New Mexico abounds with ghost stories. It seems every historic hotel in the state has one. This story is about a chambermaid named Rebecca.
The Lodge in Cloudcroft, atop the Sacramento Mountains in southern New Mexico, was built in 1899 to accommodate visitors using the Alamogordo and Sacramento Railway—called The Cloud Climbing Railroad in the vernacular of the day. To escape summer heat, people came from the desert to the 9,000-foot (2,700 m) alpine altitude.
Actually, the railroad was built to transport harvested trees used for building timber and railroad ties. But it didn’t take long for people to discover the natural “air conditioning of Cloudcroft.
The original building was destroyed by fire in 1909 but was rebuilt in 1911.
But this story is not about the inn but about a ghost.
Rebecca, a beautiful, young woman with red hair and blue eyes, worked as a chambermaid. Her beauty undoubtedly dazzled many of the young men who ventured to the alpine village. One day, she disappeared. Some thought she simply may have run away. Others just knew she’d come to harm … mostly because her lumberjack lover had caught her in the arms of another man.
While Rebecca has vanished physically, her ghost is said to have remained. People have reported all sorts of strange, unexplained incidents—all attributed to her. Although they may not have actually seen her apparition, some vow Rebecca still wanders the halls. They claim ashtrays have been seen sliding across tables unassisted, doors open and close for no apparent reason, furniture has been moved, lights have turned on and off by themselves, and fires have ignited spontaneously in the fireplace.
Guests and employees alike continue to relate odd incidents attributed to Rebecca’s ghost, though no encounter has been reported a threatening or frightening. It may be Rebecca—with her flirtatious and mischievous ways—is in search of a new lover or friend. You might be led to wonder if it is her spirit who causes your ball to slice on The Lodge’s 119-year-old golf course, once the highest course in elevation in North America.
In the lounge, there’s a portrait of Rebecca. The Lodge’s staff encourages you to take a close look. Maybe during your stay, you’ll be the one to see her. If not, that’s okay. At least, you can dine in the inn’s restaurant, named after the famous phantom of The Lodge in Cloudcroft.