The moment I left the Goldfield Hotel in 2007, I vowed never to return. I was so overwhelmed that I needed to process the paranormal activity I experienced and work out how it impacted my beliefs about my world and Christianity.
But there was another reason I never wanted to enter that historic building again.
I didn’t want to confront anything that would further challenge my world views as my first visit had. And, if I did return, what else would I encounter? Would the spirits be as kind as before? Or, would they be dangerous, like a horror novel?
Several years after that initial visit, however, a desire to return budded in me. I wanted to thank the spirits for accelerating my spiritual growth. But fear held me captive and away from Goldfield.
One sunny Sunday morning in 2011, an unexpected opportunity presented itself. I was in Tonopah for an investigation of the soon-to-be reopened Mizpah Hotel, and the organizer of the investigation—Virginia Ridgway—invited us to the Goldfield Hotel, where she’s the caretaker.
My good friend and I rushed to be the first to arrive, before the vacant hotel would teem with ghost hunters. My nerves were a jumble. I was scared, but at that moment my need to express my gratitude beat out my fright.
As we hurried toward the concrete stairwell leading to the basement, my trepidation grew. The hair on the back of my neck rose. I felt us being watched even though Virginia had stepped outside to wait for the rest of the group.
What if something happens I can’t handle? I thought.
I knew it might be my only chance, so I couldn’t back down. We stood in that old basement barbershop as the late morning sun dribbled in through the north-facing window next to the boarded-up entrance. The room was larger than I had remembered. Vandals had torn down the plywood partition that once divided this space.
Slightly trembling, I introduced us to the spirits and thanked them for their kindness. For interacting with me four years earlier. For not scaring me. I poured my soul out in that dusty room empty of all material goods except for a 1960s floral brown dinette chair.
Expressing my appreciation aloud helped me release my fear. I cried as I told them how my life had changed and how they were responsible for the new way I regarded our world and God.
Then it was time to join the group upstairs.
At the end of our visit, I decided I had to prove to myself I’d conquered that fear.
So alone, I descended into the basement and turned right into the first room, where the sunlight was completely blocked out. I turned off the flashlight and peered into the inky darkness. I stood still and listened.
“Hi, I’m here again,” I whispered, “to say good-bye. If you want to show up for me, I’ll be okay with that.”
I looked about the room, boldly. No chills. No cowardice. And, sadly, no apparitions. But, I’d opened my heart and my mind to the possibility. At that moment, I made no room for fear and, instead I enjoyed complete freedom.
“Thank you again. For everything.” I smiled, turned on my Maglite and left the basement.