Haunted Dawson Cemetery, New Mexico

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You expect a cemetery to be haunted, don’t you? But in some cases, a tragedy of such great magnitude occurs that is causes a cemetery to become an even stronger focus for frequent hauntings. Such is the case with Dawson Cemetery in New Mexico.

On October 22, 1913, a huge explosion rocked the town of Dawson, New Mexico. The explosion originated more than 2 miles away in the Stag Canyon Mine No. 2, when a dynamite charge ignited the coal dust. Roughly 285 miners had gone down into the mine that morning. Only 23 men were rescued and two of the rescuers lost their lives in the process. At the time, it was the second worst mining disaster in history.

The good townspeople of Dawson spent weeks burying the dead. Row after row of graves marched up a nearby hillside, each grave marked with a simple white iron cross.

Just 10 years later, the town would be thrown into mourning yet again. In Stag Canyon Mine No. 1, an ore car jumped the tracks, once again igniting the coal dust in the mine. This time 123 men lost their lives. Only two survivors, who had been in a remote area of the mine, were able to get clear. More white crosses were added to the hillside over the ensuing weeks.

In 1950, the town of Dawson was abandoned when the Phelps Dodge Corporation closed the mines and the town was plowed under. In fact, the site was totally forgotten until 1991, when two brothers, on a metal detecting mission, stumbled on the abandoned cemetery. The town site has been turned back into a private ranch and, except for the cemetery, almost nothing remains in the area to show that more than 32 million tons of coal were removed from the earth here and that Dawson was one of the largest towns in New Mexico in the 1920s. Thanks to the efforts of one of the brothers, Dale Christian, the Office of Cultural Affairs placed Dawson Cemetery on the National Register of Historic Places on April 9, 1992.

Today, locals and visitors to the cemetery frequently see spectral lights and misty apparitions coming down from the top of the hill and wandering among the graves. The locals say that the lights are the headlamps of the miner’s helmets. The Southwest Ghost Hunters Association has captured unusual EM readings in the cemetery, but found nothing conclusive.

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