Inside Tonopah's famous Clown Motel
TONOPAH, Nev. (KSAZ) - It has been called one of the scariest motels in the West, a hotel dedicated to clowns. And if you have coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, this is not the place for you.
The clown motel sits halfway between Reno and Las Vegas in Tonopah, Nevada, and it's not just clowns that frighten motel guests.
The sign grabs you; you've never seen a place like this, welcome to the Clown Motel.
"There is about 600 clowns," said Bob Perchetti.
And that theme doesn't stop at the front desk, there are clowns over the bed.
"I have people that come in here and say oh my god, I didn't realize you had all these clowns," said Perchetti.
Some guests seek out the motel.
"Walking into the lobby I was not prepared, I was not prepared for the onslaught of clowns," said Joe Appel.
Others run in fear.
"I go and take pictures of the walls of the rooms, or cover them up with a dishcloth, and they will stay, but they couldn't have the clowns around," said Perchetti.
Owner Bob Perchetti says a few guests have claimed to see clown shaped figures passing by their windows.
"One guest said he woke up, and he said there was a large life-size clown like the one in the corner standing in front of his bed, he said he wiped the sleep out of his eyes, and the clown was still there. Then all of a sudden he just disappeared completely disappeared," he said.
If the clowns aren't enough to creep you out, there is something else that scares guests away. The motel was built next to a 100-year-old graveyard.
It was the county cemetery, created around the turn of the century, and it's occupants? Exactly what you would expect from an old west town; a murdered Sheriff, prostitutes, barkeepers, even 14 miners killed in a fire.
"All of them (the miners) died from smoke inhalation," said Allen Metscher.
Allen Metscher helped restore the cemetery after it closed in 1911. Decades of storms and vandalism left the graveyard in ruins. He helped identify the buried, including William Murray, who died saving trapped miners.
"They found his remains down 1,400 feet; decapitated and mutilated.
Now the cemetery has also become a legend.
"These towns have that air about them because there is some hardship that happened here around the turn of the century," said Appel.
Tonopah is no exception; the town is full of ghost stories like the woman murdered on the fifth floor of the Mizpah Hotel, who some say still haunts her room. People have seen strange things at the graveyard too.
"My daughter saw the spirit of a young girl, some people say they see miners and things like that there," said Appel.
FOX 10 spoke with his daughter and her friend, amateur ghost hunters who aren't afraid to wander into the graveyard at night, they took us inside.
That interview was recorded using a night vision camera, but when we played back the video, the video wasn't there. Something happened, and we could only hear the girl's voices... also during the interview the light on our camera unexpectedly turned off. Toward the end of the interview, the light suddenly turned back on.
The original builders of the Clown Motel chose the spot next to the graveyard because their father was buried there.