Flagstaff Mythbusters

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Flagstaff Mythbusters

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Flagstaff, Arizona is known for its beautiful scenery and excellent skiing conditions. Any local knows the best time of year is winter, and almost everyone that lives there finds themselves calling in sick at least once during ski season. The summers are cool and beautiful, full of bloomed flowers and wildlife. It's the perfect town to raise a family- but everyone knows that even perfect things have their secrets. Flagstaff is no exception.

In a small town, it is easy for people to get bored and find themselves creating new ways to keep themselves entertained. Myths and legends surrounding Flagstaff are common and often times caught in the middle of High Schoolers looking for a late night thrill. There are five myths that are well known about the sleepy town of Flagstaff by the locals. Read on, and decide for yourself if it's fact or fiction. Try to be the mythbusters of these Flagstaff myths.


1. The Hanging Tree

I first heard this one when I was in the 7th grade, and it scared me so much I didn't sleep for a week. This myth tells the story about a boy who was very depressed. So depressed, in fact, that he decided suicide was his only option. After plotting and planning for months about a magnificent death, the boy made up his mind and decided to hang himself from a tree. The location of the tree is unknown, but rumor has it that after he took that fatal jump, he was found by a pair of hikers walking through one of Flagstaff's many forests.

Years later, a group of teenagers were throwing a party at that same location. Lots of alcohol was involved, and one young man stumbled away from his group of friends. Becoming tired, he leaned against an old, worn pine tree. Suddenly, in every tree around him, he saw people hanging from trees. Every single tree he could see, as a matter of fact. People were flailing to stay alive, screaming for his help. Startled, he stood up away from the pine tree, and the people vanished. The boy ran back to his friends, who didn't believe him and said he had done one too many keg stands.

This myth is a favorite among children who want to scare their friends, and let me say from firsthand experience- it works. Clearly it is just a fable as there are different versions of the story, and not one single person knows the location of The Hanging Tree. Regardless, it certainly makes you think twice while you are hiking around the town.


2. The Witch's Painted Garage


We all have neighbors who we think are crazy. Letting their dog go to the bathroom in your yard? Outrageous! Throwing parties until two o'clock in the morning? Of course they do. Turning kids who trespass onto their properties into black cats? Oh sure!

Flagstaff legend has it that a woman who lives near the hospital doesn't drive a car, she rides a broomstick. Yes, Flagstaff is home to what children believe is a real, live witch. Down at the end of a little street is an old, wooden house with a white garage. The house is pretty much falling apart, and the yard is littered with black cats. This witch loves cats, so much that any child who wanders into her yard looking for their baseball or just being nosy, is instantly transfigured into one. If that's not scary enough for a little kid, read on.

Her garage is painted with different types of symbols and designs. The paint is peeling off, and outlines of flowers and plants can barely be seen. The porch looks as if it could be its own botanical garden, and rumor has it that the plants are used to concoct the potions that she brews at midnight in her painted garage.

I've seen the house, and at night, it is understandable how it could be a little creepy. There is no streetlight, so your headlights only show a little bit of the house at a time. In the day, however, the house tells a very different story-- that of a beautiful mural on someone's house, and the occasional white cat relaxing in the sun. Witch, or misunderstood artist with a passion for cats? The world will never know.

3. Doctor's Factory

A discovery by a very bored self and an older sister with a car led us to Flagstaff's third greatest tale- The Doctor's Factory. Tucked away in the very back woods behind Little America, lies a cozy group of houses, unusually smaller in size and with giant dirt yards. Pass all these and you get to an area that is very spooky, and looks just as scary in the light as it does in the dark. This could be a Flagstaff mythbuster's delight

A small house at the very end of the street has a yard filled with unnerving objects -- an old white hospital stretcher, a crumbling outdoor fireplace, old war tanks, and a chimney coming straight out of the ground. It's easy to let your mind wander to the oddity of these objects, and how random they are. The legend is that the now abandoned area belonged to a crazy doctor years ago, who would convince his patients to come to his house for follow-up visits. Dying of cancer himself, he envied those who could become healthy again- and vowed to take their lives, burning their bodies in the great, outdoor oven.

This myth is enough to make me never go near this area again, and I haven't since the very first time I went with my sister and her friends, who pushed me out of the car and drove off for about five minutes. I am happy to say I am still alive; and happy to say it's just an old dump for people who don't want their trash anymore.


4. Till Death Do Us Part

It's what every teenage girl fantasizes about: true, undying love. You read about it in books, and see it in the movies. One couple buried at an old, abandoned cemetery, has just that.

Behind a group of beautiful houses and near a duck pond where people sit and feed the wildlife is a very old cemetery. A giant cross marks the site, and most of the gravestones belong to members of the military, except for two tombs in pink marble casing above the ground. The story is of two star-crossed lovers, buried next to each other to live side-by-side forever. The husband passed away, and his wife came every day, promising that they would be together soon.

That is my favorite legend about Flagstaff, because there is no way of knowing if it is true or false. It's the story in this one that makes it so beautiful, and the only one on this list I hope to be true.


5. The Haunted Monty Vista

Lovingly called the "Monte V" by Flagstaff locals, the Hotel Monte Vista is located in the heart of downtown Flagstaff, nestled in between plenty of bars, shops, and delicious restaurants. Its bright, neon sign on the roof seems to light up the whole sky, and is easily seen from a local hotspot known as Mars Hill. Originally built in 1926, it was used as a hotel for individuals traveling through Flagstaff. It has held famous celebrities such as Bob Hope, Bon Jovi, and Anthony Hopkins. But the Monte V's claim to fame isn't its client list; it's the permanent residents that cause the stir.

Many who stay there claim it's a little boy. Others have sworn they heard footsteps and wailing coming from different corners of their room. One thing is for sure, Flagstaff's greatest myth is the haunted hotel, especially room 305. Stories surrounding the building, such as prostitutes being thrown out the window, children being drowned by their mother, and men being decapitated are just that- stories.

Whether you believe in these myths or not, it is no doubt Flagstaff is as rich in fables as it is in scenery. On your next trip or through your own research, it is easy to see why the locals have such wonderful stories about the town. I mean, what else are you going to talk about when the bars close at 2AM?
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