Ghost searchers to probe U.S. Hotel |

Ghost searchers to probe U.S. Hotel

When “Robber Baron” Charles Crocker visited the Sierra after the Gold Rush, he often bunked at the U.S. Hotel in Nevada City, according to the proprietor.

Step into the second-floor room facing Broad Street, and you may get a whiff of something the famous railroad tycoon left behind – or at least, some people think so.

“Very frequently, you come in this room and smell cigar smoke for no reason,” said owner Katie Bennett.

With a strict no-smoking policy, Bennett has never been able to find the perpetrator. She says it’s the ghost of Crocker, who loved his stogies.

Bennett believes other ghosts, orbs and strange occurrences have occurred routinely since she started running the B&B with the red door above the Fur Traders five years ago.

Sound ridiculous? A group of people calling themselves skeptics aim to catch the spirits on tape.

This Sunday, the NorCal Paranormal Investigators from Sacramento will stay at the U.S. Hotel all night to record whatever they may see.

“We’re probably the biggest skeptics,” lead investigator Doug Carnahan said. “That’s why we do our documentation, and we debunk a lot of stuff.”

He cited one case where a ghost supposedly was turning lights on and off, according to a woman. Alas, it turned out to be bad wiring.

Though calling himself a skeptic, Carnahan got interested in the early 1980s when, he said, a ghost was pushing him around – literally – in his Fremont apartment.

One of the NorCal Paranormal team members is Teresa Dell, a psychic who became interested in the U.S. Hotel after allegedly running into spirits at the B&B during a stay last December.

One came during a shower “where I was tapped on the back of the thigh,” Dell said.

Others occurred when she got out of the shower and when she was toweling off.

“If this were not real, I would not be so deeply involved in it,” Dell said.

Ghost tour

The supposed presence of sprits doesn’t surprise Mark Lyon, who has been taking people on ghost tours of Nevada City for years and collecting stories since childhood.

“There are more ghosts per block in Nevada City than any other place I’ve been in my life,” Lyon said.

Other sites include the Doris Foley Library, the Nevada Theatre “and the most haunted of all,” Firehouse No. 1 on Main Street, he said.

Lyon hears his best stories from people who take his tour. One man told him of sleeping in a room at the U.S. Hotel when he felt his wife cuddling up to his back.

Then the man opened his eyes and saw that his wife was sleeping in front of him. “Whatever had been cuddling up against his back wasn’t there,” Lyon said.


To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail davem@ or call 477-4237.



To find out more about the NorCal Paranormal Investigators, log on to http://www.norcalghosthunters .com.

To find out more about the U.S. Hotel, call (530) 265-7999 or log on to

Frequent guest Terry Single is also available to talk about his paranormal encounters at the hotel at (530) 633-0599.

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