I’ve been really enjoying reading the reviews of haunted hotels on TripAdvisor. These are real people who had a paranormal experience, get to share it, and rate it. How often do you get to do that?
The Overland Hotel & Saloon is located in Pioche, Nevada. According to Ghosttowns.com, in the 1860s Pioche, Nevada was the baddest town in the west; badder than Tombstone, badder than Dodge City and all the rest. (Kind of like a town version of Leroy Brown.) It was so bad that seventy-two people were killed before one died of a natural death. In 1873, the Nevada State Mineralogist reported to the State Legislature “About one-half of the community are thieves, scoundrels, and murderers and then we have some of the best folks in the world, and I don’t know but our lives and property are just as safe as with you. You can go uptown and get shot very easily if you choose, or you can live peacefully. I will send you a paper with an account of the last fight…I was in hopes eight or ten would have been killed at least, as these fights are a pest in the community. Peaceful! Sure, if you stayed out of the way of the bullets.”
Today, according to the St George News website, Pioche exists as a living ghost town. Among its numerous historic structures — many of which were built in the late 1800s — stands the Overland Hotel & Saloon where many say ghosts linger … particularly in room number 10.
According to the News, “Stephanie Haluzak, of Panaca, has been working as a maid and bartender at the Overland Hotel & Saloon for six years and said she has, on many occasions, experienced visits from spirits. She said that when she first started working at the hotel, she never thought about it being haunted until she started hearing footsteps and voices … and she realized she was not alone.
“One time I was upstairs cleaning and went into room 8 and opened the door,” Haluzak said. “I left to get something and came back to find a ghost sitting there — that’s the best way I can describe it; a mist in the shape of a body that started floating across the room.”
That instance, she said, made her a believer. A while later, she was in the laundry room folding a towel, when a heavy glass ashtray came flying across the room.
“I said, ‘OK I’ll stop smoking in here,’” Haluzak said. “I didn’t smoke in there for years. I’ve never been afraid. I’ve never felt threatened. But by all means, the Overland is haunted.”
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, 59-year-old Doug Hendershot, of Pioche, has been working at the hotel for around three years and said one time a young man rented a room for a month, room 23. After not seeing him for a few days, the maids checked his room and found him dead. Another time, a man ran from room 10 and said that someone had tried to smother him in the middle of the night, Hendershot said. Aside from these occurrences, Hendershot said he has also experienced his own strange encounters.
“When I’m walking down this hallway, sometimes I’ll see a person standing here,” Hendershot said pointing to where one hallway intersects with the main hallway, “then I’ll walk back and look, and no one will be there.”
Despite the attention the hotel receives for its paranormal activity, residents of Pioche say that’s not all that’s haunted.
Kathy Hiatt, who was born and raised in Pioche, said that she believes that spirits wander the streets.
“My granddaughter was playing at my dad’s barbershop, and she looked up and waved at something,” Hiatt said. “We looked to see what it was and there was nothing there. She waved again, and we said, ‘who’re you waving at?’ And she said, ‘That man. Him, smoking.’”
And now let’s check out the reviews:
ROOM #10 in the Overland Hotel has a POLTERGEIST problem!
My brother and I were on a road trip from Montana to Las Vegas & Phoenix and decided to stop in Pioche, NV to grab some dinner & try our luck at some slots. After some lengthy conversation with a very pleasant local woman, we decided to follow her advice and check prices for a night at the Overland Hotel. We met the night clerk, a Nevada Cowgirl, who was more than eager to visit with the two of us (Montana Cowboys) about the town of Pioche, it’s wild and rugged mining history & things to see & do in the area. She was a clever gal. She suggested that we stay in the hotel that night and seemed adamant about giving us room #10. When I said we might look around some more, she quickly honored our military service with a discount… for room #10.
When I jokingly asked her, “Why room 10? What’s up with it?” she flashed a foreshadowing wicked grin and replied, “It’s a mini-suite with two separate rooms, perfect for two rowdy cowboys like yourselves.”
We thought that was a pretty cool compliment, and the price seemed good for the extra space. Although the room was dated, with crazy orange “shag-adelic” 70’s carpet, and had not been remodeled like the rest of the rooms in the hotel, we really had no complaints…
That is… not until about 4:00 am.
