When I wrote Gunfight at the O.K. Corral: Luke and Jenny Visit Tombstone I decided to include the Swamper as one of my characters because local legend has it that he is one of the town ghosts.
The Swamper was a handyman who worked for the Grand Hotel back in the 1880s. And while the Grand Hotel is long gone the adobe facade from the original building still stands, and it is now known as Big Nose Kate’s Saloon. Big Nose Kate’s is one of the more popular eateries in town, (in fact my characters stop there for lunch in chapter one.) And over the years Big Nose Kate’s employees have told me the place is haunted, and they believe the spirit haunting the place is the Swamper.
It was discovered that the Swamper had dug a secret tunnel into the silver mines from his basement room in the Grand Hotel, and legend has it he is still guarding his silver, even today.
You know, there may be a grain of truth to that story. I was in town the other day and ventured into the basement at Big Nose Kate’s. Today the basement is a clothing store, (with nice items at good prices,) and, off to the side, is the Swamper’s room, set of as a historic exhibit, and no doubt bearing a close resemblance to how it may have looked when the Swamper lived there.
The tunnel is also there. A wall, (which looks like is was later added on), with a barred door keep the room from being accessed by the public.
Being curious I wanted to take a photo for my own use. When I snapped it I looked at my LCD screen and wondered how I managed to get one of the bars in the middle of my shot. I could have sworn I was more careful. It wasn’t until later, when I looked at the shot on my computer, that I realized it wasn’t one of the bars at all. It is black mist, and, if you look closely, you can see right through it. It appears to be coming up from the tunnel, and there are also a number of orbs in the mist.
I mean the Swamper no disrespect, but it looks like the stories are true. The old boy is still guarding his silver treasure.