Join me if you dare, the spirits are waiting!
Halloween has always been my favorite time of the year and not just for the sweet candy treats but because it was fun to dress in costume and get all scared going door to door. I remember my mom decorating our house and later that night, reading scary stories like the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Maybe that is the reason that I am drawn to haunted houses, ghost towns, and spooky legends.
For this Halloween, I have decided to give a tour of some of the spookiest places that I have been photo-exploring with my camera.
Speaking of spooky places, I will begin my tour with Spooky Rock, a very unusual rock outcropping in Mineral County, Nevada. Located in Garfield Flats, the area was prone to much volcanism. Even in the bright sunlight the grimacing faces on these rock formations make the hair on my neck stand at attention. As the sun drops down and one cloud to the left appears as a hand beckoning, it really begins to get me in a spooky mood.
A brick arch stands out in the desert of Central Nevada and is about all that is left of the Delamar mining town. Once a town of 1,500 residents with an Opera House, hospital, churches and numerous saloons, Delamar soon became known as "The Widow Maker" due to the dust from mining that contained glass like particles. It caused an incurable disease of the lungs--Silicosis. The hazardous dust not only brought premature deaths to the miners but also to anyone living in Delamar. I will never forget that smell of rose perfume that greeted me as I wandered around this ghost town.
Spring Mountain State Park is an oasis and peaceful retreat from the hustle of Las Vegas. However, I have heard some pretty scary tails from the rangers who worked there after dark in the winter months. Windows rattling, doors creaking, footsteps on the wooden floor! Some have even seen Vera Krupp wearing her 33.19-carat Asscher cut diamond as she wanders from room to room. After a settlement from Alfried Krupp, Vera purchased the 500 acres west of Las Vegas and enjoyed a life of cattle ranching and country living.
Bodie State Park, California was once a thriving mining town turning out millions in gold bullion. As I peek through the dusty window of the undertaker's parlor, I am reminded of all the mining accidents and a harsh winter that brought the demise to hundreds of residents. Today the ghost town is protected from vandals or looters by the spirits that call Bodie their home. Anyone foolish enough to remove even a pebble will suffer the "Curse of Bodie".
Founded in 1902, Goldfield, Nevada grew to a population of 30,000 and produced $11 million in gold. Know for its longest bar of all mining towns, it took a staff of 80 to serve all the libations. A stove exploded in a millinery shop and burned two blocks before the wind shifted and saved the town from destruction. Today, Goldfield is mostly deserted as it sits quietly on Interstate 95. After sundown you might just catch a glimpse of ole Virgil as he heads down to join with the other spirits.
Driving through the back roads of Lyon County, you cross the rail road tracks at Wabuska, "The Shadow Town" of Nevada. The town saw a boom in 1881 when the Carson & Colorado Railroad station was opened. There was a general store, hotel and hot meals for hungry rail workers. Over time, the town started its decline and all that was left was a bar and a few rooms for the weary. You can stop for a cold one on a dark night, but you must be pretty brave to enter that outhouse all covered in vines!
Some houses aren't the source of legends to be scary; they just look that way from wear and tear of time. This house caught my attention and made me stop for a closer look but I declined the invitation to go inside.
Other houses stand as a reminder of what life used to be. The mining boom in the surrounding areas of Aurora and Bodie depleted the forests of pinyon pine which was used for lumber and firewood. A house near Lee Vinning, California void of any trees except for a stump is a reminder of those days. The house stands abandoned but the spirits linger, drawing me to come inside.
Pioche Nevada in 1860's was the scariest town in the west, meaner than Tombstone and badder than Dodge City. Pioche was a mining camp with dozens of saloons and brothels. Seventy-two people were killed before the first natural death occurred. No wonder this is still called the "Hanging Tree" and to me is the scariest of all the places that I've been spooked to visit.
No images on this blog are within Public Domain.
With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.
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