View of Kelly Mine


     With the exception of once hearing a strange beeping sound in the bushes while visiting Three Rivers Petroglyphs, I've never had a supernatural experience. (The beeps later turned out to be from my digital watch signaling the hour.) But something spooky happened at Kelly, and my brother is a witness.


  • COUNTY:  Socorro
  • LOCATION:  29 miles west of Socorro and 3 miles southeast of Magdalena
  • POST OFFICE:  1883-1945
  • NAME ORIGIN:  Named for Andy Kelly
  • RATING: Three ghostsThree ghosts
  • GNIS Info & Map

    First things first. Kelly was a mining town established in the late 1860's by Colonel J.S. Hutchason and named after his friend Andy Kelly. (Actually, Hutchason gave one of his claims to Kelly, then jumped it after Kelly failed to do the proper paperwork, so I'm not sure they could really be considered friends.) Miners of the town found lead, zinc, silver, copper, gold and later smithsonite in the Magdalena Mountains. The town exists now as little more than a beautiful church, some foundations and the remains of the Kelly Mine, pictured above. You need a vistors pass to see The Kelly, available just down the road on the way in. The site is only open from May 15 to October 15.

    So anyway, my brother and I drive up and park by the church and get out to see the area. The site is beautiful in a creepy kind of way. A soft wind is blowing down the side of the mountain, making bits of unsecured scrap metal on the mine structure bang rhythmically against the side. Along with the whistle of the wind, this is about the spookiest sound I know. Nobody else is around. We can see the whole side of the mountain, and even down to parts of the road coming up. It's great. Creepy as all get out, but great.

    Then we head back down to the car. And there, on each doorhandle and even the latch of the trunk, are dirty handprints. Somebody had tried to get into our car!

    Now, I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions on the identity of the would-be burgular, but I would like to offer the following bits of information:

  • the assailant had dirty hands. Miners had dirty hands. It follows, then, that the ghosts of miners would have dirty hands.
  • the assailant was not visible from our position on the hill. (Just a reminder: ghosts are invisible, or at least translucent.)
  • the assailant was obviously interested in getting inside our car, which is a small, enclosed space. The ghost of a miner would be used to being in a small, enclosed space.

    We didn't bother to report the incident, since no harm was done and I now had a better story to tell than the beeping bushes thing. But if you visit Kelly, lock your doors!

You can visit Kelly on the Web at:


(click on the thumbnail image to see a larger picture)

A wooden sign marks
the entrance to Kelly Mine.

The rules and regulations
of The Kelly are posted
for all to see.