Vanished! Unexplained Disappearances
History is peppered with intriguing tales of people who, for all intents and purposes, inexplicably vanish from the face of the earth without a trace. These stories — some of the most fascinating in the annals of the unexplained — vary from being well-documented to having the flavor of mere legend and folklore. But they are all fascinating because they force us to question the solidity of our existence.
THE BENNINGTON TRIANGLE
Between 1920 and 1950, Bennington, Vermont was the site of several completely unexplained disappearances:
· On December 1, 1949, Mr. Tetford vanished from a crowded bus. Tetford was on his way home to Bennington from a trip to St. Albans, Vermont. Tetford, an ex-soldier who lived in the Soldier’s Home in Bennington, was sitting on the bus with 14 other passengers. They all testified to seeing him there, sleeping in his seat. When the bus reached its destination, however, Tetford was gone, although his belongings were still on the luggage rack and a bus timetable lay open on his empty seat. Tetford has never returned or been found.
· On December 1, 1946, an 18-year-old student named Paula Welden vanished while taking a walk. Welden was walking along the Long Trail into Glastenbury Mountain. She was seen by a middle-aged couple that was strolling about 100 yards behind her. They lost sight of her when she followed the trail around a rocky outcropping, but when they rounded the outcropping themselves, she was nowhere to be seen. Welden has not been seen nor heard from since.
· In mid-October, 1950, 8-year old Paul Jepson disappeared from a farm. Paul’s mother, who earned a living as an animal caretaker, left her small son happily playing near a pig sty while she tended to the animals. A short time later, she returned to find him missing. An extensive search of the area proved fruitless.
THE VANISHED HANDICAPPED MAN
Owen Parfitt had been paralyzed by a massive stroke. In June, 1763 in Shepton Mallet, England, Parfitt sat outside his sister’s home, as was often his habit on warm evenings. Virtually unable to move, the 60-year-old man sat quietly is his nightshirt upon his folded greatcoat. Across the road was a farm where workers were finishing their workday by pooking the hay.
At about 7 p.m., Parfitt’s sister, Susannah, went outside with a neighbor to help Parfitt move back into the house, as a storm was approaching. But he was gone. Only his folded greatcoat upon which he sat remained. Investigations of this mysterious disappearance were carried out as late as 1933, but no trace or clues to Parfitt’s fate were ever uncovered.
THE DISAPPEARING DIPLOMAT
British diplomat Benjamin Bathurst vanished into thin air in 1809. Bathurst was returning to Hamburg with a companion after a mission to the Austrian court. Along the way, they had stopped for dinner at an inn in the town of Perelberg. Upon finishing the meal, they returned to their waiting horse-drawn coach. Bathurst’s companion watched as the diplomat stepped over to the front of the coach to examine to horses — and simply vanished without a trace.
In 1975, a man named Jackson Wright was driving with his wife from New Jersey to New York City. This required them to travel through the Lincoln Tunnel. According to Wright, who was driving, once through the tunnel he pulled the car over to wipe the windshield of condensation. His wife Martha volunteered to clean off the back window so they could more readily resume their trip. When Wright turned around, his wife was gone. He neither heard nor saw anything unusual take place, and a subsequent investigation could find no evidence of foul play. Martha Wright had just disappeared.
THE MYSTERIOUS CLOUD
Three soldiers claimed to be witnesses to the bizarre disappearance of an entire battalion in 1915. They finally came forward with the strange story 50 years after the infamous Gallipoli campaign of WWI. The three members of a New Zealand field company said they watched from a clear vantage point as a battalion of the Royal Norfolk Regiment marched up a hillside in Suvla Bay, Turkey. The hill was shrouded in a low-lying cloud that the English soldiers marched straight into without hesitation.
They never came out. After the last of the battalion had entered the cloud, it slowly lifted off the hillside to join other clouds in the sky. When the war was over, figuring the battalion had been captured and held prisoner, the British government demanded that Turkey return them. The Turks insisted, however, that it had neither captured not made contact with these English soldiers.
THE STONEHENGE DISAPPEARANCES
The mysterious standing stones of Stonehenge in England was the site of an amazing disappearance in August, 1971. At this time Stonehenge was not yet protected from the public, and on this particular night, a group of “hippies” decided to pitch tents in the center of the circle and spend the night. They built a campfire, lit several joints of pot and sat around smoking and signing. Their campout was abruptly interrupted at about 2 a.m. by a severe thunder storm that quickly blew in over Salisbury Plain.
