Mizpah Hotel, Tonopah, NV – Old Haunt, New Life.


Two years ago, while on a road trip through the Nevada desert, we stopped in at the Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah, Nevada and peeked inside through the beveled glass of a side door. Built during the early 20th Century boom years of Nevada’s mining industry, back when Tonopah was known as “The Queen of the Silver Camps,” the old hotel and saloon had long been closed and was, at the time, for sale.

A Peek Inside the Mizpah, 2009

The hotel having long been rumored to be haunted, my traveling companions (Grant and Brian) and I had heard about the “lady in red” who reportedly haunts the 5th floor. The accounts of who she was in life range from her having been a prostitute murdered in a jealous rage to a stage girl who collapsed during a performance, never to awaken. Other ghostly stories revolve around a pair of miners who are said to haunt the basement.

Standing outside the shuttered Mizpah Hotel that day in 2009, peeking in through any available crevice and gazing up beyond the windows of the 5th floor to the distinctive red sign on the roof, we wanted in… and we wanted in bad. But, it was not to be at that time. We had tried contacting the real estate agent handling the sale but were not able to obtain permission to go inside.

Fast-forward two years. We once again arrive in Tonopah, Nevada, this time as guests of a special pre-opening event of the Mizpah Hotel. We’d be spending two nights inside the hotel, with access to roam freely throughout the entire building for as long as we wanted. This was quite the turnaround from our first visit and needless to say, we were stoked!

The event was organized by Virginia Ridgway, along with author Janice Oberding and it was made possible by the gracious new owners of the hotel, Fred and Nancy Cline, who are in the final stages of renovations to the property as I type this. Guests of the event included paranormal and history enthusiasts from around the country.

Upon arrival, we were given room keys to our well-appointed (although not quite finished) hotel rooms and so the weekend began. We had plenty of time to explore the hotel during both daylight and nighttime hours. The hotel staff shared stories with us of their own experiences with ghostly phenomena at the Mizpah, including one story about the ghost of a young girl being spotted in the elevator.

Our investigations focused mainly on the 5th floor and basement areas. We did have some interesting experiences in the basement. One investigator was overcome by a feeling of being “rushed” by an unseen force and a few minutes later we heard an unexplained breathy voice(?). See the video here: Mizpah Hotel Investigation – Los Angeles Paranormal

During the course of the weekend, we ventured to another part of the Mizpah property – the annex building across the parking lot. As we learned, this building formerly housed a bowling alley and a saloon – and is also home to reports of paranormal activity. A worker there told us that he often hears unexplained noises from the basement at night. He also shared with us a story of another employee who quit his post there after being “pushed” by an unseen force. We briefly investigated the basement of this annex building and at one point we thought we could hear children’s voices, but we determined that the noise was likely from the street. Otherwise, we didn’t experience anything out of the ordinary during our short visit there, pending review of our audio/video recordings.

A fascinating highlight of the weekend came when Central Nevada Museum director Allen Metscher gave us a private tour of Tonopah’s abandoned and “cursed” Army Air Field and its decaying hangars. The Tonopah air base was once one of the Army Air Force’s largest World War II training bases. Sadly, during it’s operation from 1942-1945, 110 servicemen lost their lives there – mostly due to P-39 and B-24 plane crashes. This particularly high number of casualties and accidents led to the Air Field’s reputation as being cursed.

Mr. Metscher has a wealth of knowledge about Nevada history, including the history of Tonopah and the neighboring town of Goldfield. In fact, in speaking with him after the tour, he was able to shed some light on a few documented deaths that occurred within the Mizpah Hotel throughout its history. These included multiple documented suicides within the hotel.

Also during the weekend, we took a quick tour of a historic home known colloquially as “The Castle,” where past owners were known for conducting seances and where another miner’s ghost is thought to reside.

The overall experience of the weekend in Tonopah was fantastic. We felt very lucky to have had the opportunity to explore these historic locations and learn as much as we did about their history. Did we document the ghost of Lady in Red or the miners in the basement or perhaps one of their lesser known counterparts?

We can’t say with certainty. But we did visit with them for awhile… and we enjoyed their company.

