I'm taking off a little later this morning, flying to Las Vegas, and then traveling to Oatman, Arizona, a dozen or so miles east of Bullhead City. Part of the action in The Desert Hedge Murders takes place in and around Oatman, an old historic Route 66 gold mining town which is now a tourist attraction. In addition to the Oatman Hotel, which is where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard are supposed to have spent their wedding night after their marriage ceremony in Kingman, AZ, Oatman features an old west main street complete with wild burros looking for a handout and staged robberies and gunfights in front of the hotel. This highway is also a favorite for motorcycle buffs who want to travel the famous Route 66 trail as they live their inner Easy Rider personas.
The Oatman Hotel is rumored to be haunted, not by Clark and Carole, but by a miner named Ray, now nicknamed Oatie. Ray was despondent after the death of his wife and children who were emigrating from Ireland to join him. He eventually, it is said, drank himself to death. His body was found behind the hotel. I wish I could say we heard or saw Oatie on one of our visits to Oatman. We did not. But one of my protagonists in The Desert Hedge Murders sees Oatie three times.
I'll try again on this trip, although I'm not staying overnight in the hotel again. My son and daughter-in-law live in Oatman, and my daughter-in-law owns Sweet Sally's, the ice cream shop in the hotel lobby. Her mom runs the hotel and its excellent restaurant. I plan to interview them about the ghosts for a future blog.
Have any of you ever encountered a ghost? Was it fun...or scary?