When Mark Lyon began leading his Haunted Nevada City and Haunted Grass Valley tours, he had no idea that his guests would actually experience ghostly activity first hand. Amazingly, he said that has indeed been the case.
Once, during a story about how the locked door to a room at the Holbooke Hotel has been known to shake violently and open by itself, the door nob inexplicably began to turn back and forth. Further investigation revealed that the room had not been booked for that night and both keys to that room were hanging behind the reception desk downstairs, according to Lyon.
“On another night, we found the staircase to the Holbrooke basement blocked by a pile of furniture that had been deposited there by ghostly hands, something which I have been told has reoccurred a number of time since,” Lyon said.
Tour guests have experienced several unexplainable occurrences on the Nevada City route, as well. But nothing could have prepared Lyon for the strange event he said occurred last year in Grass Valley the week before Halloween.
“I was standing with my tour group under the marquee of the Del Oro Theatre and was recounting the many ghostly encounters that have been reported to have occurred in the theater over the years,” Lyon said, “when suddenly, we saw a large quantity of popcorn gently float down from the sky like large snowflakes, quickly carpeting the sidewalk in front of the theater.”
Lyon was suspicious that a member of the theater staff had played an early Halloween prank on him, but upon returning to the theater at the end of his tour and questioning both the theater manager and other employees, he learned that no “flesh and blood” spook could have dropped the popcorn from anywhere other than from the roof. Access to the roof, however, requires a key — one that had been in the manager’s possession all evening long, according to Lyon.
A few days later, while giving an unannounced private tour at a time of night that could not have been anticipated by any would-be pranksters, the ghost of the Del Oro “attacked again,” only this time it was torn bits of paper napkins that fluttered down and the ghostly form of a small, mischievously smiling girl was clearly observed watching the tour from the roof.
“Strange things do tend to happen on my tours during October as we draw closer to Halloween,” Lyon said. “But never before had we experienced anything this strange!”