Spirits soar at the Lovelock Revitalization Association. According to their mission statement, the group aims to “revitalize Lovelock and bring it back to life.”
They’ll soon send shivers down Lovelock’s spine with a ghost walk, led by Dawn Bequette on five autumn nights – Oct. 18, 19, 25, 26 and, of course, Halloween.
“This is one of my true passions and I’m excited to bring the stories and history to life,” says Bequette.
For the cost of a movie show, participants will hear tales likely to haunt their dreams awhile. Bequette will narrate as she spirits each tour group along on the outdoor walk.
She’ll cover over a dozen haunts including Nanny Joe’s, Treasures Bookstore, the Longhorn Bar, the courthouse, La Fiesta, the Chinese Museum, the train depot, the old bank building, Pershing Pub, the dentist office, Cowboy Realty and Temptation’s old and new buildings.
Each tour group will end the evening huddled around a cauldron of hot chocolate at Temptations. The spirit of friendship should fend off restless dreams, it’s hoped.
“I’ve always been interested in the paranormal and like to take ghost tours in all the places I visit,” says Bequette.
She’s checked out the ghosts of Boston, New Orleans and Salem, the site of the witch trials. Bequette has toured Virginia City, NV., and Virginia City, Montana. In Calif., she’s explored the haunts of Grass Valley, Nevada City and Placerville.
This fall marks Bequette’s debut as a ghost tour leader.
The tour will extend beyond its earthly parameters. For example, participants will learn about Mazuma. Founded in 1907, the mining town sat 25 miles northwest of Lovelock at the mouth of the Seven Troughs canyon, as vulnerable as a fly in a spiderweb.
On July 18, 1912, around 5 p.m., thunderheads burst over the canyon, releasing a torrent of rainfall. The flash flood snowballed, destroying everything in its path, including the Seven Troughs cyanide plant. The force wiped out its tanks, releasing gallons of chemicals into the mix.
A Seven Trough’s man got on the phone to warn Mazuma of the catastrophe headed their way. But the electrical storm caused static. Fred Preston, the proprietor of the Preston Hotel, heard only one word - “water.”
According to eyewitness accounts, by the time the gully washer reached Mazuma, the wall of water stood 20 feet tall and 150 feet wide. Eight people drowned including John and Mamie Kehoe’s four little boys and one of their friends.
The postmistress, Maud Ruddell, raced back to the post office to save her receipts. The building collapsed over her body.
Survivors relocated a mile west to Tunnel Camp, burying their dead under wooden crosses.
Today, visitors startle as rocks fall onto the ruins. Some see each thud as a sign from the beyond. Others swear they’ve heard a voice yell, “Run!”
The ghost walk will also feature stories about the Marzen House Museum, the Lovelock Caves, Lone Mountain Cemetery and the hospital, says Bequette. She’ll tell about Lovelock’s Shoshone medicine woman, Winnescheika. In 1891, the healer became the last person in the United States executed as an alleged witch.
Some ghosts may raise the spirits of the tour group, causing them to smile. When Neil and LeeAnn Colegrove Gallagher bought the Lovelock Mercantile Building, the seller whispered that a ghost haunted the premises.
Today LeeAnn and her daughter Maggie greet customers at Nanny Joe’s, a vintage and retro shop. Sometimes they hear footsteps above their heads. The sound reminds them of cowboy boots stomping against the floor, so they call their visitor the “Cowboy Ghost.”
Maybe he seeks lodging in one of the rooms that once stood on the upper story, demolished after a 1954 earthquake. Or perhaps he’s hungry for a slice of pie from Neuman’s Bakery. LeeAnn knows one thing for sure.
“He’s a friendly ghost,” she says.
The Lovelock Revitalization Association will host ghost walks Oct. 18, 19, 25, 26 and 31, with the times still open for discussion. Tickets will run $10.