Eschewing a flashy Ectomobile in favor of a caravan of compacts and beat-up pickups, the members of Arizona Paranormal Investigations crew set out on monthly expeditions to the state's most notorious ghost towns, like Tombstone and Jerome, as well as a few not-so-obvious spots around the Valley -- one forum member is convinced the old Spaghetti Factory building on Central Avenue in Phoenix is haunted by the ghost of a little girl in the attic. The best excursions, though, are the ones the API crew must conduct undercover. Founder Gary Westerlund, who turned the organization over to the Sheltons in July, insists there's an old hotel in Glendale that's now haunted by the ghosts of dead prostitutes and johns from the days when the hotel was a wild Western brothel. Current management, however, would rather the hotel be noted in Fodor's for its air-cooled suites and kitchenettes. When the API crew shows up with its infrared cameras, low-frequency sound recording equipment and electromagnetic field detectors, the "no vacancy" sign goes up -- and true ghostbusting adventure ensues.
The art turns up in unexpected places, like a pre-surgery waiting room, where we were recently greeted with a Rose Johnson print of a young girl holding a heart, just minutes before our baby went in for open-heart surgery.
Not every art encounter can be planned (or not planned -- that one was lucky) so perfectly, but we do know that a lot of hearts have been lifted by the bright work on the walls. Grown-up hospitals should take the prescription as well.
And even though you're packing heat, Shooter's 24 air-conditioned lanes make it easy to keep your cool. So grab a couple gal pals, strike that Charlie's Angels pose, and discover a whole new World -- where firearms and femininity aren't mutually exclusive. Fo' shizzle, my trizzle.
But we digress. The Winfield Apartments are now the Winfield Place Condominiums, and someone else occupies the space. Still, more than one Bob Crane fan has cruised by the condos to have his or her picture taken before the sign for the complex.
As we head east from 24th Street, the chain stores start to lessen, the road gets curvier, and we open our baby up for a little speed. If it's well past the witching hour, the road's empty except for the sweet smell of a just-completed monsoon squall. An occasional entrance to some gated estate zips by, but thanks to the cover of darkness (and fewer streetlamps along this drag), the gaudy homes of the ultra-rich are nowhere to be seen. With the windows rolled down, the cool moist air whips around us as we come up a gently sloping hill, presented with a panoramic view of the sodium-lighted grid below us.
Oops, a stoplight camera just tagged us after we rolled through the Tatum Boulevard intersection, well over the 40 mph limit. When we get that surreptitious snapshot in the mail in a few weeks, the look on our face will probably be one of delight.