Haunted Destinations – The Mizpah Hotel

 

In my endeavor to visit haunted hotspots all over the country, the Mizpah Hotel came up early in my research. I didn’t think there would be many places in Nevada that would be considered “haunted”, since the state is sparsely populated, so when I found the Mizpah I was pleasantly surprised.

The Mizpah is located in Tonopah, Nevada, which is about three hours north of Las Vegas. The drive is pretty barren, as most of Nevada is. The only thing of note I found on the way out there was a dead burro and two brothels. I was slightly taken aback by the disheveled appearance of them; I always imagined classy mansions and sparkling waterfalls, not rundown trailers with cracked paint and a lopsided front porch.

When I finally got into Tonopah, I was also surprised at how small Tonopah is. It sounds silly, but I don’t really travel too much around this particular state (because I live in one of the only two places most people know about in Nevada), so driving into a town that has a main road and brick buildings was kind of a trip. I was worried I would have a hard time finding the hotel, but little did I know – the Mizpah is the brightest thing in the entire town. You can’t miss it.

I walked into the hotel with my dogs and wondered if I had traveled back in time. The Mizpah was built in 1907, and the owners of the hotel try to maintain that look. The front desk staff is very friendly, and even made accommodations for my dogs. It was a little rough getting up to the room, with dog crates and bags, since there is only one entrance in and out of the hotel. After three trips, I was finally done unloading the car and was able to finally relax.

The rooms are pretty small, but that is to be expected with an older hotel.  I really liked the claw foot bathtub, but at some point a draft went through the room that rattled the bathroom curtain in a way that freaked me out. That, combined with my male dog peeing on me, were the two things that made me think the Mizpah was the first place I might see a ghost.

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So I went searching. I took the stairs and went to every single floor, just to check them out and see what was going on. It kind of reminded me of the Overlook Hotel, with the interior décor and the statues that stand along the staircase. One thing that freaked me out a little bit was that there was no music or any sound whatsoever on any floor. I couldn’t even hear other guests rustling around in their rooms. I think the lack of sound, combined with the uneven floors and creaky staircase, all combined to give the place an overall unsettling atmosphere.

The resident ghost of the Mizpah, according to legend, is The Lady in Red. She is a former prostitute who was murdered on the fifth floor of a hotel by a jealous lover. She supposedly goes after men for the most part, whispering sweet nothings in their ears in the elevator but that didn’t deter me. I rode in the elevator multiple times, and I still came up empty.

I wish I would have stayed in one of the “haunted” rooms, but that can always be for another time. Overall, I would say that this is the creepiest place I’ve been so far but I still have a long way to go. If you ever get a chance, stop in at the Mizpah for a night or two. It will make for an interesting story on the way home from or on the way to Las Vegas.

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Haunted? – My Experience at the Mizpah Hotel

In my endeavor to visit haunted hotspots all over the country, the Mizpah Hotel came up early in my research. I didn’t think there would be many places in Nevada that would be considered “haunted”, since the state is sparsely populated, so when I found the Mizpah I was pleasantly surprised.

mizpah hotel

The Mizpah is located in Tonopah, Nevada, which is about three hours north of Las Vegas. The drive is pretty barren, as most of Nevada is. The only thing of note I found on the way out there was a dead burro and two brothels. I was slightly taken aback by the disheveled appearance of them; I always imagined classy mansions and sparkling waterfalls, not rundown trailers with cracked paint and a lopsided front porch.

When I finally got into Tonopah, I was also surprised at how small Tonopah is. It sounds silly, but I don’t really travel too much around this particular state (because I live in one of the only two places most people know about in Nevada), so driving into a town that has a main road and brick buildings was kind of a trip. I was worried I would have a hard time finding the hotel, but little did I know – the Mizpah is the brightest thing in the entire town. You can’t miss it.

I walked into the hotel with my dogs and wondered if I had traveled back in time. The Mizpah was built in 1907, and the owners of the hotel try to maintain that look. The front desk staff is very friendly, and even made accommodations for my dogs. It was a little rough getting up to the room, with dog crates and bags, since there is only one entrance in and out of the hotel. After three trips, I was finally done unloading the car and was able to finally relax.

The Lady in Red

The rooms are pretty small, but that is to be expected with an older hotel.  I really liked the claw foot bathtub, but at some point a draft went through the room that rattled the bathroom curtain in a way that freaked me out. That, combined with my male dog peeing on me, were the two things that made me think the Mizpah was the first place I might see a ghost.

