As Janice’s book on ghosts in Las Vegas (The Haunting of Las Vegas) notes, the beings which seem to remain in some of Las Vegas’ most popular casinos have, on the majority, died due to unfortunate circumstances. Janice dedicates a section of The Haunting of Las Vegas to the ghosts in The Luxor, one of the most popular casino resorts on the Strip. According to numerous sightings, the ghosts of both a man and a woman, who separately jumped to their deaths in the casino, have been spotted near the sites where they died. The woman is usually dressed in red, looking “ very sad” and is often spotted near where a buffet once stood, which is where she sadly landed after jumping from one of the casino’s highest floors. When speaking to Janice about these untimely deaths, she noted that rather than viewing these unhappy apparitions as trapped, “ they aren’t quite sure what to do next”, noting that this is particularly apparent in paranormal cases involving suicides. Janice believes that the ghosts “ stay in Vegas because it is an exciting fun location, even for the dead.”
The Luxor is arguably one of the most haunted casinos in Las Vegas. Steeped in Ancient Egyptian history, The Luxor often exhibits relics from the past and the casino’s current Titanic exhibition may be at the root of the current paranormal happenings. The Luxor advertises the exhibition as displaying “ personal artefacts” which offer “ haunting, emotional connections to the forever-altered lives of those on board the Titanic.” Janice believes they certainly have the “ haunting” part right, noting that a “ few ghosts” may have “ arrived with the artefacts” and also that “ people who have visited have told of being touched and hearing ghostly voices.”
However, whilst The Luxor may hold the title as one of the most haunted casinos in Las Vegas, it’s not the only place in the gaming capital where you can find a �?spook’. Visitors have reported not only seeing apparitions of seemingly ordinary casino patrons and gamblers, but also legends such as Elvis Presley. Janice recalls that one of her strangest paranormal experiences was during a séance for Elvis. As Janice observed:
At the very moment the King was asked to appear a loud crack of thunder and lightning roared across the sky. The man who was leading the séance later said, �?No stage manager could have done that any better.
While Janice isn’t entirely sure it was Elvis, she admits that it “ was certainly good timing”. Whether Elvis Presley haunts Las Vegas is of course, an uncertainty, but Janice believes the King can show up in all manner of places. Janice contends that while Elvis could visit Vegas “ from time to time” there’s also the possibility that the many sightings of Elvis could be a particularly convincing Presley lookalike. Still, you can't deny the reigning king of rock and roll's residency from beyond the grave.
Even though ghosts tend to appear in inner city Las Vegas, if you head out into Nevada, don’t be surprised if you come across ghostly apparitions wandering the desert, or haunting old buildings built around the time of the Nevada gold rush. According to Janice, one of the most haunted buildings in Nevada has to be the Goldfield Hotel in Goldfield, which, even though it has a population of just over 400 people, is considered to be a ghost town.
While it’s difficult to gain access to the building, Janice reports that it has to be one of the spookiest locations in Nevada, noting that she has witnessed some of the strange goings on in the hotel. Janice told us that during one investigation a man “came and stood very close” to her, but, when she went to discuss with the gentlemen the etiquette of personal space “there was nobody standing there”. The Goldfield Hotel was also home to a TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) investigation, in which TAPS’ intrepid investigators spotted strange shadows and ghostly figures throughout the hotel. Legend has it that a pregnant ghost haunts room 109, but that's less disturbing than the knife-wielding wraith that was spotted at the hotel.
While Janice suggests that Las Vegas probably isn’t one of the most haunted locations in the United States, it is a “ fabulous, fun place to visit and to explore.” If you’re concerned that visitors from the other side may put you off playing casino games, Janice insists that players shouldn’t worry, noting that “ ghosts are a good omen for gaming. If a ghost is there it must be good luck. I mean, here is someone who has transcended death after all.”
Even if you don't believe in ghosts or can offer a sound scientific explanation for these alleged apparitions, the stories are undeniably compelling. It's hard to deny the importance they play in the city's mystique and charm. It's the same line of thinking that leads players to place bets in Las Vegas, despite the data detailing that the odds are stacked against you. Either way, Janice Oberding's work is fascinating. With a lifelong interest in paranormal activity and the resident Las Vegas ghost expert, it's worth checking out her book The Haunting of Las Vegas, as well as her website HauntedNevada.com.