I featured Melody Romancito here on taoStyle early on, and touched on but did not elaborate on, her Ghost Tours here in Taos.
With Summer on its way (even if it doesn’t look or feel like it), and warmer evenings looming in the not too far distance, it’s the perfect time of year to sign up for a little Ghost Busting aqui en Taos.
I thought it a perfect opportunity to pop a few questions to Melody, who is getting ready for another busy Season, making the rounds of the haunted homes and environs in the Taos Historical District.
With our fabled History and the Centuries of Settlement in this Enchanted Valley, there’s no doubt Spirits share space with us. According to many of our resident Mystics, up here where the air is thinner, the Veils are more transparent as well.
1) How did you come up with the idea to run these tours?
I had been working as news director for DMC Broadcasting and its four radio stations. When the owner, Darren Cordova, decided to go into the restaurant business, he decided to downsize overhead and we were given just 48-hours notice that the stations were switching to an out-of-town news service.
So, I had to come up with a way to make a living, and fast. The idea of the tours came to mind. I was already interested in the subject of the paranormal and unexplained mysteries. I had even conducted a couple of investigations on my own. While working at DMC I met Reyes Cisneros who is also the founder of New Mexico Research and Investigation (NMRIP). We’ve done a few investigations together and we also consult with each other when paranormal situations are brought to our attention.
2) How long does the tour take and where do you take the interested Ghost Hunters?
The tour takes about an hour and a half or two hours, depending on the size of the group and the number of questions people might have. We usually start at the Taos Plaza Gazebo, although sometimes, if there are concerts or other events like Taos Fiestas, we make arrangements to meet at other locations in the Historic District.
We do have usual spots we visit but we have also we’ve been known to vary our tour depending on the interests and desires of the people on the tour. For instance, some people do not relish a visit to the Kit Carson Cemetery, and others are delighted by the prospects of a twilight visit. If it’s running late and there are dinner reservations to make or tired children in tow, we are able to adapt the tour to accommodate.
The Old Taos County Courthouse
Reportedly the oldest building on the plaza (the Alley Cantina)
Kit Carson Road
Kit Carson Cemetery
and more or less, depending on the wishes of the guests on the tour
3) Have any Ghosts been sighted on any of your expeditions?
I have been sent photographs by people who have whipped out their iPhones during the tour. There have been claims of orb sightings and so forth. I don’t hold much stock in photographic evidence, and Taos is so dusty almost any photograph taken is going to have some ambient dust in it.
One night as we were sitting in the Lobby of La Fonda our tour smelled cigar smoke. It was pretty strong, and when we exited the building it was really strong in the vestibule. I remember when I used to work at Bryans Gallery in the Old Courthouse across the Plaza, on a rainy day you might see Saki Karavas standing there, smoking one of his ever-present cigars.
Now, to be honest, Noula’s Coffee Shop probably has plenty of flavored coffees on hand and it could be there was just a fragrant patch of vanilla, which is often used to flavor coffee and tobacco, but it sure smelled like cigar smoke to me and that is one of the many claims at La Fonda.
4) What is the scariest event that has happened during a Ghost tour?
One night as we were leaving the Kit Carson Cemetery and the Grave of the Three Witches there at the Dragoon Lane entrance, just as we were headed out of the cemetery I felt an odd, slight tug on my jacket pocket
Another night, just as we were getting close to the end of the tour we were crossing Ranchitos there by the Black Mesa Winery and walking up to Padre Lane, there was a loud pop in the distance. Almost like handgun fire, and then it was like something dark swept by on the road in front of us. All of us saw it and two people in particular flinched as if whatever swept by – I know this sounds ridiculous but like it swept by on a bike – was going to run them over.
It didn’t help things that the street light overhead went out randomly. We all got kind of shook.
5) What in your expert opinion, is the most haunted property in Taos?
This is a hard one. On the tour I just cover a very small section of the Historic District. You can’t enter a shop or building in the area without being aware of a lot of residual energy, or maybe even something more active in real time. Then you factor in all the historic buildings, compounds and little plazas all over the older sections and neighborhoods all over the valley, and you’ve got a lot of properties vying for that honor.
One of the more dramatic investigations NMRIP did was at the Hacienda de los Martinez in Lower Ranchitos. There’s a video of the investigation online. An easy way to find it is to visit ghostsoftaos.com and click on the video page and besides more than an hour of “Paranormal Taos” videos you’ll find our Martinez Hacienda investigation where we were able to capture some pretty dramatic physical evidence on camera just as the investigation is about to begin.
Another property I believe was seriously haunted went up in flames in 2012. The old Holy Cross Convent was not being used, and it was thought to have been empty at the time of the fire, which turned out to be intentionally set. Later, a man who had been murdered was discovered in the basement. Even before this series of horrific events, the building had a reputation for being haunted. The building was originally used as a convent for nuns working at the old Holy Cross Hospital in the early 20th century. It had since been renovated and used for offices.
Apparently, just a week prior to the fire someone connected to the property had been contacted by a psychic from another part of the country. This person wanted to help the spirits pass over in the old convent. The local contact had become weary of these calls and said she just shined him on and ended up not following through on the visit. But let me tell you, she was shaken to the core the morning of the fire.
What I’d like to know is, if there were spirits calling out for help from the property BEFORE the fire, where did they go after the building was burnt down and then demolished? The psychic seemed to be concerned about this very thing.
Makes you wonder, right?
Ghosts of Taos has a Facebook Page and a website ghostsoftaos.com
Top Photograph thanks to Melody Romancito
Other Images Stock Files