The Clown Motel

Day 2 continued….

When we told people we were staying at the Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada, most of them thought we were totally insane. And they were probably right. I will say the Clown Motel lived up to its creep factor in all of its glory, and for more reasons than an evil clown picture in our motel room, staring down at at us in our beds.

When we got to the main office to check in, we were greeted by a life sized Ronald McDonald. The main lobby is lined with shelves, chock full of clowns grinning creepily from ear to ear. The woman working behind the counter was the nicest woman. When we went to check in, she told us a ghost tour was happening around town, and a group of people had just been next door at the old Tonopah Cemetery. And that cemetery is literally about 10 feet away from the motel. And it is very old.

Back in 1902, many residents of Tonopah fell victim to the “Tonopah Plague”, the cause of which is still a mystery. The victims of this plague are now interred at this cemetery, along with 14 miners who died in the Tonopah-Belmont Mine fire in 1911. It was dark when we got to the Clown Motel, so I will take photos of the Tonopah Cemetery in the morning.

The woman behind the counter told us the show Ghost Adventures had filmed at the hotel, which is pretty cool. The lobby was filled with people left over from the ghost tour, and everyone had a story to share. We got our key and made our way to room 209, not really sure what to expect (or what we should expect) at this point. We came for an experience…and that is what we got. Keep reading below:

Every door at the motel has a painted wooden clown, as well as creepy clown decor in every room.

After taking our stuff into our room, we decided to grab some dinner. A friend had recommended checking out the Mizpah Hotel, which is supposedly the most haunted place in Tonopah. The most commonly sighted ghost is the known as the Lady in Red.

Her story can be found on the side of the wine bottles named after this famous apparition. It reads, “The Lady in Red was a reluctant lady of the night in early Tonopah. She was brutally struck down on the fifth floor of the majestic Mizpah Hotel by a jilted lover. It is said that her spirit walks the halls of the Mizpah to this day.” Apparently room 512 in the Mizpah is where she was murdered, and those hoping to see her will request to stay there.

When we got to the Mizpah, the lobby was filled with people that had been on the ghost tour that evening. It looked like a fun bunch as we wandered through the crowd to the restaurant.

Other ghosts that are said to haunt the halls of the Mizpah are a little boy and a little girl that run rampant on the fourth floor. And there have been reports of  two miners that choose to haunt the basement of the hotel.


After dinner, Devin and I got settled in for the night, me with my laptop editing photos, and Devin passing out on his bed. Before I fell asleep, I tried to wake Devin a couple of times, since he had fallen asleep fully clothed, including his shoes. I couldn’t get him to budge, so I finally drifted off to sleep, ignoring the clown painting a few feet away.

So there were a couple of “interesting” things that happened in the wee hours of the morning. I can’t remember what I was dreaming about, other than there was loud knocking and thudding. Only the knocking and thudding wasn’t a dream. I sat bolt upright in bed to the sound of someone trying to come through our motel room door. I glanced over at the digital clock that was glowing a red 4:40 a.m. I froze and looked over to Devin’s bed where he was fast asleep. I wasn’t sure if someone had the wrong room or if someone was trying to break in, but they were becoming more and more forceful with the door and weren’t going away.

In a terse whisper I called out, “Devin, DEVIN…WAKE UP!” He suddenly sat bolt upright, and also turned toward the door. Locked with a tiny deadbolt, I was holding my breath waiting for the intruder to break the door down. Devin jumped out of bed and went to the window to peek through the crack in the curtain to see what we were dealing with on the other side. He looked back and me and whispered, “It’s some dude that is totally trashed.”

We thought he would eventually give up and go away. It almost felt like a scene from the Walking  Dead. The man on the other side of our door never said a word, just kept slamming his body against the door. Like a zombie. All Devin could physically see of the man was that he had bare feet. The rest of him was leaning heavily against the door, until he would start the pounding and body slamming again. And again. And AGAIN. This went on for about 25 minutes. Devin had his 9mm Smith and Wesson laying on the night stand just in case, but I was hoping the situation wouldn’t escalate to that.

I hit my wits end when the man slammed his body up against the window trying to get in through it, his head and arms silhouetted through the curtain. I grabbed my cell phone and called 911…first time ever in my life I have ever dialed those three numbers. All of this felt like we were in a movie, that it wasn’t real life. The dispatcher asked for my name and what my emergency was. I told her that we were staying at the Clown Motel and a man that appeared drunk was trying to get into our motel room. While talking to her in a hushed tone, I would jump out of my skin every time he would start pounding on the door again. She was very calming and kept me on the phone until the police officer arrived. While the officer was on his way, the man FINALLY left. In an almost whisper I told the dispatcher I thought the man had left. She told me he may have heard me talking on the phone and moved on, but that she was going to have the officer she dispatched keep an eye on the hotel for a bit. I thanked her and got off the phone.

I looked at Devin and said, “There is no way I’m falling back asleep. I’m ready to get out of here.” He wholeheartedly agreed. We rounded up our stuff and got the heck out of Dodge.

At this point, it was about 5:30 a.m. We found a place that was open for breakfast, and as we were waiting for our food, Devin looked at me from across the table and said, “So I had something kind of weird happen last night.” I leaned forward, “Really, what?!” I was thinking what could possibly be weirder than what we just experienced?

He said he woke up around midnight, freezing cold. He was still fully clothed, including his shoes. He said he looked over at me and thought it was weird I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and had all my blankets kicked off of me. I told him, “That is because our room was freaking warm!” He said he got up, put his pajamas on, and crawled under the blankets, and that it took forever for him to get warm. I told him it sounded like he had a ghostie keeping him company last night. Perhaps a resident of the Tonopah Cemetery.


Devin providing some comic relief after our eventful morning. 🙂

After filling our bellies, we decided to go back to the Clown Motel one more time to get photos of the Tonopah Cemetery which pretty much shares a parking lot with the motel, as you can see from this photo:


Here are some photos from inside the Tonopah Cemetery:

And since we were back at the Clown Motel (because apparently we couldn’t get enough) we took a few more pics in the day time. It is amazing what a little daylight can do to calm the nerves.

Well Tonopah, you didn’t disappoint in the creep factor. Next stop: Goldfield, Nevada.

3 thoughts on “The Clown Motel

  1. Sounds creepy fun for ghost hunting but without the drunk – Devin should have did a Wyitt Erp and opened the door and knocked him out.. Drag him to next room over.. Then go back to sleep

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