the historic town of
Arizona sits the haunted
Oatman Hotel. Oatman
was first established as a tent city in the early 1900s and the
historic hotel, called the Drulin Hotel, was built in 1902. The
eight room hotel did a brisk business to area miners, especially after
two miners struck a rich vein that would end up being a 10 million
dollar gold find in 1915. Prior to that time the town had been
little more than a mining camp. The rich gold discovery brought
hundreds of new settlers and within one year’s time, Oatman
had grown to more than 3,500 residents.
In just a few short years, Oatman
suffered three major fires that almost destroyed the town. However, the town was rebuilt, and the old hotel was repaired in 1920,
continuing to host its many guests.
However, both the population and the
mining boom were short-lived. The largest mining company, United
Eastern Mines, shut down its operations in 1924 and the town almost
died. But with the advent of
the old town and the hotel hung on, catering to the many travelers
along the new highway.
to the Hotel (*see special note at end of article),
March 29, 1939 Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent their wedding
night there after having been married in Kingman, Arizona. Remembering this memorable night, the couple often returned to the
hotel for the peace and solitude it afforded them. Clark was
known to spend many a night playing poker with some of the miners.
Sadly, Carole Lombard was killed in a plane crash in January 1942. Though devastated, Clark continued with his life and his career and
later married again.
Over the years, the old hotel carried a number of names but was changed to
the Oatman Hotel in the 1960s. When
was replaced with the interstate, Oatman again
suffered a devastating blow and dwindled to just a few gift shops and
restaurants. Today only about 100 people live in Oatman
The Oatman Hotel
is one of the biggest attractions of the small village as the word of its
mischievous ghosts has spread far and wide. The first and foremost
ghosts are those of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, who evidently had so
many fine memories of the old hotel that they simply refuse to leave. Continuing to celebrate, guests and staff have often heard the pair
whispering and laughing from the room when it is empty. According to
one report, when a professional photographer took a picture of the empty
room, the ghostly figure of a man appeared on the developed print.
Evidently Clark and Carole are not alone, as there are other spirits that
reportedly haunt the old hotel. The second floor houses a Theater
Room Museum where distinct outlines of sleeping bodies have been found in
the dust on the beds there. Upon closer inspection, none of the
surrounding areas appear to be disturbed. Staff suspects that the
sleeping spirit is that of a former chambermaid who has often been spotted
in the room.
Another guest room is
also said to be haunted by an Irish miner who once lived there. Distraught because his family died when on their way to America, he had a
habit of heavy drinking. One night he got really carried away with
the drinking passed out behind the hotel. He never woke up. It
is said that he has haunted his old room in the hotel ever since. The staff refers to this spirit as "Oatie," who is often heard playing his
bagpipe around the hotel. Other common pranks include opening the
window in his former room and pulling the covers off of the bed. There have also been reports of the room being very cold – in the midst of
a hot desert day.