Nevada City Ghost Story

from Paul Dale Roberts

HPI Chronicles: A City Filled With Ghosts - Nevada City, CA
To get paranormal investigations, there are two secrets for success. You must be pro-active, full of energy and advertise. Why? You can't sit on your couch, drinking a beer and watching a football game and wishing an investigation will come to you. You must seek it out, talk to the people. This is being pro-active. Then you must have lots of energy, because a scouting mission can be exhausting at times. That is why I drink so much Starbucks frappachinos! There is a lot of footwork, talking with people and lots of things to see. Then it takes media attention or advertising. If a ghost hunting group doesn't have a ghostwriter, then where is the glory? It is essential to get the news out there, let people know how the investigation went, let the people know of your findings, before you know it, you start receiving a lot of responses back. When I discovered that my two guides for Nevada City will not be able to be my guides, due to other obligations, it was up to me to go to Nevada City myself and get things established. To lay down some foundation for an upcoming scouting mission.

The date is January 20, 2008, Sunday. It is time to get my HPI Scouting Posse together. Since this is a preliminary scouting mission, I would only contact a few people for this mission. Roll Call: Shauna Kinchen, Scout/Ghosthunter-in-Training/Mentoree to Paul Roberts; Angel Kesti, Scout, Paranormal Investigator. Absent: Denise Bryan, Ghosthunter-in-Training; Chris Grissom, Technician, Core Investigator. Both Chris and Denise had family obligations to attend to and I kept them appraised with our scouting mission. I met up with Shauna and Angel at Starbucks on Date & Madison and we piled up the equipment in the Ghostrider and headed for Nevada City.

The National Hotel: 
Introduced myself to Robert Stuckey, an employee of The National Hotel and he tells me that patrons sometimes feel cold air or a breeze sweeping into a room. He also mentions that at times people have complained about a ghost woman that frequents the bar area. Robert sends the HPI Scouting Posse and I, upstairs to meet another employee named Sheri McCary. Sheri greets us with a warm smile and she is a great tour guide as she shows us Room #74. Room #74 is where PG&E first started, they would have meetings in this room. Some patrons have seen a man's face in the window. Sheri opened up some rooms for us and we enjoyed looking at the beauty of sumptuous suites that are furnished from the Gold Rush Days.

This hotel is recognized by the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus (a Freemasonry group). You will find Freemason symbols all over the sidewalks outside. The dining room tables are lavished with coal oil lamps and the lobby has a grand piano that journeyed around Cape Horn. Celebs that have visited this establishment are Herbert Hoover, Lola Montez (dancer and mistress of a king), Black Bart (bandit), Mark Twain, stage star Lotta Crabtree, Lindsay Wagner, Jane Wyman, Forrest Tucker, Melvin Belli, Oscar Wilde, Ann Baxter, Martha Raye, William Conrad, Tim Conway, David Janssen, former governor Jerry Brown. As we looked around, we were shown rooms that lights have came off and on by themselves.

Sheri tells us that she lives in a haunted house and that her husband has heard phantom footsteps around their home. Also in her own home, Sheri has heard doors shutting by themselves. Sheri also tells us that the woman's bathroom in the bar section is haunted by a woman and patrons have seen this apparition. In Room #48, the story goes back in the days of the Wild, Wild West, a woman owed a man $5.00. She didn't pay. The man she owed money to, hid in her room closet, when she entered the room, the man slit her throat. Many people that stay in this room feel uncomfortable. When we entered this room, there was a thickness in the air.

Shauna and Angel snapped many pictures and surprisingly they were getting some nice orb shots. We were at a hotel that is filled with history, it's 151 years old. Another room we entered was Room #80, where recently a man shot himself, that involved a SWAT team outside. So far, there is no paranormal activity in this room. Room #78, a little girl died of either mumps or the plague and her picture hangs in the room. Her colored blue eyes follow you wherever you go as you move about the room, it was eerie. The little girl is named Elizabeth and patrons have felt the presence of Elizabeth in this cold room. Some people have heard knockings in this room.

