Photos taken in 2004 at the St. James Hotel

Over the years I have been to the St. James Hotel at least two dozen times investigating the paranormal claims there. These are photos taken during one such trip back in 2004.Old friends, old memories and we still didn’t find anything paranormal. Along with these pictures was a primitive script. It appears that we were going to film something but the project was never started. I have included some of these notes here as well.

Census reports show the T.J. Wright was not killed at the hotel.  Also Fred Lambert, Henry’s son, documented where all of the killings took place in the hotel. There were none on the second floor. They all took place in the saloon or outside of the saloon and the bodies were brought into the saloon.

The myth about why room 18 is locked is because, according to the hotel, if they let someone in there, bad things would happen. This starts with Ed Sitzberger who kept several talking birds in the lobby and 15 smaller birds in a coffee shop aviary. Two finches were found dead after he showed room 18 to five people in 1987. (that’s it, a couple of birds died). (Source: The NEW MEXICIAN, October 27th, 1991)

The hotel now allows people inside the room for $125. Do bad things still happen?

Debunk the swinging lock on Room 18. (insert news footage) Talk about the clock chime coming from the room below. Talk about the Ghost prophecies, Carl interrupts “I’m not Mike” rant.
Owner Rodger Smith used to leave a shot of whiskey for the ghost (On top of the door). Anyone could have drunk it. Talk about investigation when we had a camera aimed down the hallway and how many people come up to the door just to look.
Lead into next scene. (However, not all of the ghost stories at the hotel survive.)

Enter the restaurant (where the old bar was located) and tell the story about the deformed child spinning a glass on the bar. Why did this ghost story not survive when the TJ Wright story did? (Staff even thought it was bullshit) describe how stories propagate through the employees. Employees also “invent” stories so everything must be scrutinized. Issues with bias as employees know of the haunting before they even start working there.

The hotel has many issues with how sound travels that could be mistaken for paranormal activity. Explain the technique (sound mapping) and how it is used to determine where a sound is coming from and what it may be. Show team placing recorders throughout the hotel.

Why T.J. Wright (the ghost of room 18) cannot be haunting the St. James hotel.

First of all, and most importantly, T.J. Wright did not die at the St. James Hotel as the legends have suggested. While the 1880 census does show that he was there, the 1920 census show him to be in Albuquerque, way after the date of his supposed demise in Cimarron.


The first three articles are really important as they set up  the foundation of the ghostly legends at the hotel.

Ed Sitzberger and Pat Loree  bought the hotel in July of 1985. From reading the various newspaper articles, the “attack” on Loree in Room 18 occurred sometime in 1986. The first newspaper that mentions the building is haunted is also in 1986, however there are not any details.

“Only a few ruins outside of Eagle Nest stand where Elizabeth town once flourished, and Cimarron is capitalizing on its wild history with pictures and tours at the haunted St. James Hotel.”

The second mention in the media of ghosts at the St. James hotel occurs on December 6th, 1987 in a story that was written by Steve Brewer for the Albuquerque Journal. It is the first full account of the initial occurrences that are claimed to be paranormal.

   “Cowboys and outlaws, wives and ladies of the evening gather occasionally in the ornate lobby of Northern New Mexico St. James Hotel, talking and drinking, toasting the past, say the hotel’s owners.


   They describe the parties in whispered, uneasy tones, with just a touch of nervous laughter. The party-goers, they say, are invisible ghosts, poltergeist, spirits.

   Pat Loree, who owns the St. James with her husband Ed Sitzberger, said she witnessed such a ghastly celebration one night while locking up the hotel.

   ” I came in through these double and I heard a party going on,” she recalled. ” I kid you not. I could hear people talking. I could hear glasses clinking. I thought, oh, now you’ve done it, you’ve finally flipped.”

   Loree said she slowly crossed the expansive lobby thinking perhaps the sounds were coming from a furniture grouping at the far end. As she walked, the noises gradually diminished. The furniture was empty.

   ” I turned and I said, I’m glad you’re having a good time. I’m glad you’re here for a party. Please leave everything as good as you found it, if not better.”

   As she walked back across the room, the party sounds resumed.

   “I closed the double doors I ran upstairs and I called Ed and said,” there’s a party going on in the lobby and I can’t see it.”

   Such paranormal occurrences are normal at the St. James, where, the owners say, at least three ghosts reside, and others occasionally visit.

   “I couldn’t make up anything this good, believe me,” Loree said.

   Most of the hotel workers say they’ve had experiences with the ghosts, as has Sitzberger, a recently retired mechanical engineer, and self-described skeptic.

   “There have been enough things happen that I am a believer, too, now,” he said.

    It’s easy to believe the ghost stories at the St. James, which fairly reeks of the Old West. The hotel is as much museum as inn, what it’s antique decorated rooms, brocade wallpaper and hallways decorated with photographs of the famous and infamous who stayed there. The photos date from the days when Cimarron was the center of an untamed land rife with political intrigue, feuds, and fighting.

   Historians say 26 people were killed at the hotel, gunned down by the likes of Clay Allison, the gentleman gunfighter,” and Bob Ford, the reputed killer of outlaw Jesse James.

   The embossed metal ceiling of the dining room still bears bullet holes that speak of that more violent time. The action at the hotel these days comes from the spirit world rather than shoot em ups, the owners say. Some of it has been hilarious, they say, some has been sublime. Some has been outright terrifying. The couple trace most events to three resident ghosts (they prefer the term spirits) they call Mary, the Imp and “18”.

   Mary, named after Mary Lambert, wife of the man who built the hotel in 1880, lives in one room of the hotel and sporadically roams its halls. Usually, the only sign of her presence is her perfume.

   “It’s a very, very fragrant odor,” said Kathy Jones, a 47-year-old clerk, and waitress at the hotel. “It does come on you like you’re walking towards someone and it gets stronger as you get close. It’s just all of a sudden it’s there, then all the sudden, it’s not.”

   Recently, Mary was more assertive with a couple who opened the window to her room, said Sitzberger, 56.

   “He said the window wasn’t stuck like by paint anything, but he had a heck of a time raising it,” he said.”It was like someone was pushing down on the window.”

   The guest returned to bed and heard several sharp raps on the second story window, Sitzberger said. Since the guests had been warned about Mary, the man closed the window part way to accommodate her and returned to bed. Again came the raps. He closed the window.

   “She made it clear she wanted it closed,” Sitzberger said, adding the guests claimed the room then cooled on its own.

   “The imp enjoys practical jokes and keeps employees busy adjusting lamps and searching for pens and calculators he hides, Loree said. Glasses in the kitchen explode occasionally through the imp’s efforts, and jars of pickles had been known to ease off floor level shelves and roll out of the room.

   Once, the couple said, the imp even appeared to one employee. The worker, a 15-year-old boy, had just taken a job cleaning the lobby and dining room and the pre-dawn hours. On his first day, Sitzberger said, the owners came down from their suite to find him vacuuming while his mother watched. Earlier, he said, the boy had seen a dwarf sitting on the hotel bar, his feet on a bar stool, laughing uproariously at the started youth.

   “The kid did what any red-blooded 15 year old would do, Sitzberger said. “He went home and got his mother. Needless to say, that was his last day on the job. He didn’t like the looks of it at all.”

   The other ghost, the one who occupies Room 18, is such a hostile spirit that the owners now keep the room locked and a large base of dried flowers in front of the door. No one is allowed to enter.

   The last time someone was shown the haunted room, a bird Sitzberger had given to Loree, a valuable golden finch, died the next morning, he said. A necropsy found no cause death, he said.

   “The only connection we could make was that he didn’t take it out on us, but he did do one of our birds in,” Sitzberger said.

   Another time, Loree, 44, was showing the room to a California surgeon who researches poltergeists. As she entered the room, “whatever it was came down beside me, passed me on the right and knocked me over. Needless to say, this scared me to death.”

   Ken Taylor, hotel’s 40-year-old chef has had several and encounters with “18”, including spending one night in a sleeping bag in the room to see if he could see the spirit. All night long, he said, he slept fitfully, bouncing around on the floor, dreaming about riding ponies.

   Sometimes, Loree calls on the husky Taylor to convince “18” to return to his room. “My presence sort of mellows him out at times,” the chef said.

   Like most of the spirits, “18” isn’t visible to those who encounter him.

   “It’s like pressure,” Taylor said. “The hair stands up on the back of my neck and on my arms and I get goosebumps all over.”

   Taylor said he also saw one ghost, however. He was leaving a room at the hotel on his way to the restroom when he spotted a human-like figure end of the hall.

   “I stepped outside and there was this figure, sort of shimmering,” he said. “I went back to my room.”

   Several psychics and other dabblers in the paranormal have visited the hotel to interact with the spirits. Last July, television crews filmed a séance led by a self-proclaimed Albuquerque witch named Oz, but Taylor said the cameras and other distractions kept the session from being very productive.  Oz also spent time chatting in Room 18, said Loree, and came away believing the spirit that died in the room was a man named James Wright. The witch said Wright was killed when he tried to claim the hotel as winnings in a poker game.

   Loree said historians have no record of such an incident involving a man named James Wright. She said, however, she subsequently found the name of a “J. Wright” and three places in the hotel’s old ledger, all dating to 1881.

   “There is no earthly way Oz could have known or could have seen that name,” Loree said.

   Another television crew captured on film a door opening by itself in a curtain moving when there was no breeze. The hotel owners show copies of the videotapes to guests over a television in the lobby.

   They say they’re torn over the publicity the ghost have generated.

   “We have a pretty good business going and I don’t want to scare the hell out of people coming here,” Loree said.

   She expects, however, that the ghost stories, in the end, will have little effect on their business.

   “I think people are either receptive to it and believe it or they don’t,” she said. “I think for the ones that don’t, it isn’t going to bother them that much. If they aren’t going to stay here, it’s because they maybe do really believe it and they’re afraid of it, and that’s a percentage that’s very small.”

   Despite the occasional fright, the owners say they are becoming accustomed to the ghosts.

   “Pat’s even said if we ever get tired of running the hotel, we could just close it down and live here,” Sitzberger said with a laugh. “at least we’d never get lonely.”


The first article clearly identifies the three ghosts that are haunting the hotel. However, it is important to note that the spirit which the owners call Mary was merely named after Mary Lambert and in this version is not directly associated with her. It also gives us the first portrayal of the ghost they are calling the “imp.” The eyewitness’s description was that of a dwarf sitting on the hotel bar, his feet on a bar stool, laughing uproariously. And finally, there is the violent ghost they call “18”.  However, the article also contains several controversial elements.

One of the crucial things that ghost hunters and investigators look for when they are interviewing witnesses are qualifying  statements. This is because people who lie use convoluted sentence structure and qualifying language when giving you the details. Qualifying statements, like “to tell you the truth” or  “Honestly,” “I swear to you” are used to overemphasize their truthfulness. When people use these bolstering statements to emphasize their honesty, there’s a good chance they are hiding something. There is no need to add them if they are really telling the truth. Loree makes several qualifying statements during this newspaper interview.

