The World-Famous Clown Motel & Tonopah Cemetery  

Having been a lover of the unusual for most of my life, I had heard many stories about the World-Famous Clown Motel in Tonopah and the old mining cemetery that lies directly next to the creepy clown-filled property. So, when we decided to go on a road trip for VIVA GLAM Magazine throughout Nevada and around Area 51, I knew that I had to spend the night at this strange and unusual motel. And, let me tell you, it was most definitely an eccentric experience.

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As you walk into the lobby of the newly-renovated building, you’ll find a giant clown doll with several smaller clowns in his lap seated directly in front of you. Around him, the lobby is covered from head to toe in clown art, clown memorabilia, and mildly unnerving nick-knacks. What I like about the World Famous Clown Motel is that they lean into the idea that many people are put off by clowns, so they embrace the eeriness of their property.

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And let me tell you, at night, it is most definitely eerie, to say the least. As you exit the lobby, directly to your left is an old minor’s cemetery from 1901-1911. But we’ll get to that in a second.

I was told by a truck driver who came by with deliveries in the morning that the Clown Motel used to be pretty “rundown,” but they have renovated their rooms in the last few years to give it a complete makeover and glow up. I have to say, I stayed in the Clownvis Suite, and it really wasn’t a bad room. The renovations on the rooms I saw made them appear pretty nice, albeit eccentric. In fact, you can book specialty clown suits with themes embracing famous horror movies including The Exorcist, Friday the 13th, and more; again, they are happy to lean into the scary clown theme.

My Clownvis suite had a pretty beautiful bed, actually, and the walls were brightly painted in shades of red and green. It had an old-fashioned red fridge in the room, a coffee maker, and some really fun and unique art on the walls, as well.

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Now, people are immediately scared of the motel because of the clown motif, and there is an old cemetery next door, so people are most definitely inclined to believe it’s haunted. In fact, you can even rent EMF detectors from the lobby of the motel for your stay, as they lean into the idea of the hotel being haunted. My truck driver friend told me that while he had stayed there many, many times throughout the decades, he never experienced any ghosts, though he had been woken up once by someone banging on his door to get in, something he linked with rowdy people who may or may not have been confused by which room was theirs. Thankfully, he didn’t open the door.

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In my experience there, I brought my own EMF detector and was quickly dissuaded that the room could be haunted by the fact that the walls and ceilings are exuding extremely high levels of EMF, likely because of their old wiring. This can lead to people feeling watched, uncomfortable, and can even lead to people hallucinating. So, when I had to sleep in the bed that was right in the center of these high EMF fields, I could quickly see why people think it could be haunted, though I had no experiences and equate it all to the large levels of EMF all around the property.

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Speaking of haunting, we can’t forget to mention Tonopah Cemetery, the old minor’s graveyard directly next to the property. What I find the most incredible about this cemetery is that is welcomes visitors day or night. The official page for the cemetery states you are welcome to come through at any time. So, of course, we naturally walked through it at midnight and again the following morning in the daylight. The cemetery, itself, seemed incredibly peaceful. The plaque outside says, “First Tonopah Cemetery 1901-9199 Buried here are many of Tonopah’s pioneer residents including 14 victims of the Tonopah-Belmont Mine Fire of February 13, 1911, as well as the victims of the 1902 “Tonopah Plague” Cemetery Fenced 1979 by the Tonopah Nevada Historical Society.”

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Now, walking through a cemetery at night will always bring forth some type of eeriness, but that aside, it was pretty peaceful and quiet. And it was strikingly beautiful in its own way. The First Tonopah Cemetery holds the image of what you would think an old mining cemetery would look like with thin wooden crosses as headstones, stones forming the outlines of the graves, and a few plots with wooden fences closing them off from the others all scattered across a dusty setting.

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As we walked through the area at night, I got no responses on my ghost box and the EMF was all too logical to say the least. The front half of the cemetery (the part closest to the Clown Motel) had a very specific and hard line of strong EMF near the front which slowly faded the further you got away from the front of the cemetery until the back half of the space had none at all- all consistently. This made sense, as there was a power line that dominated over the front half of the cemetery, so I didn’t see anything paranormal of any kind, even at the witching hour. So, while I didn’t experience any evidence of haunting, I can say that between the Clown Museum and this gorgeously serene old cemetery practically attached to it, you really have to experience this unique area for yourself. So, if you find yourself in Nevada, try to spend the night in the World Famous Clown Motel, and make your visit to the Old Tonopah Cemetery after it gets dark if you’re brave enough to.

Malorie Mackey

Malorie Mackey is an actress, published author, and adventurer based out of Los Angeles, California. Throughout her experiences, Malorie found a love for travel and adventure, having journeyed to over a dozen countries experiencing unique locations. From the lush jungles of the Sierra Madre mountain range to the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland, Malorie began adventuring and writing about her unique travels. These travel excerpts can be found on VIVA GLAM Magazine, in Malorie’s Adventure Blog, in Malorie’s adventure show “Weird World Adventures” and in the works for her full-length travel book. Stay tuned as Malorie travels the world bringing its beauty and wonder to you.

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