Along a lonesome stretch of desert highway between Las Vegas and Reno lies one of the creepiest motels in America, and that is even before you find out it might be haunted. Located right next to the original town graveyard in Tonopah, Nevada, this motel sports a clown theme that feels both strangely out of place and eerily appropriate for its sinister reputation. The empty desert surrounding it only adds to the mystique, and from the tales, the locals tell, darker things than clowns may roam its hallways.
Owned for twenty years by Bob Persichetti, the building itself is now for sale. Bob says he loves the place, but he wants to retire and spend more time fishing and camping with his grandchildren. The historic location can be purchased from him for only $900,000, and the massive clown memorabilia collection is included. There is just one catch. You have to keep and maintain Bob’s vast collection of clowns. “I just like clowns,” he said.
The motel is absolutely stuffed with the results of Bob’s long duration. Clown posters, clown dolls, clown magazines, clown lamps, clown statues, and clown furniture are just a few of the many pieces of the vast menagerie. Some of the figurines show normal, laughing clowns, but Bob is not afraid to add in a few killer clowns as well.
Clown themed bookshelves hold books on the history of clowns. Two life-size harlequins sit at either end of the guest couch in the main office. The rooms themselves are also decorated with clowns, and the traditional neon sign advertising the place is festooned with colorful jesters. The place has definitely earned the name on the sign, “Clown Motel”.
The cherry on the top of the creepy sundae is the old miners’ cemetery located just in back of the Clown Motel. Historians in the area believe that most of those interred there died in what was known as the Tonopah Plague of 1905. No one is certain what caused the epidemic, but several hundred miners and their families may have died. The only reference is found in an April 18, 1905 edition of the Desert Evening News, where an article states, “doctors seem to think it is caused by the unsanitary conditions of the camp.” However, no specific disease was ever determined to have caused all that misery.
So add together the haunted, diseased, century-old graveyard and the cornucopia of everything clown-related inside. Then toss in a dash of isolated desert highway and the nostalgia of Las Vegas. Definitely mix with it a little cowboy and miner lore, and you will find that this motel may easily be the creepiest in America. For less than a million dollars, you can have this piece of history and Americana, and surviving your first night in it might make for a great Hollywood script.