, George’s wife, Annie, gave birth to seven children: only four survived. The remaining three lost their lives at the ages of two, four, and six.
The first child died of diptheria, a highly contagious infection of the nose and throat. Although the causes of death for the second and third children were undocumented, it’s likely that they died of diphtheria, too. Are these the childlike poltergeists that proprietors report?
Rhonda and Dwight Hull, psychic mediums, frequently investigate the Buford House. After all, it’s one of Tombstone’s ghastliest attractions.
The Hulls believe that the Buford Children are the most common paranormal occurrences at the location, alleging that they’re “friendly” phantoms. Sometimes the Hulls read stories to the children. If they’re lucky, they receive “feedback.” In Herald Review, Dwight recounts,
“I’ve done this a couple of times, where I’ve stopped in the middle of a story and said ‘OK, I’m done unless you can light that (K2 meter) up and tell me you want to hear the rest of the story,’” said Dwight, who then demonstrates how the meter’s lights will suddenly light up on command. “It is amazing.”
Are these adolescent specters the Buford Children?
Although Bufrod’s homeowner Catherine Farrell has never seen the children herself, she admits that she’s heard “plenty of noises.” Some of these include spritely, shrill voices.
When Farrell first moved in, she refused to sleep with the lights off: “I used to sleep with the light on every night. I’m serious. I was frightened,” she confessed to Herald Review. One night, she even felt something unseen stroke her leg. Yet Farrell’s grown accustomed to her haunted housemates. “I actually turn the light off now,” she laughs.
The Ghost of George Daves
George Daves is another alleged inhabitant of Buford House. Some say that he killed himself in front of the home in an attempted murder-suicide.
The legend goes that George was a tenant on the property in 1888. Petra Edmunds, the object of his affections, lived within a block from the building. George wanted to marry Petra, yet George was down-and-out. To earn money, George purportedly left Tombstone for Casa Grande. He had hoped to return with enough to make Petra his bride. However, Petra had other ideas in mind: she took up with another man.
George was obliterated. He decided to kill Petra Edmunds. When he attempted to make good on his designs and murder Petra, the bullets missed her body. Either in fear or fury, George turned the gun upon himself, taking his own life.
Did George Daves Commit Suicide at the Buford House?
The legend is only slightly fictitious. Although George did commit suicide in Tombstone, it wasn't at Buford House. George never resided in the building, though it's likely that he was familiar with the Buford Family. Instead, the suicide took place a block north of Stafford Street.
George never traveled to Casa Grande, either. Although he did attempt to marry Petra, he was an obsessive devotee – not a lovelorn admirer.
What Really Happened to George and Petra?
On April 12, 1888, George had asked Petra if he could escort her home. Petra denied George, so George tarried at the house of Ida Mandich. There, he ridiculed Petra. He told Ida that Petra "could go to hell,” declaring Petra a flirt and philanderer. George even alleged that he “would shoot her and shoot himself before it was all over."
His diabolical plan came to fruition the following day whenever he spotted Petra speaking to another man. Petra was assailed twice, yet survived. George Daves did not. He shot himself at the scene.
The ghost of George Daves may haunt Tombstone, but you won't find him at the Buford House. You're more likely to see him at the Edmunds, the site of his suicide.
The History of the Buford House
Built 1880, this 2,000 square-foot home was commissioned for George and Annie Buford. Their children lived and died in the house, imbuing the building with their residual energies.
The Buford House continued to change hands throughout the following century. It even served as a bed-and-breakfast, hosting Hollywood’s John Wayne. It likewise operated as a private residence for mayors, senators, and sheriffs.
In 2005, Catherine Farrell and John Goodspeed bought the adobe home. It’s a private residence once more, though Farrell and Godspeed do open Buford to paranormal investigators.
Visiting the Buford House
You can find the Buford House at 113 E. Safford Street, Tombstone. Let us know if you encounter any paranormal activity.