Sunday, September 7, 2014

South Rim Ghost

“ ‘Tis done,--the morning miracle of light,--
The resurrection of the world of hues
That die with dark, and daily rise again
With every rising of the splendid Sun!”

 --stanza from “Daybreak” section of The Grand Canyon by Henry Van Dyke

Living in Flagstaff, Arizona while in college I had the opportunity to visit the South Rim of the Grand Canyon several times.

When the railroad first began to bring tourists to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon they built a hotel in 1905 located 30 yards from the rim.

This hotel, El Tovar was designed to look like a European Hunting Lodge. It sits in the center of Grand Canyon village.

Today this 109-year old lodge with its charming antiques and artwork is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Friends and I would drive up just to see the sun rise over the canyon. We would leave Flagstaff in the evening-- sleep in our cars and then wake up just in time to see this spectacular view.

During one trip another visitor viewing the sunrise told us this ghost story.

The Leaping Waitress

It is said under El Tovar’s U-shaped parking lot there is a grave. One legend states there is a body here another states it is cremated ashes.

These remains are of a young Irish immigrant who came to the Lodge in the mid 21st century to work as a waitress year-round.

Coleen’s flashing eyes and red hair always caused a stir--especially when the summer seasonal help were hired on.

A new worker, a college student from Los Angeles caught Coleen's attention. David was tall, handsome and had a good sense of humor.

After the pair met they became inseparable during their free time. The breakfast staff often saw them sitting near the rim watching the sunrise.

Colleen’s friends noted how happy she was--for she had fallen in love with David.

But her happiness did not last. Over Labor Day weekend she found David packing. He told her he was eager to return to the university he attended.

As he finished packing he barely spoke to Coleen. In shock, she told him the news that she had been holding back--“I am pregnant.”

He turned to her carelessly and stated, “Get an abortion.” He threw his duffle bag over his shoulder and as he left he announced, “I can’t support you or a baby.”

Realizing David had just used her, Coleen could not cope with his cold rejection.

The next morning she went to her and David’s favorite spot near the canyon rim and as the sun was rising she leapt to her death.

Since her suicide most witness accounts are similar to the one below.

In the early morning I saw a pretty young woman with long red hair blowing in the breeze walking up to the canyon rim in front of the El Tavor Hotel.

Then just as the sun rose--she jumped. When we rushed over to look down--there was no trace of her.

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