Saturday, September 5, 2009

Disney World ... Western Style

I can't really say too much about Tombstone. I just didn't find it that thrilling. It was like being at Disney's version of the Wild Wild West. Here's a play by play:

Ghost Tour

We took a tour with Josh Hawley of Tombstone Ghost Hunters. Here's a pic of him with friend from the other side. Actually, Josh says there's no guarantee you'll see a ghost on the tour. The point is debunking myths and filling you in on Tombstone's history. Sadly, it starts pouring as we begin to head out -- and the tour is outside. The metal roof we stop under for our first "lesson" is metal, making it virtually impossible to hear with the pounding rain. It seems like an off night -- from people walking through the middle of the tour and talking to our guide, to lots of traffic. This weekend is the annual gunslingers convention, and that means more people out an about. If I were a ghost, this is the weekend I would choose to take a vacation. It may be that we're just tired, or that many of the people on the tour are really in to the paranormal side of this. I was looking for more of a history lesson, and was grateful for the story about John Heath. THAT was worth the $7 we paid for the tour.

Bootleg Cemetery

For a nominal $2 donation, this is a total MUST. When we walk up to the building where you pay and enter the cemetery, I notice these plastic bags with water in them nailed to either side of the door. I ask the proprietor the purpose. He says it's holy water, that the city makes him put it up to keep the spirits in the cemetery. Given that we just went on a ghost tour last night, and that Josh said he's actually recorded plenty of "activity" in town, I'd say it's not working. The twinkle in his eyes tells me he's fooling me, so I call him on it. It's fly repellent. Each bag has a penny in it, and something about the shininess makes the flies stay away. They give us a great guide that talks about the people buried there and a little history about them and how they met their ultimate demise.

"The Town Too Tough to Die"

We stop by the Bird Cage theatre for a look back in time at the bird cages where shady ladies would 'entertain' cowboys and miners. I'd read the book "Soiled Doves" last year, which is about prostitution in the early West, so this was a really interesting stop for me. One of the rooms was supposedly used by Josephine Marcus, "Sadie Jo", who would later become Wyatt Earp's wife.

Next, we stroll through town a while, watching people dressed in the full regalia of the time period. Most are either working in the shops or in town for the gun fighter gathering. Speaking of ... let's head to the OK Corral for a gunfight.

One of the crews here for the convention get to
perform a skit, then there's a reenactment of
the infamous shootout at the OK Corral. Well, not actually AT -- near. It occurred at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, October 26th, 1881. Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and 'Doc' Holliday against the outlaws ... Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury, Billy Claiborne, Ike Clanton, and Billy Clanton. Thirty shots were fired in 30 seconds. The McLaurys and Billy Clanton were killed; Wyatt Earp's brothers and Doc Holliday were wounded.

When it boils down to it, the fight was political. The outlaws were cowboys ... criminals that didn't let the law stop them. They were rural Democrats from Texas involved in the cattle-trade. Earp and his crew represented the East -- Yankee Republican capitalists and businessmen. I thought this sign summed up how popular politics are in Tombstone:

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