Gram Parsons became enamored of Joshua Tree National Monument in southeastern California. Alone or with friends, he would disappear in the desert for days searching for UFOs while under the influence of psilocybin or LSD. Before his tour was scheduled to commence in October 1973, Parsons decided to go on one more excursion, accompanying him were friends Margaret Fisher, personal assistant Michael Martin, and Dale McElory, Martin’s girlfriend. Gram reserved two rooms (Room 1 & 8) at Joshua Tree Inn. They checked in on Monday, September 17, 1973.
On September 18th, Gram dragged the women out to the airport for lunch, throughout which he drank Jack Daniels non-stop. When they returned from lunch, McElroy excused herself and went to her room while Gram and Fisher went to his room. Gram then proceeded to use some heroin he had scored in town and then topped it off with morphine he acquired from a drug connection, who was also staying at the Inn.
As the story goes, several hours later, a wasted Fisher showed up at McElroy’s door in a frantic state. Parsons had overdosed, she said. They grabbed some ice and went to Room 1, where he was passed out on the floor, blue. There Fisher revived him with an ice cube suppository. When McElroy left the two alone again, he was walking around the room, seemingly recovered. After another hour or so, at about 10:00, Fisher returned to McElroy’s room and asked her to sit with the sleeping Parsons while she went out to get some dinner. McElroy grabbed a book and went to Parsons‘ room (Room 8) and after a few minutes, she realized that his breathing had gone from normal to labored.
McElroy had no experience with drug overdoses and no training in CPR. She tried to get him breathing again by pumping his back and his chest and giving him mouth-to-mouth. “I tried to figure out whether to stay and keep him breathing or leave and get some help…. I figured if I left, he might die.”
Less than two days after arriving, Gram Parsons died September 19, 1973 in Joshua Tree, California at the age of 26 from an overdose of morphine and alcohol.
You can actually book Room 8 at Joshua Tree Inn at the link below runs about $100 bucks a night. The room has been kept as it was when Gram Stayed there and people have claimed to feel his spirit there.
Joshua Tree Inn
61259 Twentynine Palms Highway, P.O. Box 1966
Joshua Tree, California 92252
They keep a guest book where people that stay in the room leave personal messages. Even Gram’s daughter Polly Parsons left a message in the book to her dad.
Here’s the link to the guestbook.
R.I.P. Grievous Angel