Bright bolts of lightning crashed down on the area, striking area trees and even the standing stones themselves. Two witnesses, a farmer and a policeman, said that the stones of the ancient monument lit up with an eerie blue light that was so intense that they had to avert their eyes. They heard screams from the campers and the two witnesses rushed to the scene expecting to find injured — or even dead — campers. To their surprise, they found no one. All that remained within the circle of stones were several smoldering tent pegs and the drowned remains of a campfire. The hippies themselves were gone without a trace.
The Ghost of Nicholas White
Historian Jennie Copeland described Nicholas White III, who came here from Taunton in 1703 and built one of the two oldest houses still standing in Mansfield, Massachusetts, as a “local statesman.”
But to a lively-tempered woman who in the 20th century lived around the corner from his former home, Nicholas was a ghost, and an annoying ghost at that.
The story is, she became so spooked by his ectoplasmic visitations that she toted a sledge hammer to his nearby grave site and smashed his headstone to smithereens.
This tale is untrue, because David Grant of Mansfield recently sent me a photo of the unscarred stone. It bears the inscription “Nicholas White 1675-1743” and is situated near the sharp bend of Hall Street, not far from Nicholas’s colonial dwelling.
No one knows if White sleeps beneath the rounded boulder. It was placed about 1850, at least a century after his death, and may be only a memorial.
Nicholas and his bride, Experience King, had barely begun housekeeping when they faced a problem. At that time a corner of Old Taunton protruded into the present Mansfield, putting their house in Taunton, as was their church, 10 miles away.
Church attendance was mandatory, and Sundays meant a tiresome horseback ride for the newlyweds. In 1707 and 1708, Nicholas petitioned Taunton and the General Court in Boston to set off the north part of Taunton as a separate precinct with its own church.
At first the parent town stonewalled, but in 1709 they caved and authorized formation of Taunton North Precinct, now Norton and Mansfield. Two years later another step was taken as the North Precinct became the town of Norton.
Nicholas White was the town’s first treasurer, a selectman for 11 years and a representative from Norton to the General Court. He also served as a lieutenant in the local militia company.
He was one of 13 original members of the First Church of Christ on Norton common. The same day that Norton’s first minister, the Rev. Joseph Avery, was ordained, Nicholas became the church’s first deacon, in which post he served many years.
But he and others in the northern part of Norton still weren’t happy. He lived four miles from the Rev. Avery’s church, and wanted once again to split and form another new precinct with a new church and minister.
Twice, in 1721 and 1722, White rode to Boston, with his name at the head of a petition requesting the General Court to grant dismissal from Norton. Twice he was turned down.
But he persisted, and on a third visit in 1731 the Court bowed to his request and legalized the creation of Norton North Precinct – the future Mansfield.
At the first five North Precinct meetings Nicholas was twice chosen moderator and served on a committee to raise funds to hire and then pay a preacher. He also became a deacon of the new church, which stood on the present Mansfield South Common.
He and Experience raised nine children in the 1703 house. Legend has it that the young-uns entered the world in the “borning room,” now the kitchen. But borning room is a modern term and the truth is, nobody knows which room the kids were born in.
On Sept. 2, 1743, Nicholas White, after spending 40 years in the same house, died, laden with honors. For a farmer he was well off and left a large estate on both sides of Hall Street. He was buried on his own land. Experience survived him by nearly nine years.
One of this old town’s favorite ladies, the late Lois Thomas, lived from 1955 until recently in the house that Nicholas White III built. She too reported his ghostly visits. But no sledge hammer was needed: she and his spirit hit it off quite amicably.
“Leave,” a woman’s voice whispers.
The request is faint, but distinctive in the video recorded by Missoula-based paranormal investigators Tortured Souls International.
In 2010, the group investigated the home at 319 S. Fifth St. W., once known as the House of Screams.
“Mary, are you trying to contact us?” one of the investigators asks in the video, eliciting her reply.
By all accounts, the House of Screams was Missoula’s most haunted home, with a spooky history of screeching echoing through the Victorian’s walls, the harrowing death of one of its residents, and at least one exorcism of its uninvited ghostly houseguests.
