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Terrifying Tale of Slaughterhouse Canyon


There are several variations to the Slaughterhouse Canyon legend. Although there are differences in the tales, the premise of the story is the same. The canyon where the horrific tale occurred is actually Luana's Canyon situated just southeast of Kingman, Arizona.

Kingman is a typical little desert town established in 1882. It had served as a military camp and even an Indian reservation. It began to grow when a section of railroad was routed through the area.

There are other similar stories in that part of the country and many who have heard the Slaughterhouse Canyon story often confuse it with a Mexican tragedy called Legend of La Llorona, Spanish for "the weeping woman.”

But the common thread in all renditions of the account is a woman murdered her children. It is the reason why and circumstances of the story that differ. Some versions of the story say she killed them because her husband was unfaithful. But allegedly the husband was a caring and loving man, so that scenario seems unlikely. Other accounts have the children drowning.

However, the most common version of the story goes a miner and his family moved into a small wooden shack along a dry wash in the middle of the canyon. The wife’s name was Luana, thus the name of the canyon.

The husband wanted nothing more than to provide a better life for his wife and children. It wasn’t uncommon in those days for a man to leave his family for weeks at a time and seek gold in the Northwestern Mountains. This miner was no different and so he would venture off into the mountains in search of gold and food for his family. The only food his family had was what he brought home from his gold hunting expeditions.

One day the miner rode off on the back of a mule and never returned. No one knows what became of him. But, it is thought he was probably the victim of a robbery, an accident or perhaps killed by wild animals.

Luana patiently waited for her husband’s return…but he didn’t. The food eventually ran out and they found themselves starving. Without food and unable to care for her children, Luana slowly became insane. Her children became weak and constantly begged for food, but there was none to be had.

Unable to cope with watching her children slowly starve to death, she murdered them and cut them up into small pieces. It is also said she put on her white wedding gown before committing the ghastly act. When she had finished, her white wedding gown and the walls of the tiny wooden shack were splattered with the blood of her children. Locals in Kingman called the house where the murders took place the “Slaughterhouse.”

The woman then carried the remains of her children down to the edge of the river and tossed them in. She collapsed in a blood soaked heap and began to wail loudly for her children. She remained on the river bank continuing to scream and wail until the next morning when she succumbed to starvation herself. She died mourning the children she had murdered.

According to local residents the wails and sobs of a heartbroken and psychotic mother can still be heard within the canyon. Those who have heard it are convinced it is simply not just an urban legend.


johncwilliams on June 10, 2020:

It was called slaughterhouse canyon because the people living at the head of it had relatives who had guessed it-a slaughter house. It was owned by Tarr, McComb and Ware.

Linda Athens on May 13, 2020:

My family came to this area before 1885 when my Grandfather founded the newspaper first in Mineral Park; then moved to Kingman later. All of us living in downtown Kingman, my family lived on south Park over the tracks from the now baseball field. You got to Slaughterhouse Canyon by going E over the tracks near that baseball field, and all of us kids being hikers, hiked everywhere around Kingman including Slaughterhouse Canyon.

My recollection is that the Tarr family meaning Mr. Tarr that was the Sheriff later and by then had moved his family to Topeka Street lived in Slaughterhouse Canyon on a ranch. The name slaughterhouse came from slaughtering cattle there. I also thought the Hualapai Indians had a village there. I recall my friend Shirley, who was a Hualapai, recalling her Grandmother's Indian burial in Slaughterhouse Canyon; very different from others. She said a little bird flew down onto the item her grandmother was laid on and their belief was that the Grandmother's spirit I believe it was had entered the bird.

I recall no scary stories about Slaughterhouse canyon at all. I do recall my Grandfather Smith, who was a good friend of the Hualapais, was allowed to visit and view secret ceremonies they had and I am almost sure he told the family they were in that area. I recall being told of him talking about Chief Schrum I think it was. He died a few years before I was born but recall family stories which never ended in this family.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on September 18, 2019:

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Scary true story. An enjoyable read which spooks the day light out of anyone who cares about his or her family. Respect and admiration.

