Friday, February 13, 2009

Arizona Cemeteries: St. Francis--Phoenix

I thought I'd cover some of the Arizona cemeteries, since going to them and photographing them is a hobby of mine, as well as looking for infamous tenants. Some folks like to walk the grounds of cemeteries and they become park-like such as City of Mesa's cemetery that has more exercisers and strollers than visitors. There's also cemeteries for hardcore taphophiliacs (lovers of graves) like St. Francis in Phoenix. You can reach it by taking Thomas to 48th Street and heading south towards Oak. It's on the left and broken into two huge graveyards. The furthest one is actually the better in that it has tons and tons of outdoor crematory remain crypts and all the nuns and priests are buried there. I'd say for all the AZ cemeteries, this one is probably the most crowded with residents. Foot per foot, there's more folks there than anywhere else I've seen in AZ.

What I like about St. Francis is that it has wild cats running around there. A nice local lady feeds them every evening out near the tall cremation wall and they congregate in a frenzy. The cemetery is a Catholic one and has all the bells and whistles you'd expect including creepy statues, huge headstones, and interesting offerings.

I've found this cemetery unsettling. Two reasons are that I myself heard what sounded like a man's (priest?)voice uttering in Latin when there was no one there. It was extremely clear and at the time I hid behind a wall because I didn't want to interrupt what might be a ceremony. When I heard him pause, I peeked out only to find no one there at all. No one on the entire grounds, in fact! My son and his best friend saw a shadowperson and had a fairly lengthy encounter with the startled and curious "creature" on the grounds (see my past article about shadow people). It changed his complete outlook on ghost hunting. He now understands why I seek answers. He tried everything his extremely logical mind could do to figure it out but found no answer.

I think photographically this is an amazing cemetery. It's also very peaceful and great to wander around and read the headstones. Even if you're not a cemetery person, you'll be intrigued by this place. The feel of it is exceptional.

I would advise, however, to be careful. They close the gates early whether they see your car or not and this is the cemetery where my son and I got locked in at 6 pm!


  1. Another interesting place in Arizona for us to check out. Mike is not big on cemeteries, especially at night. I am less afraid and might be willing to walk the grounds in the evenings especially if I'm with several people.

  2. My mom was an historian and dragged us to witness every famous grave as a child. I thought it was a bore then. Now, I think it's really therapeutic. There's something about the peace and quiet and thought that people remember folks when they're gone...I find it really comforting. And, they make for amazing photographic opportunities.

  3. I adore touring graveyards. When I was a teenager I lived in northern California's gold country and would tour the old cemeteries. Since many of the people who came to the area during the Gold Rush were immigrants, there were diverse names and headstone designs. Some of the cemeteries were segregated, though. Often, if you wanted to find the graves for the Chinese or Irish you have to go to a different site or walk the very edges of the grounds. I felt a lot of sympathy for these people regulated to the fringe; I myself am of Irish descent, so I feel for both groups.

  4. Hi, I realize this blogpost is over 3 years old but I just took some photos at St. Francis a couple days ago and was looking for further info and found your posts...about being locked in there (me, too!), the strange experiences you and your son had, the absolute hauntingness of it. Check out my photos and post, too:

    I'd love to meet you there someday maybe.

    1. Wow--Candace. That was a great site and story. Here's one you will like - my son's experience there. He was one of the final choices for the first season of GH Academy because he recounted this incident and why he wanted to hunt. He didn't end up doing the show, but this incident changed him for life -

    2. I tried to comment on the post you mentioned above (but there was an ad over the comment box and I couldn't get rid of it). That's horrifying...both yours and your son's encounters. I'll tell you, those crematory vault walls freaked me out, I couldn't go near them...that and the little mausoleum I photographed were scaring me.

      It's funny about the cats you mentioned. I have my own cat colony in my neighborhood that we care for...get them fixed and feed them. I just hope I am not someday feeding cats at night in a know, my destiny or something. Things that one fears yet is attracted to and all.

  5. I understand this is a older blog, but I thought I'd chime in. I've been back to St, Francis several times, I usually do the side that is farther south, its a little farther from the big indoor mausoleum and you can do your thing without having people checking you out. I've gotten EVP twice and recently a LOT of spirit box activity. Its only a few blocks from my house, has a good vibe and I feel there is some work to do helping some to cross here. Its a great cemetery for a solo paranormal investigator its ideal.



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