Ghosts of the Past is Oct. 25-26

Oct 08, 2013

Explore the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum at night as you time travel back in New Mexico history or meet historical ghosts during two exciting nights in October for Ghosts of the Past.

The popular living history event is 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 25-26 with all new characters this year. The tours offer a unique living history experience that transports visitors of all ages to a variety of eras in New Mexico history. Various historical characters interact with visitors on indoor and outdoor evening tours.
“Ghosts of the Past transforms the museum into an amusement park for historical imaginations,” said Scott Green, the museum’s curator of education. “This is an amazingly textured event which utilizes living history to present New Mexico’s past in a fun and imaginative way.”

The theme for the indoor tour this year is “Lost Ghosts from the Lost Buildings of New Mexico.” The indoor tour start times are: 6 p.m., 6:15, 6:35, 6:55, 7:15 and 7:35.

The theme for the outdoor tour is “The Moments before their Demise.” It is recommended that anyone taking the outdoor tour bring a coat. Those start times are: 6:25, 6:45, 7:05, 7:25, 7:45 and 8:05 p.m.
Tickets must be purchased for a specific tour and each tour lasts about an hour and 15 minutes.

Advance tickets are $4 for adults and $1 for children and can be purchased at the museum. Tickets purchased on the evenings of the event are $5 and $2. Tours are limited and fill up fast, so advance tickets are recommended for this popular event.

“Living history is unparalleled in its ability to immerse participants in the emotions of history,” said Green. “Encountering a well-researched and well-performed historical character is unforgettable.”
For more information, please call (575) 522-4100.

Indoor Tour

“Lost Ghosts from the Lost Buildings of New Mexico”

1) Henry Trost: Peruse the “Lost Buildings of Las Cruces” exhibit, curated by Christopher Schurtz and on loan from the Branigan Cultural Center, then meet famed architect Henry Trost. Mr. Trost will talk about his unique style and reminisce about his lost buildings.

2) William Rynerson from McFie Hall: Often referred to as the Sycamore of the West, Rynerson was an early mover and shaker in Las Cruces. He stood at the dedication of McFie Hall on what is now the campus of New Mexico State University. It was lost in a fire in 1901.

The Little Girl of the NM Farm and Ranch Museum: Irritated by the intruder ghosts, the little girl will even go toe to toe with a 7 foot apparition.

3) Altar Society member from St. Genevieve’s: Often looked upon as the most iconic example of what Las Cruces lost during Urban Renewal, St. Genevieve’s still graces the covers of many historical publications. Two ghosts from the church have wandered to the Museum, remembering the majestic construction of their former place of worship.

4) Two former carhops from the Shamrock Inn drive-thru: A popular drive-in during the heyday of Rock ‘n’ Roll, the Shamrock was the place to park your hotrod and have a malt. Listen as these ghosts talk about the 1950s.

5) Black Jack Ketchum’s head from the original Union County Courthouse: When Black Jack Ketchum was hung in 1901, the hangman underestimated his weight and nearly decapitated the outlaw. For a time, this nearly headless ghost may have inhabited the first Union County Courthouse until it was destroyed by a tornado. Perhaps that is when his head completely separated from his body. Meet his head and some of his relatives (and look for his headless body on the outdoor tour).

6) Three ladies from the original Las Cruces railroad depot: Three ghostly ladies are waiting to board a train that will never arrive.

7) Buffalo soldier Cathay Williams from Fort Cummings and Ben Brown from Fort Union: The forts they once called home are in ruins now so these two apparitions are here to tell us their stories from the 1800s.

8) The Digger: He wanders in search of artifacts pillaged from important archaeological sites.

9) Russell Lee from Pie Town: Hired by the Farm Security Administration, Lee documented Pie Town during the 1930s and 1940s, capturing provocative images of rural life in New Mexico.

10) Mrs. May from the Rio Grande Hotel: Meet one of the May sisters who ran the Rio Grande Hotel in the early 20th century, one of many classic hotels which once hosted visitors to Las Cruces.

Outdoor Tour

“The Moments before their Demise”

1) Shootout at Blazer’s Mill -- 1878: Step into the middle of the famous Lincoln County War shootout between Buckshot Roberts and the Regulators. Watch out for flying lead.

2) Family Secrets -- 1922: Meet a woman sitting by her old wood stove recounting her family’s history and difficult past.

3) Tragedy on a Bridge -- 1972: You’ll come upon the aftermath of one of the worst vehicular accidents in New Mexico history. It happened near Fort Sumner on a two-lane bridge and still resonates with many people.

4) Ma’am Jones -- 1905: Visit with a pioneer woman of exceptional strength often referred to as “The Angel of the Pecos.” Listen as she tells stories of an amazing life that even involved befriending Billy the Kid.

5) Black Storm -- 1934: The Dust Bowl was one of the worst ecological calamities in history. Experience a horrendous dust storm up close as you find yourself in the middle of the Great Depression.

6) Headless rider -- Is that the headless ghost of Black Jack Ketchum roaming the outside of the Museum? Try to catch a glimpse of the beheaded outlaw. (Meet his head on the Indoor Tour.)

7) Cricket Coogler’s fateful night -- 1949: Cricket Coogler’s murder remains one of the most notable unsolved mysteries in New Mexico history. Meet Cricket outside a tavern in Las Cruces hours before she will lose her life.

8) Age of Aquarius -- 1969: Visit a communal art and farming colony near Santa Fe at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. The longing for peace and harmony is palpable as talk of Woodstock, Apollo 11, Nixon and Vietnam waft through the air.

9) The Punitive Expedition -- 1916: Launched in retaliation of Pancho Villa’s raid on Columbus, New Mexico in 1916, the Punitive Expedition was led by famed General Black Jack Pershing. Meet an Army veteran and two young recruits as they venture into the dangerous Mexican desert in search of Villa and his forces.


For information contact Craig Massey at