Trevayah Hopkins on September 04, 2017:

I use to go there ay night with my friendes. It was fin And spookie.. Yikes..

Rocky Stephens on May 02, 2017:

I was born in Kingman and grew up here. We used to go there at night to scare each other but never heard anything. There was an actual cattle slaughterhouse many years prior. The stories are just that, stories. No truth to them.

Darrell Wegscheid on May 01, 2017:

I lived there for almost 54 years. As a kid I used to go hike through the canyon in the middle the night many times with a couple friends back when you were able to even drive over the railroad tracks before they closed it off in the 80s. Many times we set up on the rocks above the canyon and not a soul or sound to be found or heard other than coyotes howling and a train going bye once in a while. Even one time we saw a mountain lion up in the area which is about the only thing that really scared us. They used to say that if it was full moon you could see Luanna, but it was actually the moon reflecting off of the boulders. The better story for me is of the family that lived in slaughterhouse Canyon by the last name of Tarr that has a history of a relative who had known about lost bars of gold somewhere in Coyote Pass that was in a wagon train raided by Indians as they were coming over into Kingman. Story has it that people escaped and the gold was buried never to be found. I believe this story is even in the Kingman museum

Dr Bill Connelly on May 01, 2017:

Keep up the good work!

Erica on November 16, 2016:

I took a lot of friends with me to do a session and it was a amazing experience .

juanita on May 02, 2015:

I live neer the canyon and have heard the stories and can tell you that it is creepy at night and it always feels like something or someone is watching you. I have heard faint whistling and even a lady humming in the night. Mostly while the moon is out.

LaNae Harmon on May 02, 2015:

I lived in slaughter house right where the cattle use to roam for the slaughter house.and the only scary thing i expierenced was a 15 foot rattle snake that tried to go after the a matter of a fact i believe it to be very peaceful and beautiful.the only odd thing that happened is once i was taking selfies in the living room and i snapped like 6 of them and when i went through them the first fine the second a red mist the third and forth what looked to be a bearded man standing behind me the fifth the red mist and the last normal.but besides that. Never heard anything out of the ordanary

Milktoast on May 02, 2015:

I have no idea if any of the various stories are true and have tried to research it myself. I have lived in downtown Kingman over 40 years and spent a lot of time in this canyon, exploring, partying, and just hanging out waiting for something to happen. I can tell you of one instance in 1990 when we were sitting in the canyon in a car at about 3am. Dead silence except for our quiet discussion in the car, when the car began moving forward for no explainable reason. Mind you, we had been there for hours and the windows were covered with dew so we couldn't see out. We were so scared and unsettled that after we checked the canyon to see what it could have been (finding nothing and no one), we drove to the Catholic Church to finish talking. A surreal experience that I will never forget.

Olopez on May 02, 2015:

I have lived in Ktown my whole life . The tales we heard as we were growing up that a soldier that was based here at Fort Beale raped and murdered a Native American Indian and her children. Supposibly at night you can hear her crying out looking for her children. You can no longer get to Slaughter House canyon from the ball fields BNSF closed that crossing. You can only get their off of Hualapais Mountain Rd behind the Kwik stop or if you follow the wash behind sixth street downtown (just follow the railroad tracks at the seventh street crossing on Topeka)

Dadbody on May 01, 2015:

It is actually across the train track behind the baseball fields downtown. Slaughter House which is back behind Hualapai quick stop is often confused with Luana. Either way your minds are playin tricks on you.

Greg Gilbert on May 01, 2015:

I grew up in Kingman and spent a great deal of time in slaughter house canyon in the early 80s as a teenager, both exploring during the day and partying at night. I do remember my dad telling me stories about "Luana the Witch " and how she killed children (not her own). More recently, a cousin of mine, who stayed in the area long after I left, told me a story about the slaughter of Native American women and children (at the hands of U.S. soldiers) in the canyon. I have also heard that the canyon was just the location of an actual beef slaughter house. This seems completely plausible, given the proximity to the train tracks. Ashleys description of the location, behind the Hualapia Quick Stop, is spot on, with Slaughter House Canyon road coming out downtown by the old little league fields and dog pound.

