There's a lot of scary stuff in Las Vegas: resort fees, a Golden Knights losing steak, and surge-pricing on rides from Allegiant Stadium. But that's just the beginning. Las Vegas is an undeniably haunted city. Guaranteed! How could it not be? The town's seen its share of mob violence and desperate activity over the years. And you know what? None of us are getting out of here without eventually crossing over to the other side. So as you gear up for another awesome Halloween season in Las Vegas, know that something is out there. Ghosts? Spirits? Things that go bump in the night? Elvis? They're all here in Las Vegas and we're here to show you the haunted places to find 'em.
The Las Vegas Academy of the Arts is a magnet school that specializes in music, theater, and other fine arts. Yet its legacy dates back to 1931, when it was known simply as Las Vegas High School, the first official high school in Las Vegas. The site has seen its share of renovations over the years, although two of its three original buildings remain on campus with their sturdy brick exteriors still in place. Generations of students have swapped stories about Mr. Petri, a ghost that roams the hallways and haunts the school's theater. Some claim to hear strange noises or feel a chill, especially when rehearsals carry over to evening hours. So who is Mr. Petri? Some believe he was a former teacher. Others claim he owned a home that previously stood on the site of the school and burned down in a mysterious fire. Nobody knows for sure.
When Zak Bagans opened The Haunted Museum in Las Vegas, he did his homework and picked the creepiest place possible. The attraction is inside an old Victorian home that dates back to 1938. It was owned by a family haunted by a child who died due to surgical complications. Later, when the home was vacant, intruders broke in and held satanic rituals in the basement. Adult actress Jenna Jameson actually grew up in the house and swears the stories are true—but doesn't like to talk about it much. Today, you can take a guided tour of the Haunted Museum, frequently used as a filming location for Bagans' Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel and Discovery+. The museum packs a lot into one visit (with more than 30 rooms), so give yourself at least a couple hours. Things start off relatively tame with a look at spooky artifacts in a gambling parlour and a closet full of creepy dolls, but the pace picks up with exhibits dedicated to notorious serial killers, an up-close look at a Volkswagen van used as a "death machine" by Jack Kevorkian, and a haunted hallway of killer clowns. It's best to not give away too many spoilers, but at one point, you'll face an item described as the most haunted object in the world. Some of this isn't for the faint of heart. Those with VIP (or "RIP") tickets get to explore a few extra nooks and crannies, including yes, that notorious basement.
Off the Strip
Some Las Vegas residencies never quite end. Elvis Presley redefined what it meant to be a superstar entertainer in this town with more than 600 shows over seven years at the International Hotel, which became the Las Vegas Hilton and is now the Westgate. The property continues to honor The King with a statue in the hotel lobby. Although Elvis passed away in Memphis, some believe his soul remains in Vegas with his ghost haunting the Westgate International Theater and a lavish rooftop villa the singer called home whenever he was in town. It's not cheap, but you can book the penthouse yourself. Just call the desk and ask for "the Elvis suite."
The worst fire in Nevada history tore through the old MGM Grand hotel on November 21, 1980. The blaze killed 87 people—mostly due to smoke inhalation—while helicopters rescued survivors from the roof. The property was eventually sold and renamed Bally's (while a new version of the MGM Grand reopened a few blocks south on the Strip). The tower engulfed in the fire is still part of the hotel and guests sometimes claim to see unusual shadows in hallways, hear strange noises, and notice furniture that mysteriously moves in the rooms—especially on higher floors that saw the worst of the flames. Many believe the strange activity is caused by the spirits of those who didn't survive the tragedy.
Off the Strip
Tupac Shakur's death is one of the most notorious murders in Las Vegas history. The rapper was riding in a car driven by music mogul Suge Knight after attending a Mike Tyson fight at the MGM Grand on September 7, 1996. The pair were heading away from the Strip on Flamingo and stopped at a red light on Koval when gunfire erupted from a car that pulled up along the passenger side. Shakur was hit four times and died in the hospital six days later. The identity of the shooter is a mystery that remains unsolved to this day. Some fans believe Shakur's ghost haunts the intersection with sightings of a person in a bandana who looks just like the late entertainer. Maybe that explains why his estate has been able to release more music after his death than when he was alive?
With a dark, moody interior and dramatic pyramid design, the Luxor can feel ominous and eerie for a Strip resort. However, the mood takes another turn, becoming somber, reflective, and even spiritual at Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, a long-running attraction dedicated to items recovered from the doomed ocean liner. Most are small—tea cups, wallets, that sort of thing—but there's also "the big piece" that was actually part of the hull with windows included. Despite the tragedy at the center of the subject matter, it's a captivating exhibit. Talk to the employees. They swear deceased passengers haunt the place—appearing, disappearing, closing doors, and making their presence felt in rooms modeled after those on the Titanic itself.
Take a short road trip out of Las Vegas and spend the afternoon exploring the ruins of Rhyolite, one of the most compelling ghost towns in the country. A hub of mining activity during the gold rush, the town was quickly abandoned when the boom went bust following the Panic of 1907. Wander around and you'll see the scattered remains of a bank, jail, and train depot. The landscape looks more like a nuclear war zone than a ghost town—but just as sinister—and perhaps still home to the spirits who once lived there many years ago.
