Journey of the Dead

It was a rough location for a fort, which is exactly why it was needed there. Fort Craig sat on the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (The Royal Road to the Interior Lands), which was a twelve-hundred-mile route from Mexico City to Santa Fe. One notorious stretch of that ancient road was particularly unforgiving. The Jornado del Muerta (Journey of the Dead) ran through ninety miles of what is now southern New Mexico. The barren and waterless terrain invariably took its toll on humans and animals alike. Those that survived the elements, still had to worry about roving bands of outlaws. In 1854, The U.S. Army established Fort Craig on the northern tip of the Jornado del Muerta – about one-hundred miles south of Albuquerque. From their Fort Craig outpost, U.S. cavalrymen patrolled the inhospitable landscape in this rough and contentious land.

Phantom Hoofbeats

A number of contemporary visitors to Fort Craig have reported hearing things – hoofbeats, men’s voices shouting orders, a lone bugle. Are these phantom sounds illusions or some kind of paranormal phenomena?

No one may ever know, but what is certainly true is that Fort Craig has had its share of drama and heartbreak. Perhaps it was only fitting that the bizarre case of a modern day grave robber would unfold here.

WEBSITE: Southwest Ghost Hunters

War and Disease

Throughout the latter half of the 19th century, Fort Craig saw action in the American Civil War, the Apache Wars, and in civil conflicts such as New Mexico’s Lincoln County War. Service at Fort Craig would have been hard enough even without these armed confrontations. Both military and civilian inhabitants at this desolate outpost often suffered malnutrition and disease as well as a desperation borne of isolation, which sometimes led to violence within Fort Craig’s walls.

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