Your success depends on your knowledge of the spirits of those who haunt the Comstock. This study guide will help you traverse the twists and turns of The Hunt. Check back frequently. The Game Warden will be adding new clues leading up to The Hunt. If you really think he’s just going to give you all the answers, think again. Some of these hints will help you to victory, some will be dead ends. You won’t know which is which until you play the game.
- MURDER AT THE OLD WASHOE CLUB – The Washoe Club is considered one of the most haunted buildings in the western U.S. Built in the 1870s, it was a high-class, men’s only club for the rich. Its iconic spiral staircase was a discreet entry for the sexual services offered upstairs. A blonde prostitute named Lena has been reportedly seen hovering on the top of that staircase. She was murdered in a third-floor bedroom. Her killer then took his life own on the second floor. His apparition is also known to haunt the building. But their troubled souls aren’t the most disturbing paranormal activity at the Old Washoe Club. Several guests have also reported seeing the spirit of a 13-year-old girl, who was murdered by a predator in the basement of the building. Many children allegedly died in that basement from abuse or disease because of their mothers’ line of work at the club. The building is also the site of The Crypt. Bodies would be stored in the crypt when it was too cold outside to dig a grave. In 1874, during a typhoid epidemic, as many as 77 bodies were stored in The Crypt at one time.
- DISTURBANCES AT THE SILVER QUEEN – Staff, guests, and countless paranormal investigators are certain that ghosts roam the 138-year-old property. Constant occurrences include tapping on walls, jingling doorknobs, sudden bangs, voices in unoccupied rooms, and strangest of all, footsteps on a wooden floor. The footsteps are particularly odd considering the hotel is completely carpeted. It is believed two female spirits are mainly responsible for the disturbances: a prostitute who reportedly slashed her wrists in the bathtub of Room 11, and a woman simply known as Annie. There is also stories of an epic fight between a man and a woman from the early days of the hotel being played out repeatedly by resident spirits. The haunted hotel and saloon is known for its namesake, the Silver Queen. At 15 feet tall, her gown sparkles with 3,261 silver dollars. The number of silver dollars was chosen to emphasize the depth of Virginia City’s Combination Mine Shaft (3,261 feet deep). The Silver Queen, who has stood for more than 140 years, is a tribute to the city’s once great silver mining industry.
- THE STREETS RAN RED WITH BLOOD – The Bucket of Blood is world famous. It was built in 1876, in the heyday of Virginia City. It was also a time when the saloons were the wildest places in town. Gunfights and barroom brawls would erupt almost nightly. The killings were so constant the Gold Hill Daily News wrote “The land runs fairly red with the blood of slaughtered men, and homicide has become so daily and hourly an occurrence in our midst, that when a day passes that is unmarked by ‘a man for breakfast,’ it is the subject of remark.” The blood that was mopped up in the morning would turn the water in the bucket red, thus the name the Bucket of Blood Saloon. The saloon”s masonry walls predate the Great Fire of 1875 and shadows of doorways recall a time when enclosed stairs led down to the Boston Saloon. That saloon was destroyed in the Great Fire and, until recently, no one realized the Boston Saloon lay under an asphalt cap to the rear of the building. Because of this, the Bucket of Blood is a National Landmark.
- THE GREAT FIRE – Virginia City was once the largest city in the state of Nevada and considered one of the richest in the country, but in the early morning hours of October 26, 1875, that prosperity was lit ablaze. The Great Fire burned for five hours, leaving in its wake a heap of smoking and falling ruins. Two-thirds of the city, some 2,000 buildings, were turned to ash. Water ran out and explosives from the mines were used to blow up buildings in an effort to stop the fire. Newspapers described it as if “the entire world was engulfed in roaring flames, “brick buildings went down like paper boxes,” “railroad car wheels melted,” and “virtually all of the fire equipment in the city was destroyed.” Ten thousand people were left homeless. Some were burned while others were injured by falling debris. Some died, buried by collapsing walls. A falling wall on Union Street killed Mike Malone. The collapsing walls of a brewery crushed James H. Ketton. The body of an unidentified man was found in a jewelry store. Another unidentified man was “left to his fate” in a burning toy store when he ignored warnings to get out and instead continued to throw toys out into the street. Witnesses said he appeared to be drunk. Some say the Great Fire sparked when two miners got too rowdy at Crazy Kate’s Lodge and knocked over a lamp. However, no one really knows what happened. There are several plaques around Virginia City, marking what was lost in the Great Fire.
- THE SPIRITS OF GOLD HILL – The Gold Hill Hotel & Saloon is Nevada’s oldest existing hotel with a long, haunted history. There is rumored to be a female spirit named Rosie who turns the lights on and off, and moves around guests’ belongings. The red-haired, tiny-framed woman dresses in 1800s apparel and smells of rose-scented perfume. Rosie was the housekeeper of former owner, William, another spirit who haunts the hotel. Guests report a distinct smell of cherry pipe tobacco when he is lingering. William is known for allegedly locking guests out of their rooms. The pair, apparently, aren’t alone. In 1869, a massive fire ripped through the nearby Yellow Jacket Mine. Several of the miners who were killed are said to haunt the rooms of Gold Hill.
- MINERS ARE NOT AT REST AT YELLOW JACKET – The Yellow Jacket Disaster is the worst mining accident in Nevada’s history. On the morning of April 7, 1869, a fire erupted in the mine, flooding it with flames, smoke, and poisonous gas. The enormous fire was impossible to contain, and burned for weeks. At least 35 died, but some bodies were never recovered. There is also speculation that many single workers died, and their identities are still unknown today. The Yellow Jacket Mine is now abandoned. Except, reportedly, for the spirits of the miners left behind. The paranormal activity allegedly created by the disaster has made the hike between the Yellow Jacket Mine and the Gold Hill Hotel arguably one of the most haunted in the West.
- HAUNTINGS OF AN OLD HOSPITAL – The Saint Mary Art and Retreat Center may no longer be a hospital, but the entities of its past still lurk in its walls. Built in 1879, the Saint Mary Louise Hospital Building was run by the Sisters of Charity for 18 years. One of those Sisters, known as The White Nun, has been seen floating down the former infirmary’s hallways, inspecting rooms, and looking out a second floor window, possibly waiting for the next wagon load of hurt miners or sick children. The White Nun has also been spotted on the front staircase along with a little boy with iron braces on his legs. In her former room, she is known to frequently unmake her bed. On occasion, people have also seen a ghostly horse-drawn hearse ride up to the building. The coach sways, and the horses snort, but no sound is ever heard.
Will these clues guide you to victory or are they all dead ends? Check back soon for more history of the dead.