I was staying in the sub-room side of #10 that is without a door, and my brother was in the area with the bathroom and closing door. At 4:00 am, I awoke to see a type of faint shadowy figure in the foyer between our rooms – it moved into and around my room, and then went back out. I was a little freaked and startled, but figured it was just my imagination… nothing to worry about; after all, I was really tired.
Around 4:30 am the door to my brother’s area slammed shut, and then what sounded like a small ruckus started to happen. I was pretty tired and figured he was just moving his bags around looking for something he lost or was just frustrated with my occasional snoring. Moments later, into my room bursts my brother, completely freaked out and clearly upset. He said a shadowy being came into his room, slammed the door shut, and then attacked him by holding him down on his bed with a pillow to the point that he couldn’t even breathe, let alone yell for help. He said he struggled and tried everything he could to break free but couldn’t… until it finally stopped and was gone. I heard the ruckus and it was real. He was scared to death! My brother went through Navy Seal training and isn’t scared of anything… but this time he was REALLY SCARED!
Believe what you want to. I don’t expect you to believe me or my brother. Room #10 in the Overland Hotel is absolutely haunted. We’ve debated about going back with some forensic cameras and EMF meters, as we are both photographers. The staff was courteous & polite, the room was a bargain, but we definitely got MORE than what we bargained for staying there. I’d recommend one of the newer remodeled “themed” rooms, they are VERY clean & nice … there is obviously an underlying ‘sinister’ reason why #10 hasn’t been remodeled yet. I’d avoid staying in room #10!!
My brother and I stayed here overnight to experience anything paranormal. We heard about the place from a few friends who had stayed here too. I was awakened during the night by someone who was tugging at my sleeve but when I realized there was no one standing there….eek!! But overall the hotel was a really nice getaway from the bustle of city life. It’s a very quiet town especially at night when all the townsfolk go into their homes. Lots of Nevada mining history and lore.
Pleasantly surprised. Haunted, maybe??
We were pleasantly surprised by the character of this hotel. We stayed here for the eclipse on May 20, 2012. The price was very decent (under $100) and we were assigned room 10, which was huge. The hotel is also pet-friendly (we brought along our Welch Terrier) and we were not charged any extra fees.
Our room was very clean, with no odors from previous pets, mildew, or other factors that can make a stay unpleasant (I think this room was designated pet-friendly) and passed my wife’s sensitive nose “stink-test”. The hotel also has other “themed” rooms that might be fun to check out (see the hotel’s website), though we did not personally see any of the other rooms.
Now for the haunted part… At the bar downstairs, when the bartender served my 3rd Makers and Coke, it moved about 1 inch from the center of the coaster to the edge of the coaster on its own. I had no other drinks before coming to the bar, so I wasn’t smashed. Now I am an Electrical Engineer and live for scientific reasoning. The bottom of the glass was dry, the coaster was dry, and when I slid the drink on the coaster back to the center position, there was plenty of friction that would have kept it from moving (not like when a glass has water on the bottom of it and it slides across a smooth table). At the very least we had fun with it (though I was the only one that saw it, and everyone was goofing on me as a result, and I’m OK with it).
I would definitely stay at the hotel again. We like to do off-roading and there are plenty of trails to explore and ride near Pioche. An interesting note, our dog was dead-tired the next day after our stay (during our off-road adventure to see the eclipse.). If you’re familiar with the Terrier breed, they are an energetic dog, so perhaps the “Poltergeist” in the earlier review was keeping our dog up during the night.
I never believed in Ghosts until I stayed here. I had to go to Pioche for business, drove in from Vegas and arrived tired. The staff was very nice, and the room was cheap and only 1.5 miles from my AM meeting. As soon as I unpacked my things, my high blood pressure medicine bottle flew across the dresser. I thought it must be static in the room and picked it up and set it back down. Sure enough, it flew further across the room. Later when I returned from my business trip, I looked online and saw that this place has a history of “hauntings.” Some travel here in hopes of finding an odd experience, however, I was simply looking for a good night’s sleep!
I am not a “wacko” and did not EVER believe in Ghosts until I stayed here!
We don’t think she’s a wacko, do we?
Like what you read? Find more stories by Terri Reid here.