John Tunstall Murder Site

Photo by Gayle Martin. Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.
Photo by Gayle Martin. Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.

I took a trip to Lincoln, New Mexico to do some research for my latest book Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War: a Luke and Jenny Adventure. As usual, I brought along my trusty 35mm to snap a few research photos for later use. As I was heading down the highway from Ruidoso to Lincoln I stopped at the roadside historic marker indicating the spot where John Henry Tunstall had been murdered.

The brazen 1878 murder of rancher and shop owner John Tunstall by corrupt lawmen, loyal to Tunstall’s competitors, Lawrence Murphy and James Dolan, sparked a violent and bitter feud called The Lincoln County War. It ended five months later with the death of attorney Alexander McSween, who tried in vain to seek justice for the murder of his good friend, John Tunstall.

I took these two photos within a minute of each other. They were taken on a clear day with no breeze blowing. The first photo appears normal. But in the second photo is a strange, brown mist. It almost looks like a dust devil, but there is no shadow underneath it. One of my friends swore she could see the top half of Mr. Tunstall’s face on the top of the ‘cloud,’ but perhaps this was just matrixing, or our mind’s way of creating familiar shapes. Either way, it’s another accidental ghostly encounter


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