“I kid you not”, “I couldn’t make up anything this good, believe me” and “there is no earthly way Oz could have known or could have seen that name” (referring to the ghost of Room 18).

The slip up is by saying that “Oz could not have “seen” that name.” The qualifying statement here suggests that is precisely what happened. The sentence structure has too much detail which could indicate that she is untruthful.

The first team allowed into room 18.

The other odd thing is how quickly the ghost stories develop. The hotel reopens in December 1985 after Loree and Sitzberger finish their initial renovations. Yet within 2 years a television crew has been allowed in to film a séance as well as several psychics and other dabblers in the paranormal and a California surgeon who researches poltergeists conducted an investigation of sorts. During the surgeon’s visit, Loree claims that “whatever it was, came down beside me, passed me on the right and knocked me over. Needless to say, this scared me to death.” Naturally, the reporter asks the couple if they thought that the ghost stories would harm their business.

“They say they’re torn over the publicity the ghost have generated.” Loree continues by saying, “I think people are either receptive to it and believe it or they don’t. I think for the ones that don’t, it isn’t going to bother them that much. If they aren’t going to stay here, it’s because they maybe do really believe it and they’re afraid of it, and that’s a percentage that’s very small.”

This is a little suspicious as well. For example, in my book, I mentioned that the Lodge at Cloudcroft kept their ghost stories secretive for over 60 years because the owner thought it could damage his business. Yet at the St. James, the ghost stories are in full swing within a year of its reopening. This is another red flag because many known examples point to the ghost stories as being fraudulent when the media exposure occurs so quickly. One of the more famous cases was the Amityville Horror, which was later revealed to be a hoax. Within two years of the alleged paranormal events that occurred, there is a book about the “haunting” and eventually a movie deal. Is the St James hotel trying to capitalize monetarily in a similar fashion? While this is just speculation, it is something that has to be considered.

Another oddity is the California surgeon who researches poltergeists. Anyone who is remotely familiar with poltergeist phenomena knows that it is not actually a ghost or a spirit, but an event that parapsychologists believe is caused by psychokinesis that is projected by a living person in the environment. This suggests that the surgeon only had an amateurish knowledge base of the phenomenon that he claims to be researching.

The next article of the haunting at the St. James Hotel is printed in the Albuquerque Journal on  December 30, 1988.


   “Things simply go bump in the night at the St James hotel. To people live here and admit an acquaintanceship with the second-floor supernatural, the spirits in this place are at once melancholy and mischievous, dealing mostly in the scent of old-timey perfume, petty theft, and minor pranks.

   All except the awful thing that is said to reside in Room 18, where the number is missing and the door is always locked. The transomed entry to this room is fronted by a vase with dead yucca blossoms, black and amber now, setting sentry on the floor. It is said that the being in room 18 seethes with menace.

   There is nothing subtle, nothing vague, about what can happen at the top of the stairs.

   True, only a thin outline defines the ghostly figure in an oil painting at the second-floor landing. But you don’t need special light to see it. The figure seems to be a man and he seems to be wearing a broad-brimmed hat. He is standing among a group of obviously mortal individuals, and it is said he becomes more discernible as the years go by.

   No one knows whether the artist intended to include the figure. Given the realistic nature of the painting, it seems unlikely that he is responsible for the addition of something so clearly at odds with the rest of the work.

   There are other, more vivid experiences that have lent this place its reputation for being haunted.

   Ghosts of an era past, presumably from the lawless years of the Western frontier, are said to inhabit this 108-year-old hotel, steeped in history and solidly adobe, located on a side street in Cimarron.

   In the lobby, just off the dining room with the 26 bullet holes in the tin ceiling, a magnificent rainbow macaw sets on a wooden perch.

   On a recent autumn afternoon, Pat Loree, who with her husband owns this hotel, tells of the haunting of the St. James. It is a narrative occasionally punctuated by squawks from the macaw.

   Loree and her husband, Ed Sitzberger, bought the St. James in July of 1985 and have restored it to its former elegance and historical stature. In those first months of ownership, as Sitzberger continued to work as a civil engineer at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Loree came to live at a house behind the hotel.

   Before the restoration began and during a fierce summertime thunderstorm one night, Loree and a caretaker went to the hotel to check for leaks in the roof.

   “When I left, I turned off all of the lights,” she says.”After we locked up, I looked back and I could see through the window that the chandelier at the end of the hall was still on. I did it again, and the damned thing still came back on after I locked the door. The last time I went back and said “I don’t know who you are. We’d like to play, but another day.”

   One of the two harmless ghosts is believed to be Mary Lambert, wife of the man who built the St. James. She died in the hotel and it is said that her perfume will suddenly waft through Room 17, and, just as suddenly evaporate.

   No one claims to have seen Mary, but a couple of people have caught a glimpse of Woody, a poltergeist who is the likely culprit in recalcitrant light switches, frozen door locks, shattered glasses and such missing items as bottles of juice, pens, silverware, and keys. Those who have seen him have given independent descriptions that are remarkably similar. Woody is said to be short, white-haired and pock-marked.

   Sitzberger, whose life and work were built on logic, says he was stunned one evening to see the ghost sitting at a table just before the dining room opened. When he tried to get a closer look, the apparition vanished.

   A Cimarron teenager, hired to vacuum the carpet each morning before dawn, said he arrived for his first day of work and saw Woody setting on the bar, laughing uproariously. The youth who had not heard the St. James ghost stories, was so utterly terrified he ran home, got his mother, and persuaded her to return with him while he finished his work.

   “A friend of ours who is a nurse didn’t believe in any of this stuff,” Loree is saying. “About a month ago she was here and needed to use the restroom, but the door was locked and she could see a crack of light at the threshold. She decided to wait by the door. Pretty soon the light went off. She tried the door again and it was unlocked. There was no one in there.”

   “You hear noises up there,” says Earl Jones, who tends bar at the St. James. “You can smell perfume, but it’s not the kind of perfume they sell today. I believe there’s something up there, and I never believed anything like that in my life, till I came to livin here.”

   Loree is sipping iced tea and telling about these things in the lobby of the hotel. Reluctantly, she begins talking about Room 18.

   Suddenly, the rainbow macaw is out of control. He begins shrieking and squawking. The commotion is deafening, and some of this screaming sounds almost human. It is piercing and ceaseless. The seemingly coincidental outburst, coming as it did at the beginning of a narrative on Room 18, seems connected to the things Loree has not yet said.

   After the macaw has been banished to the ladies restroom, Loree says to merely talk about the spirit and Room 18 is to invite “bad things”. In the past, part of the retribution has been measured in the unexplained death of small valuable birds who are part of the aviary kept in the hotel.

   Her story of room 18 is halting, and for a moment it seems as if she will cry.

   From the beginning, she says, “Every time I went in that room the hair on the back of my neck stood up. But I was determined that nothing was going to stand in the way of renovation. I was trying to be this self-sufficient woman, and I can remember standing there with my hands on my hips and saying, “If you want to be positive you can stay but if you want to be negative you’ve got to go.'”

   She was to learn later, she says, that it was not a good thing to say.

   About a year ago a California surgeon came to stay at the hotel. Loree did not know him and did not know that he was a student of supernatural phenomena. Not long after he had checked in, and before anyone had spoken with him about the hotel, Loree says he came to her and said: “You have a real problem upstairs.”

   After some conversation, he persuaded her to unlock the door to Room 18. Loree says when she stepped into the room “there was a present swirling in the corner near the ceiling, and it came down and knocked me to my knees. I got up and it came back and knocked me down again.”

   She says the man from California told her to step backwards, and she escaped from the room.

   He sent her downstairs and he stayed in the room for another hour. Loree said he told her later the spirit in there should not be challenged, and that it did not like being talked about.

   She worries that potential guests may be dissuaded from staying at the St. James because of the spirit. She says none of the people who have stayed in the hotel has had a bad experience because of ghosts.

   Not long ago, Loree says, a self-proclaimed witch (a good witch) spent time at Room 18 and said she learned the spirit was “a James or Jesse Wright.” Loree looked back through the old guest registers and found a T.J. Wright had spent time at the hotel in the 1880’s, but the book offers no further information.

   “I’ll tell you one thing,” she says. ” I have a very healthy respect for the thing in Room 18. I don’t open the door anymore. Not for myself. Not for anyone.”

This article provides more information on the Imp and the strange occurrence with the surgeon in room 18. It seems rather odd that Loree would allow a complete stranger into Room 18 and after having such a terrifying event happen to her, she let that person stay in the room for a full hour afterward. It doesn’t make sense.

The “Imp” has now been given a name, Woody. Apparently, there have also been independent descriptions that are similar. Woody is said to be short, white-haired and pock-marked. This is important to note as the description of this specter will soon change.

Finally, we get to the third article when a psychic, Jacque Littlejohn Cooley enters the picture. This will eventually define the present day ghost stories.

   “The car wasn’t yet through Taos, but Jacque Littlejohn Cooley said she sensed the presence in room 18 of the St. James Hotel in Cimarron, 40 miles to the Northeast.

   The Albuquerque psychic was in route to spend the night at the reportedly haunted hotel. It was Friday, the 13th of October.

   “I’m getting this feeling, this impression that he’s been injured or that he’s in pain,” Cooley said, momentarily distracted from the mountain scenery. Cooley had read stories about poltergeists that dwell in the old two-story building, including the menacing spirit in room 18. She also knew that a self-professed witch had visited the hotel and claimed to have made contact with the spirit, identifying it as the ghost of someone named James or Jesse Wright.

   The current owner of the hotel, Ed Sitzberger, a trim, soft-spoken man with a drink in hand, greeted Cooley in the lobby of the hotel. A large, multi-colored macaw lead a collection of other exotic birds in a cacophonous symphony. The noise reverberated off the lobby walls, where the mounted heads of game animals stared blankly with glass eyes.

   Cooley, a former school teacher and counselor in Phoenix and Espanola, spoke with an accent that hinted at her Texas and Oklahoma upbringing. Her parents, she said, we’re Welsh and Cherokee. She wore a long black dress. Her jet-black hair was gathered to the sides in Indian braid wraps, and she wore silver and turquoise jewelry. A quartz crystal dangled from her neck.

   Silver and turquoise are elements that give her power and protection, while the quartz crystal helps her gather and channel information, she said.

   Cooley carried a leather pouch and a crystal ball. From the pouch she removed a Sioux Indian Tobacco mix called Knic Knic. She sprinkled some of the tobacco in a nearby potted plant, an offering to the spirits and to purge negative energy, she said.