Rb on May 01, 2015:

Bunk! My family has been in Kingman since the 1860's. The story is completely false. However, when drinking and wanting to get a thrill, go out to the canyon and tell the story.

ashley on May 01, 2015:

For those that think slaughterhouse canyon is in clack canyon where the old dairy farm was you are wrong. Slaughterhouse canyon is behind hualapia quick stop. And its actually not an urban legend, it actually happened. The only thing false is that she didn't die by the river mourning her children. She commited suicide by jumping off of a "cliff" there is actually an entire article about it from the newspaper from way back when. Oh and she didn't throw the childrens remains in a river. She scattered them on the land. So for everyone that had lived in kingman for oh so long, learn the real history about your town cause there is a lot more than this.

Neil on May 01, 2015:

I live in Kingman and have walked through the canyon at night on several occasions. I didn't feel or notice anything out of what I feel walking in any other part of the Arizona desert.

ags on May 01, 2015:

I was born and raised in kingman and there is a dry river bed so it may have had water running in it at some point in time. And it is an extremely heavy feeling there that's for sure.

Ayana on May 01, 2015:

There is no river in slaughter house canyon

cyurkovich on May 01, 2015:

I knew the part that she killed her children but didn't know why... what's the true story behind the bonnelli house?

T on May 01, 2015:

No river there. The noises were from the animals that were being slaughtered. No weird things there

Laura Wolfe on May 01, 2015:

Slaughter house canyon came by its name from an actual cattle slaughter house. The story of Luana is told a lot and teenagers love to scare each other in the canyon.

Charity Stephens on May 01, 2015:

I grew up right by there and my mom would drive my friends and I thru SlaughterHouse Canyon at night to scare us. We never saw anything but the stories and the fear of the unknown were enough...WE WERE COMPLETELY TERRIFIED OF THAT PLACE!

Truth on May 01, 2015:

It happened! My friend's house is actually built on the same foundation as the slaughterhouse. The crying and sobbing can be heard, but it usually takes place around 3am. The best explanation for what they sound like is the CoD zombie screams.

John Young (author) from Florence, South Carolina on October 25, 2011:

jckingman, You should write a hub about it. We would all love to read it.

jckingman on October 24, 2011:

Lol I live in downtown Kingman and we have experianced on hand what lives here, he is not to violent yet and I have lived here since 06. But he or it breaks things when you are alone and in another room, he left finger marks once on my daughters leg, 3 finger marks and all the time you see black shadow flashes or white orbs at night. Also both my daughter and I have a heck of a time sleeping through 12 and 3 things wake us smells, sounds and it gets heavy like your chest wants to cave in. I have tried to transfer different units in this complex to get away but it seems to be in the complex. Kingman is a very heavy place in general I feel there is a lot of unexplained things here.

John Young (author) from Florence, South Carolina on September 27, 2011:

Scariana, you're scaring me now!!

Scariana on September 27, 2011:

Urban legend, no, things happen there when you are alone, but with to many people its all hidden. With a small group you will experience more, there are other things there that are much more dangerous than a psycho mother and her playful children, that which hides in the darkness.

John Young (author) from Florence, South Carolina on September 23, 2011:

Scariana, thanks for the input. Perhaps it's just another urban legend.

Scariana on September 23, 2011:

I went up to Slaughterhouse with my cousin, uncle and sister, we never heard crying, children were laughing and throwing rocks at us. You could see the mother at the top of the canyon looking down on us. I am a local and you never hear screams and crying. Most of the time you hear drunk teenagers having a good time trying to scare one another there.

ruffridyer from Dayton, ohio on June 15, 2011:

I can't believe someone marked this hub as Funny!

Anyway it is some interesting folklore.

PurpleMountains on June 06, 2011:

I love a good ghost tale. Since I live in Phoenix, I will check this out. Thanks for the presentation of the tale; you did a nice job. It picqued my interest!!

John Young (author) from Florence, South Carolina on June 06, 2011:

I'm glad you like my work Art. Please remember to vote up.

art-max from Houston, Texas on June 06, 2011:

That is some story. Sad, yet gruesome. I read some of your hubs. They are good. I'll be reading more. Keep up the good work,


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