Dubbed “a spirited Victorian charmer” in 1986, the house’s first 50 years were quite uneventful – in terms of hauntings. Built in 1899, it was home to an early Missoula family before a widower named Elizabeth Scheuch purchased the property.
She moved to Missoula to be closer to her son and his family. Her son, Frederick, was a well-known and beloved professor at the University of Montana. He married a woman named Jimmie and they had two children, Natalia and Straughn.
The family lived, by all accounts, happily in the house until the professor sold it in 1936 and moved to Michigan.
Elizabeth, Jimmie and Straughn all died in the home, but their deaths were nothing out of the ordinary.
From 1937 to 1939, Valentine and Caroline Jacky owned the house before selling it to its longest – and perhaps most unusual – inhabitants, the Zakos family.
Jim Zakos was a native of Greece and became a citizen of the United States in 1937.
He married Eleanor Barker, of Butte, and they raised eight children in the home.
In May of 1946, Eleanor, her sister Henriette Lambros and a Zakos child were in a bedroom on the second floor when they first heard the screams.
They started at a low growl, then escalated, becoming higher and higher to an ear-piercing pitch. The noise would stop for a moment, then start again.
“There were two screams – they were shrieks – and it was a woman’s voice,” Eleanor said in an interview with the Missoulian in 1980.
Eleanor and Jim tried desperately to find the source of the reoccurring noises. They contacted the fire department, the police, and even electricians – to no avail.
When the screams started, Mary Zakos, one of the Zakos’ eight children, was 5 years old.
The tormented sounds continued throughout her childhood until her family decided to allow a minister to perform an exorcism on the poltergeist in 1956.
The Rev. Andrew Landin, minister of the Light of the World Tabernacle, performed the ceremony that successfully removed the manifestation from the house.
The screams were never heard again.
Mary Zakos remained in the house for most of her adult life. She began writing demonic pornographic stories that she sent into confessional magazines for $50 a tale.
One such story, “Virgin Sacrifice: Satan was my Sex Teacher,” ran in Jive magazine, a publication out of Fort Worth, Texas.
Meanwhile, the house itself was falling apart.
Feral cats roamed the premises. Piles of trash piled up in the once stately, two-story carriage house, as Zakos rejected trash pickup services.
“As the years went by, the Scheuches’ once well-tended Victorian home began to look the part of a house tormented,” Ellen Baumler writes in her book, “Beyond Spirit Tailings.” “As Jim and Eleanor
Zakos grew older and retired, the house deteriorated.”
Mary, herself, became a bit of an enigma.
In the 1980 interview, she claimed to have a presence living with her in a second-story bedroom and said she saw handwritten names and numbers on the wall and feared it was some type of warning. Mary didn’t drive out of fear, but smoked two packs of cigarettes a day and spent her free time watching horror movies.
Then, in 1985, Mary died tragically after consuming a lethal dose of drugs. Eleanor, who had been a widower for two years prior to Mary’s death, abandoned the home – and everything in it – to go live in a nursing home.
By this time, the dilapidated home played the part of Missoula’s most haunted home.
Several owners purchased the property – rebuilding this and that, but the house wasn’t restored to its original glory until the Esteps purchased it in 1998.
“People thought we were out of our minds the way it looked,” Mark Estep said.
And sure enough, photos of the Esteps’ housewarming party show a shell of a house – the structure was intact, but little else. There were no wires, no insulation, and no pipes.
Today, the house tells a different story.
It’s stunning, warm and inviting, with parquet flooring and warm hues emanating from the walls. The turret boasts a winding staircase and a chandelier bought from a historic Anaconda hotel and installed by a previous owner reflects brilliantly in the afternoon light.
Nowadays, it seems, the spookiest thing about the home is the Esteps’ sweet black cat.
“The spirits that are here, they are pretty nice now, I think,” Mark Estep said.
Or they live in the spirit house, he suggests. It’s a little house, like a birdhouse, that stands upon an 8-foot pedestal in the garden. In Brahmin beliefs, a spirit house gives the household’s spirits a home to use, if they so choose.
But Estep himself has never had an encounter with the screams or Mary Zakos’ spirit. The room where Mary saw the handwriting and eventually died is now painted a lovely shade of green and beautiful trees filter sunlight through the many windows.
