For 27 years, tour guide Peter Sinclaire has led curious locals and tourists alike on his Original Santa Fe Ghost Tour. Part history, part ghost story, all pretty fun, Sinclaire keeps it fresh by constantly evolving the 2-hour downtown tours, picking up new stories of ghostly activity whenever possible and always maintaining an open mind. Amateur ghost hunters can sign up for the 6 pm Friday and Saturday evening tours through Sinclaire's website (theoriginalsantafeghosttour.weebly.com)—reservations are required—or calling 983-7774. We called to get the gist and also maybe to feel spooked out a little.
How and why does one get into something like ghost tours, and what makes yours the "original?"
When I first moved out to New Mexico years ago, I worked for Bandelier, for the Parks Service. I was trained by them to give tours and answer questions about New Mexico, but when it got to be winter and there wasn't any work, I [came to Santa Fe]. I've also trained at the New Mexico History Museum and over the years have developed all kinds of different tours. I call it the 'Original Tour' simply because I've done it the longest. How is it different [from other ghost tours]? I haven't been on other tours, but I would guess I have more ghosts.
Are you a believer, and why do you think Santa Fe is so dang haunted?
There are a couple experiences I can't explain, though I'm not as sensitive as some people who take the tour, and, as a ghost tour guide, I've had so many people have believable experiences. I definitely believe one can experience things beyond the five senses. A woman on the tour whose husband had died said that within a week of his death, and only once did she see him, she saw him on his favorite chair in their living room. Why are we haunted? We're an old city. We've got sites where there were pueblos here, then the Spanish were here and … in the late-1800s, there was more political violence in New Mexico than any other state, and we weren't even a state yet.
Are any sites that are particularly more haunted or scary than others?
I would say La Posada is the most active, however, in the last six-to-eight months, I heard stories from the Drury [Plaza Hotel]. Before that, I had heard stories from when it was the old hospital and then a nursing home. That's a currently active place to some degree. How active? I don't meet all the guests, but I heard from guests at the hotel that there's a room on the third floor they usually don't rent out anymore. They say they were in their room one night, and this was last November or January, and they were streaming a movie on their laptop computer, and three times it was interrupted with YouTube videos—and they didn't have YouTube open—of people getting limbs amputated.