Back in January 2014, a woman was accidentally photographed by a bystander at the Hoover Dam bypass bridge. Moments later, she was gone after jumping off the side. She had taken a taxi from Tempe, Arizona, to reach the landmark, which has seen its share of fatal jumps over the years, much like the Golden Gate in San Francisco and George Washington Bridge in New York. There were also 112 workers killed in the construction of the dam between 1931 and 1936. Some say their spirits still roam the hills and caverns that surround the Hoover Dam.
Las Vegas was a hotbed of criminal activity when mobsters ran the casinos—and pretty much the entire city. Their exploits are documented at the Mob Museum, renovated from the same Downtown courthouse where many of these characters were prosecuted. As you can imagine, they weren't too happy about their jail sentences, and some say their spirits roam the halls after hours. The supernatural energy is especially strong near an exhibit dedicated to the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, featuring a brick wall from a parking garage where seven Chicago gangsters were shot dead in 1929.
Goldfield, about 185 miles north of Las Vegas, is said to be the most haunted living ghost town in Nevada. There's actually a piece of it—a small house and antique store—that was relocated to the Clark County Heritage Museum in Henderson. It's now one of twenty restored buildings on the property. Another one is the Beckley House, which was originally in downtown Las Vegas on 4th Street. Some claim they've seen the image of a young girl roaming the home. However, recently retired curator Mark Hall-Patton says "There's no child who ever died there. There's no child who died next door to there, or under there, or on top of there." Is he telling the truth? Pay a visit and decide for yourself.
When driving between Nevada and California, you'll see Whiskey Pete's, a hotel and casino built in the '70s near the state line. The place is supposedly haunted by Whiskey Pete himself, a gas station owner who liked to dabble in moonshine. According to legend, his grave was accidentally dug up by workers during the resort's construction and relocated off property. But that doesn't mean his ghost doesn't still linger around from time to time. If that wasn't enough, the bullet-riddled car in which Bonnie & Clyde were famously killed sits in the lobby, along with Clyde's bloody shirt. People report some serious spookiness and negative energy while standing near the exhibit (which happens to be free to view by the way).
Is there anything creepier than the sound of a chain rattling after dark? According to local urban legend, a swing set at Fox Ridge Park is haunted by the spirit of a young boy who was hit and killed by a car while playing in a nearby street. Some park visitors claim to feel a disturbing energy when hearing the sound of the swing rattle in the wind. Others report seeing the image of the young boy quickly appear then vanish or—if you believe the kids at the elementary school next door—turn into a demon.
Bugsy Siegel wasn't only one of the most notorious mobsters in history, he was also the driving force behind the opening of the Flamingo hotel and casino. After investors complained about the property's profits—or lack thereof—Siegel was shot dead in Beverly Hills. His ghost, however, is believed to have returned to Las Vegas, roaming the Flamingo grounds. His presence is likely strongest near an outdoor memorial and inside a suite that was once his residence. He had it built like a fortress with an escape ladder that led to an underground garage and getaway car.
Owners come and go, but the Pioneer Saloon has been serving stiff drinks for more than a century, making it the oldest bar currently open in Southern Nevada. It's also where Clark Gable famously hung around, waiting on the fate of his wife Carole Lombard, who was killed in a plane crash at Potosi Mountain in 1942. Much of the memorabilia at the Pioneer Saloon is dedicated to her memory—and her spirit—which can be felt from time to time according to longtime patrons. The bar is also said to be haunted by the ghosts of an old miner and a man killed in an Old West shootout.
There's an area of Las Vegas Boulevard where the borders begin to blur between the Strip and Downtown. That's where you'll find the Oasis Motel, buried within a wave of pawn shops, bail bonds services, and wedding chapels. There's nothing special about it... except that people tend to check in and kill themselves. World famous poker champion Stu Ungar and actor David Strickland (from the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan) were found dead after hanging themselves. Both checked into Room 20, and both are said to still haunt the place. So if you're looking for a cheap motel, you may want to avoid that particular unit—unless you have a morbid fascination with death. It's worth noting the property is now under the ownership of the OYO India-based hotel chain, who've given the rooms a bright and colorful makeover. The Oasis Motel is actually just across the street from another famous suicide spot, The Stratosphere tower, where people have jumped from the top.
After wrapping up an 11-year run on Sanford and Son, Redd Foxx continued his career in standup comedy as a big draw in Las Vegas. He moved to Sin City, where he built a reputation for enjoying the gambling culture just a little too much. By the time he died in 1991, most of his earnings were claimed by the IRS, and his funeral was paid for by Eddie Murphy. Foxx promised to stick around after his death and his home near Eastern and Hacienda is said to be haunted by numerous owners who have taken custody of the property over the years. It's currently an office for Shannon Day Realty. Look carefully at the sign out front—there's a picture of a red fox in the corner as a tribute to the late comedian. The gesture may have gotten on his good side, as reports of hauntings have dropped in recent years.