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Bird Cage Theater Sign
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The Bird Cage has been the subject of several television “ghost hunts” in fact some new show for the Discovery Channel was filming in Tombstone while I was there on my visit. It’s not hard to understand the fascination or the coverage of the theatre, it is said to be one of the most haunted sites not only in Tombstone, but anywhere, allegedly home to 31 different ghosts.

Bird Cage Theater Building

The building is the original, opening its doors in 1881. Providing drink, theater, and prostitutes dressed in bird outfits, hence the name, the Bird Cage operated continuously, 24 hours a day from 1881 until 1889. Twenty Six murders occurred in the Theatre, and bullet holes can still be seen inside the building. The infamous killing of Marshall Bill White by Curly Bill occurred outside the Bird Cage. The Buildings history is filled with violence, death, and lingering spirits.

The ghost seen the most often is that of a stage hand wearing period clothing, a visor and a clipboard, walking across the handpainted stage, just behind where the original grand piano sits. It would appear that this is a residual haunt, one where the poor fellow is attempting to carry out his job, though a show has not appeared on stage for years.

Bird Cage Theater Hand Painted Stage

Sounds of laughter and of a young woman singing have been heard, and the smell of cigars and whiskey have been smelled, though I have to say from the experience of having a grandfather who loved cigars, the residual scent of smoke is highly detectable the very instant you walk into the Bird Cage. Employees have heard glasses clinking and cards shuffling after closing time.

One of the best stories is that of the statue of Wyatt Earp which was placed in one of the box seats overlooking the stage. After it was first placed there things started happening to the statue, for several mornings the statues hat was found flipped off onto the floor. Finally, after finding the statue completely turned around, facing away from the state, a local historian told the building owners that they had placed the statue that was normally used by the Clantons. They moved the statue to a box that Wyatt used when he was alive and the strange events around the statue stopped.

The Black Moriah

The Bird Cage is very unique in Tombstone, not only one of the original buildings from the 1880s but it also includes several amazing historic pieces, like the Faro Table that Doc Holliday actually dealt cards at, and the Black Moriah, the hearse that carried the dead and murdered of Tombstone through the streets. It’s definitely worthwhile to visit, and if you see a ghost, don’t be surprised, there are a lot of those there as well.

Updated August 5th, 2009