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Tour Northern Nevada’s haunts on the Ghost Trail

Ghosts in Northern Nevada aren’t of the ghoulish campfire variety. Here, they tell stories of the past … of the colorful characters of the Comstock-era, when silver was king and Virginia City was the cultural center of the Western expansion, or when getting a divorce required establishing residency in Reno during an extended stay.

Whether it’s Lake Tahoe’s smoky showrooms that hosted characters like Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra during the golden age of casinos, or the pioneer families of rural settlements like Genoa, the apparitions that appear to some today are a reminder of connection between history and place.

Believers and non-believers alike can fill their Sierra travel docket with offbeat experiences, chasing the ghosts of Northern Nevada … they just have to know where to look. Here are some highlights:

Virginia City

Once a western metropolis, Virginia City is a history lover’s paradise, and spooky sites abound. Check out The Silver Terrace Cemeteries with its Victorian-era plots; Piper’s Opera House, one of the most significant vintage theaters in America is also a center for the supernatural – the ghost of John Piper himself is said to appear in the building.

Lake Tahoe

The “Jewel of the Sierra” is more than just a pretty place. Visit Thunderbird Lodge, the 1938 estate built by socialite George Whittell, where several ghosts are rumored to be roaming the grounds. At the Cal Neva Resort, fans of Hollywood’s heyday will be delighted to know the ghosts of Marilyn Monroe and Sammy Davis Jr. are still around.


Before Reno became the birthplace of the gaming and the quickie divorce, it was a pioneer settlement during the westward expansion. The Hillside Cemetery is the resting place for the many of the region’s first settlers, while Morrill Hall at the University of Nevada, is rumored to be home to frequent paranormal activity and haunted by a woman dressed in 1920s attire.

Carson City

Nevada’s capital is home to some of the state’s best museums and of course its halls of government, but the real thrill may come for visitors at sites like the Brewery Arts Center, where a ghost believed to be that of community leader James P. Maar greets visitors. During the annual Kit Carson Trail ghost walk (Oct. 24) visitors can encounter Carson City’s ghosts and historical figures played by actors in period costume.

View the complete Ghost Trail guide online.

5 Responses to “Tour Northern Nevada’s haunts on the Ghost Trail”

  1. Hi! I was excited to see this article on some of the historical activities around the Reno, VC, Carson area. A few esteemed ladies and I have just launched The Great Basin Costume Society, which will focus on these historical tours and events, which we plan to attend…in period costume. I hope to become more familiar with you as the society begins to grow membership and host its own events. Thanks for the ideas (the ghost trail particularly)

    The GBCS has a blog at Official website is forthcoming.

  2. It’s always fun to get a little bit of a scare – but the great thing about ‘ghost tours’ is the amount of history and culture you are exposed to throughout the tour!

  3. Ashley says:

    Hello everyone! If you are looking for more haunts and treats in the Nevada, Carson City region. We have some ghosts for you! Check out the CARSON CITY CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU BLOG for more info on the Ghost Walk that takes place twice a year in the city. Once in the Spring and once in the Fall.

  4. I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success.

  5. I take pleasure in waking up to your site since there’s normally fresh subject matter ready to go every single evening.

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