Sheri introduced us to another employee. Her name was Christina Lande, another lady with a charming personality and bright smiles. Christina tells us how a full body apparition of a man in black pants, white shirt, black vest, trimmed hair was walking and patrons viewed him as they were walking up the steps. They saw his side profile and then as they watched, he vanished. He appeared to be a man from the 1800s. Then we met employee and local Nevada City historian Joane Saksa, who is the bartender and waitress. She had stories to tell. She explains that late at night a cold breeze will go through the bar area. Doors will open on its own accord. Patrons have heard strange noises below the hotel and at times it sounds like someone is trying to get out. The door where they hear this noise is from a door that leads to nowhere. One time the noise lasted for 12 minutes and Joane was about ready to call 911.

A patron claims that a lady in a picture actually came out of the picture (Harry Potter style) and approached her. Other people do not complain about the ghosts, but will complain about the bats that fly around in the hotel. This doesn't happen too often, but sometimes the bats that live in the attic may escape into the interior of the hotel. Once there was a wedding and bats flew out of the attic, it only added a mystical ambiance to the hotel's atmosphere.

Joane, filled with enthusiasm, starts pouring over the history of Nevada City; she is so knowledgeable about the city's history, she needs to be a tour guide. She tells me that the hotel's bar was once a bank, post office and Well's Fargo Station. They had a whipping post out back for some swift justice. In a population that boasted 40,000, they only had 1250 women in the town. The saying was used, that women were sitting on a gold mine. We learn that the State of Nevada was named after Nevada City. The bar back piece was once owned by Clark Gable's wife and belonged to the Spreckle's House. Hwy 49 is named after the 1849 Gold Rush. She explains that when you were 86'd from a bar, it meant that you were going to be cut down to 86 proof of liquor. When it was said to belly up to the bar, it meant that there were no bar stools and you had to actually belly up to the bar. The bar back in the 1800s was equipped with a troth underneath the bar for cowboys to spit and urinate. Women were not allowed into the bar. Shauna and Angel used audio digital recorders to pick up EVPs and Listen Up Sound Enhancers.

Crazy Horse Inn: 
Waitress says that this establishment is not haunted. Looking around, I can see that this establishment also has a lot of history. I would like to check this establishment out at a later date to determine if there is some kind of residual haunting activity. On the street we meet Kelley Bridges and she tells us about Dragon Fly Studios and how this place is haunted. She says that lights flicker on and off. People feel cold breezes going through this hair salon. I peeked at it and checked it off as another place I need to check out, when I have more time on my side.

US Hotel Bed & Breakfast - Broad Street: 
This is where Sci Fi Channel's Ghosthunters / TAPS investigated. Unfortunately today, they were closed. We did some outside perimeter EVP work and this needs to be analyzed.

The Stonehouse Restaurant: 
A little history of this gorgeous restaurant. In January 1848, John Marshall discovered gold in Coloma, a few miles from Nevada City. This set off the biggest gold rush in history. Mining camps grew into towns, now few of these towns survived. Nevada City survived and became known as the 'jewel of the Northern Mines'. The Stonehouse Restaurant with it's stone walls and cave dug into the hillside, is still one of the jewels of Nevada City. There is a mining cave below this restaurant and is connected to a network of tunnels that run underneath Nevada City. This restaurant was once known as the Old Nevada Brewery. With the help of Chinese laborers and Italian stonemasons, a remarkable building was constructed.

As my posse and I set up our investigation of this restaurant, Jennifer Scanlon, owner gave us a tour. I could smell the aroma of a tasty meal that was being served up by this restaurant. Jennifer, a petite woman that was full of energy explained that this restaurant was exorcised 5 or 6 years ago. Patrons have felt the presence of a little girl walking up the stairs. People have seen the ghosts of Chinese laborers. A tragedy occurred here, when 40 Chinese miners were purposely blown up inside of a mine they were working on. At times people have heard creaks throughout the restaurant, or even got a whiff of a foul smell that originates near the backroom bar area. Angel captures a beautiful ectoplasma photo and some orb shots at this restaurant. Shauna's photographs are being done non-digitally and will be analyzed at a later date. The lovely Jennifer explains that the chandelier had one light out and now mysteriously it's back on. Jennifer gave us a full tour of the upstairs area and the miner's tunnel shaft. What a delightful tour this was and this restaurant is exceptionally elegant, no wonder people come here, for the warm atmosphere and the dining cruisine that will tantalize your tastebuds!

Red Castle Inn 
A bed and breakfast that people from Nevada City say is haunted. When we knocked on the door, a grumpy old man answered. I explained that I was writing a story about Nevada City hauntings and he said "no ghosts here." I shook his hand and departed.