   She ordered her regular evening drinks, a cup of black coffee and a shot of scotch side by side. As she chain-smoked Camel non filter cigarettes and sipped her drinks, Sitzberger recounted the previous visit of the witch who identified the spirit of room 18. “The next day my former wife, Pat, went back into the hotel registers and found the name T.J. Wright three different times in 1881,” he said.

   Further, the witch told him Wright had won the hotel in a poker game and was shot to death when he tried to collect, he said.

   “You know, I thought it might have been something like that,” said Cooley, flashing back to the comment she made on the drive up.

  Sitzberger, formerly a mechanical engineer at Los Alamos National Laboratory, is firmly grounded in science and logic. Nevertheless, he said, “the accumulation of things that have happened here has led me to believe that something is going on here that is not ordinary.”

   He cited several phenomena, lights going on and off when no one is in the locked building. Papers disappearing and reappearing in locked offices. Napkins and silverware were being tossed about the dining room. Glasses of water overturned and spilling when no water had been in the glasses to begin with. The sounds of a party, complete with laughter and clinking cocktail glasses, emanating from empty rooms. Activation of a telephone ringing code known only to family members and the phone company, no one on the other end of the line.

   There is the brief appearance and suddenly vanishing of an imp identified by a medium two years ago as “Woody,” who is blamed for some of the more playful pranks in the hotel. People who have seen him including Sitzberger, have given remarkably similar descriptions of the apparition: about 4 feet tall, long blonde hair, blue eyes, pock-marked face.

   People also have encountered rooms that suddenly filled with the aroma of a musky rose perfume. The odor would just as suddenly vanish, only to visit another room. The scent is believed to be a signal from the spirit of one of two women, both named Mary, and both of whom had been married to Henry Lambert, the hotel’s original owner and builder, Sitzberger said.

   And there is the unseen force in room 18. Twice it knocked Sitzberger’s ex-wife to the floor when she confronted it, demanding that it behave or move out. Other times when the spirit had been disturbed, Sitzberger said, the entity took its anger out on pet birds kept in the hotel, some of which were found dead for no apparent reason, and some that were suddenly taken sick.

   Late at night, Sitzberger agreed to open room 18 for the Albuquerque psychic. The stained glass transom above the door was partially open, but a large base containing dead yucca clippings stood sentry in front of the locked door.

   The room had not been remodeled or cleaned. An old wooden bed frame was one of the few pieces of furniture inside. Floorboards creaked as Cooley walked around the room, hand outstretched, palm down, feeling for impressions, sensations and changes in temperature. She was drawn to a corner where red floral wallpaper met the hammered tin ceiling. “There was a lot of paranormal activity here, but nothing sinister,” she said.

    “I feel a terrible pain from him. He’s wounded and unhappy. He still locked into that timeless zone, a dimension, I don’t know that there is a name for it, but he’s locked in and any time another energy comes into this room it’s very threatening to him. He doesn’t know he’s dead.”

   They left the room for a few minutes, and Sitzberger carefully locked the door and replaced the vase. They talked about returning in the early morning hours when spirits tend to be the most active. But later, they both became uncomfortable with the idea and decided against it.

   Walking along a second-floor hallway, Cooley stopped. “Who got killed here? she asked. “I’m getting this impression of blood on the wall. And brains. I see brains on the wall. Somebody got it in the head here.”

   The poker room was just around the corner. “I don’t feel what I felt out there in the hall,” Cooley said. “There was a cardinal rule that you don’t mess up the poker game, so maybe they went out in the hall to do their dirty deeds. I feel a lot of intensity in this room.”

   She toyed with the notion that the man named Wright, who’s supposedly won the hotel in a card game, may have been dealt the winning hand in the hotel’s poker room, was ambushed in the hallway and staggered back to room 18, where he died and his spirit still lurks.

   “Could be, but I don’t get the feeling that the guy in 18 has a head wound,” she said. “I also sense that man named Walter was somehow involved. I think whatever happened in this hallway happened between 1 and 3 p.m. because of the different quality of the light I saw and the flashes.

   “It feels like a baby was born in this room,” Cooley said as she entered the Pancho Griego room, named after a local who was on the losing end of an argument with gunfighter Clay Allison.

   “Is this the honeymoon suite?” she asked inside the Bat Masterson room. “It feels like fun and games in here. Hanky panky. I don’t know how they turned out later, but they sure had a good time while they were here.”

   The Wyatt Earp room has an entirely different feel, Cooley said. “I sense there was a man who used to stay here a whole lot. He kept coming back and like this room. It was before World War 1, but not long before. He was kind of a quiet man. I feel that he may have had something like high blood pressure during his last visits. He wasn’t very tall. He was kind of portly, but the first time I see him in here he was a lot thinner. He had a little buggy. I think they used to call them whiskies.

   Cooley continued her wanderings and made her way back downstairs into the hotel’s dining room, the original St James Saloon and Gambling Hall. She stared into her crystal ball, which she had placed on the mantle of a bar back.

   “Somebody picked up one of them tables. They were gambling. I didn’t see the man’s face, but I saw these big hands, we picked up the table and dumped it with all the glasses and cards. People were scattering every which way. I think it was that one,” she said, walking over to the table where she slowly moved the outstretched palm of her hand over it. Another table caught her eye. “Somebody landed on their back in the middle of this one.” Cooley was drawn toward a corner of the dining nearest the entrance into the hotel lobby.

   “Something ended abruptly, whatever it was. I think it happened before the turn of the century. I want to move because I think I’m standing in blood.” she paused for a few moments lost within her own thoughts.

   “Somebody was in that fight that was named Clyde. I don’t know if that’s a first or last name. He shaved every now and then. He didn’t have a full beard. Maybe it was the time of year, but he had a lot of stubble. He smelled pretty rare. And I don’t know if he was the victim or the aggressor or what. I don’t get the feeling that Cimarron lost much.

   It was approaching 2 a.m. Cooley was tired, walkthrough nearly every room in the St. James and visited with as many denizens of the spirit world as would make themselves known to her. She sat on her bed in the Mary Lambert room laying out a deck of tarot cards.

   “This is the tower card. It’s probably in response to room 18 across the hall,” she said. “I see in the tower card confusion and tyranny and weakness. Building on the wrong foundation. Bedlam. It might be just as well that we leave the spirit in 18 alone. If he has anything that he wants to share with us I’m sure he’ll let us know.”

   The death card appeared. “Could be one of two things,” Cooley said. “Could be the spirit in 18 saying keep your cotton-picking hands for my things, or it could represent the entity as being dead.”

   The remarkable thing about the metaphysical and paranormal, Cooley said, it’s not that she can tap into it, but that most people are unaware that they, too, can do it.”

So now the essential elements of the ghost story of T.J. Wright are in place. The witch named Oz first suggested that Wright died room 18 and now Cooley has added the aspects of the poker game and the subsequent shooting after he had won the hotel in a card game. But the question is was there really a poker room on the second floor. In many ways, this goes against the typical old west business practices. Saloons tolerated gambling because they made money by selling cigars and whiskey to the participants of the card games. Putting a poker room on the second floor really doesn’t sense because this would require a hotel employee to be always running up and down the stairs to check on the patrons involved in the card game. In Henry Lambert’s time, there was no such help. He ran the saloon by himself and even helped out in the kitchen at times.

It is also doubtful that Lambert would even allow gambling on the second floor to begin with. This is evident by the extra effort that he went through to ensure the safety of people sleeping upstairs. He had installed two additional planks of wood, over an inch thick, into the flooring that lies above the saloon to prevent bullets from inadvertently striking anyone upstairs. Historically it is very well-documented that all of the brawling and gunfights took place in the saloon, for why would Lambert want to take that element upstairs where his guests and family were staying and sleeping?

Of course, most of this can be verified historically by examining some of the floor plan drawings done in the early 1900s. The second floor only contained guest rooms and two small common areas. However, neither of the common areas were used for gambling. The present-day poker room was added in the 1940s by Mrs. Haegler who used it as a meeting place for her bridge club.

As the modern era approached, the need to renovate the old rooms became quite the necessity. The original rooms were actually quite small, about the size of the poker room and room 18 are today. Room sizes were expanded by taking down walls and converting other adjoining rooms into bathrooms. An excellent example of this can be seen from the bathroom of room 17. If you sit on the toilet and look to your right, you will see the transom of a doorway that is now completely blocked off. The area where you are sitting was once another guest room. A wall was built that split the room in half. On the other side of the wall is the bathroom for the adjoining room.

So the simple fact is there was no poker room on the second floor when T.J. Wright was there. It should also be noted that all of the violent deaths that have occurred in the St. James are very well documented in many sources. One of the primary sources was actually recorded by Henry’s son, Fred Lambert. Fred went through a great deal of effort to ensure that the murders that took place at the hotel and its saloon were accurately recorded. All the sources clearly indicate that there were no violent deaths on the second floor of the hotel. I have included his sketches and drawings in my book “New Mexico’s Most Haunted; Exposed” and this book for emphasis. So these parts of the ghost story are definitively busted.

You can buy the book here.

Gunfights and Deaths at the St. James Hotel

At one time gunfights in the saloon were so common the dining room ceiling was reinforced with two layers of wood to prevent guests upstairs from being killed by stray bullets. However, many of the shootings and killings that have taken place over the years have been embellished and in many cases confused. Since Lambert’s Saloon was a hub of activity for Cimarron, the bodies of slain men were often brought there for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes it was too identify the body, other times it was merely to collect the reward money that was offered for a particular outlaw. Sometimes these corpses were often counted as “shootings” that have taken place inside the old hotel. Additionally, many of the reported shootings didn’t take place in the hotel itself but just outside of it. One good example is that of Manual Cardenas, who was killed by Clay Allison. The shooting didn’t occur at the hotel. Historical sources place the shooting and murder of Manual Cardenas at the Cimarron jail down the street from Lambert’s saloon.

To be as accurate as possible, I relied on two first-hand accounts. The primary source is those of Fred Lambert, the son of the hotel’s owner Henry Lambert. He did a significant amount of research on this subject, and his papers and notes are stored in the Center for Southwest Research at the University of New Mexico. The Second Source was the memoirs of George E. Crocker which were published in a book called “Memories of Cimarron, New Mexico 1871 – 1882.”

It is essential to understand that the deaths that occurred at the St. James Hotel are documented in multiple sources. The shootings, gunfights and knife battles in which no one was killed are a little more obscure.


Chunk Colbert killed Charles Morris (for stealing his wife) May 21st, 1872

Morris was from Colorado. He came to Cimarron with Chunk Culbert’s wife. One day Chunk Culbert showed up saloon looking for Charles Morris. Morris was drinking at the bar when Culbert stepped up and said: “I understand that you have something that used to belong to me, naturally you need killing for enticing my wife away.” Morris tried to make a quick draw, but Culbert shot first. Morris dropped to the floor with “lead poison.”

