A Sleepless Night at the Silver Queen

Multiple EMF detectors respond to anomalies at the entrance of the Silver Queen during a ghost tour with Bats in the Belfry. (staff photo)
Multiple EMF detectors respond to anomalies at the entrance of the Silver Queen during a ghost tour with Bats in the Belfry. (staff photo)

By Mysterious Destinations Magazine Staff

Living guests are always welcome at the Silver Queen, Virginia City’s oldest hotel still in operation, but they may have to share their room with the spirits of those long dead…

Numerous reports, from national television shows to tales from Virginia City locals spurred our Mysterious Destinations team to spend the night there. Their experience yielded more evidence of paranormal activity, but very little sleep. Here’s the story as told by Greg Latimer, Research Director of Mysterious Destinations.

(Note: There are very compelling videos associated with this story. Please see the link at the end of this article.)

Sometimes, that which you are seeking seems to happen when you are least prepared for it… That perfect photo that presents itself just when your camera battery has just died; that beautiful beach sunset that happens when you’re still 10 minutes from the beach; or that late night haunting that happens when you really need to get some sleep. Such was to be our experience at the Silver Queen Hotel in Virginia City, Nevada.

It was around midnight when we returned to the hotel after an evening exploring local haunts with the crew from Bats in the Belfry, the outfit that does Virginia City Ghost Tours.

The hotel hallways were quiet as we padded up the stairs with our gear headed for Room 11, known for paranormal activity attributed to an entity known as “Rosie” – said to be the spirit of a prostitute from the 1800s who committed suicide in the room.

Surprise Room Change

The wedding chapel at the Silver Queen Hotel.  (staff photo)
The wedding chapel at the Silver Queen Hotel. (staff photo)

Our first surprise of the evening ended up having nothing to do with the paranormal, but instead with basic human error as we found that the key given to us when we checked in was for Room 12.

Nonetheless, we tried the lock on Room 11, hoping for the best – but it was securely locked and obviously unoccupied. The fact that the room was unoccupied was to become an important factor later in the evening, as we checked the area for electromagnetic field (EMF) anomalies.

There was no way to exchange the key, as the front desk closes up for the late night hours. So we headed down to Room 12.

The key worked perfectly.

As we moved into Room 12 we noted it has a connecting doorway to Room 11. A study of the hotel’s history of hauntings revealed that Room 12 with its connecting doorway is thought to have been the residence of a male associated with “Rosie”, sometimes referred to as her “regular boyfriend” – although the “regular boyfriends” of prostitutes are also know by a different moniker – “pimp”.

The room was beautifully appointed in the style of the mid 1800’s, with a high ceiling, windows overlooking the night scene of a silent Virginia City, and our very own “water closet” (according to a sign on the door).

Our day had started in Sacramento (California) where we were investigating locations in the Old Town area and had covered almost 200 miles (with a detour in Reno) before we landed in Virginia City (after an interesting nighttime drive up the winding mountain highway).

Paranormal Activity

We were ready for some sleep. But first we wanted to check our intended destination – Room 11 – as best we could. Heading up the hallway with an electromagnetic field (EMF) detector I was immediately confronted with EMF activity at a much higher level than several hours prior when we had visited the same area with Virginia City Ghost Tours. Now, we also knew that the room was unoccupied, and yet we were confronted with high levels of EMF. The area around the Room 11 doorway and through the hall toward the stairs showed the most significant EMF returns. (Video link at the end of this article.)

And so we settled down in Room 12. Per standard protocol we set out several EMF detectors, a digital recorder and a flashlight and invited any entities that wanted to communicate to take advantage of our equipment.

We didn’t have long to wait. Within minutes we experienced an EMF anomaly that seemed responsive to questions we posed.

We continued to be on the receiving end of EMF anomalies through the night. The anomalies would assert in approximate 30 to 45 minute intervals throughout the night.

Quite frankly, it was one of the most compelling experiences I have had while working with Mysterious Destinations. We had another Mysterious Destination to get to the next morning, so we never did get into Room 11. Just another good reason to plan a return to Virginia City, Nevada.

Numerous Incidents Reported at Silver Queen

Hallway at the Silver Queen Hotel in Virginia City, Nevada, where ghostly footsteps and voices are often heard by guests during the late night hours. (staff photo)
Hallway at the Silver Queen Hotel in Virginia City, Nevada, where ghostly footsteps and voices are often heard by guests during the late night hours. (staff photo)

The experience that the Mysterious Destinations team had at the Silver Queen is supported with a substantial amount of additional evidence – everything from the well-known television program Ghost Adventures to stories told by travelers and hotel staff.

One of the most compelling accounts comes from Julie Christensen, a writer for Yahoo! Contributor Network who visited the Silver Queen in January of 2011, according to her report.

For the best part of her excerpted narrative, be sure to read it all the way to the end.

“We tip toed down the long hall and descended a few steps toward room 11. There was a heavy feeling at that end of the hall. At one point a growl was heard by the door. I decided to go midway down the hall from my room. As I stood there suddenly I felt and heard a figure running quickly towards me. It made me take steps back and gasp. I quietly but quickly returned to my room explaining to my traveling companion what had just happened. We both crept outside of our room and just as we were to pass our neighbor’s door, the door to their room slammed hard as we stood next to it. It took us back and we figured we had agitated the hotel guests. We continued down the hall when the running began once again. It felt as if the entity was coming fast upon you. The incident happened in repetition,” Christensen wrote.

“We decided to return to the room and try to get some sleep. There was an uneasy and oppressive feeling. We opted not to change into our nightclothes and chose to sleep in our clothes as well as with a light on. Throughout the night tapping on the room door occurred as well as whispering heard in the hallway. Shuffling and other movements could be heard in the adjoining room. Early in the morning we heard people leave the hotel,” Christensen wrote.

After all of the observations made above, her account ends on this final, ominous note…

“Upon checking out of the hotel we met up with the hotel attendant who was having coffee out in front of the hotel. We asked how many guests the hotel had and we were informed that we were the only guests that evening. It was also interesting to find out that there were no hotel staff on site during the whole night. We had been the only people in the building,” Christensen wrote.

Unique and Haunted Lodging

This is the kind of testimony that gets your attention! Even though Christensen didn’t have any equipment to help corroborate her observations, her description of unexplained activity at the hotel appears to be quite candid. And that activity appears to be throughout the building.

The Silver Queen is also unique among lodging locations in that it promotes its hauntings and encourages guests to experience them, according to the owner Connie Carlson. “We keep a book that our guests make entries in describing events during their stay here,” she said. Connie has also had her own experiences in the building, hearing footsteps on an empty balcony at night and regularly having to pick up items that mysteriously “fall” off bar shelves.

So, if you’re looking for a Mysterious Destination that’s easy to access and offers overnight rooms as well, the Silver Queen Hotel in Virginia City should be on your list.

Link to video showing apparent paranormal activity at the Silver Queen, click here.

Link to the Silver Queen’s website, click here.

Link to website for Bats in the Belfry, the company conducting ghost tours in Virginia City, click here.

Namesake of the hotel, the Silver Queen, clad in a dress made from silver dollars and on display in the saloon. (staff photo)
Namesake of the hotel, the Silver Queen, clad in a dress made from silver dollars and on display in the saloon. (staff photo)