By all accounts, it’s a charming room, bereft of any other-worldly writings.
“It’s not really haunted anymore – I am kind of convinced,” Estep said.
Rumors of ghosts persist at Buffalo Bill’s hotel in Wyoming
Are there ghosts in the Irma Hotel?
Is there a haunted room where guests have reported strange incidents?
Have spirits checked into the 111-year-old hotel and remained?
Some people believe the answer to all three of those questions is yes. One reason is Room 35.
It’s one of the original 15 rooms in the hotel, which opened in 1902; two additions over the years brought the number of rooms to 39. The legendary Buffalo Bill Cody named it for his daughter Irma.
Room 35 is the scene of many of the ghost stories in the hotel. Paranormal investigators have spent the night there, seeking to discover its secrets.
Late at night, a walk down the narrow hallway to Room 35 is in itself unnerving.
“The hallway is creepy,” said front desk clerk Tim Lamb. “It’s like something out of a movie. That’s what gets people in the first place.”
Some claim to have heard disembodied voices. A guest of the hotel named Deborah said she spent the night in Room 35 once and “there was a lot of activity in there” all night long. She is a firm believer the room is haunted.
Room 35, which is known as the Paul Stock room, is small, with three beds in it, two singles and a double. A poster of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West is under glass on one of the walls.
Stepping inside the room, your skin is struck by how cold it is. The hallway and other rooms are comfortable, even hot in places. But Room 35 is icy as a tomb.
Lamb said some people stay in the room and report nothing out of the ordinary. Others request the room, hoping to see or experience something from the other side, he said, and some claim they do.
There are reports of guests being awakened in the night by a cold hand but finding no one there — at least no one who was visible. Others have reported hearing knocking on the walls and ghostly footsteps in a deserted hallway.
Some people claim to have seen ghosts, including the torso of a man in a cavalry uniform.
The rest of the hotel also has been the scene of ghostly reports. Employees said they sense Buffalo Bill’s presence, and some say they have caught a glimpse of him.
The Irma has numerous mirrors on its walls. There also are a fair number of men wearing long, droopy mustaches, as Cody did, walking about.
Perhaps people are catching a reflection of a guest — but maybe the original owner is stopping by to check on his investment.
“I’ve seen some really weird stuff,” waitress Tammy Rex said.
Spurs jangled in the hotel bar once, Rex recalled, the kind of spurs that Buffalo Bill Cody himself wore. When she went to see who was there, the room was empty — or at least no one was visible, she said.
Rex said a stack of glasses moved, apparently on their own, and a tray packed with glasses somehow tipped over. Water runs on its own, and toilets flush with no human hands on them.
Of course, there are rational explanations. The Irma has steam heat in some rooms. Owner John Darby said steam can push water through the lines, turning on taps and causing toilets to operate.
Darby, 81, first bought the hotel in the 1980s, but he traded it for a ranch after a few years. He bought it back in 1989 and has operated it ever since, along with his sons Mike and Scott, who are co-owners.
While one of the longest-serving employees, Jenny Riley, insisted she had seen ghosts during her 42 years at the Irma, Darby said he has not spotted a single spirit.
“Some people believe it, some don’t believe it,” he said. “All the help sees it, but I don’t.”
A photograph near the famed cherry wood bar, a gift from England’s Queen Victoria, shows the hotel in its early days. Reportedly, a ghost appears in a corner of the photo from time to time, Darby said.
A study of the photo three weeks ago didn’t indicate any spectre lurking in a corner, but the inspection was done in the light of the day while breakfast was being served.
Some say the ghosts are much more lively during the night.
Steve Franklin, a host at the Irma, said he’s unsure what to believe, but one incident always has made him wonder.
He was alone and performing an audit around 2 a.m. when he heard a loud noise. When Franklin went to check on it, he found a large marquee that announced meal specials had fallen on the floor.
He picked it up, put it back in place and returned to his work. About an hour later, he once more heard a noise, and this one was even louder.
“The marquee was 20 feet away” from where it had been before, Franklin said. “That kind of bothered me. There was nobody in here but me.”
There have been efforts to cleanse the hotel of its spectral guests. Darby said a Crow medicine man walked through the halls, seeking to “chase away all the evil spirits.”
