Hidden behind the glittering Las Vegas lights lies a dark secret of murder, mystery and ghosts.

Best known for being the “playground for adults,” Las Vegas history is a unique one that stems from the stories and activities of organized crime. Perfectly representing the “wild west,” interesting stories and tales cloud Las Vegas’ murky history.

And unfortunately, the city witnesses violence that starts during the true “mobsters” era. Shady situations, a constant flow of money and other illicit activities that happen on — and off — The Strip are also factors creating certain types of ghost stories, making for some of the most haunted places in Nevada.

Whether it’s a museum housing some of the scariest and “most haunted” objects in the world or the insane events that unfold on the Vegas Strip daily, there’s no denying that a few ghosts may be roaming the Sin City streets.

From the bare lands of the desert to the abandoned silver mine shafts, the lore of ghosts in Nevada is plentiful with big cities and, of course, small towns across the state having their tall tales and spooky stories.

Many paranormal experts and enthusiasts even call Nevada one of the hottest spots in the country when it comes to ghostly activity.

Between the metropolis of Las Vegas, Carson City and Reno, miles of bare land stretch between these cities. These long ribbons of desert starkly contrast the glitter gulch of Vegas, and it’s seldom known what truly occurs and what’s hidden beneath the desert sand — or in Lake Mead for that matter.

Ghost towns that once held bustling populations of people are sucked dry with only the empty shells of buildings as a physical sign of what used to be. These ghost towns were once thriving mining communities with many dark stories staining the land. Disease outbreaks, explosions, mining fires, inhaling toxic fumes, horrible working conditions, lack of food and so much more are just a few of the tragedies that occurred within these towns.

So, scroll down below and read about some of the most haunted places in Nevada whose histories are telling and equally heartbreaking.

  • Sunshine Motel (Now The Aztec Inn) - 2200 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89104

    While driving on Las Vegas Boulevard, you can spot the Aztec Inn snuggled in a corner between The Strat and the downtown area. Warm, vintage and even welcoming, the casino has an amazing Thai restaurant that we can’t recommend enough. However before the building was the Aztec Inn, it was previously The Sunshine Motel during the ’80s, and this is where a horrible crime occurred.

    The Sunshine Motel became infamous when a serial killer named Thomas Crump decided to check in to the seedy motel, according to MayhemInTheDesert.com. He would then make a call to the Showgirls of Las Vegas escort service, which led to 26-year-old Jodie Jameson arriving to his room.

    Convict dies in Nevada prison 34 years after landing on death row

    A four-time convicted murderer died inside of a Nevada prison Friday, more than 30 years after he was first sentenced to die for strangling an escort. Although Thomas Wayne Crump, 78, confessed to the killings of seven people, attempted killings of seven others and numerous robberies, assaults and kidnappings, he never felt any remorse.

    According to MayhemInTheDesert.com, Crump accused Jameson of being part of a scheme to rob him, which she denied. However, this wasn’t enough to stop Crump’s anger, and he tied up Jameson and strangled her.

    This was one out of a few murders he participated in. And in fact, officials only realized his involvement with this murder after he confessed while serving time for three other murders in New Mexico State Prison. Although the Aztec Inn isn’t officially deemed haunted, the area’s history definitely makes this place an alleged spot for some ghostly sightings.

  • Golden Tiki Bar - 3939 Spring Mountain Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89102

    If you’re a Vegas veteran or local then you may have stopped at the Golden Tiki Bar during a night out. However, this well-loved Tiki Bar has a ghoulish reputation that has even made some potential employees scared to work there, according to an article by KNPR.org.

    According to the article, the owner Branden Powers said that unexplained events happened at the Golden Tiki before it even opened. Many construction workers who would stay the night, building and renovating the future tiki bar space would always mention paranormal activity and how “hot” the building was.

    In fact, Zak Bagen’s “Ghost Adventures” series even did an episode about the local Tiki Bar! In the episode, the crew explored the bar’s reputation for moving objects, flying shadow figures and a ghost girl, according to the Travel Channel’s website. 

  • Circus Circus - 2880 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

    It’s almost fitting that scary ghost stories are part of Circus Circus’ history. Clowns have been part of the Circus Circus history since the property first opened its doors in 1968. Many Vegas locals can remember Fright Dome, which was a special Halloween event that turned the amusement park under the famous pink dome into a scary garden of horror.

    Circus Circus

    Aside from the fun screams that come from the amusement park riders, there are screams that may come from a different source of scariness. The most recent tragedy took place in June 2018 when a man named  Julius Trotter robbed and killed a Vietnamese couple Sang Boi Nghia and Khoung Ba Le Nguyen in their Circus Circus hotel room, according to a report from ABC News

    Along with that horrific event, there’s a popular rumor that has spread across the Las Vegas Valley involving the infamous “Room 123.”

