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Ghosts and High Strangeness at Arizona’s Haunted Domes

Driving down I-8 just outside of Casa Grande, Arizona, as the desolate moonscape of this desert land rushes by you might come across a small, rural road called Thornton Road. If you take this road you will pass through some rough desert scrub before having a very strange site loom up ahead. There, just past a decrepit fence with the faded words “No Trespassing” etched upon it you will see squatting out in the desert what looks like enormous alien spacecraft, otherworldly domed UFOs looking very out of place and quite eerie. You might take these to be some sort of mirage, your eyes playing tricks on you, or may think that you have stumbled upon some secret government installation, but you would be wrong, and the truth is just as weird. These are the mysterious domes of Casa Grande, which have long been the origin of all manner of tales of high strangeness, and where ghosts, evil cults, and weird portals to other dimensions are the order of the day.

Although they resemble something from another world, the history of the Casa Grande Domes is far from alien in nature, and they are very much of this earth. In the 1980s, a California-based computer circuitry manufacturer called InnerConn Technology decided to relocate their main headquarters to a 135-acre stretch of rural, dusty, sun parched land just outside of Casa Grande. The company went about building a complex of unique, dome-like structures, due to their low cost, structural integrity, and insulation qualities, using a very interesting design and method of construction. To build the domes, a foundation was built, to which was attached a sort of giant balloon that was inflated over a steel skeleton. After that, workers went inside and sprayed the interior with a durable polyurethane foam to the shape of the balloon, and added reinforcement was then put into place in the form of rebar and concrete and the balloon was deflated, with the end result being some iconic and rather weird looking structures that are hard to miss.

The Casa Grande Domes

InnerConn would suddenly lose it all when they defaulted on a bank loan and the whole site was seized in 1983 by the Union Bank of California before it was even finished. The bizarre complex of domes and an eccentric building looking very much like a flying saucer were left abandoned to the desert, slowly rusting and crumbling away under the relentless attack of the elements. There they gathered dust and also various strange stories over the years, until the Domes of Casa Grande became a place of all manner of local legends, and it is not hard to see why. With the unearthly looking buildings, its subterranean network of tunnels, and its desolate locale, it all seems like just the sort of place to which odd tales would gravitate, and they do.

One of the first rumors that began spreading after the company had left and the site became basically an illegal dumping ground for garbage was that cults of robed figures were coming out here to perform arcane rituals at night. It was said that the shape of the domes and their specific location were ideal for channeling energy to power the rituals, and there were even whispers that these cults were summoning demons into our world by using the domes as portals. Besides this, there have been many reports of ghosts lurking about here, possibly the victims of the various human sacrifices or the spirits of murder victims rumored to be buried here. It doesn’t help that it is said that the area was once a burial ground for the ancient Anasazi tribe of the region, further adding to its spookiness and macabre allure.

People visiting the domes have reported all manner of paranormal phenomena, including shadow figures, disembodied voices, and even physical attacks by unseen hands, as well as a deep sense of overwhelming foreboding and panic that sets in immediately upon stepping foot here. Electronic equipment tends to malfunction here as well, as do compasses. Some stories have said that the dark forces allegedly lurking here will slowly drive people insane, and there have even been people who have claimed to have been followed home by strange, demonic apparitions. Cars parked on the road nearby are said to be besieged by tapping, knocks, or even to be violently rocked, and the site has in general gone on to gain a reputation for being intensely haunted and steeped in weirdness. Paranormal investigators who have visited the domes have claimed to have captured all sorts of evidence of ghostly activity, such as videos, photos, and intense EVP phenomena, wherein the voices of ghosts are caught on audio tape.

Inside the domes

It was this reputation as a deeply haunted place that brought the Casa Grande Domes fame when the crew from the popular paranormal TV show Ghost Adventures came to investigate. During the episode the crew claims to experience all manner of supernatural creepiness. There are unexplained noises, fleeting shadows captured on camera, and they are constantly plagued by an overwhelming sense of despair and negativity, to the point that host Zak Bagans is seen to get visibly shaken and out of breath on several occasions for no reason he can fathom. Another crew member claims to experience a jolting pain in his abdomen when he tries to read out a prayer. They also capture an EVP of a voice growling “Demon,” and the whole things is so unsettling that Bagans ultimately proclaims, “This may be one of the most unusual, yet sinister places we’ve ever investigated in America.”

Whether there is anything to any of this all is up for debate, but whatever is going on here might be gone soon. The domes are rotting, collapsing in on themselves, and considering the threat their perilous footing and unstable structures pose to the numerous curiosity seekers, paranormal investigators, vandals, and teens looking for a place to party, as of 2017 the county has ordered the whole site to be demolished, although no set timeline for this was announced. Although the site has been up for sale for years and is sometimes rented out for film shoots or photographers, it has mostly become nothing more than a hazardous sprawl of strange ruins and illegally dumped garbage, so it has been decided to clear it all away and let the desert have the land back. One wonders what will happen when this truly odd site is gone, and if any of the strange phenomenon associated with it will disappear as well.