So I went searching. I took the stairs and went to every single floor, just to check them out and see what was going on. It kind of reminded me of the Overlook Hotel, with the interior décor and the statues that stand along the staircase. One thing that freaked me out a little bit was that there was no music or any sound whatsoever on any floor. I couldn’t even hear other guests rustling around in their rooms. I think the lack of sound, combined with the uneven floors and creaky staircase, all combined to give the place an overall unsettling atmosphere.

The resident ghost of the Mizpah, according to legend, is The Lady in Red. She is a former prostitute who was murdered on the fifth floor of a hotel by a jealous lover. She supposedly goes after men for the most part, whispering sweet nothings in their ears in the elevator but that didn’t deter me. I rode in the elevator multiple times, and I still came up empty.

hauntedroommizpah

I wish I would have stayed in one of the “haunted” rooms, but that can always be for another time. Overall, I would say that this is the creepiest place I’ve been so far but I still have a long way to go. If you ever get a chance, stop in at the Mizpah for a night or two. It will make for an interesting story on the way home from or on the way to Las Vegas.

Travel Questions No. 5 – Have You Ever Seen a Ghost on Vacation?

Things to Do in Vegas: Go to Fright Dome

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Photo via http://frightdome.com/attractions/

And here I was, thinking American Dad made Krampus up this entire time…

Halloween is coming close upon us, and it means that haunted houses are popping up all over town. Haunted houses in general can be a hit or miss, but Fright Dome is always a homerun. I’m not just saying that because I love scary movies, haunted houses, dressing up and all that – I’m saying this because it’s awesome. If you’re going to be in Vegas this Halloween and need something to do, I highly recommend checking out the Fright Dome.

Fright Dome is consistently rated as one of the top haunted house attractions in the country, and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it is never the same. Every year there are new attractions, new houses, and new shows to see. General admission starts around 36.95, and the VIP prices start at 99.95. You can find 5$ off coupons for Fright Dome online, or in certain retail and food establishments (like Albertson’s or Del Taco) but that is only helpful if you buy the tickets in person. Otherwise, I think the ticket prices are pretty fair for the amount of stuff you get to see and the houses you walk through.

If you’re going on a weekend, keep in mind that Fright Dome is in a…less than savory…part of town. Fright Dome takes place inside Circus Circus, which is located at the Northern end of the Strip. I haven’t had any bad experiences there, but I still advise general safety precautions: park in a well-lit area, be aware of your surroundings, and don’t walk around with your mask on.

 

 

Haunted Hot Spots No. 1 – The Whaley House

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It is now October: the month of ghosts, goblins, dropping temperatures, and pumpkin spice. I decided during October I would focus on the places I’ve been or want to be in that have a spooky reputation on my blog. Ghosts and haunted motels have fascinated me for years, especially since I saw the movie 1408. I have yet to meet any kind of spirit in my own adventures, but I wanted to start this blog series with the creepiest place I’ve been: The Whaley House.

The Whaley House doesn’t appear menacing, unlike the Overlook Hotel or Mrs. Bates’ mansion. Located in San Diego’s Historic District, the Whaley House is an official historic landmark. The two-story house was first occupied by Thomas Whaley and his family, a wealthy New York businessman and the original architect of the house. At one point, it was the sight of San Diego’s first theater, and the county courthouse. Before the house’s construction, it had been the sight of numerous public hangings. Some say the spirits of those unfortunate souls still roam the property, unable to move on from the site of their deaths.

I went during the spring of last year, and the day that I bought my tickets to tour the museum was not a busy one. The staff is friendly and helpful, and Costumed docents greet you at almost every corner of the Whaley House when you walk in, ready and happy to answer any questions you might have. I took the printout they give you when you purchase tickets and followed the prompts through each room; I would have preferred an audio guide to eliminate the amount of time I spent reading, but the information they provided was complete enough to satisfy me.

They don’t offer guided tours during the day, so you will be free to roam the house at your leisure. If you decide to go at night, there are only guided tours. If you decide you want to do a ghost hunting tour, be sure to buy your tickets well in advance. The ghost tours happen after hours, and the last time for a night guided tour is 9:30 p.m. Since I went during the day I can’t comment on those tours, but I can say: with as creepy as the house is during the day, I can only imagine what it is like at night.

If you decide to tour the house on your own, it will take about an hour and a half to make it through every room in the house, including the courtroom. Guided tours take about half the time without interruptions. Ticket prices range from eight to thirteen dollars for adults for the daytime and nighttime tours; children under the age of 5 are only allowed to tour the Whaley House during the day.

The area of the house I found the spookiest was the second floor. I don’t know if it was just the way the house would settle, if the floor boards were uneven or if I was just imagining things, but I felt…something on the second floor. I didn’t see anything move or any spirits, but as I walked through the upstairs hallway I felt cold and anxious. I don’t know what it was, and I’d like to think I was imagining things…but you never know.