Wall Henderson killed Pomeroy Laughlin (May 11th, 1872)

Laughlin was gambling in the saloon at the St. James Hotel when Henderson accused him of cheating and shot him dead.

Clay Allison shot Tom Sunday

Details about this event are unknown but mentioned in the Lambert papers.

Walleye Henderson shot Jim Davis

I was not able to find any details about this gunfight other than Davis survived the fight.


Clay Allison killed John Black

Details of this event are unknown but are listed by Fred Lambert in his notes and papers about the deaths that occurred in the St. James Hotel.

Sam Tipton killed Feliciano  Butarus

One day Feliciano Butarus road up to the St. James corral, he had stolen three find horses from Sam Tipton down at Watrous. He made the sale of two horses to Lucien Maxwell and was dealing Henry Lambert for the third when Tipton and another cowman rode up to the corral, tied their horses and came on into the saloon.

Butarus recognized Tipton as the owner of the horses and made a quick dash toward the dining room door. Tipton missed his first shot but took another at Butarus as he was crossing the street felling him near the entrance to the Maxwell House. They carried him back to the St. James bar and laid him out on the billiard table. They hired two Mexicans to bury him. They had a little spring wagon and after a few rounds of drinks, they started for the cemetery. Bad just crossed the Arroyo and started up the hill when one of the tires came off a wheel and spokes flew in all directions. So they decided to bury him right there on the hillside.

Clay Allison shot Charles Cooper

New Mexico Governor Samuel Axtell posted a $500 dollar reward for Allison with regard to the disappearance of Charles Cooper. Nobody collected and it is believed that Copper was shot by Allison at Lambert’s saloon.

Henry Lambert killed J. Garcia

Details of this event are unknown but are listed by Fred Lambert in his notes and papers about the deaths that occurred in the St. James Hotel.


Clay Allison shot Frank Harris

Details are unknown but Frank Harris is not listed in the Lambert papers about deaths that occurred at the St. James Hotel.


Pancho Griego killed three white soldiers (Gately, Carrol, Scgiem) June 6th, 1875

Pancho Griego was dealing Monte in Lambert’s saloon when some soldiers from Fort Union were ” bucking the game.” A dispute arose over one of the substantial bets. The Monte table was tipped over, and Griego Drew his pistol and Bowie knife and started shooting at the soldiers as he ran towards the front door. Private Scgiem dropped at the first shot. Private Gately was stabbed in the back and fell dead. Private Carrol was shot to death as he ran through the door toward their horses which were tied at the hitch Rack in front of the saloon.

Davy Crockett killed Juan Borrego (Monte Dealer)

Borrego was dealing Monte when Crockett accused him of cheating and shot him.

Clay Allison killed Pancho Griego (November  1st, 1875)

The following story is a first-hand account that was written by George Crocker and published in his book memories of Cimarron New Mexico.

“Allison came into town with a load of beef one evening. He met Donahue about in front of our house. They talked a while, then Donahue went on home and Allison started on to town. As he left Donahue, Allison saw Pancho Griego and two Mexicans coming down the road from Lambert’s. Allison put his hand on his six-shooter. He called,” hold on there, Pancho, I’m not as well armed issue. Have the advantage of me.”

As he talked, he edged toward a dry River Bank there.

Pancho said, ” don’t be afraid of me. Not going to hurt you.” he threw his Winchester to the ground. Then he came up and shook hands with Allison. He told one of the Mexicans to take his gun on home.

Pancho and Allison went on to Lambert’s bar room. It was about Sundown. Lambert was in the kitchen helping to prepare the supper. He heard someone in the bar room and went in. He waited on them and then rushed back into the kitchen. Pancho said to Allison, ” come here, talk to you.”

Allison followed him across the room and when they got to the other side, Allison shot him. Lambert heard the shot and ran into the bar room. He quickly closed up to further trouble.

Another fellow and I had just come into town and as we passed Lambert’s he remarked that it was odd that Lambert’s was closed so early. When Allison left the bar room he went into Porter’s store to see Ace Middaugh.

When Lambert opened up the next morning, found Pancho’s body. There was a big chair in the corner and he had fallen between the wall and the chair, so Lambert had missed him the night before when he hurried into the room.”


Clay Allison killed three killed five  Negro Soldiers

According to the story told Fred Lambert by his father, Henry Lambert, three members of a colored troop had stopped by the saloon in route to Fort Union. Lambert refused to serve the soldiers anything to drink. They got into an argument, and Clay Allison sided with Lambert. One of the soldiers went for a gun, and the shooting started. When it was over the five soldiers were dead, and Allison was unharmed. When the soldiers were buried, the Cowboys got into a heated argument about whether to bury them face up or face down. Finally, a peacemaker suggested they be buried face up, that among so many other variables it would be soon forgotten where they were buried anyway.

Sheriff Rhinehart killed two gringo cattle rustlers

Details of this event are unknown but are listed by Fred Lambert in his notes and papers about the deaths that occurred in the St. James Hotel.


Davy Crockett and Gus Heffron killed three negro soldiers

Three companies of colored troops were sent to Cimarron to aid in keeping the peace, which local authorities for a long time had seemed incapable of doing. Crockett started to leave the saloon. As he tried to turn the knob of the door someone on the other side was turning it too. It was almost a dual of knob turning, and it peeved the young Texan. Finally, with a quick pull, he opened the door. When he saw it was a Negro Soldier who had been delaying his exit, he pulled his pistol and shot him. That was a signal for mass gunplay between a couple of other Cowboys and two more troopers.

A couple of dozen shots were fired. One trooper fell wounded into a corner and kept on shooting until he died. The three other soldiers were also killed. Crockett and Gus Heffron, who is supposed to have played a prominent part in the gunplay, came through unscathed. And they were acquitted.



The bodies of Coal Oil Jimmie and Lon Taylor are brought to the saloon

Both were shot and killed in the Turkey Mountains by John Stewart and Joe McCready and brought to Lambert’s saloon to collect the $2000 reward offered by the stage company and Lucien Maxwell.

Charles Love dies in Room 2

Charles Love, a C.S. cowboy was with a posse that became involved in a gunfight with the Black Jack gang in Turkey Canyon. Love was shot through near the hip. Unfortunately, he had a pocket knife in his pocket that he had used in sticking Black-leg cattle. Blood poisoning set in and he died in the St. James in Room 2.  (Exact date unknown)

Anna Elizabeth “Mollie” Stepp Lambert dies

Henry’s first wife, who went under the nickname of Mary, dies in the hotel on 28 Oct 1881. The details surrounding her death are unknown but are most likely due to natural causes. Her 16 year old brother Willie died a month earlier on September 1st.



Bob Ford killed Bill Curren (in poker game)

On this particular night a poker game was in progress when an argument broke out. Ford shot Curren, who was left for dead on the floor.



Henry Lambert killed Tomas Rodriguez

Rodriguez had been drinking at the saloon and became very drunk when  Lambert kicked him out of the saloon. Rodriguez returned a few minutes later and again was shown the door. After a short time, Rodriguez returned a third time. This time, Lambert punched Rodriguez in the face, knocking him backwards. He fell against the rocks in the stone fireplace, hitting his head and killing him almost instantly.

Prairie Dog Payne shot Shook (Shook dies in Room 6)

Prairie Dog Payne shot Frank Shook three times in the breast in E. Charette’s saloon across the street. Shook came over to the St. James Saloon and died the following morning in Room 6.



Henry and Mary’s son, Johnnie, dies on February 22nd, 1892 after being involved in an accident at the hotel. The cause of death is uncertain but there are rumors that he died after running into someone carrying fried food in a large pot. He eventually died from the burns.



Mary Lambert dies in Room 17 of the hotel on December 6th. She was 67 years old.


1997, Albuquerque Journal article about the St. James Hotel. Hints at the older myth of T.J. Wright

In this article in the Albuquerque Journal, the hotel’s owner, Perry Champion is telling the story of T.J. Wright’s death but adds:

“Wright had also been a lover of Lambert’s wife, Mary.”

The first version of the T.J. wright legend comes from the 1940’s where Wright was Mary’s lover and her husband eventually shoots and kills him. Eventually, this version dies out and Wright’s death now comes from being shot after a poker game.


The paranormal claims of the St. James Hotel in 2003

The St. James Hotel in Cimarron is considered to be one of the most haunted places in New Mexico. This documentary about the paranormal activity that is reported at the hotel was shot in 2003. The differences between the reported activity in 2003 can be compared against the claims currently coming from this historic site. My opinions of the haunting are documented in the film as well.

Witness Accounts of paranormal encounters at the St. James Hotel


Reported Phenomena in room 5

May 22, 1993

My girlfriend (Jenny) and I visited the St. James during a road trip to Colorado. We were staying in room 5, at the end of the hall on the first floor. I was awakened by Jenny around 1:00am. She claims that she had woken up and saw a “cowboy” standing in the corner of the room, watching us. She said that as she started to shake me, he vanished into thin air.

I’m not sure if she was just dreaming or not but she is still really freaked out by the incident that occurred to her that night.

Rodger White

December 12, 1997

During my first stay at the St. James, in 1997, I reserved the Jesse James Room on the first floor. Early one morning, I awoke to hear what sounded like someone pacing in the first-floor hallway. (Remember, it’s hard to walk anywhere in the historic part of the hotel without creating some sort of sound.) I glanced at the small digital clock beside the bed (another concession the hotel makes to modern conveniences) and saw it was 4 a.m.

The pacing continued for at least a half-hour; the last time I glanced at the clock before dozing back to sleep the time was 4:30. I didn’t open the door to see whether it was a restless guest or restless ghost pacing in the hallway because I thought it would be impolite if, indeed, another guest was experiencing insomnia.


October 18, 2007

We are not into the paranormal but we did experience our own private haunting. At about dawn I was jarred out of bed by a loud squealing noise. It was the smoke detector on the 10′ ceiling above the bed. I sniffed and stuck my head out into the hall but smelled nothing. I returned to bed and pulled the covers up and it went off again. When my feet hit the floor, it went off. As I lifted my legs to climb back in it went off again. That’s when I thought “oh-oh – spooks!”

When I mentioned our experience to the lady at the desk that morning I got one of those ‘over-the-top-of-the-glasses’ looks. I suspect she hears about this stuff from time to time.

In looking back, the bed and the room were far from comfortable. But we are very glad we stayed in Jessie’s room. It provided a life-long memory.

Annette Watson

Reported Phenomena in Room 11

December 11 , 1992

I experienced a very strange dream while spending my first night in Wyatt Earp’s Suite. I dreamt that I was sitting in the corner of the bedroom opposite the bed watching my wife sleep, and couldn’t understand why I was out of bed. Then i heard voices, faint at first but gradually getting louder. They were muffled so I couldn’t understand exactly what they were saying. I tried to get up to return to bed, but absolutely could not move. I then tried to speak in order to get my wife’s attention, but could not speak, I tried to scream, but could not scream! I abruptly woke up. It was 4am. I realized I was only dreaming and went back to sleep.

The odd thing is that my wife dreamed of me sitting on the dresser watching her as several cowboys moved in and out of the room’s doorway.

Jeffery Miller

March 12, 2007

After a long, tiring drive, we found ourselves in Cimarron well after midnight. We saw the flashing sign for the St. James and quickly parked out front. Although the front door was unlocked, there was no one manning the desk. We walked through the dining room and into the bar, but all was quiet. We then ventured upstairs but again could find no staff. We didn’t raise our voices as we thought guests might be sleeping. After waiting downstairs for twenty minutes or so, we debated whether to drive on and try to get a bed in another hotel or just crash on the lobby sofa until a staff member woke us up. We decided to try the sofa. Alas, the antique upholstery was not what it might have been in its heyday (two grown men trying to sleep on one tired sofa didn’t help). Unsure what to do but getting more exhausted all the time, we decided to have another look upstairs. This time, we were surprised to find the door to the Wyatt Earp room wide open. We are both sure it was not open before. The room was not occupied.

Tired as we were, we decided to just lay on the bed and catch some shut eye without changing clothes or anything. Although neither of us would have admitted it at the time, I think we were reluctant to go back out to the car and then come back in– we were both starting to get a creepy sensation. We dozed off but were suddenly awakened at the same time by a loud sound that could only be a large owl that seemed to be right outside our window. There was a flapping of wings against the glass and a squawking sound. Then, just as suddenly, it was gone. That was when we smelled the cigar smoke. An overwhelming smell of cigar smoke permeated the air. It was choking in its intensity. The weird thing was (well, one of the weird things) that we couldn’t see any smoke (that’s right, we were sleeping with the light on). We opened the hall door and there was no smoke or smell out there. Still, it was strong inside the room. We might have opened the window to air out the room but we were a little reluctant to let a giant owl in.

It didn’t take long for us to decide to leave the hotel. It was only a little after 3 AM but we were now wide awake. We walked ( and I use the term loosely) down the upstairs hall, fighting a rising sense of panic. We beat a retreat down the stairs and out the front door. We hit the car and didn’t stop driving until we made it to a Motel Six in Raton. Now, you may not believe this, but as we were walking (OK, sprinting) down the hall toward the stairs to leave, I looked back over my shoulder and could have sworn I saw the figure of woman silhouetted against the streetlight illuminated window at the end of the hall! There were some plants there and it was obviously dark, but I’m pretty sure of what I saw.


November 7, 2010

It was about dawn, I was in the state of being asleep and awake. I was lying on the left side of my body when I saw a little boy, about the age of eight to ten years old at the side of the bed. He had short blonde-brown hair, and all I can see of him was from his nose up, looking at me as I lay in bed. I saw his left arm go up. He was wearing a white gown, the kind worn in the 1800’s.

He was holding a small stick in his hand, and he placed it underneath my nose. I can distinctly smell chard, damp wood, like the smell of wood from a campfire that was doused with water, and the coldness of the stick as it touched my skin. I immediately woke up. The little boy had disappeared and I still had the residual feeling underneath my nose from where the stick had touched me. I said, “hello,” turned over to my right side, and fell back to sleep. that is my story, and I’m sticking to it.

I have stayed at the hotel several more times after that first encounter and I never have the same experience twice. The St. James Hotel is real and it is haunted.

Anonymous (room 11)

Reported Phenomena in Room 16

November 12, 1993

We left a pack of cards in the poker room and invited T.J. to deal a hand after we left, but he hadn’t taken us up on our offer by the time we returned in the morning.

We spent the rest of the night in the Doc Holiday Suite, and aside from a surprising, startling “bang” from the bathroom area (caught on an audio recording) that occurred shortly after we turned the lights off, we both felt pretty comfortable and slept soundly. However, I did clown around a bit too much before we turned off those lights, perhaps showing disrespect to any resident spirits, and I suddenly felt a cold wave and a painful tightness in my chest. That led me to apologize in Spanish for the chistes(jokes) and to ask for permission to sleep there. The only other occurrence we had during the night was the sound of footsteps moving up and down the hall. This occurred four times and on two of them the footsteps seemed to stop in front of our door. When i opened the door to see if anyone was there, the hallway was completely empty.

Armando Armijo

Reported Phenomena Room 17

November 10, 1990

Stayed at the St. James while in route to Taos. i knew nothing of the “ghost” stories there but selected the hotel out of my interest of the Old West.

I stayed in Room 17. While most of the night was “normal”, I was awakened around 3:30am by a STRONG scent of perfume. When i say that it was strong, I mean it literally made me cough. It had a rose type of smell and vanished after few minutes. I then went back to sleep.

The next day I tried to investigate the source of the smell. After searching the room and talking to several of the hotel employees, I have no idea what may have caused this. Thought you would be interested.

Richard Smith

December 19, 1990

We had reserved Mary’s room, which we’d heard was extremely haunted. It’s on the second floor, the furthest room back on the left side of the hallway. As you enter room 17 the bed sets with the headboard against the wall on the right and the bathroom is on the left. Past the bed is a sitting area and window. I woke up a couple hours after we’d gone to bed that first night and needed to use the bathroom. But when I glanced down at the foot of the bed, a little lady stood there, smiling at me. I decided I didn’t’t have to go that bad and tried to go back to sleep. I couldn’t, so I looked down there again. The little lady smiled at me again. My husband was snoring beside me, and I shook him awake. I said, “I have to go to the bathroom and there’s someone at the foot of the bed.” (I didn’t mention whether the person was male or female.) He glanced down there and said, “Oh, it’s just Mary.”

Yep, Mary was still there. I said, “I’m not going to the bathroom with her standing there unless you stay awake!” He agreed to do so, and I edged past the foot of the bed, took care of business and rushed back in bed. Mary had vanished and my husband was fast asleep.

Renee Goldman

April 09, 1992

It was raining as we pulled in front of the hotel. We parked and ran inside to register at the front desk. I loved the old lobby and immediately felt like we had traveled back in time. In between the rain fall, we grabbed our bags and climbed the staircase that took us to our 2nd floor rooms. I was please to find out we were the only two people with reservations on the 2nd floor. I believe there was a family of 4 staying downstairs.

Since the ” haunted” room is not available to the general public, I asked for the closest room to it…so we had the room next door to room 18 at the end of the hallway. I unlocked the door and stepped inside.  “There’s no phone…there’s no TV…and…there is NO bathroom!

I went up to the door to the Mary Lambert Room (Room 17) and smelled the essence of perfumed roses one often associates with her presence. And every time I passed Room 18, I challenged the ghost to come out into the hallway. I even knocked on the door hoping he would fling it wide open to see who was there.

The next morning the rains had subsided. I opened the door to our room as we were preparing to go downstairs and pack up the car. As I neared the door, I stopped dead in my tracks. The strong odor of an old cigar was over powering. The smell seemed to be originating from Room 18. I went downstairs and informed the desk clerk who promptly followed me back upstairs. The odor was completely gone.


December 11, 1993

That first night, I stayed in the Mary Lambert room and as I was getting ready to take a shower I noticed a small mirror hanging on the wall that was rocking back and forth. Click, click. Click, click. Though I tried to ignore it, the clicking sound persisted until I finally walked over to the mirror and felt the wall to see if it was vibrating. It wasn’t.

Before going to the shower, I looked at the mirror and said out loud, with a smile on my face, “What’s the matter, are you tired of playing?” The mirror went, click, click and stopped.


November 27, 1996

When we arrived, I asked to stay in Mary Lambert room, because Mary was suppose to roam around leaving the smell of her rose perfume behind. Unfortunately, the only other overnight guest had already booked the room so we took the Doc Holiday Suite right next door to Room 18.

That night, my wife stood on a chair and took pictures through the crack between the top part of the door frame and the window above it. She snapped several pictures and we headed down to the restaurant for supper. After dinner we had a few drinks before heading back to our room. It was about 1.30 am.

While my wife fell asleep quickly, I was not as fortunate. I was thrashing back and forth but was not remotely sleepy. Around 4:00 am, while staring up at the ceiling, I heard the sound of a camera motor followed by a flash of light that came in through the window above the door and hit the ceiling. A few seconds later it happened again. This time I heard the sound of the motor winding (like a camera winding). I nudged my wife awake and it happened twice again with her seeing it too.

I thought, what in the world could someone be taking a picture of at 4:00 in the morning? When I looked into the hallway, no one was there. I never heard any footsteps coming or going. Only hearing the camera and seeing the flash of light were the only clues we were not alone.

The only logical conclusion I could come up with was that the other guest had heard us snapping the photos earlier and maybe was playing a trick on us.
Later that morning, my wife began telling the desk clerk about what had happened earlier in our room. The lady told us that the gentleman staying in the Mary Lambert Room was out of the hotel at that time and did not arrive back until around 6:00 am. Apparently, my wife and I were the only ones in the hotel, because staff members do not stay overnight. When my wife had her film developed, but none of the photos of Room 18 came out, they were all black. I’m still a bit skeptical of that first night, but I can’t come up with any other explanation.


November 1997

The Van Horn’s were on a road trip from their home in Salina, Kan., seeing historic sights along the Trail. A side trip to the hotel in Cimarron was a must stop on the tour, after Joanne’s sister, Kathy Williams, told her of a weird experience she had during a stay at the hotel in 1997.

Picard, an educator who also lives in Salina, Kan. visited the St. James as part of a 12-person tour group. She says she knew nothing of the hotel’s reputation for supernatural events. She knew only of its legendary status as a key stopping point on the Santa Fe Trail. While tagging along at the rear of the tour group, Picard says, she was visiting with a 10-year-old girl when something curious happened as she approached a room near a stairway landing.

“The rest of the group was already in the room as we approached the doorway. We both noticed a strong smell of roses, and mentioned to each other about the smell. We started looking around for some rose-scented room spray or some potpourri, but we saw nothing. I then asked the other tour members where that strong rose scent was coming from. They looked at me as if I was rather strange. None of the others had noticed anything. Only the little girl and I had noticed the scent,” Picard says. “Later, when I got my pictures from the trip developed, I noticed something else. In a picture of that same stairway there was a flash of white, almost like the reflection fro a mirror or a window. But there was nothing in that area which could have caused such a reflection.”

Picard says she never felt threatened or frightened by the experience. She says that she wasn’t a believer in ghosts, but the experience certainly changed her attitude.

(Third Hand Source)

December 19, 1999

My friend Ashley and i stayed in room 17 at the St. James Hotel. We were sitting on the bed in the room talking when I had gotten up and gone into the bathroom. Ashley was talking to me when suddenly she became quiet. I walked out of the bathroom and saw that her face had turned extremely pale and drained of all color.

