As an independent filmmaker, I was in Las Vegas, Nevada for a film makers convention in the early 2000’s. Like many of us who were networking to find jobs within the entertainment or documentary industry, I wanted to present the best case for my former company as I could. During which time, we partied with others who were shopping their wares, and with producers for networks. And this is when I first met three guys who later became larger than life in a genre of television that was about to take off.
I was walking through the convention hall, and still remember to this day of these guys having a large sign saying, ” Will Make Any Film For Money”. I found it rather amusing three college age guys who were ready to sell their souls to make a film, but kinda wish I had that thought myself. About two years later, I was skimming through the channels, and came across a commercial for a new ghost hunting documentary called “Ghost Adventures” on SciFi Channel. And when I saw who was going to be in it, I immediately recognized the the trio from the convention, and their sign selling their wares. At that moment, I set my VCR to record it, since I was going to be in Vancouver for another project. And to my surprise after watching it, I was amazed at what they went through.
By the beginning of 2005, I was assigned to begin a documentary on gold mining, and the old west towns that began, lived, and died from the gold mining boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I spent weeks travelling the back roads of the American West. Staying in cheap motels, eating in hole in the wall diners, I would meet with historians, miners and their families, and townspeople who remained in these towns. It was on one long drive I made through the Nevada desert when I came upon the town of Goldfield. If you have never visited Goldfield, it’s in the middle of nowhere. It contains probably the world’s largest junk yard of decaying mobile homes, cars, and other rubbish. The streets are like from the Old West. Literally dirt, smelling of urine, spilled beer, and broken glass. As I drove through town, I saw in the distance a large brick structure, the Goldfield Hotel.
Put onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, the Goldfield was far from the once luxurious hotel she once was. As I turned onto Crook Avenue, I remembered this was the place where the “Ghost Adventures” documentary was filmed. So I parked my rental car, and grabbing my camera, I strolled around the property taking photos.
As I made my way back to the car, I was approached by a gentleman that resembled one of the character actors who played in Hollywood’s Westerns of years gone by. We struck up a conversation, and after telling him what I was doing for our documentary for the Film Commission, he explained to me that he was the owner of the Goldfield. As we were talking, I could hear the disappointment in his voice. And later I found out the reason why.
Asking me not to video or photo our conversation, he began to tell me what really happened at the Goldfield.
He began to tell me of the troubles in getting the historic hotel reopened. The structural damage on the upper floors, lacking of heating and air conditioning, and deteriorating walls with peeling lead paint to name a few. He tried to get other investors to help, help from historic societies, and the State of Nevada. to no avail. And then they came.
About a year before the GA documentary appeared on SciFi, three film makers came to Goldfield and approached Red. They came to film a documentary about haunted places, and after hearing of the tales behind the “hauntings” at the Goldfield. They offered to pay him $200 to film there. Never looking at a gift horse in the mouth, he took them up on the offer. They set up to begin filming. They interviewed the townspeople, and interviewed him. They came back with hardware to install a padlock on the front door. This was used for filming. He later told me that even though for filming purposes that they were “locked in” the hotel, in actuality, the rear employee entrance was unlocked so they could go to their vehicle. He locked them “in”, and went home. The next morning, he entered the rear of the hotel, where all three of the film makers were sitting around joking about their night. They left later that morning, and went back to a nearby motel to sleep it off for a few hours.
Red went through the property to make sure it was secure. And then he waited to see what was about to transpire. The documentary later aired, and much to his disbelief, saw something that was unnerving, a brick allegedly being “thrown” across the room. That sent up red flags, and never again he thought, would allow such shenanigans be done in the hotel again. After the show ended, the next morning he went to the basement, and searched for any bricks that would have sailed like the one in the documentary. After searching the basement room thoroughly, he came upon a brick with two holes drilled in at differing angles. It looked as if it was battered, with gouge marks and chips. And that’s what hit him, that this was the “brick” that was used in the documentary. And he was livid. Is this to say that it was used as a stunt? Was there fakery involved? You decide. For now the brick resides on a workbench as a souvenir to a supposed “paranormal event”…..
He later explained that the attention has been a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that numerous paranormal events and numerous groups book events and investigations there, but the curse of having to fend off vandals and trespassers. I can fully understand his frustration about all this unneeded attention. As we walked through the former lap of luxury, the grandeur is long gone. Broken walls, decayed flooring, peeling paint, and the smell of vermin takes away any vision of return to the former elegance this historic hotel once had. And he was reluctant to allow for a second “investigation” by GA. But needing an influx of cash, Red made it known he was not happy with the “flying brick” debacle. No flying objects have ever been encountered with I was assured…..
So if you go go the Goldfield Hotel, be respectful to the folks in the town of Goldfield, Red Roberts, the spirits that may haunt the hotel, but especially respect the hotel itself. Don’t break in, or trespass.
No matter how may smedium shirts you may wear, how many Mark McGuire laden armcurls you can do, or how much hair gel you use in your faux hawk, your little secret is out there.
So here’s to another ten years of laughing your way from the small screen, to the convention floor, to the bank. All at the expense of young, impressionable teenagers.
Oooo wee yooo, dressed like Buddy Holly……..
Permission to post granted by its author Josh Weinstein on 11/13/2014