Looking for two angry miners in Tonopah


Matt Hufman

John McCormick, the general manager of the Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah, provides a tour on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. The door in basement leads to an area that some people believe is haunted.

Click to enlarge photo

This hallway in the basement of the Mizpah Hotel leads to a room that is said to be haunted.

Click to enlarge photo

This room in the Mizpah Hotel is said to be where a miner killed two colleagues, and some people say the basement is haunted by the miners' ghosts.

Day 5, Nevada Heartland tour – midday update

If you like ghost stories and ghost hunting, the Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah is the place to be. Unlike the Goldfield Hotel, which is a focal point of ghost hunters, the Mizpah is open and you can stay here. And there’s a roster of ghosts.

There’s the “Lady in Red,” a woman who was reportedly killed in a crime of passion on the fifth floor. It’s also said that there are the ghosts of two miners who “live” in the basement and play tricks on people. And then there are reports of two little children who supposedly ask people why they’re in the hotel and then run – or fly – off, leaving small handprints behind.

It is also said that the ghost of Sen. Key Pittman is here, but if it is, it commutes – Pittman died in Reno.

But never mind that. Since re-opening in the fall of 2011, this hotel has become a draw for people who want to experience a ghost. They’ll ask for a room on the fifth floor, which is where the heavy “activity” is supposed to be. Especially the room where a woman, known as the “Lady in Red,” was reportedly killed.

John McCormick, the hotel’s general manager, said that guests and staff members tell of “activity.” The “Lady in Red” suite was recently redone, and a staff member reported that she appreciated what the hotel had done to renovate the room. That’s good – you wouldn’t want a ghost unhappy with the accommodations, would you?

McCormick took Mike and I on a tour of the hotel, which has been wonderfully restored and includes some impressive details. But there were still those pesky ghost stories. He said people who say they have a sensitivity to ghosts often say they feel or see things.

A man sitting in the lobby bar said he worked here in the 1980s in security and would go up to the fifth floor seeking an experience and nothing ever happened. The bartender, Glenn Kelly, said he never has seen anything. (He worked here when it was previously opened.) But he said he “respects the Lady in Red’s energy” but always asked that it visit people who would appreciate it, not him.

We couldn’t get into the “Lady in Red” suite because it was booked, but McCormick did take us to the basement and into a room that was a vault for a bank 100 years ago. The story goes that three miners tunneled up into the room through the dirt floor, and they emptied it right before a payday.

But there was no honor among thieves, and one turned on the other two and killed his partners.

Now, it’s said those two taunt workers and play practical jokes on them.

McCormick led the way to the old vault down a short narrow passage, lined with corrugated tin and mining timbers. Then he opened the door and stepped in, down off a concrete step and onto uneven dirt, which was suspiciously damp. I looked in and then followed, and … nothing. No goose bumps, no ghostly wind, no voices, not weird stuff on the camera.

Then something crashed behind me.

I turned. There was Mike, hanging onto the door frame. He stumbled on the entry way, he said.

Or maybe he was tripped.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy