TBT: Haunted Virginia City, Nevada

Ahh, actually this town is big enough for the both of us…

Virginia City, Nevada; it was a prosperous silver mining town. The city like many mining era towns, had its reputation for gambling and prostitution along with its wealth in the nearby mines. Today, it seems the silver miners are gone but another sort of ‘treasure” seekers have taken their place – Ghost hunters.

The Territorial Enterprise building (seen on the left) is today the Mark Twain Museum.

This was the place that Mark Twain started his writing career; its nearby mine supported the Union in its war efforts against the Confederates; and its population around the 1860s had nearly 8% Chinese residents working on the railroads… These are now part of the colorful history this town possesses, and perhaps it is this colorful chapter that have gave it the reputation for being a “ghost town.”

Suicide table, the table that allegedly cause many to commit suicide.

As you see here, places like the photo above readily available to quench your curiosity for the afterlife. Suicide table, ghost infested hotels, bars whose staircases have captured apparitions…*spooky!!* Even the Travel Channel show Ghost Adventures had an episode in this city.

Well, the effects of alcohol pretty much does that to me...

Well, the effects of alcohol pretty much does that to me…

To be honest, I am not sure if I believe in ghosts… or spirits, or supernatural for that matter. I can’t say I don’t believe it either. As a great Hasidic proverb once said “Whoever believes in miracles is an imbecile. Whoever does not is an kofer” – Rabbi Menahem Mendl of Kotzk. I’m plagued by doubts… If you tell me “I absolutely believe in ghosts…” or if you substitute “ghosts” with “spirits,” “The Holy Spirit,” “Christ,” “Hashem,” “Allah”… Your unwavering “faith” is something I no longer understand. There was a time I was one of you, but I’m not anymore.

China Town… this city’s thousands of Chinese workers are gone… a ghost of the city’s past.

But as much as my scientific mind tells me such a belief is nonsense, I will say my emotions whispers otherwise. In this town at night, at an allegedly haunted location… I will say I did look over my shoulders a few more times than usual.

I have had my share of what you’d call “mystical experiences,” and seen my share of “ghosts.” They have been profoundly life changing to me. I am a man of facts, empirical facts… But I doubt even my own brain. My brain tells me it’s just my temporal lobe having a seizure, that my years of religious upbringings shaped and warped natural phenomenon into an illogical narrative. But here I am, in a dark place murmuring “ישב בסתר עליון בצל שדי יתלונן…” (Tehilim 91)

Donkey Engine… what does that even mean???

So here we were, my wife and I, staying at a hotel that is known to be haunted and in a room that has a dark past no less. It is rumored (*and funny how I can’t seem to find an original source for this rumor) that a prostitute committed suicide in the lovely bathtub in our room. Fun eh?

But perhaps we’re gluttons for punishment because these things fascinate us. So we got a room for the night and went out to enjoy the western shoot out reenactments, enjoyed a local burger joint that we weren’t too impressed with, and even contemplated posing for some western style photos.

St. Mary in the Mountains Church in Virginia City, Nevada was blown up in 1875 to serve as a fire stop. The current structure was rebuilt in 1876. This is a baptismal font from 1876.

But we opted for the allegedly haunted The Washoe Club tour. Another location investigated by the Ghost Adventures crew. Most of the building available for tour is unoccupied, and if I may be honest once we came down stairs we saw the floors we were standing on and realized that we were standing on rotten wood that can easily come crashing down and break our legs (or impale us with large wooden planks Final Destination style!)

Don’t know if I personally saw or felt anything that I’d say supernatural, some folks and myself did hear some weird noises, but the town is quite a festive place during the day. So who knows? Come here and decide for yourself. Maybe you’d capture some weird photos? I didn’t.

Old Washoe Club. The building operators gladly wants to take you on a tour of the building for $8.

I am not a fan of the decor.

This incredibly creepy doll in Old Washoe Club is allegedly given to a ghost of a little girl who is said to recognize this as hers. Haunted or not I am no fan of creepy dolls.

As the day came to a close, we retired in our “haunted” hotel – the infamous Silver Queen Hotel. The rooms were actually quite charming, mostly original with of course electric upgrades; and should you feel like it they offer a chapel and a celebrant so you can get married there! Maybe you’ll have some uninvited guests in your wedding?

The name “Silver Queen” is demonstrated on the inside from a painting of a lady whose dress is made from thousands of silver dollars.

Hmm, why do I feel like the writer from Steven King’s “1408”? Is this a bad idea?

Well, I don’t know if I believe this place is haunted… There’s an interesting story here that night where I may have seen something around 11pm and my wife insisting we leave at 1:30 in the morning…and we did. We drove across state line for 6 hours until neither of us could safely drive and we slept at a Motel 6.

So is the Silver Queen haunted? I don’t know, but I’d say room 13 may not be the room of choice we visit next. Go there and sleep the night, maybe you’ll just prove us superstitious, maybe you’ll leave at 2:30 in the morning with your own story to trade with us… or maybe within 2 hours you’d want check out. We’ll see…

Prayer goes on even on trips.

Well, we left the city of Mark Twain with our own story to tell… I’ll leave you with a strange quote from the man himself about the people of my tribe.

“I have no prejudices against Jews. I have nothing that resembles a prejudice against Jews. To me, Jews are just merely human beings, and to my mind the difference between one human being and another is not a matter of the slightest consequence.” – Mark Twain

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