When I lived at Roswell, New Mexico, one of the favorite places my wife Debra and I visited was Lincoln, New Mexico, which was less than an hour’s drive away. This place, to use a colorful wild west phrase, “reeks with ghosts.” As most of you know through numerous movies and books, Lincoln, New Mexico was the site of the 1878 Lincoln County Cattle War involving the legendary Billy the Kid. Nearly all residents of the state of New Mexico have a Billy the Kid story to share.
Born in New York City on November 11, 1859, Billy was brought up in the American West. When he was shot and brutally killed by his friend, sheriff Pat Garrett on July 14, 1881, he was twenty-one years old, and the wild west he knew set the stage for his legendary status today. He died at Fort Sumner, New Mexico of his wounds. Due to the shifting sands and flooding of that burial location, his body remains today could be anywhere within two-hundred feet of where he was originally interned in the ground. My wife and I walked this area several times, and examined its terrain. It is not unusual for flooding to shift the location of bodies over a period time.
Intelligent, clever, and oftentimes charming, Billy had a way with the ladies which was another aspect of his fame, and he sired many offspring according to folk tales of the times in which he lived. He also used the names William Harrison Bonney and William or Henry Antrim. To the Spanish populace, he was always affectionately known as The Kid, or El Chivato.
I know there are ghosts in Lincoln, New Mexico because I saw some of them. I have written about that elsewhere, including interviews between author Jeff Belanger and myself in his books, Our Haunted Lives: True Life Ghost Encounters and The Ghost Files. Yes, there are plenty of ghosts in New Mexico, known as the Land of Enchantment. Some of my experiences there would also lead me to call it the Land of the Macabre. New Mexico is also well-known for its UFOs and extraterrestrial encounters. But that is another story.
That Billy the Kid continues to fascinate the imagination of the world, alongside that of fellow outlaw Jesse James, proves that people enjoy an entertaining legend wherever it comes from, and the wild, wild American West is what most of the world thinks of when they think of the United States. No period in American history, with the exception of the Gangster era in the 20th Century, so fascinates and intrigues the world as does the American West era.
The ghost of Billy the Kid lives on. A new look at this youthful outlaw and ladies man is found in the nonfiction book, Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride by Michael Wallis, published in 2007 by Norton. This book examines the myth and enigma of Billy, and the photographs with the book are intriguing and unusual. If you ever wondered why Billy the Kid remains so popular in American folklore and legend, please give this inexpensive paperback a reading and discover why! This is one entertaining and well-researched book from beginning to end, and a sure page-turner for enjoyable reading about the American epic of Billy the Kid.
The next time you are in New Mexico, check out some of places Billy the Kid lived, fought, made love in, and had his many adventures in. Like the state of Missouri where my wife Debra and I currently reside at, New Mexico is a top draw for ghosts and ghostly hauntings, and it is a hotbed of paranormal activity. It is no surprise that El Chivato is one of the great Hispanic heroes of the American Southwest, with a fame that is now worldwide.