Moving on from an unhaunting experience


Matt Hufman

The historic Mizpah hotel in Tonopah is supposedly haunted by the ghost of Sen. Key Pittman, who legend says died in the hotel in 1940. However, evidence suggests he died in a Reno hotel.

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The Key Pittman Suite at the Mizpah Hotel is not located on the top floor, which is where hotel staff say the senator's ghost roams. Though evidence points to Pittman dying in Reno, the story throughout the years has been that the senator haunts the Mizpah because he died there in 1940.

Day 5, Nevada Heartland tour, morning update

Yesterday, I wrote about one of the great ghost stories in Nevada history: U.S. Sen. Key Pittman’s death in 1940 and his alleged haunting of the Mizpah Hotel.

It’s a story that has been well circulated over the years, and there have even been reported sightings. However, all the evidence shows that Pittman died in Reno.

Last night, Mike and I checked into the Mizpah Hotel and headed up to our room, which had a plaque next to the door. It’s called the Key Pittman Suite.


No, we haven’t seen the senator yet, but it’s still early, and we may be on the wrong floor. The hotel staff told us that “haunted” floor is the top floor, and the Pittman suite, while very nice, isn’t the penthouse. (So much for all that clout that being a senator brings.)

There’s also the story of “the Lady in Red,” which is the classic ghost story of a woman who was killed in a fit of passion. No sighting of her either. Perhaps she and the senator have the day off.


The restored Mizpah Hotel is worth a look if you come through town. The hotel is well decorated, with rich colors reminiscent of the hotel’s glory days, and has a spacious lobby. The rooms are comfortable, and there are nice touches throughout, including a cast-iron bath tub.


Today, we’ll explore more of Central Nevada and see what else we can find. We appreciate all of the feedback and are trying to add more places to the itinerary, if not for this trip, for some time in the future. And don’t forget to send your story about Nevada as well as photos, suggestions and comments to: [email protected].

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