She jumped up off the bed and ran out the door. I chased after her and asked her what had happened. Shaking with terror, she explained to me that she had seen a transparent lady dressed in Victorian-era clothing with light brown hair walk straight across the room, but she only had seen the reflection of her in the mirror.

She refused to go back into the room so we went down to the front desk and requested to switch room. We spent the rest of our stay downstairs in the Pancho Griego Room.

Carol Grimes

February 12, 2000

I worked at the St. James Hotel for one season as apart of a student exchange program. Me and several others of the housekeeping staff were from Russia and we cleaned the rooms in the morning after the guests had left.

On several occasions we were reprimanded by the hotel manager for carving figures out of the soap bar in room 17. None of us ever did such a thing, we did not have the time for it. we have also encountered the rose perfume smell inside of that room. It is over powering and we often wondering if the smell would be in our clothes for the rest of the day (it never was). I never saw any ghosts though.


March 27, 2001

I was staying in room 17 of the St. James Hotel on my way back from a business conference in Denver. I had read about the hotel on-line and decided to check it out for myself.

Most of the night was rather uneventful, until I had to go to the bathroom (no fun intended). While in the bathroom I kept hearing clicking noises. I assumed they were coming from a air vent or something, but still uneasy I hurried up, finished my business, and left the bathroom. Still curious I went back to my room to see if I could hear anything, But hear nothing. Starting to think I was just overreacting about everything when suddenly I’m hit with this intense smell of perfume. It seemed like it just came of of nowhere. It lasted for about 30 seconds and then completely vanished, just the same as it materialized.

Barry Tillman

November 11, 2001

I am writing you regarding the ghost story of T.J. Wright. I was told a different story by my grandmother who often stopped at the hotel on her way to Santa Fe. This is the story as she told it.

Mary Lambert was often neglected by her husband Henry. Eventually she took a lover, a local miner named Thomas James (T.J.) Wright. Often T.J. would rent a room at the hotel, sometimes using an alias, in order to have secret rendezvous with Mary. They often used room 31, now room 17, to conduct their affair in secrecy.

Eventually Henry found out about the affair and hired a gunfighter to “deal with his problem”. Henry put in gunfighter in room 18, where he would wait to ambush T.J. the next time he visited the hotel. In exchange Henry offered a hefty sum of money which the gunfighter would receive after T.J. had been dealt with and offered a permanent residence at the hotel.

Finally the fateful evening came. T.J. snuck into the hotel and went to the second floor to meet Mary. The gunfighter appeared from room 18 and drew his gun, however T.J. was a faster draw and shot the gunfighter in the head, killing him.

T.J. dragged the gunfighter’s body into room 18 and closed the door behind him. Now he would be wanted for murder, so his only choice was to leave the territory. He climbed out of the window of room 18 and left Cimarron, his escape covered by all the commotion at the hotel from the sound of the gunshot. He would never to return.

Mary was heartbroken and eventually moved into the room where she and T.J. had their affair. This was also the room that she would die in.

According to my grandmother, Mary haunts the hotel because she is looking for T.J., even in death. The ghost of room 18 is not T.J. but rather that of the gunfighter. After all, he did deal with Henry’s problem and he desired his payment, permanent residence in Room 18.

Silvia Melendez

November 13, 2001

A couple staying in Room 17 complained to the front desk about an intense perfume smell in their room.

(Third Hand Source)

January 11, 2003

My husband and I stayed in Room 17 in the beginning of 03. I wasn’t expecting to see a “ghost” but something did happen that night.

In the middle of the night I woke up and I saw this flickering thing on the wall. I looked and focused my eyes and it was a tall black figure that seemed to be made of black mist. I sat frozen for a minute and the spirit reached one of it’s hands down and touched me. I felt as if cold liquid spread through my body and my eyes burned in a weird way. I like I was slightly lifted off the bed and I came back down. I sat bolt up-right and I looked for the spirit; but it was gone. I woke my husband and told him what happened but he didn’t believe me and turned over to go back asleep.

Pope Higgins

December 31, 2004

I was sitting on the bed in room 17 when from out of nowhere my purse flung off the window sill and hit the floor. I jumped up and just looked around a second and sat back down and convinced myself it just fell off by accident. About 5 mins later, the light in the room went off for no reason. Thinking that the bulb had burned out, I decided to go to the front desk to request a new one.

I stood up and left the room and I was walking down the hall when I turned around and I saw the light come back on and it was flickering uncontrollably. i went back to the room and the flickering stopped.

Well, it wasn’t about 10 to 15 mins later when the lights went back off again. I got up off the bed and there was smell of roses that seemed to come out of no where. It was really intense, so much that I had to leave the room.

I came back about 20 minutes later and the smell was gone. the lights “behaved” for the rest of the evening.

Jeni Park

May 25, 2005

Since ghost hunting is our passion we could not wait to spend the night in room 17, the most haunted room that is available. Room 18 is secured for safety of the staff and for respect of the ghost that habituates that room. We found high EMF readings that we could not explain at the end of the upstairs hallway. A picture of the window at the other end of the 2nd story hall still sends chills down our backs as we view it.

Staying in the room of the late Mary Lambert was exciting. As we were fading off to sleep, I felt a light touch on my back. Although feeling quite soothing, I noticed my wife was turned away and could not have touched by back. Upon questioning if she had just touched me…she had not! A moment later she shivered as invisible fingers lightly touched her hand.

About 3 AM we heard a hideous scream that seemed to originate inside our room. Upon immediate picture taking we discovered a vortex (thought by many to be the spiritual presence of a deceased person.)


December 1, 2006

A couple complained about an obnoxious perfume odor in Room 17 when checking out.

(Third Hand Source)

December 4, 2006

My Ghostly experiences all occurred on the second floor in Room 17, Mary Lambert’s room.  As my husband was taking pictures from the doorway,   I walked over to the large window, which has a wide sill and sat so I could look down at the street below.  I imagined that Mary Lambert used to do this same thing.  Then ever so subtle, the smell of roses was present around me.  I thought it might be a fragrance spray, but could locate no plug-ins and no scent on the curtains.  I sat and just experienced it.

My husband entered the room to take more , but his expensive digital camera stopped working and just displayed the word “Busy” on it’s readout.  The camera is a professional grade Canon and this had never happened before!  He stepped back into the hall and the camera started working.  Back into the room another “busy” and out into the hall again, it worked.  Finally as he came back into the room, the rose scent met him in the doorway.   Once I gave him permission to photograph me on the windowsill, the camera mysteriously became functional again.

(Third Hand Source)

February 11, 2007

A couple of years ago, my boyfriend, my two daughters, his daughter, and I went on vacation. We had been in Southern New Mexico and decided to drive to Cimarron.

My boyfriend and I stayed in room 17 while the girls stayed in the Wyatt Earp suite next door. Immediately upon walking into my room, I felt like there was something in there, especially around the vanity/bathroom area. As I stood at the sink, I felt like there was someone right behind me, and I kept looking over my shoulder. Of course, no one was there. I hurried up and brushed my teeth etc. because I really didn’t feel comfortable in that area at all.

Later that evening after dinner, I returned to the room to discover a overbearing smell of flowers near the bathroom. I also had this strange feeling, as if someone was watching me. My boyfriend came in seconds afterward and the smell just vanished. I told him about it and we searched the room for a possible cause. We were unable to figure out what would cause such an intense smell like that.

Karen Whitaker

March 12, 2007

After a long, tiring drive, we found ourselves in Cimarron well after midnight. We saw the flashing sign for the St. James and quickly parked out front. Although the front door was unlocked, there was no one manning the desk. We walked through the dining room and into the bar, but all was quiet. We then ventured upstairs but again could find no staff. We didn’t raise our voices as we thought guests might be sleeping. After waiting downstairs for twenty minutes or so, we debated whether to drive on and try to get a bed in another hotel or just crash on the lobby sofa until a staff member woke us up. We decided to try the sofa. Alas, the antique upholstery was not what it might have been in its heyday (two grown men trying to sleep on one tired sofa didn’t help). Unsure what to do but getting more exhausted all the time, we decided to have another look upstairs. This time, we were surprised to find the door to the Wyatt Earp room wide open. We are both sure it was not open before. The room was not occupied.

Tired as we were, we decided to just lay on the bed and catch some shut eye without changing clothes or anything. Although neither of us would have admitted it at the time, I think we were reluctant to go back out to the car and then come back in– we were both starting to get a creepy sensation. We dozed off but were suddenly awakened at the same time by a loud sound that could only be a large owl that seemed to be right outside our window. There was a flapping of wings against the glass and a squawking sound. Then, just as suddenly, it was gone. That was when we smelled the cigar smoke. An overwhelming smell of cigar smoke permeated the air. It was choking in its intensity. The weird thing was (well, one of the weird things) that we couldn’t see any smoke (that’s right, we were sleeping with the light on). We opened the hall door and there was no smoke or smell out there. Still, it was strong inside the room. We might have opened the window to air out the room but we were a little reluctant to let a giant owl in.

It didn’t take long for us to decide to leave the hotel. It was only a little after 3 AM but we were now wide awake. We walked ( and I use the term loosely) down the upstairs hall, fighting a rising sense of panic. We beat a retreat down the stairs and out the front door. We hit the car and didn’t stop driving until we made it to a Motel Six in Raton. Now, you may not believe this, but as we were walking (OK, sprinting) down the hall toward the stairs to leave, I looked back over my shoulder and could have sworn I saw the figure of woman silhouetted against the streetlight illuminated window at the end of the hall! There were some plants there and it was obviously dark, but I’m pretty sure of what I saw.


January 13, 2008

Two years ago I took my wife to the St. James Hotel in Cimarron for some time away from the kids.
After dinner my wife started to complain about a head ache so we went back to the Inn (room 17). She tried to lay down but it got worse so she took one of her pills for migraines which knocked her out.

I read a book for awhile and was about to doze off when I heard the toilet flush. I walked into the bathroom and the toilet was filling back up (as if someone had just flushed it) I went back and laid down. I went to sleep thinking nothing of what had just happened. I woke up because I felt something ice cold on my right foot, it was as if someone was rubbing it.

I rolled over and my wife was asleep. I pulled my feet under the covers and lay in a fetal position. I was pretty scared. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep but I heard a woman’s voice and I opened my eyes, there was a woman standing at the foot of the bed. She was just standing there watching me. I screamed and grabbed my wife’s arm. The woman disappeared before my wife woke up.

We got dressed and checked out.


December 20, 2008

My friend and I went to stay at the St. James, in early Nov. 2008, to see if indeed the stories about it being haunted are true. Well, we were not disappointed. We stayed in the Mary Lambert room #17.