    According to GhostCityTours.com, “It all started in room 123, where, many years ago, a mother and her young son were found dead from an apparent murder-suicide. What drove the woman to take her child’s life and then end her own will now never be uncovered, but the reverberations of that heinous act are still felt in the hotel to this day.”

    Have you ever stayed at Circus Circus and felt a presence?

  • Bally's Hotel and Casino (Horseshoe Las Vegas) - 3645 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

    Originally called the “MGM Grand,” Bally’s Hotel and Casino is historical when it comes to the churn-and-burn of comapny brands on the Las Vegas Strip. Bally’s sits on top of the former Bonanza Hotel and Casino, which was equally a fixture on The Strip, according to VegasGhosts.com.

    A major incident occured when a catastrophic fire broke out at the former MGM Grand restaurant. The fire traveled to higher floors and engulfed a good portion of the hotel in flames, accoring to VegasGhost.com. This fire has been deemed as one of the worst in American history, and about 87 people died and 600 were injured as a result. 

    MGM Fire

    Many people who stay at Bally’s report seeing apparitions, hearing weeping, coughing or crying noises.

  • Pioneer Saloon - 310 NV-161, Goodsprings, NV 89019

    Pioneer salon

    Another structure that’s been featured on “Ghost Adventures,” is located in Goodsprings, Nevada. According to the Travel Channel, multiple people lost their lives in the old mineshaft that runs below the bar. Another rumor swirling around about the potential spirits behind this bar involves Clark Gable! The Travel Channel states that one of the spirits haunting the corridors of the salon is Carole Lombard, a 1930s screen siren and the wife of Clark Gable, who died in a plane crash on Potosi Mountain.

  • The Clown Motel - 521 N Main St, Tonopah, NV 89049

    Yes. There’s actually a clown-themed motel located right in Tonopah, Nevada. The town of Tonopah is rich in history and was a major mining town in the 1900s. Throughout the town’s most prosporuous mining town, Tonopah produced more than $750,000 in gold and silver.

    The Clown Motel was a venture started by siblings Leona and Leroy Davis, who started the motel as a way to honor their late father Clarence. Their father was an avid collector of anything clown-related, so this was one of the driving factors when it comes to the motel’s theme, according to the motel’s website. The peculiar theme has attracted people and movie-makers from across the country with many Youtube videos being made about this unique motel. Some of the fun themes for the Clown Motel’s rooms include “Friday The 13th,” “IT,” “The Exorcist,” and “Halloween.”

  • The Mizpah Hotel - 100 N Main St, Tonopah, NV 89049

    Another historical structure in Tonopah, Nevada, the Mizpah Hotel was once called “the finest stone hotel in the desert,” according to TravelNevada.com. The hotel was built in 1907, and some guests simply never checked out. One tale of a potential ghost who still roams the hotel is the “Lady in Red.”

    The “Lady in Red,” was a lady of the night, who worked on the hotel’s fifth floor, according to local legend. One night, a jealous ex-lover flew into a rage and strangled the “Lady in Red.” TravelNevada.com says that male guests often hear a woman whispering into their ears and she’ll even leave pearls that broke from her necklace on guests’ pillows. 

  • Adult Mental Health Historic Cemetery - Sparks, Washoe County

    Although this cemetery isn’t officially deemed as “haunted,” the Adult Mental Health Historic Cemetary is a testament to the former neglect that covered the hospital system in this rural part of northern Nevada.

    MASS GRAVE: A photo gallery of the Adult Mental Health Historic Cemetery

    'The State Hospital in Sparks was in a very isolated area in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It was a working farm where the 'inmates' raised animals and grew their own food. Burial procedures were most likely a do-it-yourself operation at the direction of the hospital administrators at that time.

    According to the cemetery’s historical plaque, “The Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Historical Cemetary, 1882-1949, is the final resting place of more than 767 people. Although 767 names are known, the exact location in the cemetery is not.”

    Heartbreaking and tragic, the unknown bodies are not the only missing piece to this horrible puzzle. According to archives, 400 additional names are thought to be lost to history, meaning there are an additional 400 people who are forever lost to history. The mass grave site, the connection to the former asylum and its remoteness make this landmark a truly bone-chilling experience.

  • Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum - 600 E Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89104

    This list wouldn’t be complete without one of the most-known and directly scary places in Sin City! Zak Bagans, host of the hit TV series “Ghost Adventures,” has his own curated collection of haunted items right by Downtown Las Vegas.

    From housing Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s death van, a demonic Dybbuk Box and the infamous  “Propofol chair” from Michael Jackson’s death room. 

    Unsettling, creepy and spine-chilling, it’s everything that a “haunted” museum needs to be.