What It's Like To Spend A Night At The Creepy Clown Motel
A small town swept by disease, an adjacent cemetery, and a room packed with over 2000 clown figurines. Located in the sparse desert between Las Vegas and Reno, it’s easy to understand how the World-Famous Clown Motel earned its title as America’s Scariest Motel.
Named because of the huge assortment of clown paraphernalia, The Clown Motel has experienced unusually high amounts of paranormal activity. [via Discovery Inc.]
Despite its expansive collection of circus paraphernalia and a deep personal fear of clowns, Zak Bagans was drawn to the town of Tonopah to investigate the Clown Motel in season 14 of Ghost Adventures. His interview with the previous owner, John Perchetti, revealed that many of the motel’s staff and visitors have allegedly had paranormal encounters.
In the town of Tonopah, the World-Famous Clown Motel has earned an unsettling reputation
Guests to the motel have reported odd laughter throughout the corridors and, according to Perchetti, one man claimed to wake up to a full-bodied clown apparition. For housekeeper Andrea Selig, it’s been no laughing matter. “When I come in here I just get horrible anxiety. I literally feel like there’s somebody with me in this room.” She also claims to have seen apparitions in the neighboring cemetery.
During their investigation Ghost Adventure was able to capture EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) of a voice saying, “Hello, it turned on”, as well as unprecedented footage of a large clown doll’s hand moving off its leg, seemingly of its own accord. Perchetti posits that the motel’s proximity to the Tonopah cemetery could be to blame for the strange events.
The Town of Tonopah began as a mining camp.
Now a town with a population of just under 2,500, Tonopah was originally a Native American campground. In the early 1900s, after collecting silver-rich samples on a trip, Jim Butler filed eight claims on the land and established a small mining camp. Butler’s mines, and those built a few years later by the Belmont Mining Company, brought prospectors from across the country to the region. The community quickly grew from a small 14-man camp to a bustling settlement.
The First Tonopah Cemetery is only a few feet from the Clown Motel and is most likely the source of the paranormal activity that people have experienced at the motel. [via Discovery Inc.]
A town beset by calamity
During its founding years, Tonopah was witness to several tragedies. In 1905 a “plague” (later discovered to be pneumonia) swept the tiny community, killing 56 residents between January and April, and causing a mass exodus from the town. A few years later, in 1911, a fire at the Belmont mine killed 17 people. The Tonopah cemetery, built in 1901, served as a final resting place for victims of these misfortunes, as well several others. It closed in 1911 when tailings from the Tonopah Extension mine washed over and destroyed several headstones. The mine donated the property for a new cemetery, which is still in use today.
Over the next few decades, the Belmont mines would see several more fires, the last of which would lead to the closure of the mines in 1942. It was during this final blaze that a man named Clarence Belmont perished. 20 years later, his children opened a motel next to the Tonopah cemetery, the lobby of which displayed his collection of 150 clown figurines. Thus began the Clown Motel.
A housekeeper at The Clown Motel, Andrea Selig, says that she has experienced extreme anxiety in all of the motel's rooms before and has seen doors shut by themselves. [via Discovery Inc.]
The World-Famous Clown Motel has passed through several hands since Leona and Leroy Clarence founded it in 1985. Bob and Deborah Perchetti acquired the building in 1995 in a deal that was supposedly completed on a restaurant napkin. It was purchased by the current owner, Hame Anand, in 2019.
“I was scared a little bit,” Anand reported in a recent Thrillist article, “I couldn’t sleep in my room.”
Anand has had an affinity for clowns since he visited a circus as a 14-year-old. When he came into possession of the Clown Motel, he added his own collection, an estimated 200, to the existing 800 figurines at the motel. Despite his initial discomfort, Anand has decided that the motel’s ghostly residents are benevolent. Despite guests reporting doors closing of their own accord, mysterious whispers, and his own experience hearing noises in empty rooms, Anand asserts “This was how I knew that they were telling me, ‘we are here, but don’t worry about that.’”
The World-Famous Clown Motel guarantees its guests a unique overnight experience they’re unlikely to find anywhere else.
Stream full episodes of every season of Ghost Adventures now on discovery+.