Waiting for the Lady in Red

Waiting for the Lady in Red

1920s Tonopah. Well past its mining heyday, but still a busy rural Nevada community. Located midway between Reno and Las Vegas on Nevada State Highway 95, this town offered a welcome respite for travelers seeking a break from the desert heat and dust. Its buildings—both elegant Victorians and hastily constructed shacks—appear cradled up in the San Antonio Mountains, 6,000 feet above sea level.

Tonopah CityscapeThe town’s heart pulsed through the Mizpah Hotel, a quarried-stone, five-story structure built in 1907. Unfortunately, blood spilled there in a wild act of jealousy.

The woman’s name has been lost. But what happened to her lives on. A kept woman, who lived in a fifth floor room facing Tonopah’s main drag, she strayed from her benefactor who provided her with material—not emotional—comfort. Upon learning of her relationship with another man, he became enraged, killing her in the hallway down from her room.

Her spirit would come to be known as the Lady in Red—an apparition wearing a red dress destined to roam the halls of the Mizpah Hotel.

Folklore maintains her blood wouldn’t come out of the carpet where she’d been slain, and if removed, it’d reappear as an ominous reminder of that heinous act. Some say she has a penchant for red high heels and that her interest can be aroused by setting a pair of crimson pumps in the hallway. Others claim she’ll leave a single pearl on the nightstand in her former room as evidence she exists.

The Mizpah had been closed many years when I received an invitation to attend a paranormal investigation prior to its September 2011 reopening. My friend and I arrived to a frenzy of carpet-laying and wall-painting. Despite this last-minute work, the hotel’s grandeur was evident through the etched windows and ornate ceilings.

We hoped to witness the Lady in all her glory. At midnight, with most of the paranormal investigators down the street partying in a bar, we sat on the floor midway between the Lady in Red’s room and the spot where her life ended. Not a creature of the night, I wearily leaned my head against the wall. We sat quietly while we waited for the WIGs (Women Investigating Ghosts) to complete their EVP (electronic voice phenomena) session inside her room.

Up to that point, our investigation had been typical for me: Nothing unexplainable had happened. Then I caught a movement, even though I knew we and the WIGs were the only ones on that floor. I slowly turned my head and spied an ethereal man, fashioned out of steel-gray shadows, stroll down the hall in our direction until he abruptly turned right and sped down the stairwell. He didn’t notice me. Instead he seemed to stride with purpose. And, even stranger, I didn’t freak like I normally do when I spot a shadow apparition.

Could he have been the man who murdered the Lady in Red?

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8 Comments

  1. Sharon Leong March 7, 2013 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    Very interesting, Kathleen! Thanks for sharing.

    • Kathleen March 8, 2013 at 8:33 am - Reply

      Thank you, Sharon. I imagine you’ve had some interesting experiences there, too.

  2. Tony Gonzalez March 14, 2013 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    What an experience!

  3. The camera nods yes! October 28, 2015 at 4:10 am - Reply

    […] For more on the Mizpah, see my post, “Waiting for the Lady in Red.” […]

  4. crystal November 15, 2015 at 1:44 am - Reply

    we were there for halloween weekend 2015. third time there. love it. plenty of orbs, recordings, and images. wow. the thing that bothers me is. i cant seem to locate any information on evelyn. doesnt that bug you? everyone is quick to give her name. But does anyone know where she was laid to rest?

    • Kathleen November 15, 2015 at 10:41 am - Reply

      I don’t. The only place I found her real name was on the Mizpah website. I’m not sure of their source, although there must be newspaper coverage of it (or perhaps not since she was a Lady of the Night?). When investigating, it can be so hard to differentiate history from folklore. 🙁

  5. cradled in love February 29, 2016 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    Chris de Burgh – Lady In Red (Lyric Video) – YouTube

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