Jesse Goddard - An Arizona Cowboy
About Our Mission & Founder Jane Goddard
Ghost Riders Tours aims to keep the past alive! We want to create memorable experiences so these lost stories will not be forgotten. In building the Ghost Riders Tours, we wanted to ensure the truth and accuracy of our tours. Our considerable research includes interviews with descendants of pioneer families, making some of our stories not available through other sources.
With roots in the Verde Valley dating back to 1875, founder Jane Goddard grew up with a passion for Arizona’s history. Her father, Jesse Goddard, was born on a ranch outside of Camp Verde in 1904. He quit school after 8th grade to become one of the last cowboys of the Old West. Her uncle, Tuffy Peach, was the last horse-drawn mail carrier in Arizona, traveling 52 miles from Camp Verde to Payson. Being raised by the old-time cowboys has given Jane a greater understanding of the early days of the Verde Valley and a lust for keeping its memories alive.
Ghost Riders Tours has sponsored two events in the interest of historic preservation of the Verde Valley. The reuniting of the old families and traditions of the Pioneer Picnic at Montezuma Well Picnic Grounds in 2018.
Depending on the status of the quarantine, the 2020 Pioneer Picnic is scheduled for September 15 from 11 am-3 pm. Please email for details and updates. The Return of the Riders brought the horse pageantry back to Fort Verde Days which had not been a part of this celebration of Camp Verde’s history in 40 years.
Jane has taught Ghost Hunting 101 and Ghosts of the Verde Valley at Yavapai College for four sessions and hopes to return to teaching after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. She considers herself to be a magnet for spiritual energy after experiencing two Near-Death Experiences in 1999 following the birth of her son. The first involved reuniting with family and meeting a few unknown ancestors who said they had always looked after her. After some time, she rode alongside her father on horseback as he talked about how he had never stopped checking in on her. As it became increasingly foggy, he got off of his horse to open a gate and told her that was as far as she could go. that she had to go back to raise her kids. During the 2 12 weeks spent on life support, there were numerous visitors from the other side. Both loved ones and spirits who had never left the hospital.
The out of body experience occurred two weeks later when her intercostal artery was severed in an attempt to aspirate fluid from the lungs to check for infection associated with Acute Respirate Distress Syndrome. Jane’s spirit was pulled away from her body, tethered to a silver umbilical cord that moved effortlessly around the equipment and floated to the ceiling. There was no fear or discomfort watching the doctors and nurses attempt to resuscitate and hearing the cries of “Code Blue.” But when the realization came that if she didn’t return in that instant, there would be no turning back and her newborn baby desperately needed her. At the moment that Jane’s spirit slammed back into her body, the medical equipment beeped once again with the sound of the heartbeat.