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Giving Up the Ghost: Goldfield High School

The town of Goldfield, Nevada sprang up rather quickly upon the discovery of gold there in 1902. It soon became the largest town in Nevada; a thriving mecca for adventurous miners, rowdy cowboys and old west entrepreneurs alike. During Goldfield’s boomtown heyday, several grand buildings were erected, including the now notoriously haunted Goldfield Hotel and the less famous but equally as imposing (and reportedly haunted) Goldfield High School. While many of Goldfield’s buildings were destroyed in a series of fires in 1923 and 1924, both the Goldfield Hotel and the Goldfield High School survived and remained operational for some time after the boom.

Built in 1907, the Goldfield High School remains an impressive stone and brick structure that sits virtually in the shadow of its infamously haunted cousin. The last graduating class there was the class of 1952. The school was abandoned in 1953 due to structural issues and has been standing empty ever since. And while one might marvel today at the buildings endurance over all these years, it’s impossible to miss the warping and bowing of the wooden staircase leading to the front doors, the crumbling brick and plaster and the sagging of the right hand side of the building. There are entire walls missing, covered only with plasterboard and wooden support beams. Because of an odd architectural flaw that diverted rainwater under the building, rather than away from it, if left to its own devices, the Goldfield High School will soon collapse upon itself.

There have been efforts by the Goldfield Historical Society to save this beautifully decaying relic of the past. They have received grants from the National Park Service Save America’s Treasure’s program as well as the National Trust for Historic Preservation. These funds, along with private donations, helped to provide initial emergency stabilization for the building. However, further stabilization and restoration are needed to save it. To learn more about the current status of the Goldfield High School, and to find out how you can help, visit the website for the Goldfield Historical Society.

Rumors of ghosts residing within the walls of the Goldfield High School have centered around the spirit of a young girl. This past summer, we were able to tour and photograph the school, and we found the building to be a beautiful time capsule of Nevada and American history. It is our plan to hold a fundraiser and ghost hunt for the high school in the spring of 2012. Tours of the school can be arranged by contacting Dominic Pappalardo at Dominicp@frontier.com

~LMH

 

See also: Golden Ghost: The Goldfield Hotel

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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

~~

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

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Golden Ghost: The Goldfield Hotel


There is a hotel in the Nevada desert that has stood guest-less for over 60 years, looming over the once prosperous and bustling boom-town of Goldfield. Aptly named the Goldfield Hotel, this stone and brick behemoth of the desert happens to be very haunted.
goldfield hotel
It was built on the site where two previous incarnations had burned to the ground. Phoenix rising from the dust in gleaming granite and brick glory during a gold-fueled, wild-west heyday. But no sooner than the hotel was built did the gold start to dry up and the town begin to die. And the once-lavish hotel began to fade away. Still, despite a series of fires and floods that have ravaged the town over time, the Goldfield Hotel remains; a little rough around the edges, but virtually unscathed after all these years. The strong, silent type with a mysterious past.

room 109 Many ghosts are said to haunt the Goldfield, including that of a young woman named Elizabeth, who, as the story goes, was a prostitute that became pregnant with the hotel owner’s child and was subsequently chained to a radiator in Room 109 and left for dead – her baby reportedly thrown into the mine shaft that runs underneath the hotel. But Elizabeth is only one of many spirits thought to roam the long, dark hallways of this stone oasis of sorts. In fact, the hotel is claimed by psychics to be one of 7 portals to the other side. Its haunted reputation has additionally been fueled by TV and film coverage from shows like FOX’s “Scariest Places on Earth” and the “Ghost Adventures” documentary and series.

To enter the Goldfield Hotel is to be swallowed up by a living, breathing entity. Gulp. Smack. And there you are, in the belly of the beast. Inside, the air is thick with ancient dust, creating an otherworldly lens through which the outside world disappears. An initial calm gives way almost immediately to an uneasy certainty that you are being watched by a host of unidentified eyes. Eyes that have known this place for a very long time. And you know that not only are they watching you, but they knew you were coming. The quiet air of the lobby is filled with an awkward politeness and you are keenly aware of your own presence – a stranger in a strange land.

Walking the long, empty hallways of the upper floors and poking into what were once elegant guest rooms, you can almost hear music from a long gone era and almost see the members of the old west elite who once leisured here. Your eyes can’t help but flitter back and forth on the lookout for a shadowy figure that you half expect to see duck into a doorway. Even a skeptic of the supernatural might find themselves quickening their pace back to the central staircase, having caught an unshakeable feeling that someone is behind them.

