Lowell mine circa 1910's
Ghost stories of headless miners persist in Bisbee mining lore. After the mines closed the story was kept alive by the ex-miner tour guides at the Queen Mine Tour. Below is the earliest known reference to the legend, excerpt from Bisbee Evening Miner, December 11, 1909, page 5.
Headless Spook In the Mines
Three men Declare They have Seen Horrible Apparition in Lowell Shaft—Where Will the Ghost Appear Next?
“Monotony among the miners of the camp has been varied by the appearance of a genuine, spook at least the story of the appearance of the supernatural visitor is given credence by more than one big knight of the pick and shovel. One man reported to have seen the monster is said to be on his way in the heart of Sonora, and is still moving at last accounts.
According to the story this man went to the Lowell Shaft, from which timbers are lowered to the mine. He discovered a man prone on a pile of timbers. Prompted by a kind heart, he touched the man, as he supposed and called to him. No answer. He then raised the supposed unfortunate. A yell that waked the echoes of the tunnel and wandered deep into the shaft is said to have followed. For in his arms he had a body complete except for the head. Dropping his horrible burden, the miner is said to have fled at full speed to his home in Bakerville where he told his story.
Nor is this all. Two men who were working in the stopes of the Lowell discovered as their silent companion just such a headless body as is alleged to have been seen in the tunnel. They are said to have had no curiosity whatever for a closer investigation, but proceeded to spookless quarters of the mine.
Whether true or not the story of the headless man has found its way into all sections of the camp, and has naturally found some belief among the credulous. Even those who scoff at the idea are unable to give an explanation for their uneasy glances at the dark corners of the Lowell shaft or for their sudden start when a noise not usual to the working of the mine is heard. Some has expressed desire to meet this spookship face to face, but for the most part the men are content to forget even the thought of a visitor among them who lacks the common decency and conventionality to put on the chief adornment of man, a head.
The appearance of the ghostly body in two different locations of the Lowell would indicate that this spook is playing no favorites, but is bent upon investigating underground as well as on top. There is no assurance, either, declare the miners of the other shafts, that he will not in turn visit each of the mines, and spread terror by his horrible appearance.
There is no human terror which can frighten the Bisbee miner, but he balks at coping with a man who can wander around without a head. What measures to take against a foe of that kind are not known to him. Therefore the practically unanimous desire to give him a wide berth.
Further reports of the appearance of the unsightly apparition are expected hourly, for men are keeping a keen lookout, and the headless ghoul is not liable to escape observation should he continue his unholy perambulations.”