Is Vulture City & Mine Haunted?

Vulture City & Mine

Vulture City, once Arizona’s most productive gold mine, may still be home to spectral prospectors

Ghost Stories of
Vulture City

  • Shadow figures have been seen around the ‘hanging tree’
  • Disembodied voices have been heard throughout the town
  • Phantom music has been heard around the town at night
  • Apparitions of townsfolk and Native Americans have been seen
  • Eerie feelings have been reported in certain areas
  • Cold spots have been encountered, even in the heat of summer
  • Visiting ghost hunters have captured potential EVPs around the town

The Golden History of Vulture City

Northwest of Phoenix, Arizona, near the town of Wickenburg, are the rusted remnants of a place time almost forgot. Vulture City, Arizona, was the true definition of a Wild West boomtown.

Mining operations brought the town to life instantly, and it faded away just as fast. But the town itself still remains through renewed buildings and the rusted relics of the old mine.

Tourists can visit what’s left of Vulture City as part of a ghost town tour. But some say the term ‘ghost’ is meant literally.

From claims of shadowy figures to odd sounds, it seems Vulture City’s Wild West residents may have made the old town their afterlife forever home.

Timeline of Vulture City & Mine's History

Swipe or use timeline points to see Vulture City & Mine through the years

Vulture city is aptly named, as the vulture population in the area is undeniable


The first pieces of Vulture City came to life in 1863. That year, Prussian immigrant and mine operator Henry Wickenburg found the area had a lot of promise for gold mining. He quickly built up a mine in the region, and other prospectors soon flocked to the area. A fully complete mining system was in place in the mid-1860s, named Vulture Mine.

It wasn’t long before the mine’s many workers took to setting up camp-like tent towns around the mine. By 1868, Wickenburg took to helping build up the boomtown community around his mine.

The hanging tree at vulture mine was the last thing some criminals ever saw


Vulture City sported a few hundred inhabitants by 1870. However, it would be another decade before the town was formally incorporated. In 1880, Vulture City finally earned its own post office. With that, Vulture City received official town recognition. All the while, the population grew alongside the mine.

At its peak, as many as 5,000 people called Vulture City home. At the same time, the nearby town of Wickenburg, Arizona, sprouted up and grew fast. But while Wickenburg had farming and other economic boons, Vulture City stayed beholden to the mine’s success.

No thank you.


As Vulture Mine’s profitability began to wind down, so too did Vulture City. The population dwindled through the 1890s, and the post office closed for good in 1897. Town founder Henry Wickenburg died poor in 1905, likely by his own hand. And it seemed the gold mining boomtown he created in the 1860s would quickly fade away.

But new mine operations came around in 1910 and brought new technology, and new life, to Vulture’s mining. The revival of mining was short, though, and most mine work at Vulture City was intermittent at best.

Please don't park in Vulture City.


In 1942, the US was in the heat of World War II. Any industrial production was meant to be focused on war needs. This meant any mining had to be curtailed unless they offered direct war support. For Vulture City, this meant a total shutdown of the mine, and the community.

While much life had already left the town, war production restrictions put a final nail in the town’s coffin. From then on, Vulture City would be a ghost town. But, for the small boomtown in the Arizona desert, this still wasn’t quite the end.

Disuse and abandonment has plagued Vulture City


For decades after World War II, the remains of Vulture City rusted away under the desert sun. But, by the 21st century, groups of people sought out the ghost towns of the American Southwest. And so, slowly, people returned to Vulture City. It was too far gone to live in, but the town soon became a noted tourist stop.

By 2010, photographers and historians took note of the ghost town hidden near Phoenix. Vulture Mine also appeared on Ghost Adventures that year. This spurred great interest in the town’s ghost stories.

Graves of gold rush era settlers are scattered throughout the era, lending a spooky air to the ghost town

Is Vulture City a Haunted Ghost Town?

In the mid-2010s, mining companies bought Vulture Mine, interested in its untapped gold. But the new mine operation excluded the old town itself. Instead, Vulture City was revamped into Vulture City Ghost Town. Vulture City Ghost Town is a tour company focused on the town’s restoration.