But some employees insist the hotel’s ghosts have lingered and appear when the mood strikes them. Sometimes, they choose to appear before people.
Darby said he’s glad people believe the Irma is haunted, and he offered this piece of advice.
“Tell them there’s ghosts,” he said with a smile. “It’s good for business.”
Professor Robert Lanza from North Carolina, believes the theory of biocentrism teaches death as we know it is an illusion, and space and time are just ‘tools of our minds’.
Mystery of the Coral Castle Explained
In Homestead, Fla., not far from Miami and off the South Dixie Highway, sits a world-famous structure called the Coral Castle. Though not really a castle — and not really made of coral — it is nonetheless an amazing achievement. More than 1,000 tons of the sedimentary rock (oolite limestone) was quarried and sculpted into a variety of shapes, including slab walls, tables, chairs, a crescent moon, a water fountain and a sundial.
"You are about to see an engineering marvel that has been compared with Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Egypt," touts an information sheet available at the site. Many sources claim that the castle, originally called Rock Gate Park, is scientifically inexplicable. According to the attraction’s website, "Coral Castle has baffled scientists, engineers and scholars since its opening in 1923." It has appeared countless times in books, magazines, and television shows. Rock musician Billy Idol even wrote a hit song about the place, "Sweet Sixteen."
For decades, the park featured a perfectly balanced stone gate that, despite its weight, would easily swing open with a strong breeze or the push of a finger. How it worked remained a mystery until 1986 when it stopped moving. When the gate was removed it was revealed that it rotated on a metal shaft and rested on a truck bearing.
As strange and amazing as the site is, its history is equally improbable. It was created by just one man working alone for nearly three decades until his death in 1951. He was a small Latvian immigrant named Edward Leedskalnin who stood, it is said, 5 feet tall (1.5 meters) and weighed 100 pounds (45 kilograms). Legend has it that he was inspired to build the structure after being abandoned by his 16-year-old sweetheart on what was to be their wedding day. Spurned by his lost love, he set out to prove to her — and the world — that he could do something remarkable, and make something of himself despite his poverty and fourth-grade education. And he succeeded spectacularly.
Philosopher of Stone
Though Leedskalnin was a private person, he opened the park in 1923 as a tourist attraction and would often greet visitors to personally show them his handiwork. Leedskalnin was not only a hard worker but also a self-styled philosopher (and a bit of a crank) who issued a series of pamphlets about his personal views on political, social, and domestic issues. One moralizing booklet optimistically titled “A Book in Every Home” complained, “The schools and the churches are cheapening the girls! They are arranging picnics — are coupling up the girls with the fresh boys — and then they send them out to the woods, parks, beaches, and other places so that they can practice in first-degree love making.”
Leedskalnin also opined that the unemployed and powerless should not have voting rights: “It is not sound to allow the weaklings to vote. An one who is too weak to make his own living is not strong enough to vote, because their weak influence weakens the state….” He was clearly a man of strong will and convictions who prized self-sufficiency and a rigid work ethic.
Creating the Castle
Many stories and wild theories emerged over the decades about Leedskalnin and how he built his castle. Some say he levitated the blocks with psychic powers, or by singing to the stones. Others suggest Leedskalnin had arcane knowledge of magnetism and so-called “earth energies.”
As tempting as it is to view the amazing park through a veil of mystery, in fact we know how the castle was built. Creating a structure like the Coral Castle today could probably be accomplished in a few months with a construction crew and modern machinery. But Leedskalnin worked alone using basic tools like picks, winches, ropes and pulleys. Leedskalnin himself said that that he did it using hard work and the principles of leverage. The tools he used to quarry the rock are on display at the Coral Castle, and several old photos depict the large tripods, pulleys, and winches he used to move the blocks. Though the quarried stone slabs are large, they are actually lighter than they appear because the rock is porous.
Though Leedskalnin worked alone, he was not a reclusive hermit; he had friends who he saw often. One man, Orval Irwin, was not only a long-time friend of Leedskalnin’s but also a building contractor with a deep knowledge of construction techniques. Irwin wrote a 1996 book with the inspiring title “Mr. Can’t Is Dead! The Story of the Coral Castle,” and in it he explains, through photographs, drawings, and schematics, how it was done.
