The Mizpah Hotel

Ghost hotel. (photo credit:

Not only is Tonopah, Nevada, home to the Clown Motel, but it also features the Mizpah Hotel. Visitors hail it as the nation’s number one haunted hotel. With just cause.

Guests report ghosts roam the halls of the Mizpah. These paranormal entities move visitors’ belonging, play pranks, and giggle.

The hotel was one of the first luxury hotels in Nevada. And was a favorite of celebrities and wealthy investors.

Staying at the ghost hotel
Smoking a cigarette
Caught in a midnight stare
You left me in the fire of it all
And its burning me down — Ghost Motel by Night Traveler

Mizpah Hotel History

Legends claim Wyatt Earp ran the Mizpah Saloon, which opened in 1907 and predates the hotel. Some legends say Jack Dempsey was a bouncer at the saloon. And Howard Hughes married Jean Peters at the hotel. Historians, however, note the timeline for the Mizpah doesn’t support such stories. Nevertheless, the hotel has a Jack Dempsey room and the Wyatt Earp bar.

As with the Clown Motel, town folk attribute the ghostly apparitions to tragedies. In particular, the Belmont Mine Fire of 1911, in which seventeen miners, including one rescue volunteer, died.

Reports say a candle started the fire early the morning of February 23, 1911. A crew located the fire at the bottom of the shaft and attempted to put it out. Unfortunately, the superintendent of the mine instructed the miners to go to work. He argued the fire was in a different location than where they were working. The miners protested, but fearing the loss of their much needed jobs, they retreated deep within the shaft.

When the superintendent saw the fire spreading, he ordered everyone above ground except for those fighting the fire. Miscommunications and insufficient training caused the miners to panic and scatter. The design of the mine — one shaft up and one  shaft down — created an air current reversal, fueling the blaze. Fierce smoke and flames spread rapidly and trapped the miners.

Town folk and visitors believe such tragedies contributed to the Tonopah curse.

The Ghostly Famous

The Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah, Nevada. Photo courtesy of starlordc57d.
The Lady in Red

Rose, a high-class prostitute, provided services for men staying at the hotel. In 1914, in a jealous rage, an ex-john-turned lover beat and strangled Rose to death on the fifth floor. Guests who have booked this room report finding their belongings moved.

The name of the room, in case you want the experience, is called The Lady in Red Room. Current owners of the hotel since 2011, Fred and Nancy Cline, have embellished the room in what else but early bordello décor.

Lady in Red has a wine named after her.
The Senator

US Senator Key Pittman died in the hotel in 1940. Democrats  kept his body on ice in a hotel bathroom until after the November  1940 election. Or so the legend goes. But officials dispute this. However, leaked facts surrounding the senator’s death  are inconsistent.

Pittman suffered a severe heart attack just before the election on November 5, and two doctors told his aides before the election that death was imminent. To avoid affecting the election, the party told the press that the senator was hospitalized for exhaustion and that his condition was not serious.

Pittman died on November 10 at the Washoe General Hospital in Reno, Nevada. Or so says the State Library and Archives in an article debunking the legend as myth.

What we know as fact about the senator.

  • Pittman worked as a miner in 1901
  • He practiced law in Tonopah in 1902
  • Pittman’s handler was asked why the senator wasn’t making appearances before the election. “We are keeping him on ice,” the handler replied.

These facts could account for the creation of the Pittman Legend at the Mizpah Hotel. Or perhaps, politicians really did keep him on ice at The Mizpah.

The Children

A pair of ghostly children haunt the rooms and hallway of the third floor. Guests report the children play pranks, and they can hear the kids giggling. Doors open and shut for no reason.

A clairvoyant who visited the hotel in 2011 told the hotel’s manager that the children didn’t know each other, and did not perish at the hotel.

Apparently, the children loved staying at the hotel and took up residence there after their deaths.

The Robbers

A bank-robber conspirator murdered his two partners in crime, in the hotel’s basement. Visitors and staff experience cold chills and eerie sensations upon entering the room below.


Is Tonopah cursed? I have to admit, a curse might explain the history of violence that seems to plague the town. The storm of fatalities could cause the abundance of restless — and perhaps angry — souls who roam the hotels, motels, streets, and cemetery of the town.

I see definite possibilities of encountering a ghost or two in Tonopah. However, I have enough ghosts in my life not to go looking for more. Let me know if you brave the streets of this Nevada town.

And Happy Halloween.

Legend says if you listen to this song on a really good sound system, you can’t quit listening.


Clara Bush
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6 replies on “The Mizpah Hotel”

We didn’t know how haunted the Mizpah was rumored to be. We stayed at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It was definitely haunted. I was also told that the Lodge in Cloudcroft, NM is haunted. Would like to spend the night and see what appears👻

I wondered if you knew how haunted the Mizpah is. If you go, I want a full report. Please. Cloudcroft has a long history. When I lived in El Paso, we used to visit Cloudcroft a lot. Beautiful little town, but I can see where there might be some lingering spirits. Thank you for commenting. —Clara

Very interesting town and hotel. Lots of strange things happened there it seems.
Oh, I listened to the song. It was good, but when it was over I quit listening to it. My computer sound must not be all that good. haha 🙂
Happy Halloween!

Hello, Barbara. Thank you for your comment. Yeah, on the song I quit listening, too. Just thought it was kinda creepy. And kinda sounds like a great idea for a short story. Like The Ring. I’ll give it some thought anyway. Buzzing over to your blog to see all your new thoughts.

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