~LMH

To see our findings from the Goldfield Hotel, visit our previous post: Goldfield Hotel – EVPs
and our YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/losangelesparanormal

*Note – The Goldfield Hotel does not allow visitors without prior permission and attempted trespassers will be prosecuted.

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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

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Locked Up in Virginia City – Investigating the Old Jail


Los Angeles Paranormal investigated the Silver State Peace Officer’s Museum in Virginia City, Nevada over the course of three nights in April, 2010. The museum is located in the Storey County Courthouse building and occupies the space of the former 1876 Storey County Jail. We were there as part of ‘A Paranormal Interest Retreat,’ an event organized by Ghost Adventures Crew manager, Tara Bohren. Guests of the retreat were to be the first group to investigate the museum, whose employees and visitors had reported unusual activity ranging from phantom footsteps and shadows to full bodied apparitions.

Today, the museum celebrates and preserves the history of American law enforcement, and boasts an impressive array of US law enforcement memorabilia dating back to the 1780′s, including the largest collection of law enforcement badges in the country. But from 1876 to 1991, this same space was occupied by those on the wrong side of the law, when it served as the Storey County Jail. Ten original cells remain – five on the main floor and five above – with solitary confinement cells in the center of each row. In the later days of the old jail, from the 1940′s onwards, the top cells were reserved for female inmates, while the bottom ones accommodated the males. In the earlier days, however, cells would have been unisex, with one bunk bed accommodating four inmates at a time. This was the only jail for the entire county, and during the rough and tumble era of the silver rush, the most notorious criminals of the day shared space with drunken miners, soiled doves and hardened cowboys.

Our first night in the jail was fairly quiet, however, on the second night we began to hear unexplained noises and see a number of odd flashes of light. One investigator received unexplained scratches. During one EVP session, one of the investigators asked the question “are you a female?,” at which point we heard what sounds like a murmuring female voice respond. We were able to capture the unexplained noise and our reaction to it on video (see video below).

On the third night, in addition to seeing more mysterious lights and shadows, one investigator was overwhelmed by strong feelings of sadness and had to leave the building. Female crying sounds and moaning were heard. We also heard once again what sounded like a female voice, this time sounding younger in origin. Fortunately, we were able to document some of the unexplained phenomena on video and in our audio recordings.

The following audio clip was captured on our 3rd night, towards the end of our investigation. The museum staff who were accompanying us during our investigation that evening had mentioned that they were going to put on a pot of coffee. During our final EVP session, Layla decided to reference the coffee, asking the question “…how do you feel about that?” We then all heard what sounds like it could be a female disembodied voice, almost childlike in nature, which we could not attribute to any known natural cause. Voice occurs between :06-:09 seconds:

The following video is compiled from footage from our second and third night investigating the old jail. ***It is best viewed while wearing headphones and with volume turned up in order to best hear the anomalous audio.***

Special thanks to the various organizers, guests and speakers of “A Paranormal Interest Retreat,” and to the Silver State State Peace Officer’s Museum. To find out more about the museum, visit: http://www.peaceofficersmuseum.org/

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EVPs – Goldfield Hotel

***Note*** You will want to listen to the following EVP’s with headphones on and volume up.

EVP 1 – Step Out Into the Corridor

There were 3 of us in the hotel, and we were standing together in the basement at the t-junction of 2 hallways. We were calling down the hallway because we were hearing odd noises from down there – growls, bangs, movement, voices… it had been raining, so you can also hear dripping. In this clip, Brian asks whoever or whatever was communicating with us to step out into the corridor and we hear a voice that sounds a bit like a whispery growl say “yeah” in response.

EVP 2 – Hello?

Same corridor, again with the 3 of us standing together and calling down to something that seemed to be communicating with us. Layla says “hello?” and a couple of seconds later, what sounds like a male disembodied voice says “hello?” back.

EVP 3 – Laughter / Teasing

This was captured in between the lobby and the dining room. Disembodied laughter and then childlike teasing noises underneath Brian’s voice. This was not audible to us at the time it occurred, but appeared on our recorded audio.

EVP 4 – Unexplained Movement in the Basement

The 3 of us were in a room in the basement near the old elevator shaft, and we caught these unexplainable shuffling noises from within the room.

EVP 5 – Are You One of the Miners?

Another clip from the basement, after the rains. Here, Grant asks “Are you one of the miners that was wrongfully cheated out of your money?” The response is an almost electronic sounding ‘yes’ that was not audible at the time.

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