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What Really Happened at the Clown Motel in Nevada?

By Molly Weinfurter


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The Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada, is exactly what it sounds like: an old motel full of clown decorations. For most people, sleeping near clown memorabilia would only cause nightmares, but many horror enthusiasts seek out this motel. People who love spooky historical buildings are not only drawn to the eerie decor, but they’re also fascinated by stories of ghosts spotted at this motel.

So, what really happened at the Clown Motel Nevada? Is it really haunted? This article will cover everything you need to know before staying at this unusual accommodation.

What is the Clown Motel?

What Really Happened at the Clown Motel in Nevada

The World Famous Clown Motel proudly calls itself “America’s Scariest Motel,” which is true for several reasons. It’s located next to the historic Old Tonopah Cemetery, which is where many mine workers who died in the tragic Belmont Mine Fire in 1911 were buried. So, many people believe the ghosts from the cemetery haunt the motel.

Yet, the motel is creepy enough even without the ghost stories. It has the largest private collection of clown figures and memorabilia, which visitors can view without booking a room. The clown theme extends throughout the entire motel, not just the lobby. So, each room has its own clown-themed decorations, many of which are designed to be spooky.

The Nevada clown motel has 31 rooms, which regularly get booked up. Each room has two to three custom art pieces inside featuring clowns. A few of the rooms are famous because of tragedies that happened inside them, and the owners aren’t afraid to share that history.

The Clown Motel History

Leona and Leroy David build this motel back in 1985. They built the motel in honor of their father, Clarence David, who had an impressive collection of 150 clowns when he passed away. Clarence had also been buried in the Old Tonopah Cemetery. His children wanted to build the motel next to the graveyard as a way to display their father’s collection and build onto it.

While fear wasn’t the initial intent when the motel was built, it quickly gained a reputation of being a haunted destination. The clown hotel was sold a few times, but each owner maintained the motel’s unique theme.

Over the years, this location has also been a popular set for films and shows. The most popular appearance was Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel, which showed Zak Bagan face his fear of clowns by staying in the motel overnight. However, during his stay, he was faced with paranormal activities. Some movies shot at this spot include The Clown Motel: Spirits Arise and Huluween: Return of the Killer Binge

What Really Happened at the Clown Motel?

What Really Happened at the Clown Motel

While some of the rooms have minimal clown decor, there are a few famous rooms that have histories of death and tragedy. Instead of hiding the stories, the owners embraced then by putting up spookier decorations and advertising the rooms on their website.

Room 108

Room 108 is the most notorious room at the clown motel. An elderly man who regularly worked at the Clown Motel’s front counter decided to spend the night in one of the rooms. He wasn’t feeling well during his stay, but when he called the front desk, his co-worker didn’t answer. So, the man called his sister for help, and she dialed 911 for him. Yet, it was too late. The man died on the way to the hospital.

When the front desk worker was asked about the situation, they claimed that the front desk phone never rang. Sure enough, surveillance footage showed that the phone never rang, as if something had been stopping the victim from calling for help. The room has since been decorated after the film IT, as if to represent the mischievous apparition that messed with the phone lines that night.

Room 111

A terminally ill man once stayed in this room knowing he only had a few days left to live. The man wanted to pass away without being a burden to his family. So, every night, he went to sleep expecting not to wake up the next day. However, he kept waking up again. He claimed that every morning, he saw a shadowy figure in his room, and he begged the ghost to take his life. When nothing happened, he later shot himself in the parking lot after growing increasingly frustrated.

This room is currently based on the horror film The Exorcist, and many guests have talked about seeing ghostly figures in the room like the dying man had described.

Room 210

In Room 210, a man stopped to stay the night after experiencing extreme back pain. He had faced the pain on and off his whole life, but he never got a proper diagnosis. When he woke up that morning, he felt more comfortable than he had in a long time. He believed the spirits of the room had cured his back pain, so he lived at the motel from that moment on. He never experienced his back pain as severely after that, but he passed away in the room six years later.

This room is currently themed after the Halloween films. However, despite the spooky decor, many guests favor this room because the story of the spirits is positive.

Room 214

Melvin Dummar, an associate of billionaire Howard Hughes, stayed in this room for about three years. People believe that a ghost in the room grew fond of Dummar and was devastated when he left. Visitors claim that the ghost often returns to look for his friend, and if he doesn’t find him, he’ll play tricks on the guests, such as flickering the lights, causing a mess, and stealing items. This room now has a Friday the 13th theme.

Is the Clown Motel Haunted?

Is the Clown Motel Haunted

On the Clown Motel’s website, they include a disclaimer saying that many people have experienced unexplained phenomenons during their stays, so it’s likely that this establishment is haunted. The business also states that they aren’t liable for any damage or distress paranormal creatures may cause.

There have been many reports of ghost sightings at the motel, especially in the four rooms mentioned above. Some experiences include knocks on doors and footsteps when no one is there while others have heard voices and seen shadowy figures in their rooms or at the graveyard. A few guests have even seen clown figures in the lobby move while some have claimed to see a clown figure appear in their room and then disappear.

The haunted Clown Motel is happy to let guests explore the property at night and record their experiences. There are many YouTube videos showing the stays of guests, but some of them are bone-chilling to watch. If you experience anything unusual, the owner encourages you to share your experiences with the business’ email.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you thinking about visiting the Clown Motel in Nevada? Here are a few things you should know.

Where is the Clown Motel?

The Clown Motel’s address is 521 N. Main Street, Tonopah NV , 89049. It’s located right next to the Old Tonopah Cemetery. 

How Much Does it Cost to Stay at the Clown Motel?

This hotel costs $85 to $135 per night. The themed rooms that have histories behind them are typically more expensive than the general rooms.

Are Pets Allowed at the Clown Motel?

Yes, select rooms at the Clown Motel are pet-friendly. Two pets are allowed in the rooms without additional charges, but a third pet is an additional $20. Failure to clean up after your pet could also result in added charges.

What is There to Do in Tonopah, Nevada?

Tonopah isn’t an action-packed area, but there are plenty of unique attractions and historical spots near the Clown Motel and Old Tonopah Cemetery. Here are a few activities to check out:

  • Ghost Walks
  • Tonopah Brewing Company
  • Tonopah Historic Mining Tours
  • Central Nevada Museum
  • The Mizpah Club
  • Hikimg
  • Stargazing

How Far is the Clown Motel from Las Vegas?

The Clown Motel is about three hours and fifteen minutes from Las Vegas by car. 

Visit the Clown Motel!

Visit the Clown Motel

If you’re driving through Tonopah, Nevada, you might see the flashy sign of the Clown Motel. Even if you’re too scared to spend the night there, it’s still worth stopping by. You can check out the clown collection in the lobby and explore the cemetery for free. The motel is so unique that you’ll need to see it first-hand to believe it.

Those interested in spending the night can book a room on the motel’s website. You can book a specific room, such as the themed rooms with dark histories, or you can book a general room. Either way, there’s a chance that you could witness some unexplainable actions.

If you love touring spooky places in the United States without having to spend the night in them, you should check out the Biltmore Estate and the most haunted cities in the US.

About Molly Weinfurter

Molly Weinfurter is a freelance writer and editor that specializes in family, travel, and animal-related topics.

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