-LMH

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To book the Mizpah Hotel, visit: http://mizpahhotel.net

For more information on the Army Air Field, visit the Central Nevada Museum: Central Nevada Museum Website

Virginia City, NV: Mackay Mansion & the Girl in White

The Mackay Mansion was originally built in 1860 and housed the offices of the Gould and Curry Mining Company. At the time, George Hearst, the father of William Randolph Hearst, worked as the Company Mine superintendent and was the first occupant of the home. Later, the home would become the residence of John Mackay, one of the most rich and powerful figures in the Comstock. Today, there are several spirits said to haunt the mansion, the most famous of which is that of a young girl in a white gown.

Actor Johnny Depp stayed in the home during the filming of his movie, “Dead Man” and he reported that he was visited by the girl in white during his stay. During our visit, the caretaker mentioned that the young girl whose spirit is said to roam the upstairs bedrooms had reportedly fallen down the staircase to her untimely demise.

This is an interesting clip from our last trip to Virginia City in October 2010 with “A Paranormal Interest Retreat.” We were on the 3rd floor of the Mackay Mansion & we had just heard what sounded like a child in one of the bedrooms. Look at the bedroom door on the right when the investigator walks by at around :23 seconds and then when he walks by again at around:30-:31 seconds. There appears to be a figure behind the gate that appears and then disappears, most visible at the :30-:31 seconds mark.

A few seconds later, there is some kind of movement at the end of the hall that moves across from right to left (at around:43-:44) (look towards the bottom of the door). Right before that at approx :39 seconds, we hear an unexplained whispery voice saying something like “who’s there.”

For more information on the Mackay Mansion, visit: Mackay Mansion
For more information on A Paranormal Interest Retreat, visit: APIR

Pico House – Ghosts of Old Los Angeles

 


Earlier this year, we spent several weekends exploring some of the neighborhoods and buildings around “old” Los Angeles – the area in and around which the city of Los Angeles was founded. Some amazing locations with a rich history can be found in this area, including Union Station, the Hall of Justice, the Sepulveda House and the oldest house in Los Angeles, the Avila Adobe. It was during this time, one building in particular across from Olvera Street caught our eye – the Pico House, located at 430 N. Main St, which is part of the El Pueblo de Los Angeles National Monument. We decided to arrange for a tour of the location to see if we could learn more about its history and perhaps, its hauntings.

When the Pico House (Casa de Pico) opened in 1870, it was the most luxurious hotel not only in Los Angeles, but also south of San Francisco. Built on the southwest corner of the Los Angeles Plaza (currently known as the “Old Plaza”), the Italianate style hotel designed by architect Ezra Keysor boasted indoor plumbing, opulent gas-powered chandeliers, a fountained courtyard, an aviary and a French restaurant. At that time, Los Angeles was a relatively small but growing city and the Plaza was the epicenter. Los Angeles was still in a transitional phase, 20 years after its incorporation as an American city after the ending of the Mexican-American war.

The streets around the Plaza were not only filled with businesses and elite members of society but they were also subject to a certain “wild west” lawlessness. Brothels, gambling halls and saloons were prevalent and many different cultures co-existed within a few blocks of each other under an atmosphere of racial tension. Vigilantism was not uncommon as vigilance committees or “lynch mobs” took to the streets, taking the law into their own hands.

Wealthy businessman and one time Governor, Don Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor under Alta California, built the Pico House with funds he obtained from selling off a portion of his land grants. The lavish new hotel was a success, upstaging it’s rival hotel, the Bella Union. But the success did not last long.

Racial tensions in the city came to a head with the Chinese Massacre of 1871, which occurred in and around the Calle De Los Negros adjacent to the Plaza and spilled into the Plaza as, by varying accounts, 18 to 23 Chinese men and boys were brutally murdered by an angry mob of whites and Mexicans. An employee of the Pico House at the time later recalled the scene: “The street was a madhouse of frenzied, armed men and terrified, stampeding horses. From the entrance of the Pico House I could see a mass of men flocking toward the Aliso street opening of Nigger’s Alley [sic] and heard a steady roar of guns. I remember one fellow, big, hatless and coatless, with bulging maniacal eyes as he ran passed us, brandishing huge butcher’s axes.”- (Michael M. Rice, I Saw the Wild West Tamed!, Los Angeles Times, May 13 1934, G12).

