Investigative journalist George Knapp travels to Goldfield, Nevada, to check out ghost stories and the historic Goldfield Hotel. Locals tell their stories of strange happenings in the small mining town. Story aired Oct. 22, 2000, on KLAS TV in Las Vegas. Second of 2.
If ghosts really do exist, then there should be a few still hanging around Goldfield. At the turn of the century this mining boomtown was the largest city in Nevada with all sorts of miners, tycoons, shysters, hard luck stories and get-rich-quick schemes, many that played out at the Goldfield Hotel.
When the gold ran out, so did Goldfield’s luck. The old schoolhouse, which looks like a place Norman Bates might attend third grade, is shuttered. The hotel, built at a cost of a half million dollars, has been closed for decades. That doesn’t mean it’s been empty.
“This room I won’t come to alone and I won’t come here in the dark,” said Harry Kuehn, former district attorney for Esmeralda County. He is one of the many residents who say they’ve seen an apparition inside the old hotel. People say they often see faces in the windows or lights in the hallways or hear strange sounds.
A sheriff’s deputy who was inside the hotel with a TV cameraman a few years ago had his own sighting and now won’t ever go back inside.
County employee and hotel tour guide Linda Toner tells the story.
“He was standing very cocky up against the wall. He was dressed in black and they said he kind of had a glow about him,” Toner said. “And he was just standing there and the deputy asked him, ‘Who are you? What are you doing in here.’ And when they started to walk toward him, he just kind of vanished.”
In an effort to help preserve the hotel, Kuehn and Toner have conducted tours a few times a year and many of the people who have walked these dusty hallways have reported their own experiences, including camera equipment that fails, or which record strange glowing orbs or other shadowy figures. “I’ve seen people get sick to their stomach and leave. I’ve seen other people get cold chills, watched the hair stand up on their head,” Toner said.
A lot of bad things happened in the hotel, locals say, and a lot of people died here. During the ‘40s and again in the ‘70s, unidentified human remains were found beneath the hotel. Down in the dark, dank basement seeping water mixed with rust almost looks like blood.
And in the most haunted room of all, Room 109, even the walls seem to bleed. This is the room where a young prostitute, held against her will is said to have died with her baby. Witnesses claim to have seen the woman’s ghost. “Her book details having psychics coming in here and identifying this as a very, very, very disturbed room. A lot of them called it evil,” said Kuehn.
Evil or not, whatever might still lurk in the hallways may help to keep the hopes of Goldfield alive. Tours of the hotel, along with a Halloween party and Nevada Day festivities were put together in an attempt to capture the attention of possible investors.
“In the meanwhile, with the contract we have, we’re going to try to use the building and generate some interest and make the county a little bit of money,” Kuehn said.