The ghost of Leone Jensen is said to roam the hallways of the San Carlos Hotel in downtown Phoenix, AZ. Witnesses claim to see her as a floating white, cloudy figure of mist. Unexplainable breezes accompany her presence.
In almost every ghost book or story written about dear Leone tells of a scorned woman devastated by the rejection of a love interest. The stories say she was dressed in an elegant white evening gown ready for a night of dancing with her bellboy boyfriend from a nearby hotel. After her dreams for a romantic evening folded around her, she decided she could no longer live with a broken heart. She left her room on the seventh floor, climbed to the roof, and leaped off the seven story San Carlos Hotel.
Ah, yes, that version of the story is filled with a bit of Hollywood flavor and makes the incident far more sensational than what really happened. I am going to share the real story of the Leone Jensen’s suicide with you. Through research I was able to find the true—and just as dramatic account of the tragedy.
Leone Jensen, aged about 25, was a resident of California and a visitor in Phoenix for about two or three weeks. On May 8, 1928, Leone committed suicide by jumping from the roof of the San Carlos Hotel—her body was badly crushed and shattered.
Despondency over ill health which precipitated a nervous breakdown was believed to be responsible for the suicide of Miss Jensen. She was a pretty girl of the extreme blond type. The girl had been registered at the San Carlos Hotel for only two days, according to the manager. Her room was on the third floor and was not adjacent to the street. Investigators believe she climbed to the roof and jumped off the seven story building. A guest at the hotel, rooming on the top floor, told of hearing a scream as Miss Jensen’s body hurtled through the air.
Leone was fully dressed, even wearing a light weight tan-colored summer coat and hat to match. She wore a thin, rose colored dress of good material, light shoes and stockings. It is believed that the girl held the hat in her hand as it was neither soiled nor crushed when the body was picked up.
A policeman on patrol heard the screams. As he reached Van Buren Street, he found Miss Jensen’s body lying in a heap on the sidewalk near the corner of the hotel on the Monroe Street side.
The fact that the girl had planned her act carefully was shown by the contents of three short letters and a note, all apparently written within an hour of the time she jumped seven stories to her death. The three letters were written on stationery of the San Carlos Hotel and the note was scribbled rather illegibly on telegraph blanks.
Miss Jensen, in the letter to the Phoenix undertaker, made several last requests. One of which was that she be buried in her tan dress and high-heeled slippers. The letter also carried an explanation of Leone’s act. It stated “Nervous breakdown; here for lung trouble; too weak to walk; lost appetite; doctors make me sick—have had too many. Just another lonesome and ill stranger.”
The letter addressed to a Los Angeles undertaker was as follows: “My burden was more than I could carry, so am coming ‘back home’ in the way I predicted, but not as a suicide. But this long living agony is too much for me—and now having suffered a nervous breakdown, I could never go through with it. Am too weak to walk and all in all, I am through.”
“Here are a few of my last requests. Bury me in my tan dress and high-heeled slippers. Organ music above all things. And can you arrange for two girls to sing as I have always loved harmony, ‘Nearer My God To Thee’ if there is one—and some other one which I wish you to select. Need a marcel (a deep wave perm) and my nails are terrible, but have been too sick to care for anything. Good bye and good luck. Think of me kindly, Miss Leone Jensen”
To the hotel manager, Miss Jensen wrote the following note: “The coroner will attend to my bill and be sure all my clothes are packed, as all wearing apparel is known when it arrives in Los Angeles. I have five dollars, which he will get later on tonight.” This note was written on the back of an envelope of the San Carlos Hotel and was found with another short note in Miss Jensen’s purse tightly clutched in her hand when the body was picked up from the sidewalk. Another note, a rather rambling affair, bade a general goodbye to her friends and ended with the line “Darn this hotel pen.”