January 9, 2016
Ghost Hunting in the Old Wild West
By: Rebecca Genesis
The old silver and gold mining town of Virginia City is a true ghost hunting playground. Nestled in the hills of Western Nevada, just above the city of Reno, it’s considered to be one of the most haunted cities in America. The area was first mined for gold in 1850, but there was not enough ore found back then to cause a rush. At least not until 1859, when the first major silver ore deposit, the Comstock Lode, was discovered, essentially ending the California Gold Rush.
Word of the huge and invaluable find traveled like wildfire. Gold and Silver fever hit men by the thousands, and they began making their way in droves to the mountainous desert area in the hopes of striking it rich. At first, the miners stayed in makeshift camps near the mines. It wouldn’t be long, however, until the first official hotel in the state of Nevada, the Gold Hill Hotel, was built in 1861 near the Yellow Jacket and Crown Point Mine entrances.
The town of Virginia City soon sprang up like an oasis in the desert hills, along with the neighboring towns of Gold Hill and Silver City. The Old Washoe Club, a saloon, gaming house, and brothel was also built in 1862. This is where the likes of Mark Twain, John Muir, General Ulysses S. Grant, mining magnate John Mackay, and other prominent men of wealth would rub shoulders and enjoy their women of the night and other vices away from the “common” folk in what was known as The Millionaires Club.
Virginia City may have boomed to life, but it would also play host to much death and tragedy throughout the years. It was the Wild West, after all. Shootouts, drunken fights, murders, mining accidents and cave-ins were common occurrences. The worst tragedy that occurred was a raging fire that started 800 feet below the ground in the infamous Yellow Jacket Mine, situated just behind the Gold Hill Hotel next to the Miner’s Cabin. It was a horrific event that easily consumed the lives of at least 35 men. Myself and countless other ghost hunting enthusiasts who have also investigated the area can confirm that many of the spirits there have never left.
Virginia City, Nevada is a place I’d wanted to experience ever since I watched the award-winning first Ghost Adventures documentary which aired on television in 2007. The full-bodied apparition captured on video in the ballroom of the Old Washoe Club and other evidence of a brick being thrown by an unseen force at the Goldfield Hotel in Goldfield, Nevada by the original Ghost Adventures Crew, Zak Bagans, Nick Groff, and Aaron Goodwin, launched the three men into paranormal fame and they were soon offered their own regular television show.
Ghost Adventures returned to Virginia City five years after filming their original documentary. They felt the need to re-investigate after the renowned (but now sadly-departed) Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) specialists Mark and Debbie Constantino informed The Ghost Adventures Crew that the ghosts at The Old Washoe Club were calling them out by name in their EVPs. Especially, Zak and Nick.
Indeed, you can hear the captured spirit voices (not audible at the time of recording) clearly saying things like, “Hate….Nick,” and, “Zak, look out.” My favorite one, hands down is: “Nick, Zak, coming…..They’re scaring me.” You can watch a quick portion of the “Old Washoe Club and Chollar Mine” episode featuring the EVPs, along with a clip of the full-bodied apparition captured in the Old Washoe Club ballroom from the original Ghost Adventures documentary here:
The Old Washoe Club is known to have plenty of ghosts and it was also the same building which housed a room called The Crypt. This was where they would stack the bodies of the dead during the winters when the ground was frozen solid. It was in this very room that my son, Aaron, would collect his best paranormal photo evidence, to date. While in The Crypt, he snapped four consecutive photos which captured a green-colored orb moving around toward the ceiling. (Update: this was later determined to be a false orb caused by a reflection)
My interest in the paranormal runs deep, and my two children are excitedly following in their Mom’s footsteps. We were all ecstatic to be able to finally visit haunted Virginia City on two occasions in June of 2015. After touring the Old Washoe Club and staying overnight in the Gold Hill Hotel’s Miner’s Cabin near the Yellow Jacket Mine, I was inspired to officially create our family’s own ghost hunting team, The Ghost Seers.
Ghost hunting in Virginia City was a phenomenal experience, and we can’t wait to go back! There are many more places in the town that are ripe for ghost hunting, including the Chollar Mine, Silver Queen Hotel, Mackay Mansion, the Silver Terrace and Gold Hill Cemeteries, and more. As we can attest, ghost hunting can be fun for the whole family!
I invite you to view our photo gallery from our Virginia City ghost hunting experience. Please feel free to leave a comment or contribute any additional information you may have on The Ghosts of Virginia City, Nevada. To follow along with my ghost hunting expeditions you can SUBSCRIBE to my blog and the Ghost Seers website.
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