Haunted Murphys: Every Town Has its Tales

Haunted Murphys: Every Town Has its Tales

Haunted Historic Murphys Hotel

It’s Halloween, the spookiest holiday on the calendar, and Murphys is abuzz with costumed citizens, buckets of candy at the ready, music spilling from the shops and restaurants, and unearthly tall tales and legends creeping up in conversation… After all, every town has its ghost stories. Murphys has a rich history, so it’s no wonder that the vibrant little town has its own spine-tingling tales.

Take, for instance, Historic Murphys Hotel. The cherished Murphys landmark anchors the town to its Gold Rush beginnings and, as legend has it, bridges the gap between the corporeal present and a supernatural past. In the latter part of its 155-year existence, guests at the hotel have had chillingly similar experiences with shadowy sightings and bumps in the night.

Resident apparition, Eleanor, is a harmless soul who still feels she has a purpose at the hotel. In the hotel’s early years, Eleanor took a position as a chambermaid at what was then called the Sperry and Perry House. The town, at the time, was a bustling Gold Rush town, bursting at the seems with folks from every corner of the country all chasing the same gold-laden dream. With so much romanticism fluttering about, it was only a matter of time before Eleanor’s heartstrings would be plucked by an exciting, ruggedly handsome gold miner. Theirs was a white-hot, lightening-fast romance resulting in an almost instant marriage. Promising a fortune for his new bride, Eleanor’s husband left Murphys to trek further into the Sierra Nevadas in search of gold. …He never returned… Eleanor waited at the hotel for him. She waited thirty years, taking various positions at the hotel, refusing to leave for fear that her husband would finally return to her only to find that she had gone. Shortly after her death, the strange occurrences began. These occurrences continue and have been noted by everyone from guests to employees to the hotel’s owners. Never a frightening presence, Eleanor is known to move objects in the kitchen and wander about the hotel, opening doors and trying in vain to open doors that are locked as she does her best to serve as the hotel’s caretaker. It’s said that her reflection can be seen in the mirror of the old hutch in the Gold Room, just feet away from where her likeness hangs on the wall. Eleanor’s union with her husband may have been severed, but her union with the hotel has stayed strong for a century and a half.

Eleanor is not the only ghost said to reside at Historic Murphys Hotel. Apparently, a bookkeeper was shot at the hotel and thrown over the balcony. Though little is known of the man and his story, he is said to walk the second floor, keeping an eye on those who come and go. Visitors have noted the feeling of a presence and of being intensely watched. Perhaps a stroll through the second floor of Historic Murphys Hotel should be in order tonight, on All Hallow’s Eve?

There was recently another encounter with a soul whose story is yet unknown. This time, it was near the old Murphys Pokey (the town’s old one-room jailhouse). A couple was walking down Main Street just past midnight in hopes to escape the raucous celebration happening in the pub at the Historic Murphys Hotel, where they were staying. As they neared the old Pokey, they quickly realized there was an old man teetering next to dilapidated jail. He seemed to have imbibed a wee bit too much, leaning on the wall for support. As the couple passed the man, they were able to make out finer details: long gray hair, soiled button-down shirt, mud-caked pants. The man gave them a small nod as they continued on and continued to eye them as the walked. Guided by an unsettling feeling, the couple quickly decided to turn back toward the bustling hotel. As they walked, the husband noticed the man awkwardly stumbling across the street behind them. It suddenly dawned on him that, though they were only yards away from the hotel, the din of the pub’s revelers had completely silenced while in the presence of the old man. Once out of sight, the music and laughter was as loud as ever. The realization took only a moment and the man quickly turned around to get another look at the old drunk. No one was there. His wife asked what he was looking at. “Well, that old man was just behind us, but he’s gone.” The wife replied, “No… he crossed the street just in front of us. Didn’t you see him? But… he’s gone…” As they discussed the event, she also noted that the sound from the pub had been silenced
when in the presence of the old man. The moment he vanished, sound returned. Creepy? Yes.

So, on this dark and eerie night, as the trick-or-treaters return home with their loot and the jovial holiday carousing begins to simmer down, take note of shadows and sounds. Take note of the silences and the uneasy stirrings in your gut. Heighten your awareness tonight… you just might find yourself with your own spectral saga to add to the list.

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