After the riots, and with the influx of people brought in by the railway, the town’s business center began to move southward and the neighborhood degenerated into seediness over a period of years.

Pio Pico was known for throwing lavish parties and being a heavy gambler as well as having a penchant for the ladies. His signature cane displayed an ivory female leg poised in the air. In addition to his extravagant lifestyle, the financial strain of some bad investments along with his falling victim to the fraudulent dealings of other businessmen helped contribute to his eventual loss of wealth.

As the neighborhood and his fortune declined, Don Pio continued to entertain at the Pico House for 10 years until 1880, when he lost his hotel to foreclosure. The building became a flophouse and spent many years in decline before eventually passing into California State hands in 1953. Today, the Pico House belongs to El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Monument and is both a California and National Historic Landmark.

Given the rich history of the building and the surrounding neighborhood, it is not surprising that some believe the Pico House may be haunted. As we learned on our tour, which included the three main floors, the inner courtyard, the basement and tunnels and the adjacent old Merced Theater, security staff have reported hearing mysterious footsteps from the upper floors late at night and seeing shadow figures leaning over the balconies of the inner courtyard. Perhaps Don Pio Pico himself is still entertaining guests in his beloved hotel. With regard to the living, tours of the Los Angeles Plaza Historic District can be arranged here: El Pueblo de Los Angeles National Historic Monument .

-LMH

Additional Photos from our tour:




Los Angeles Paranormal Returns to Linda Vista Hospital

In 2009, during an investigation of the Linda Vista Hospital in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, we captured what sounded like the voice of a little girl humming in the former surgery area of this long closed hospital. We later returned with the crew of the Ghost Adventures TV show (Travel Channel) and experienced paranormal activity once again, including the capture of an evp that sounded like the same humming. In January, 2010, Los Angeles Paranormal Association returned once more to Linda Vista hospital with guest investigators including Mark and Debby Constantino. Below is an excerpt from that investigation. **In order to best hear the evps in the video, along with what sounds like disembodied voices at 6:37 and 7:58 , we recommend listening with headphones on and volume turned up high.**

EVP Session – Star of India – First Mate’s Cabin

Star of India - "'tween deck"

Los Angeles Paranormal Association recently had the privilege to investigate the world’s oldest active ship, the Star of India, formerly the Euterpe, which is moored at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. We experienced several odd occurrences during our investigation, including unexplained crashing and dragging sounds, mysterious footsteps, phantom doors creaking open, and audible disembodied voices.

Here, Kirsten and Layla were conducting an EVP session in the first mate’s cabin. Layla asked the question ‘are you the first mate?’, and we heard an audible response. At the time, we knew we had heard something odd, but we weren’t sure what we had heard – in fact we bantered back and forth about it being the other person’s stomach. Listening to the clip later, we heard what sounds to us like a male voice saying ‘no.’ **This clip is audible without headphones, but clearer with headphones.

During the same session in the First Mate’s cabin, we noticed water dripping down from the ceiling. We were trying to identify the source of the dripping when we captured the following clip. Shortly after Kirsten says ‘but I can’t tell,’ listen for what sounds to us like a disembodied male voice.

**This clip requires headphones.

Ghost Adventures!

Ghost Adventures and Los Angeles Paranormal

Los Angeles Paranormal Association was fortunate to be asked to participate in an episode of the Ghost Adventures series, starring Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin, and which airs on the Travel Channel. Kirsten and Layla were initially taking the guys on a tour of the location to describe our paranormal experiences from a prior investigation – but it turned into a real paranormal happening when we started hearing and experiencing some wild things during an EVP session. The show will air next season, which begins in October, so stay tuned for more on our adventures and some truly amazing evidence…

***update*** Dec 13th, 2009 – Being able to take part in the Ghost Adventures episode at Linda Vista Hospital was an incredible experience. Not only was their equipment malfunctioning during our live EVP session with them, but to capture that EXACT SAME little girls voice as we had the first time, is simply amazing. Not only that, but Nick later saw a complete fully-bodied apparition of a female in the exact same spot where we had captured the humming both times. They also captured quite a bit more evidence that night during their lockdown. Here is a promo video featuring just some of our experience there with the guys… Ghost Adventures – Voices in the Linda Vista Hospital