We had placed a digital recorder on the night stand and it was “on” while we were just kicking back and taking before going to bed. My friend had washed her face and was putting lotion on it. I asked her “Is that real Oil of Olay that you are using?” She responded “yes this is all I have ever used on my face”

When we played back the recording later that night, there was a female voice on the recording that said in a fairly loud and clear whisper “your skin is beautiful”. This was picked up right after my friend said “yes this is all I have ever used”. It is the best EVP I have ever heard to date.

In another instance, my friend was saying that when she dies she wants her ashes scattered in Ohio and New Mexico at that moment you hear a loud voice say “Ahh”.
When we were discussing whether we should go through Wyoming a male voice said “no”

When we came back from dinner earlier that night we found some “candy” on the middle of the floor in the bathroom. We don’t know where that came from.

We were not frightened by the experience it was interesting and exciting to say the least! I am a “certifide” paranormal investigator after all!


November 8, 2009

Ok, so my husband and I live in Albuquerque and try to go to Red River at least once a year in the summer…it’s the off season there and nice and quiet. We usually take a drive north of Red River for a look at the beautiful scenery toward Angel Fire, NM. In Sept. 2008 we took a trip and were driving north of Red River into Eagle Nest when my husband said, “Hey, it’s 23 miles to Cimarron we should drive up there.” I asked why and he said the St. James hotel was up there (he is a history buff). I asked what’s so great about the St. James and he told me he had read it was haunted. I said sure! We walked into the hotel and were directed to a TV that would play a movie about the area and hotel and how Cimarron was settled so we sat down and turned it on. Hubby was mesmerized by the history but after what seemed like forever but was probably 6 minutes, the movie’s theme of the push west in the 1800’s hadn’t even gotten to New Mexico. I said I was bored and was going to look around do I walked down the hall looking at the rooms. Several rooms had their doors open but had those red cords across them like you see in movie theatres. I found out they rent those rooms just don’t people walking around inside unless they are staying there.

After looking at those, I saw the wide staircase leading upstairs. There is a sign that says only hotel guests are allowed upstairs but I quickly ignored it and went on up (sorry St. James). Now remember, I don’t know anything about this place, never even heard of it. I noticed that one of the rooms had a padlock on it and figured they kept extra furniture or supplies in there. I really liked how old the place was and how the doors didn’t exactly fit in the frames – I also liked the glass panels above the ill-fitting doors. The housekeeper was coming up behind me and I told her how great this place was and could I see some of the rooms up there. (Hint: if you ever want to see anything in a hotel, ask a housekeeper – they are almost always friendly and accommodating) She said she had just finished cleaning a room at the end of the hall and let me in. I noticed how small it was. I also noticed the smell – kind of like cheap perfume. I told her that smell was way too strong for me to stay in that room. She said she didn’t spray the rooms with anything and just used lemon pledge.

Thinking she was just pulling my leg….you know, hotel supposed to be haunted… I said, “Oh, I see …great marketing tool”. I asked why that room down the hall had a lock and she said, “that’s the bad man’s room”. I thought man, they really are hyping it up. She left and I was trying to take pictures through the crack at the top of the door of the “bad man’s room”, when a couple came down the hall to look at the room she just showed me. I said hi and wasn’t this a great place and they said they were looking at a room and were staying there that night. They asked if I wanted to see the room they were looking at. I walked back into the same room I had just looked at and remarked how strong the smell was. They said they didn’t smell anything and what did it smell like. I said, “you really can’t smell that?” They both said they didn’t smell that horrible rose scent. My husband, by this time, had finished his movie and was yelling down the hall looking for me. I was practically getting a migraine from the smell and called to my husband to come down there – he couldn’t smell anything either – that’s when I knew they weren’t lying to me. We stayed there 2 months later in the same room – Mary Lambert’s room – for a murder mystery they do.

We had a lot of fun but I never smelled anything the two nights we stayed there. By the way, I looked and found the housekeeping closet the first time we looked at the hotel…it’s that door right outside the lobby in the hall …looking for rose scented air fresher ( I’m a snoop and a skeptic) went in (sorry St. James) and didn’t find anything in there but regular cleaning supplies – none of which was rose scented. I found out after that first look at the hotel, the history and how people smell Mary Lambert’s rose perfume. If you don’t believe me, go there yourself…if you do smell her perfume beware, most people probably won’t believe you. It’s ok …I know what I smelled and it was strong and unmistakable. My husband told me that day, “oh yeah, that smell was in the movie”.


November 14, 2009

A female guest staying in Room 17 hear a disembodied voice say “Close the window”.

(Third Hand Source)

December 21, 2009

I was lucky enough to smell Mary Lambert’s rose perfume also! At the time, it was daytime, probably about 10am. I had just gotten out of the shower and was walking down the hall back to my room when it hit me…it was VERY strong, almost cloying, like the smell of walking into a flower shop full of roses.

I dismissed it as my friend’s perfume, and I joked with her (she is a funeral director) that she was bringing the smell of funerals wherever she went. She told me she hadn’t put any perfume on yet, and she didn’t have anything rose scented anyway. The tales of Mary Lambert’s rose scented perfume is true! I’ve stayed in room 17, the Mary Lambert room, and have heard mysterious tapings on the window when no one was there. I have also stayed in the Bat Masterson suite at the top of the stairs and woke up out of a dead sleep feeling like someone was staring at me…..but intending me no harm.

William Bryant

February 12, 2010

We started out dining in the bar, because the dining hall was packed. The food was alright. Then after dinner we went on a guided historic walk. We learned about all the hauntings that went on as well as historic facts. We went into the old jail which is really old like late 1800’s old. That was too much for me. It was also still the town jail up until the 60’s which was really creepy. After the tour we played ouija and many creepy things happened there. The strangest was the odd smell of perfume that suddenly appeared when we asked “Are you a female?”

We then went to stake out more haunted areas and got really spooked. Not one of us could really sleep through the night. The next day we learned we had a “bad” room where spirits supposedly make a unrested stay for the guests. Lots of cool ghost stories


Reported Phenomena in Room 18

November 16, 1994

After having dinner I went up to the second floor and sat down in the hall near Room 18. Suddenly out of the corner of my left eye I saw a figure approaching me. The figure wore a hat and had a general “cowboy” appearance. I turned to look as the figure approached and it suddenly vanished.

I was a little bit startled. i got up and went back to our room (#23) to tell my wife what i had seen. By the time i got there my back felt like it was burning. So I lifted my shirt and had my wife take a look. There were several scratches running diagonally across my back.

Scott Edwards

November 30, 2000

While my wife and I were visiting the hotel, we took a tour of the second floor. We were at the door to Room 18 when we both distinctly heard a male say “Leave me alone!”. The voice came from behind the door, we are both certain of it.

The door was padlocked on the outside so I’m fairly certain that no one was inside the room.


March 23, 2008

I would never stay in the hotel by myself because of the paranormal activity. My husband and I and our adult son were the only guests staying in the old hotel and did have some experiences. Room 18 did not want a picture taken through the crack at the top of the door.

The camera would go dead every time it was attempted yet work immediately on return to our room. A female voice was heard holding a conversation in another room and my husband could smell smoke. There was no source for it to come from.

Matthew Bennett

Reported Phenomena in Room 19

November 06, 1996

During our stay at the hotel we were fortunate enough to be only one of 4 guests staying at the hotel. We were staying in the William Cody Suite.

After dining me and my friend John went outside to have a cigarette. As we enjoyed the night air, John looked up and noticed that the curtain in the room above the front door was moving, as if someone was peering out. I wondered, out loud (and jokingly), who would be so interested in us? The curtain was held back for about 10 seconds, then it was released.

It took us a moment but we realized that the curtain was in our room. we quickly rushed upstairs. The door was locked and no one was in the room.

Kris Crawford

Reported Phenomena in Room 20

December 15, 1995

I hadn’t had anything along the lines of a strange experience until the night I stayed at the St. James Hotel. I was staying in room 20 while my travel mate was in #12. After hanging out at the bar until midnight, I went up into my room, shut off the light, and had JUST climbed into bed when a pair of pants went flying through the air and hit me in the face.

There was no one in the room just me. Naturally I freaked out and left the room. i stayed the night with my friend in her room, sleeping on the floor. The next morning we both went back to room 20. My clothes had been pulled out of my suitcase and were in a pile on the floor. I quickly packed everything up and we checked out.

Crystal Castillo

December 18, 2002

I was sleeping in room 20 during my stay at the hotel. I was in bed and I was facing the wall when all of a sudden I got the urge to turn around because I felt someone there so, as I turned around I saw a tall blonde long haired skinny guy standing there. He looked like 20 something and his face was unshaven. He was wearing a ragged duster and a black hat. I only saw it for 10 seconds and I wasn’t afraid but just shocked. He just stood there and then faded away. I never felt threatened or anything but thought that it was really cool that I had an paranormal experience.

Jill Young

December 18, 2004

I had a rather odd experience when I stayed at the St. James Hotel. I wanted to get room 17 but it had already been reserved so i got the closest room to it (#20). Nothing much happened for most of the night. Bored, I proceeded in going to bed and was about to turn the light off when I saw something on the right by the window. I didn’t think much of it and turned the light off instead. So, I was laying down looking at the window and I see something walking back and fourth, slowly or regular pace, to the door and back. I was so scared after it went away maybe half an hour later I didn’t fall asleep till 6am and had the weirdest dream that “the guy” was saying something to me that I could not understand.


September 28, 2005

A guest (male) staying in room 20 complains about the noise coming from the room next to him. (Room 18) Room is vacant and still padlocked.

(Third Hand Source)

December 25, 2007

At 10PM, the hotel shuts down and everyone leaves. I was the only guest staying in the hotel. They actually locked me in. I spent about two hours walking around just checking out everything and trying to imagine what it must have been like in the 19th century. I was also waiting for a glimpse at a ghost or haunting. It never appeared. I even went and knocked on the door of room 18. Nothing.

As there is no tv, no phone, no cell phone coverage, no radio, no books; I went to sleep. Around 1 am or so, I could hear a door banging shut, followed by three quick thuds, like something being dropped on carpet and bouncing. This repeated over and over. It is also coming from the other end of the hotel, near room 18 by my guestimation. The hair on arms and neck stood on end. It took about 20 minutes for me to get up my nerve to go check it out, but I found nothing. All the doors were locked.

I went back to bed, but couldn’t sleep. The banging of the door kept up all night long. It would repeat for about 15-20 minutes at a time and then quite for a while. I could also here someone walking outside in the hall, but never could find anyone. I could here walking up and down the stairs. Nothing. I could here reeking in the hall way on the wood floors several times through the night. There is probably a logical explanation for it all. A, it was very windy and snowy that night; it could have been something on the roof being blown around by the wind and my imagination was just running wild. B, it could have been the staff messing with me; highly doubt it though since the wood floors and hard to open doors make it hard to hide and easy to identify.

Anonymous (in Room 20)

February 20, 2008

A couple staying in room 20 complains to the front desk about someone smoking cigars just outside of their door. although they didn’t see anyone, they could smell it and the wife was allergic to tobacco smoke.