Irwin pours cold water on the paranormal theories that unknown energies, alien technology, or levitation built the castle. In fact, he finds such theories an insult to the hard work and integrity of his friend: “Back in the days when Ed started carving out his original stones,” Irwin writes, “his was a generation who knew accomplishments by the sweat of the brow. It wasn’t mysticism but hard work, this is how Ed really accomplished the massive project….” (Of course if Leedskalnin had used powerful supernatural assistance he likely could have constructed the castle in weeks or months instead of decades.)
It may be fun to think that the old, lovelorn Latvian who spent his life making the Coral Castle did it with arcane knowledge, lost technology, or superhuman powers, but it’s reassuring to know that he did it just like you or I would have: through patience, determination, and hard work.
Are Birthmarks Connected to Violent Death in Past Life?
An old woman died in Thailand with the wish to reincarnate as a boy. Her daughter dipped a finger in white paste and marked the back of the woman’s neck with the paste.
Not long after the woman’s death, the daughter gave birth to a son with a white mark on the back of his neck that mirrored the white paste left on the woman’s neck. When the boy became old enough to talk, he would claim possession of things that belonged to his grandmother as though they’d always been his.
This is one of many cases recounted by Dr. Jim Tucker at the University of Virginia in which birthmarks seem to relate to past lives.
The late Dr. Ian Stevenson, whose work Tucker continues, investigated 210 cases of children with birthmarks or defects that related to memories they retained from past lives.
Stevenson obtained a post-mortem report in 49 cases. The wound and birthmark were within 10 square centimeters of each other on the body in 43 percent of these cases, and many were much closer to the same location.
In some cultures, people mark the deceased with soot or paste to recognize them when they are reborn.
Here are a few examples of birthmarks related to past life memories studied by Stevenson:
· A boy born in India without fingers on his right hand remembered another life in which he was a boy who had his fingers amputated after sticking them in a fodder chopping machine.
· A boy in Turkey with a malformed right ear remembered having been shot and killed at close range on that side of his head.
· A boy named Maha Ram in India could remember being killed in a previous life with a shotgun fired at close range. He remembered enough details of his past life for Stevenson to find the autopsy report of the man supposedly reincarnated as Ram. The birthmarks on Ram’s chest corresponded to the bullet wounds.
Some anecdotal accounts of birthmarks from past lives that have not been verified are shared on a past life discussion blog post.
Karen Kubicko posted photos of herself in high school with a birthmark on her neck and a photo of herself later in life without the birthmark. She said she remembered in 2011 that in a previous life she was a woman named Helen who was hit by a stray bullet in the neck and died in 1927. The mark was where the bullet had hit in her vision. After she remembered this, the mark gradually disappeared.
Another person on the blog said she had a birthmark on the back of her leg. She remembered a past life in which a snake bit her there. A few years later, she realized the mark had faded away. She said the area is not often exposed, so light exposure or other such external elements are not to blame.
A trio of Black Eyed Kids gains entry to a house in New York and terrifies the man inside, who only barely escapes alive.
The Pioneer Saloon at 100: A Century of Tears, Beers and Blood
It seems like it’s in the middle of nowhere, but Goodsprings, Nevada is only a short drive from the Las Vegas Strip. It’s a dry, rusted sort of ghost town with a small collection of residents and a number of abandoned and decaying buildings.
But if you make the drive you’re rewarded with a saloon that time seems to have forgotten: the Pioneer Saloon.
Built in 1913 — and celebrating its 100th anniversary this month — the Pioneer Saloon is an example of the stubbornness of the west. In a mining town that went boom and bust in the early 20th century, it held on with the tenacity that is probably required to live in such a hot, dry climate as you’ll find in Goodsprings.
The town itself grew as a result of the wealth found in the nearby hills. Zinc, lead, copper and to a lesser extent gold and silver were all pulled from the dirt. As the world went to war in the early 1900’s, the town really prospered, but with the closing of the “the Great War” many of the minerals the town supplied were no longer in demand, and so people slowly drifted away.
What was left was the hotel (which burned down years later), school house, general store, saloon and a few locals unwilling to move. Many other buildings were literally taken apart and shipped to other mining towns elsewhere in Nevada or California, where their owners tried again to make their fortunes.
But the Pioneer remained even though it too was designed to be packed up and shipped out. In fact, the original owner George Fayle bought the building (and the next door General Store) from Sears Roebuck and had them shipped to Goodsprings by railroad.
