Welcome to the Mizpah Hotel, an historic beacon of central Nevada’s mining boom that came and went and left behind it a trail of tiny towns and ghost towns.
Mizpah Hotel has been called the most haunted hotel in America, and during my US 95 road trip between Reno and Las Vegas, I just had to stop in and check it out for myself.
Was it truly haunted? Is it worth visiting yourself? Read on to learn all the juicy details.
The History of the Mizpah
Besides the glitz and glitter of Las Vegas and the biggest little city in the world, there aren’t a whole lot of big towns in Nevada. As you drive through, it may very well feel like the land time forgot. But for those of us who love the weird and the amazing along with the wild west history, it’s full of treasures.
The Mizpah is in the halfway point between Las Vegas and Reno, in Tonopah Nevada – population of around 2000.
It originally opened in 1908 at the height of Tonopah’s silver boom. At the time it was the tallest building in Nevada, and was one of the first luxury hotels in the state. It hosted celebrities and wealthy investors who flocked to the town during its silver boom.
It was even known to be frequented by Wyatt Earp, Howard Hughes (who got married in Tonopah), and boxer-turned-actor Jack Dempsey.
At the time that it was built, it was heralded as a sign of Tonopah’s prosperity, as you’ll see on newspaper headlines proudly displayed in the Mizpah.
However time took its toll, several murders took place on hotel grounds, and the hotel closed and reopened several times, most recently in 2011 after being closed and boarded up for 10 years.
Now it’s the perfect peek into the past as it has retained its charm, with much of the original furniture from the grand opening in 1908.
For those who love the quirky, the creepy, and the historic, it’s a delight – and personally? I fucking love this kind of thing.
But what about the haunted part? I hear you asking.
The Haunting of the Mizpah
I know you’re here for the juicy stuff. Is this hotel truly haunted? What are the details behind what went down at the Mizpah over the years?
To get the full experience, I booked the Lady in Red room, the most haunted room in the hotel.
The lady in red, whose real name is X, was a high-class prostitute who lived in the top floor of the Mizpah. She was strangled in the hotel by a jealous john-turned-lover who wanted her to give up her work for him. Obviously she elected not to, and sadly met her fate in the very room you can now book and stay in on the top floor.
But she’s not the only one who haunts the hotel – oh no! There’s also a nameless soldier who died in the hotel and unfortunately, they never really knew who he was. He hunts the third and fourth floors and is known only as ‘the soldier’ who died at the Mizpah.
There’s also a pair of children who hunt the third floor, playing tricks on visitors in the rooms and hallways. Multiple hotel guests have reported giggling and doors opening and shutting on their own – presumed evidence of the children who haunt the Mizpah.
Finally, two bank robbers who were murdered during a heist by their co-conspirator haunt the basement, and you can get a tour with all of the history and information by asking for availability at the front desk. It comes free with your stay at the hotel!
Is it actually nice to stay at the Mizpah?
The hotel has retained some of that original luxury and the current owners have done a wonderful job of refurnishing the hotel like it would have looked back when it opened in the 1900s.
Think clawfooted tubs, furniture that, honestly looks reminiscent of my old Berlin apartment, and even a wagon room.
The reviews of the hotel speak for themselves. It’s a great value for the money, with rooms as low as $109 per night on booking.com (though if you want to book the lady in red or the wagon room you’ll need to book it directly on the hotel website. You can also get a discount if you’re a AAA member!)
Staying there feels like going back in time, and although I did not have any spooky experiences myself, I just loved the vibe of the hotel, all of the historic artifacts on display, and the quirkiness of it all.
Other Things to Do in Tonopah
I stayed in Tonopah for two days and it would have been a mistake to only stay for one! There are many other historic things to discover in Tonopah, and other quirkiness as well.
In the video below you’ll see a tour of the Tonopah hotel, as well as a look at the clown motel, which is equally bad shit crazy. Next door you’ll find the old cemetery with burials that took place from 1901 until 1911.
If that’s enough creepiness for you, head out and check out the sand dunes of Tonopah.
Although it was closed at the time we were there (possibly due to ‘Rona concerns, I’m not sure) The historic mining park receives high reviews as well.
Tonopah truly feels like the wild west, and staying at the Mizpah lets us go back in time a little bit and feel like we’re there.
This is just one stop on what I thought was an amazing road trip between Reno and Las Vegas, full of things that most people overlook. But if you love history, art, and the weird and amazing, then give this road trip a look and spend some actual time in these little towns along the way, there’s so much to discover and enjoy.
It’s a trip few people really take the time to enjoy but one that I thoroughly enjoyed!