(Third Hand Source)

March 2009

While renovating the dining room (added onto the hotel in the 1930’s) the roof had to be replaced. Steve would gain access to the roof by going out the window or room 20.

One day after work, he was preparing to leave when he noticed that room 20’s window was still open. He went back into the hotel and closed the window. As he left the room he was hit by the overpowering scent of roses. He described it as if ” someone poured 5 gallons of rose oil over your head”.

Steve Boyce

Reported Phenomena in Room 23

November 14, 1990

We stayed in room 23 on the second floor at the top of the stairs. Around midnight, we could hear banging and muffled voices in the hall. I went out to get the luggage from the car and the noises stopped. No one was in the hallways or the lobby. Later that evening this happened again and as before I opened the door and looked into the hallway and stairs. No one was there.

The next morning we were told that we were the only ones staying in the hotel that night.

Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Jameson

December 01, 1996

During my visit at the St. James, I stayed in Room 23. I went to bed around 11:00. A few hours later, I woke up suddenly. I looked around because I got that funny feeling that I wasn’t alone. To my surprise I was right. I don’t how I could see him because it was so dark but there he was at the foot of my bed. I was frozen, I couldn’t move nor speak because I was so scared. I tried telling myself it’s just a dream, but something about him scared the heck out of me. I couldn’t figure out how I could see him. It was like he was darker than the rest of the room. I could tell exactly what he was wearing. He had on all black long coat with a hat. Despite being able to see all this I still couldn’t see his face. It was like he was a shadow, but solid.

I then suddenly jumped, you know the way you do when you’re dreaming that you’re falling. I looked around and he was gone. I was relieved and thought it was just a dream but the experience just seemed to real.

Kim Fuller

January 10, 1998

My experience at the St. James occurred in the Waite Phillips room (23). I had only been in bed 15 minutes and I was facing the wall of my room, trying to go to sleep. I remember I was tired and frustrated that I couldn’t`t fall right asleep. I recall letting out a deep sigh and turning over and there leaning against the other wall opposite my bed was a cowboy. I couldn’t make out much detail as the room was dark but there was definitely someone there.

i quickly reached for my purse, which was beside the bed, and grabbed a container of mace that I always keep with me. However, when I looked back towards the wall, he was gone.

Kelly Coleman

October 2009

A lesbian couple staying in Room 23 fled the hotel ar 12:05am. When asked why they were leaving they claimed that a cowboy was sitting in a rocking chair watching them.

(Third Hand Source) Judy Kahlor

June 2010

The cook and a waitress were outside in front of the hotel smoking when they noticed that someone was watching them from the window of Room 23. No one was checked into the hotel.

Jake (Hotel Chef)

Reported Phenomena in Kitchen

September 13, 1993

Silverware was rolled into napkins at night and placed in the dining room to give the morning crew a head start on the day. On several occasions the morning crew would come in to find that the silverware had been removed from the napkins and shrewd about the tables.

(Third Hand Source) from Waitress at the restaurant

December 02, 2000

I worked as a server at the hotel for the past six months. One night when I was cleaning the coffee machine at the end of the day, one of the cups (stacked two cups high on top of the machine) fell to the floor. I picked it up and carefully replaced it, only to have it fall off again. I tried again, and held it to ensure it was steady before removing my hand, upon which the cup levitated about 6 inches into the air, hung for a moment, and then fell to the floor.

I looked over my shoulder to see the bartender staring at me, she had seen it too. Wanting to be respectful, and having been told by the stories about the ghosts before, I apologized aloud to them for repeatedly putting the cup where they didn’t want it, and stacked the cup elsewhere on the coffee machine, where it stayed.


November 2004

While working in the kitchen, a knife, supported on a magnetic knife holder, flew off and stuck in the floor.


Reported Phenomena on Stairs

June 2010

A couple staying upstairs were on their way to the bar. As they walked, the wife taunted T.J., saying that she was not afraid of him.

The husband reached the bottom of the stairs first and waited for his wife, who was some distance behind him. When she was half way down the stairs an unseen presence grabbed her and threw her over the banister. She suffered a mild concussion from the fall.

(Third Hand Source) Judy Kahlor

Reported Phenomena in Dining Room

September 13, 1993

Silverware was rolled into napkins at night and placed in the dining room to give the morning crew a head start on the day. On several occasions the morning crew would come in to find that the silverware had been removed from the napkins and shrewd about the tables.

(Third Hand Source) from Waitress at the restaurant


Oldest newspaper article about the haunting at the St. James Hotel in Cimarron, NM

The Albuquerque Journal, December 6, 1987

Since this appears to be the genesis, there are several important factors to understand from this article.

“Several psychics and other dabblers in the paranormal have visited the hotel to interact with the spirits. Last July, television crews filmed a séance led by a self proclaimed Albuquerque witch named Oz, but Taylor said the cameras and other distractions kept the session from being productive. Oz also spent time chanting in Room 18, said Loree, and came away believing the spirit inhabiting the room was a man named James Wright. The witch said Wright was killed when he tried to claim the hotel as winnings in a poker game.” “There is no earthly way Oz could have known or could have seen that name.”

“Mary” is not necessarily the ghost of Mary Lambert, just named after her for convenience. The ghost is room 18 is initially believed to be James Wright, which Loree claims to find in the guest register.


Mary Lambert’s connection to Room 17, St. James Hotel

marylambertIn 1887 Charles Fred “Cyclone” Lambert was born to Henri and Mary Lambert in Room #31, now Room 17 of the St. James Hotel. It was a blustery winter night with a blizzard blowing outside and at the time of his birth so one of the hotel guests, and good friend of the Lambert family, laughingly commented that he should be named “Cyclone Dick,” much to Mary’s chagrin. However, she went along with it and the couple soon asked the guest to be Fred’s godfather, which he gladly accepted. The guest and Fred’s godfather was none other than Buffalo Bill Cody. Buffalo Bill would later give Fred instruction in the use of guns when he got older.

Mary also died in this room in 08 June 1926.

Event replications, alternative explanations: St. James Hotel

A large part of the investigation process is to determine if the witnesses actually encountered something unusual but has a rational explanation. To accomplish this, we replicate the environment to create the same conditions as it was when the witness had their experience. Once this is accomplished we can then test various hypotheses to attempt to recreate the phenomena.

Once we are able to recreate the phenomena, the witness is brought back in (if possible) and the effect is replicated. They are then asked to compare the replication with what they reported to have experienced. If the phenomena was replicated to the satisfaction of the witness and the “paranormal” phenomena is sufficiently explained they are recorded here.


Reference A

The window at the end of the second floor hallway is the cause for a multitude of phenomena which is often inadvertently mistaken as paranormal activity by paranormal investigators and guests at the hotel.

The shadow at the door of room 17

People staying in Room 17 often report that when they look at the doorway at night, there appears to be a shadow of a person standing on the other side of the door. When they get up and open the door, no one is there.

The rear exterior of the hotel is well lit by exterior lighting and that light enters the window, adding to the available light in the hallways. The end of the second floor hall is already dark and the additional light from the outside really does create a difference. The shadow seen under the doorway is created when the exterior lights go out or dim due to an effect called cycling.

This is caused by older bulbs in the lights and is caused by a loss of sodium in the arc. Sodium vapor lamps can be started at a relatively low voltage, but as they heat up during operation the internal gas pressure within the arc tube rises, and more and more voltage is required to maintain the arc discharge. As a lamp gets older, the maintaining voltage for the arc eventually rises to exceed the maximum voltage output by the electrical ballast. When the lamp heats to this point, the arc fails and the lamp goes out.

Eventually, with the arc extinguished, the lamp cools down again, the gas pressure in the arc tube is reduced, and the ballast can once again cause the arc to strike. The effect of this is that the lamp glows for a while and then goes out, repeatedly.

Moving Apparitions in the second floor hallway

Other phenomena that is reported in the second floor hallway are “apparitions”, often seen out of the corner of the eyes. These events are always described as brief and often vanish before the witness can get a good look directly at them.

We were able to identify the cause of many of these encounters as stray light sources, often vehicle headlights, entering the window and moving along the south wall as the light source continues to move. Most of the light sources are caused by car movement in the rear of the parking lot, particularly when a vehicle turns off of Sherman Ave onto 16th street and then into the parking lot. The window drapes must be open for the effect to occur.


Reference B

Tapping noises on the window of Room 17

People staying in Room 17 often report that when the window is open, they heard a tapping noise of the glass. This is often attributed as being the ghost of mary Lambert and this phenomena has become ingrained into the local lore of the hotel.

However, the noises are not coming from the window. They’re origin is the dresser in the corner of the room.


The dresser has a mirror assembly that, although tightened down, is capable of moving. Vibrations created by walking in the room or hallway can cause the mirror to move slightly back and forth. This movement creates a tapping like noise that is often mistaken as coming from the window.

When we were trending the data collected from the witnesses we noticed that it was not a requirement for the window to be open. Many people have heard the tapping when the window was shut. Replication of this phenomena can sometimes be difficult because we haven’t determined the exact cause that creates the vibrations necessary to cause the mirror to sway. During one series of tests we were able to recreate the tapping simply by walking briskly towards the bathroom. However we were unable to make it move at all one hour later. Yet during another test we were able to create the tapping by having three people walk down the hall towards the stairs, which we were not able to accomplish during the first series of tests.

We did positively identify the mirror as the source by using a decibel digital sound level meter.

Reference C

Perfume smell on the Second Floor

A commonly reported occurrence on the second floor is a perfume smell that is associated with the ghost of Mary Lambert. The scent has multiple natural explanations.

1. In the spring and summer the odor can be traced to a flowering tree just north of the hotel. The smell is more predominant when there is a southern breeze. Seventy percent of the witness reports occurring during the spring and summer months were positively identified as the tree as the source of the smell.


2. Although the hotel avoids using scented cleaning products as much as possible, we have seen products with a floral scent being used on two occasions. These smells are slight and differ from other reports where the perfume is described as being over bearing and intense.


St. James Hotel, Clovis News Journal, 1991

This article is the first that identifies Dr. Kenneth Wright as the person Loree was with during the “attack”. It also identifies him as being a gynecologist.

“In addition to knocking people down that try to enter the room, Wright’s mean spirited ghostly presence is thought to be responsible for the deaths of various pet birds kept at the hotel.”

A little myth building has entered the picture. Thus far only Pat Loree was “knocked to the floor” but the article seems to imply that it has happened to multiple people. This is typical of myth building.  However the genesis of the “haunting” is mentioned, the deaths of various pet birds.  The story of Room 18 begins when Ed Sitzberger lets two people inside Room 18 to have a look and several of his pet birds die the following day. The seed of suggestion (that it is haunted) is planted. Afterwards his wife Pat  has her encounter in the room.