The walls of the building, inside and out, are made of pressed tin, and they are remarkably pristine for their age — a testament to how little moisture there is around here.
It’s often cliché to speak of being “whisked away,” but quite honestly when you enter that’s exactly what will happen. Were it not for the few slot machines to your left and electric lights throughout, you’d swear you stepped back to 1913. The tables are original, as is the bar, the fireplace (still in use), and the floor.
Very little has changed here.
As you walk towards the back of the small saloon you might see three beams of sunlight streaming through holes in the wall to the left. These were left by the bullets of a card dealer who caught a miner cheating at cards back in 1915.
When the dealer called the miner out on his cheating, the miner lunged, prompting the dealer to plug him three times at close range. They never patched the bullet holes and they are now a proper memorial to the miner, the dealer and a completely different time out here in the west. They say the miner still wanders the back of the saloon and is often spotted by patrons (some even sober).
Another notable story occurred a bit more recently, in 1942 to be exact. That’s when actress Carol Lombard, during a tour to sell war bonds, died when her plane hit the small mountain directly behind the saloon. Her husband, Clark Gable, rushed from Los Angeles to be part of the salvage and recovery team.
The local sheriff, recognizing the horror they might find, rebuffed Gable’s offer and admonished him to stay in town until they brought down Lombard’s body. Gable chose to stay in the Pioneer, mourning his wife’s death and smoking cigars at the bar. In fact, the bartender will be happy to point out the deep hole Gable burned into the bar top while crying over his beer.
This saloon has seen… well, a century pass by its doors. But you wouldn’t know by looking at it. It looks vintage but almost new.
It also looks like a saloon is supposed to look like: uneven wooden floor, grandiose bar, card tables and colorful regulars.
This place is real and authentic and a joy to spend time in. It’s far from a tourist trap and instead is more of a local’s place. Sure they cater to tourists when they stop by, and they’d certainly love to see more of them, but let’s face it: the place is really out in the middle of nowhere, so they’ve got no choice but to be authentic. If they were cliché, they would’ve closed their doors long ago.
And that’s the reason you need to get to this place. It’s so far off the beaten track you know your time is going to be well spent here. The beer is cheap and very cold. The people at the bar are friendly, warm and genuine. The stories are far-fetched, but often true (ask about their “asshole club”). It’s a great place to spend your Vegas vacation!
While visiting, the authors of this article loved the place so much they made this short documentary about it! Click here to watch.
How to Get Here
The Pioneer Saloon is located at 310 Spring St, Goodsprings, NV. It is a quick 35 minute drive from the Las Vegas strip and open Monday-Sunday 9am to 12 am. As always we recommend a designated driver or better yet grab a limo or shuttle so everyone in your group can enjoy the saloon.
When to Go
Located in the Nevada desert, Good Springs Nevada can have extremely hot summer days and chilly winter nights. Remember temperature swings from day to night can be extreme so pack accordingly. Also keep in mind that I-15 can become extremely congested as visitors from southern California drive into the area on Fridays and out on Sunday.
Las Vegas is a quick 35 minute drive with more than its far share of things to do. Step out of the glitz, glamour and tourist trap that is the Las Vegas strip and head down to Atomic Liquors to enjoy Vegas’ oldest free standing bar. Recently returned to her former glory, its history is just as engaging as The Pioneer Saloon’s.
Hotel offers guests a haunted experience complete with sex demon
If you ever wanted to experience living in a haunted house complete with a sex demon, your wish has been granted.
The Ancient Ram Inn claims to be the most haunted bed and breakfast in the United Kingdom.
The 12th century house is home to about 20 ghosts that haunt guests, the company claims.
“One night, we had a lot of people, and they were so frightened by the energy in the place they really jumped out of the window on the first floor. It was in the middle of the night, and they decided that they could not take it anymore and jumped,” Caroline Humphries, whose family has run the hotel for almost 50 years, said.
The house was built on an ancient pagan cemetery and a place of child sacrifice.
The beams of the house vibrate and a voice can be heard screaming “get out,” according to some guests.
Nottingham based ghost Hunter Samantha Coupe, 37, said she has experience sensational lights, unexplained noises and one person of her group enjoyed a massage from a loving demon.