WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Williams has a rich history, and for Paige and Ron Bruening, that history lives on through the many ghosts that inhabit the town.
The couple runs Saloon Row Ghost Tours as Dusty Rose and (T) Bonez. The tour ran in Williams from 2006 to 2008 before the couple took a break because of health reasons.
Paige said they decided to start the business back up again after someone broke into the couple's house and stole their tour materials.
"It was my cosmic kick in the butt to say, 'Time to start this again here in Williams,'" she said.
Paige considers herself a medium and has been able to see ghosts and talk to them since she was 9 years old.
"I call it a gift and a curse," she said. "I do this out of respect. The ghosts want to tell their stories. That's why I started this in the first place. They have history. We treat them with respect."
According to Paige, there are five reasons that a person's ghost may stick around after they die: unfinished business, sudden death, death by trauma, child death and lost love.
"It's not my place to say it's time for you to move on," Paige said. "They're here for a reason. If I can help them I will help them."
The Bruenings added that not all ghosts are human. The couple often sees the ghost of a dog named Copper on their tours.
"There's also a spirit of a young boy over there, so we figure it was his doggy," Ron said. "So he's hanging around, and so is the doggy. It's kind of sweet if you think about it."
Paige has two degrees in para psychology and is working on a third degree in metaphysical psychology from the University of Sedona. She did 10 years of research before starting the ghost tour.
The walking tour is about 90 minutes long and takes participants through the historic parts of Williams. The couple tells the stories of the ghosts that used to frequent the saloons and brothels in the area.
Along the way, Ron teaches participants how to use copper L-rods that start out positioned parallel to each other but cross when they detect a paranormal energy. Participants can also use electromagnetic field readers.
"They don't light up against people or anything like that, but when you get into the red, that means there's a ghost standing right in front of you," Ron said.
The Bruenings advise tour participants to ask the ghosts for permission before taking pictures of them, either in their minds or aloud.
"These were living people at one time," Paige said. "So how would you like it if somebody just comes up and takes a photo of you without permission?"
Ultimately, Paige said the living are not as different as they may think from ghosts.
"We were all human, we're all energy, and when we pass...you don't change," she said.
The ghost tours take place Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:45 p.m. starting outside of the Sultana Theater, 305 W. Route 66.
In addition to the tours, the couple is now working on starting a haunted dinner theater at the Sultana Theater and organizing a zombie crawl and zombie prom this Halloween.
More information about Saloon Row Ghost Tours is available at (877) 573-6776 or www.saloonrowghosttours.com.