The Buford House Haunting

tombstone arizona's buford house

Despite what traditional ghost tales might suggest, not all lovesick ghosts are women. The heartbroken spirit of a scorned male reportedly haunts the historic Buford House in Tombstone, Arizona.

Located at 113 East Safford Street, the Buford House once operated as a bed and breakfast. Two sheriffs, a mayor, and a state senator have reportedly slumbered inside the home’s historic walls, as did the legendary actor John Wayne. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, though the history of the Buford House is far from pleasant.

The Tragic Tale of George Daves and Petra

Legend has it that a man named George Daves once lived at the Tombstone home, across the street from a lovely young girl named Cleopatra Edmunds, or Petra for short. George and Petra were childhood friends, but their innocent relationship eventually blossomed into something more and the two made plans to get married.

Driven by love and ambition, George toiled away in distant silver mine. The grueling work kept him away from Tombstone, and Petra, for months at a time, but George didn’t mind the temporary separation. Soon he would have enough money to marry his sweetheart and support a family. However, these happy dreams soon went up in gun smoke.

Not long after returning from a lengthy stint at the mine, George accompanied Petra to a party. However, the night of frolic and fun turned to one of heartbreak and humiliation when Petra reportedly snubbed George by walking home with another man. The betrayal ate away at George, and he spent days brooding over the loss. On April 14, 1888, a heartsick George grabbed his revolver, pointed it at Petra, and fired four times. Two of the bullets hit their mark, and as a bleeding Petra lay screaming in the dirt, George turned the gun on himself. The scorned miner died from a gunshot wound to the head. According to a death certificate, George was just 21 years old. Petra, 17, miraculously survived her injuries and lived another 50 years. The tragic tale of unrequited love made headlines, appearing in the Tombstone Epitaph.

Does George Daves Haunt the Buford House?

Though George Daves died in 1888, many believe the young man never truly left his former home. A couple that once owned The Buford House reported a number of strange occurrences, including lights turning off and on, raps in the walls, and a doorbell that rang at 3 a.m., though no one was ever at the door. One December, the couple spotted a shadowy figure lurking in the hall. They believe it was George stopping by to admire their newly-erected Christmas tree.

Given its harrowing history, it’s not surprising that the Buford House has attracted a number of paranormal investigation crews. The California-based team Ghost Trackers visited the haunted hotspot in 2002 and sensed a “tremendous energy” in the home. According to a report posted online, the investigation crew noticed a strange light on the wall as they prepared their equipment. As a member of the team stepped forward to get a closer look, the light zipped across the room and out the door. Orbs also appeared in the crews’ photos, and one pic reveals what appears to be the face of a cowboy reflected in a bedroom mirror. The image is faint and indistinct, but one member of the Ghost Tracker crew felt certain it was George staring in the direction of Petra’s former home.

ghost photo buford house tombstone arizonaIn 2005, the Arizona Desert Ghost Hunters visited the home and also photographed a gentleman’s reflection in the mirror. The image (right), posted on, shows what appears to be a tall man dressed in a black hat and black coat. Psychics at the scene saw a man with the same description walk through the bedroom wall and disappear.

However, George does more than appear in mirrors and photographs. In 2002, a guest at the Buford House awoke with a start, feeling as if she’d been zapped by a bolt of electricity. The tingling sensation traveled up her spine and down her legs, and as she lay terrified on the bed an invisible entity began sliding the covers off her body. The guest, whose report appears on, also felt a hand stroking her backside. Thankfully, the woman was spared further assault when her friend awoke and approached the side of the bed. It wasn’t the first time George had gotten frisky with a female guest. The spirit has also been known to touch women’s hair and stroke the back of their necks. Perhaps the spurned and heartbroken George is simply lonely and longing for a woman’s touch?

Additional Sources: Beyond a Ghost Story, Paranormal Investigators

Top Photo: Flickr

8 thoughts on “The Buford House Haunting

  1. I was fortunate enough to spend 2 nights at the Buford House, in 2001. July 13, and 14th 200l to be exact. I chose the Buford House because of it’s reputation and history of paranormal happenings. Disappointed, I was not! I experienced a few unexplained things.
    The light sconce at the top of the stairs, began flickering on and off, just as I would reach the top of the landing… on 3 occasions during my visit.
    On the evening of the 13th while sleeping in the upstairs bedroom to the left of the landing, I was awakened by an uncomfortable clamminess and the realization that I was fighting someone for the blanket. I held on tight to them , pulling them back, for a few moments, before the pulling stopped. I was frightened but not panicky. My husband and young son were asleep, in the bed. I had camped out on the floor. They did not wake up, or sense anything, while I had quite an experience.
    The proprietors( the Allens,) were wonderful, personable and genuinely nice folks. We felt like family while we were there. It was the warmest welcome I’ve ever experienced.
    Zoe Yellin

    • Great story. Thanks for sharing! I always say I’d like for a ghost to visit me at a haunted spot, but I’m not sure how I’d react if one tried pulling on my blanket in the middle of the night.

  2. Its excellent as your other articles : D, regards for putting up. “Say not, ‘I have found the truth,’ but rather, ‘I have found a truth.'” by Kahlil Gibran.

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  4. Well there are various legends of men going nuts and killing themselves and other people but the thing is it’s never classified as ‘jilted men’ the ‘ jilted women’ classification is more of a Cultural thing than a genuine spiritual classification.

    Occultists in other countries usually classify each spirit based on the behavior and manner of death, but this guy is a bit of a cunnundrum to say the least.

    Usually someone with a death that violent ends up becoming an angry or vengeful spirit. He seems like neither. Maybe he owned up to the fact that what he did was wrong. So instead of blaming Petra he blames himself.

    Though she’s hardly a blameles saint herself. Then again maybe she got tired of waiting for him and found love elsewhere?

    I can’t say that I haven’t made mistakes and screwed in the past.
    Thankfully not that bad though.

    Are there anymore reports on her and her life? I get the sense that if he knew about her, about her life afterwards and perhaps even saw an article of hers it would be enough to get him to pass on.

    That’s just a method I use. Sometimes it works.


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  6. Now that wood give Chile on my arm if I seen my dad ghost In married am Allen Hamm from lizella GA. Freinds it true if ur love one pass way or mom or dad pass way and u might or see ghost clip of them. Talk to them never be scaird set Down shut off the TV radio and talk to them ooo I send glow ghost of my dad were he use put deity close in washer. My dog was braking at ghost of my dad

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