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These haunted hotels keep tourists coming back to Southern Nevada

Updated October 20, 2020 - 8:13 am

Rumor has it that some Southern Nevada hotels house more than just tourists.

Several hotels and resorts in the state are rumored to be haunted. The stories are not only entertaining for curious visitors, but a boon to tour companies and some hotels, especially around Halloween.

Here are some of the ghost stories you can find floating around Southern Nevada.

Mizpah Hotel

Roughly 200 miles north of Las Vegas, Tonopah’s Mizpah Hotel is considered one of the most haunted hotels in America.

Built in 1907, the hotel has been visited by Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” crew and featured in the show’s fifth season in 2011. The episode shows an inoperable elevator opening and closing its doors.

One of the property’s most famous spirits is the Lady in Red. Legend says she is the ghost of a prostitute who was murdered in a fifth-floor room in a fit of rage in the 1920s, after a man learned she had other clients. Some say she still roams the hotel, and several people who claim to have spotted the spirit say they discovered a pearl on their pillows or nightstands.

Chambrea Fowles, the hotel’s sales manager, said a few spirits have been spotted regularly in addition to the Lady in Red, including two children on the third floor and two ghosts in the basement.

The hotel has emphasized its haunted reputation over the years and offers regular ghost tours.

Fowles said she has had “tons of experiences” in the hotel — including one this year. While leading a couple on a tour in the basement, she said, she saw a “full-body apparition” of a man dressed like he belonged in the 1920s.

“He stood there for a second, then he took a step up onto this platform and walked straight through a wall,” she said. “I froze. … It completely caught me off guard.”

Fowles said fall is typically a slow season for the hotel, but its October haunted tours have been a huge success.

“That brings a lot of people to the hotel,” she said. “We had a pretty good turnout. I want to say at least 50 to 60 people a night.”

This year, attendance has dropped due to the pandemic, with tours hosting 15 to 20 people per night.

Flamingo

David Gray is a tour guide for US Ghost Adventures, but he prefers the term “ghost host.”

Gray, who joined the company in March, takes tourists on ghost tours across the Strip. One of his stops is the Flamingo, which opened in December 1946 under Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. The mobster was murdered months later in his girlfriend’s home in Beverly Hills, California.

Gray said Siegel’s ghost has reportedly been seen or sensed by numerous Flamingo visitors.

“Women at the pool hear catcalls, whistles. (People think) that’s Bugsy’s spirit, still up to his games,” he said. “He smoked fine cigars, so people smell cigar smoke when there isn’t anyone smoking.”

Representatives for Caesars Entertainment, which operates the hotel, declined to comment.

Westgate

The Westgate is reportedly home to one of Las Vegas’ most famous spirits: Elvis Presley.

The property, formerly known as the International and the Las Vegas Hilton, hosted the King of Rock ’n’ Roll for 837 shows from 1969 to 1976, according to the hotel-casino’s website. But some say he has been spotted long after that.

Presley’s spirit has reportedly been seen in upper-floor hallways, as well as backstage at the International Theater.

Westgate spokesman Gordon Prouty said staff and entertainers — including Wayne Newton — have reported sightings or said felt Presley’s presence on the property.

“Some guests who have stayed have said they’ve heard Elvis music but could find no radio playing in their room,” Prouty said. “Some people have sworn they saw him on the casino floor, and others have said they thought they saw him driving a vintage Cadillac outside the main entrance of the building. Like most stories of this kind, there are no ‘confirmed’ sightings, but the stories continue.”

Prouty said there’s one consistency in all of the ghost stories: Presley was reported as looking happy or at peace, and many often say he was smiling.

Hotel Apache

According to Binion’s website, the Hotel Apache and Binion’s have had ghost sightings over the years.

The hotel opened in 1932. According to the property’s website, “ghost hunters have reported high levels on their EMF meters” and “several employees have been touched, nudged, report sightings of figures.”

Social media coordinator Elizabeth Bristow is one employee who said she has encountered strange occurrences.

She said last year, while staying in a room for the hotel’s grand reopening, she heard loud banging from the room next door for several minutes, “like the person was trying to force the window open, not realizing it had been sealed shut.”

Bristow told a front desk employee about the banging that night. The employee looked up the room number and found that the room was supposed to be empty.

Other sightings have come from rooms 250 and 252, according to Bristow.

“During a photo shoot, a woman from the photo team was trying to prepare one of the rooms for shooting and was rearranging and fluffing the pillows. Every time she left the room and came back, the pillows had made their way to the floor,” Bristow said. “Since she was all by herself at the time, she opted to leave the room and wait till the rest of the crew showed up to finish prepping the room.”

Bristow said another guest in the room noticed all of the pillows on the floor upon check-in. The guest put all of the pillows on the bed and went to take a shower. When she returned, all of the pillows were on the floor again.

“She requested to be moved,” Bristow said.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

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