 

 

My Visit to Jerome, Arizona

Jerome has been on my travel to-do list for quite a while. I’ve always been intrigued by ghosts, and after I saw the movie 1408 I decided I wanted to be a haunted hotspot traveler, not necessarily to debunk ghost stories but to experience these places and things for myself. When I started researching places to go throughout the United States, I noticed Jerome popped up on multiple lists.

Jerome, Arizona is a former mining town, nestled right above Cleopatra Hill on Mingus Mountain. It was founded in 1876, and quickly became known as the “Wickedest Town in the West”. With a name like that, who wouldn’t want to there, right? Once the copper and gold started to dwindle, Jerome went from being a wicked little mining town to a veritable ghost town. These days it’s home to a lot of artisans and writers, and due to the unstable nature that comes with mountainside construction, the aesthetic of the town hasn’t changed much.

I originally planned on staying in Jerome for a night, but due to an unforeseen family complication, I ended up just passing through Jerome on my way to Flagstaff. I didn’t get to venture inside the community center or the Jerome Grand Hotel, which are the two popular spots for spook sightings. However, I don’t feel I really needed to. The moment I realized I was pulling into the Jerome city limits, I felt like I had been transported to a Stephen King movie. Jerome is surrounded by trees, which sets it apart from many other nearby Arizona destinations, and I don’t think any building I saw had been renovated…ever. Ghosts or not, I think the overall experience of Jerome lends itself to the fantastical. I pulled over at the first opportunity I got and walked around for a bit, taking in the buildings and the people and the incredible view from Jerome’s Historic State Park.

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The view from outside Jerome.

Another thing I noticed about Jerome is how quiet it is. Even with the people walking through the streets, it just wasn’t quite as noisy as I was used to. Jerome reminds me of Sedona in many ways, but I think its location and size doesn’t allow for nearly as many visitors. In many ways, Jerome still lives up to the name of “ghost town”. I’d like to go back one day, and spend a night in the famous Grand Hotel or see if I spot a former lady of the night at the Inn. If I see twins roaming the hallways though, I’m not staying.

 

 

My Night at the Mizpah

Back in December, I went to the Mizpah Hotel for a brief stay. It was one of the places that is on my “haunted” bucket list (I will link my post from my previous blog), and it’s only a few hours away from home. I took my dogs with me and we hit the road, hoping to see a little snow and maybe a few ghosts.  We ended up seeing some snow; we weren’t quite so lucky when it came to the ghosts.

The Mizpah has not lost any of its vintage charm. The renovations the hotel has gone through have remained true to the style of the day, and has also managed to remain one of the slickest building on Tonopah’s main street. When I walked in I felt like I stepped back in time, which I think lends itself to the lore contained inside the hotel walls. The newest feature of the hotel is the magnetic key cards which I have to admit I was a little disappointed about.

I almost didn’t get a chance to stay – their policy (although not expressly stated anywhere I could find on their website) is only 2 pets per room, and I have three. The owner was kind enough to allow us though, I think since we were only staying for one night. The front desk staff was very friendly, and offered to help me cart my troupe and my luggage to my room; the receptionist even offered to bring me ice if she wasn’t busy. I’ve never experienced that before at a hotel, and I live in the capital of hotels.

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After I checked in, I went exploring.  I took the stairs to each floor of the hotel, just to look around. I wasn’t necessarily expecting a ghost to just jump out at me and say hi, but I wanted to get a better feel for the hotel as a whole. Also, I was a little scared the Lady in Red would whisper in my ear when I wasn’t expecting it.  The Lady in Red is the resident ghost of the Mizpah, a former lady of the night who was murdered by a jilted lover. She supposedly haunts the elevator and the room she died in, and unfortunately the room she died in was not available that night. She also favors men from what I’ve read, so I had the odds stacked against me.

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The first thing I noticed as I took the stairs was that there was no music playing. The only sound I could hear as I came around each corner was the creaky sound of my footsteps. There was also a rather large statue between the fourth and fifth floor that I found creepy; it reminded me of the statues in Wes Craven’s film Wishmaster that came to life and killed a bunch of people. On each floor they had a little reading nook set up; I recognized none of the titles at any of them, but I thought it was charming.

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I made it all the way to the top of the floor, and unfortunately, found no ghosts. They do have rooms with brief histories about the people who stayed in them. I did experience some strange sensations, and my dogs didn’t like being in the room (one of them even peed on me), but I am sad to report I found no ghosts.

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Have you ever been to the Mizpah Hotel? If so what did you think of it?

 

See you next time!