Our Visit with the (Hooker) Ghost of Christmas Past…

I told you these posts would be teensy weensy, right?

Well, how’s this:

We were NOT visited by a hooker on our Thanksgiving trip – dead or otherwise.

The end.


Nah, I joke! Here’s the story:

I had reserved a room on the fifth floor of the allegedly haunted Mizpah Hotel in the gold-rush town of Tonopah – given Boyfriend Brett’s fascination with all things that go bump in the night (or eat the flesh from your face to access your brain…what the actual fuck is up with you people and your zombie fixation?!?!).

You see, “The Lady in Red” was supposedly killed on the fifth floor – strangled (or stabbed…or strangled and then stabbed, depending on the version) by a jealous lover when she was found – ahem – cooking up a lil sumpin-sumpin with another happy client in the hotel.

The story goes that during recent renovations, in fact, the remodel team laid down new carpeting in the hallway just outside Room 502. And within days, a large blood-red stain appeared on the new carpet.


Super spooooooky.

If you believe in that shit. (Which I don’t.)

But these guys do:

(Recognize them? That's Zak, Nick and Aaron from that silly Ghost Adventures show on the Travel Channel. They're, like, way obsessed with the Mizpah...and with wearing black shirts while striking a pose, clearly...)

So of course, Brett was stoked about our fifth-floor room. Knowing this, I called ahead to make sure everything was on track at the Mizpah. The happy (and flighty – and perhaps seemingly high) lady on the phone told me that sadly, the room they had reserved for us on the fifth floor was “undergoing maintenance.”

I almost cried.

“But we do have the Lady in Red room available,” she offered.

I almost peed.

So I reserved it over the phone, and we proceeded toward our destination. However, keep in mind my children were in the car, so all of our talking about the hotel, the ghosts, the dead whore, etc., all had to be done in code.

“The ady-lay in-ay ed-ray oom-ray is available-ay,” I told Brett.

“Uck-fay yeah-yay!” he exclaimed.

(We’re so ooth-smay.)

Yes, you may have guessed (based on your knowledge of me and my tendencies): My children may be a wee-bit dramatic. And there was NO WAY I was letting them know we were visiting a haunted hotel for the night.

In the middle of nowhere.

So as we walked through the doors to the place, within five seconds my 12-year-old son started up.

“I hate it here,” he said.

“Why?” I asked.

“It’s creepy. And old. And did I mention, it’s creepy?”

At this point, it occurred to me: He’s never really stayed in a place this rife with history and character; Embassy Suites, Crowne Plazas and Radissons don’t exactly prepare a child for the Mizpah in Tonopah, Nevada.

According to my son, everything in this place was creepy:

  1. The lobby.
  2. The copious “M”s throughout the hotel.
  3. The man attached to this arm (appropriately,  the arm here appears to be disembodied).
  4. The elevator.

But the creepiest of the creepy: The Lady in Red room.

It really is a simple room — small in size, large iron bed, rich accents like moulding and embossed wallpaper.

And this picture hanging over the bed.

Now, you and I both know the owners probably picked up the print at a yard sale or flea market. But even though he DIDN’T EVEN KNOW the story, my son was devastated by that picture.

It was his version of my Creepy Egg Man.

So since we had yet to eat (besides a pack of TicTacs per child and a half bag of sesame blue chips per grown up), we proceeded to the restaurant, where my son continued to lament our creepy hotel, the creepy restaurant — and the creepy Lady in Red “portrait” over our bed.

He was hysterical. And tired. And totally creeped the fuck out!

That salad? Totally creeped him out...

Yet because we all returned to our room exhausted, bed time rituals were short, and both kids fell fast asleep — undoubtedly with visions of ladies in red dancing in their heads.

A few anomalies, however, did occur during the night:

  1. I slept. Through the night. And that is strange, trust me.
  2. Brett barely slept a wink. And that is strange, trust me.
  3. According to Brett, I talked in my sleep. Muttered, really. A lot. And I never talk in my sleep. Sadly, Brett couldn’t make out a single word.
  4. One time upon awakening, Brett sat up after “claiming” (yeah…right, babe) he heard whispering. The truly odd part of this story: My daughter was also sitting up in bed. She has no recollection of what awoke her, nor of the exchanged glances between her and Brett. She simply laid back down and fell back into peaceful slumber.

So the next morning after check out, we stopped at a restaurant for a happy grits-less breakfast and a Diet Coke (for me. The kids drank orange juice, in case you’re still contemplating my “Mom of the Year” nomination).

And we told them the story. The entire story.

(As an aside: Surprisingly, I did not have to explain the concept of a “prostitute” to my children, because coincidentally, we had just had this very discussion at the dinner table the week prior. I shit you not. And not because we live in Nevada, home of legalized prostitution in eight of our 16 counties. Nope, my son returned from school one day after proudly answering a question in his seventh grade social studies class. When his teacher asked, “What religious group arrived on the Mayflower? his response? You guessed it: prostitutes. So, yeah, we had a fun convo that night about the critical differences between a prostitute and a Protestant. Turns out, there might be quite a few.)

Anyhow, once we revealed the ghostly nature of the hotel, my son’s face became a convoluted, complex display of betrayal, angst, chickenheartedness and suspicion. With a dash of terror thrown in.

“I knew it! I told ya it was creepy!” he shouted disdainfully.

And since that day, he hasn’t stopped talking about the haunted hotel that we “forced” him to stay in. I can tell: There will be therapy in his future for this transgression, friends…

So: Your thoughts? Isn’t the Mizpah charming? Wouldn’t you TOTALLY say “Uck-fay yeah-yay!” to a night’s stay in the Lady in Red room? Why do you think I was talking in my sleep?

Perhaps I was possessed?

Red is my favorite color, after all. You’ve seen my home. And car. And blog. And clothes…