Many buildings have been historically recreated and refurbished. The updates have helped give Vulture City more life than it has probably had since the 1880s. But, has the town’s new life brought old ghosts back to life too?

Vulture City’s Haunted Hanging Tree

The most famous hauntings in Vulture City center around the town’s supposed ‘hanging tree.’ Since, even in its boomtown heyday, Vulture City never had much formal law enforcement. This left many crimes to be tried by vigilantism. Now, popular tales suggest this one tree was used in 18 hangings between the 1860s and 1900.

No formal records exist of any of these claimed executions. However, many visitors now report eerie feelings around the tree. There are even said to be shadowy apparitions lingering around it.

The town’s hanging tree isn’t the only place people have reported seeing strange figures. Apparitions are known to be spotted throughout the town.

Miners and even Native American figures have been seen by tourists and workers over the years. At least one Native American apparition is notable for appearing without a head on his body.

Paranormal investigators have also reported seeing shadow figures throughout the town, possibly of the former miners

This Ghost Town Has Ghostly Voices

Along with ghostly figures, strange sounds have also been reported around Vulture City. Visitors have heard disembodied voices speaking different languages near mine entrances. Ghost hunters have claimed to collect German language EVPs from the same area of the ghost town.

In other buildings around town, visitors frequently hear the voices of townspeople. Paranormal investigators have similarly recorded potential EVPs of these voices. While some voices around Vulture City are curious, other peoples’ recordings have often captured the phrase, ‘Get Out!’

Furniture and daily objects remained behind as the miners abandoned the town, some of those items still rest in the town

Physical Phantoms of Vulture City

The ghosts of Vulture City have also been known to move things around and play with physical objects. Even some bigger objects such as bricks, have been said to be moved and thrown in some buildings.

But, the ghost town’s spirits haven’t been known to throw anything at anyone. They seem mostly focused on making themselves known. Visitors and ghost hunters also report sounds of old pianos in town being played by unseen hands.

Ghosts in the old mine are said to produce disembodied voice and footsteps just outside of the light

Cold Spots In The Desert

Other activity around town has become apparent as old, off-limits spaces have been reopened to the public. In the Assay Office, previously inaccessible, visitors now report strange feelings. In one particular area of the office, visitors often say they feel unwelcome, or otherwise note that a negative energy lingers.

Unexplained cold spots have also been encountered in some of the newly reopened spaces. These are said to appear even in the heat of summer, when temperatures in the town can often top 100 degrees.

Ghosts of The Glory Hole

Modern refurbishments have brought new ghost stories out about Vulture City. However, other recent developments have shut some paranormal hotspots away. Much of the Vulture Mine itself is now part of new mining operations and thus off-limits. This area was where shadow figures and echoing voices and screams were often reported.

Additionally, a hotspot known as The Glory Hole is now also separated from tourists. The Glory Hole is the site of a cave-in where illegal prospectors dug into the empty mine in search of excess gold.

Ever since the cave-in, The Glory Hole has supposedly been home to apparitions of the killed prospectors’. Strong feelings of being watched have also been reported.

Vulture City: A Gold Mine of Hauntings

The tale of Vulture City is certainly an unexpected one. It is unlikely anyone in town in the early 1900s would have ever figured it would still be alive, much less thriving, in the 2020s. But while townsfolk have been gone for generations, new throngs of tourists pass through the town each and every year.

And the modern Vulture City Ghost Town offers visitors a wide variety of tours and programs. You can take a traditional walking tour to take in the arrested decay, or you can get a little spooky with a ghost tour. And if even that’s not enough, you can even book your wedding at Vulture City.

The paranormal has played a major role in the resurgence of Vulture City. Early 2010s features on Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures and Ghost Brothers helped charge up interest in the sandy, rusty ghost town. And interest from ghost hunters remains palpable in Vulture City still today.

Along with walking ghost tours, Vulture City also offers overnight lockdowns for the dedicated ghost hunters out there. So while the old ghost town came to life thanks to nearby gold, it seems the new Vulture City has struck gold with something else: ghost stories.