During 1995, while living in Roswell, New Mexico, my wife, Debra, and I spent much time at Lincoln, New Mexico, which was best known for its bloody gunfights and conflicts involving Billy the Kid. Lincoln was the site of one of the bloodiest gunfights in American West history, taking place during July 1878, although the area had been troubled by killings and shootouts prior to this. After a five-day battle that killed the major participants, Billy the Kid was among the few to escape, only to be killed later by his friend, Sheriff Pat Garrett. With the passage of time, ghosts still prowl that area. Today, Lincoln is a small village setting with an excellent museum, a store, restaurants; with many of the buildings still intact; and a small population. For my wife and I, it became a nice getaway spot and a place to walk in peace and quiet, simply enjoying the setting. Since childhood, I have had the ability to see ghosts, although it is not a perfect sense of paranormal sight. My Uncle Willard explained to me that it was all right to see such things and urged me to enjoy such encounters and learn from them. Lincoln is a place where this extra sense has been well-utilized. I recall several ghost encounters during the times visiting Lincoln. An elderly Mexican man with a beige cowboy hat and Western clothes walked by me on the sidewalk but never looked directly at me, and curious, I turned to look back at him, but he had vanished. Near the museum, I encountered a young woman in a Western gingham dress who vanished upon my approach. In several instances, I saw cowboys riding on horses down the main street only to have them fade and vanish into thin air without a trace as well. A small boy, probably 10 years old, was playing by himself in a yard by the old church. I approached, he looked up into my face, smiled, and disappeared. A group of three women in Western dress crossed the street in front of me only to disappear as they reached the other side of the street—I still recall the vivid black hair of one woman who was smiling and looked my way. In one part of town, I was given directions by a young man with a broken sort of smile to the gunfight scene where Billy the Kid escaped. Thinking he was part of the personnel or staff for the museum, I thanked a museum staff member for this person’s courtesy, but the woman said there was nobody there who fit my description. Maybe it was Billy the Kid? I do not know. I only know what I encountered. Lincoln, New Mexico, remains one of the most haunted historical sites of the American West. I have seen ghosts in many places and at different times, but Lincoln was one place that I will always recall with fondness. Despite its violent past, today Lincoln is a serene, peaceful place to visit. It’s also a place where the ghosts still walk the streets.
Written by — Lee Prosser
LINCOLN, NEW MEXICO
THE TOWN OF LINCOLN IS LOCATED ON ROUTE 380 IN THE CENTRAL PART OF THE STATE,
ABOUT 180 MILES SOUTHWEST OF ALBUQUERQUE.