Globe celebrates 25 years of Halloween ghost walk, but residents say haunts are year-round

By Bridget Dowd
Published: Tuesday, October 31, 2023 - 5:05am
Updated: Tuesday, October 31, 2023 - 11:31am

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Bridget Dowd/KJZZ
The upper floor of Globe's historic train depot as seen on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023. The mannequin is left over from when the depot was turned into a laundromat.

A lot has changed in Globe since the copper mining days of the early 1900s, but on the Saturday before Halloween, a tourist would think they’d taken a step back in time, passing cowboys and ladies of the evening on every street corner.

That’s because the city celebrated 25 years of its "Ghosts of Globe" walking tour on Oct. 28.

Jo Nell Brantley is with the Globe Downtown Association. She said the idea for the tour goes back to the late 1980s. That’s when the association started putting the city’s buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

“What we wanted to do was encourage tourism,” Brantley said. “We thought that we could do that by promotion of our history and try to protect our downtown.”

Jo Nell Brantley is dressed in a blue, Victorian gown
Bridget Dowd/KJZZ
Jo Nell Brantley is with the Globe Downtown Association. She acts as a wayfinder on the ‘Ghosts of Globe’ walking tour.

The tour started out as volunteers telling stories on Halloween. Later, a partnership with a local theater group turned it into what it is today. "Way finders" help guests navigate between more than 30 stops on the two-hour tour, and actors play ghosts of former residents. They recount Globe’s history, telling stories about people who might still be haunting the city’s 100-year-old buildings.

Brantley acts as one of the way finders, popping out of a dimly lit alley in a blue Victorian gown. She said her grandmother used to wake up screaming in the middle of the night, remembering the story an actress now tells guests about getting trapped in the city’s mortuary. She describes a room at the bottom of the stairs "filled with bodies, piled on top of each other, lining the floor, sprawled on tables, and hanging from meat hooks."

Globe residents say Halloween isn’t the only time people see ghosts, but rather that the city is a hotbed for paranormal activity year-round.

An actress playing a ghost tells a story to guests on the
Bridget Dowd/KJZZ
An actress playing a ghost tells a story to guests on the 'Ghosts of Globe' walking tour on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023. She talks about being trapped in the city's mortuary.

LeeAnn Powers moved to the city in 1994. Since then, she’s become a bit of an expert on Globe’s history and unexplained phenomena. 

“I never believed in anything like that until I moved to Globe,” Powers said, “but having had several interesting experiences, there’s something here.”

One of Powers’ favorite buildings is the site of a bakery established in 1908, where an employee met his untimely demise.

“He either fell or was pushed — there’s a lot of controversy about it — into a commercial dough machine in 1920 and was crushed to death,” Powers said.

Powers worked in that building when it was later turned into a health food store.

“One time, I was there by myself, and I heard the door open and somebody walk in,” Powers said. “So, I’m looking up, the door had not opened, nobody was there, but I heard the sound of the door opening and somebody walking.” 

Just down the street, visitors will find a building that was originally a hardware store with a basement full of library ladders.

A law office was later added up above, and its employees often heard rolling sounds coming from the basement late at night. When hardware store workers came back in the morning, the ladders were always in different places.

Molly Cornwell greets guests before the
Bridget Dowd/KJZZ
Molly Cornwell (left) greets guests before the 'Ghosts of Globe' walking tour on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023.

Down at the 1916 train depot, Globe resident Molly Cornwell said there’s no lack of stories.

“Things that people can’t explain,” she said.

The depot no longer functions as a stop for trains, but is full of old trunks from travelers of the past. Most of them are stowed away in an area still marked baggage claim. At one point, Cornwell said she put a trunk in the bathroom for decoration, and kids were terrified of it.

“I was like, ‘Here, I’ll take you in,’ and they’re both like ‘OK,’” Cornwell said. “We got in the bathroom and they were like, ‘He’s right there! He’s sitting on the trunk!’ And I was like, ‘No it’s a steamer trunk. Let me open it.’ And they both were like, ‘Nooo!’ like screaming. And I was like, ‘Okaayyy.’”

The kids were convinced there was a man sitting on the trunk, one that Cornwell couldn’t see. Their grandma chalked it up to wild imaginations, and Cornwell moved the trunk back into storage. But when a team of paranormal investigators came along, Cornwell said:

“They went to every trunk and they picked that dang sucker out. They said that the trunk said ‘thank you’ (because) it didn’t want to be in the bathroom anymore.”

old steamer trunks
Bridget Dowd/KJZZ
Globe's train depot no longer functions as a stop for trains, but is full of old trunks from travelers of the past.

Cornwell also owned a shop downtown for a while where people always complimented her on how pretty her daughter was — only, she doesn’t have a daughter.

“They’d say, ‘oh she’s running for the door,’ or ‘I think that little girl is gonna get out. I’ll get her. Don’t worry about it.’ So, they weren't freaked out,” Cornwell said.

The customers thought the girl they’d seen was a real person. 

“They saw her straight up,” Cornwell said, “always in a white dress.”

Cornwell said the city as a whole is so active, paranormal investigators sometimes visit three times a week. 

“The nice thing is our ghost hunters always feel like everything here was happy or talkative, but not deep, scary fear kind of thing, which makes me happy as well,” Cornwell said.

So, whether it’s Globe’s historic downtown or its ghostly reputation, the city continues to sell hundreds of tickets each year to people wanting to know more about those who came before them.

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