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  • Erin Egnatz

The Bird Cage Theatre: Tombstone, Arizona

The Bird Cage Theatre opened in late 1881 in the turbulent old west town of Tombstone, Arizona. It was a saloon and theatre that was open, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year for 8 years straight. It was the site of various shows, rowdy bar fights and was well known for prostitution. Oddly enough, it was also the site of the world's longest poker game. The game went on from 1881 until its conclusion in 1889. The famous Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp were two of the players involved in the game.


Bullet holes can still be seen all over the theatre from the infamous outlaws that were known to patron the Bird Cage more than 130 years ago. Rumor has it that at least 25 people were killed inside the theatre. Though the official number is unknown, there is no doubt that some people lost their lives within the walls of the Bird Cage Theatre.


The rowdy clientele along with the decline in population eventually led to the Bird Cage's closure in 1892. It opened and closed on and off for another 40 years but not to the same success that it once had. In the 1930's, the Bird Cage was turned into a spot for tourists to visit and learn about the Old West town of Tombstone and its wild outlaws.


The hauntings of the Bird Cage Theatre are well known, thanks to the many first hand paranormal experiences shared by those who have experienced them. Apparitions of men, presumably outlaws, as well as ladies of the night have been seen in the saloon. Phantom piano music can be heard coming from the stage. Disembodied footsteps and voices are often heard along with phantom gunshots. Loud banging, shadow figures, feelings of being touched, unnatural cold spots and more have also been witnessed inside the old theatre.


It sounds like the Bird Cage Theatre is a very active place and I can't wait to get to Arizona to check it out for myself. Fingers crossed for sometime soon! I'd love to hear your experience if you've ever been to the famed old theatre.


Photo By: Jeffrey M. Frank


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