Goldfield, Nevada is one of those eery towns that exploded during the gold boom of the early 1900s, only to be deserted almost completely in a matter of years. Millions of dollars worth of gold were produced in Goldfield between 1903 and 1940, and the town turned into an entertainment hub: legendary boxing championships took place there, and the Northern Saloon in town was said to be so long, 80 bartenders were needed to serve the length of it.
It only made sense then to build an opulent and oversized hotel to accommodate the newfound riches in town. This was the Goldfield hotel. When it was built in 1908, it was advertised as one of the most spectacular hotels in Nevada, with a lobby adorned with black leather upholstery, gold-leafed ceilings and mahogany trimmings, and 150 rooms outfitted with the best furnishings available.
But just like the gold would eventually run out, the town itself would eventually be reduced to nothing almost as quickly as it grew. A mere 12 years after the Goldfield hotel was built, the population dwindled from 20,000 to around 1,500 residents, and a large fire shortly thereafter destroyed most of what was left of the town. Until this day, the Goldfield Hotel stands eerily proud in the quiet town, a sturdy structure almost untouched by time. It’s only logical that rumors about paranormal activity have swirled around the property since the last hotel guests checked out, back in 1945.
These rumors, which range from the outrageous (the Goldfield Hotel is one of the seven portals to hell), to the cliche (a pregnant woman was murdered there by her lover, a down-and-out banker committed suicide by jumping out of one the upstairs windows) have turned the location into a popular destination for a variety of hoaky ghost hunting shows. For most paranormal investigators and psychics who visit the hotel, the experiences are what you’d expect: garbled would-be voices captured on tape, darting shadows spotted, the feeling of dread throughout the building, and so on.
Sadly for believers, fact is way less strange than fiction in the case of the Goldfield Hotel. It turns out that most of the widely circulated ghost stories about the Goldfield Hotel were almost certainly fabricated by Shirley Porter, woman who owned the Hotel from 1978-1981 in a book she penned, hilariously entitled “But You Can’t Leave, Shirley“. As for the whole “portal to hell” thing, let’s just chalk that one up to a TV producer with an active imagination.
—Alix / @alixmcalpine