Ghost Adventures: Bonnie Springs Ranch

“Ghost Adventures” teamed up with Las Vegas Paranormal Investigations and employees of the modern-day Bonnie Springs Ranch. The ranch currently hosts a 1960’s era camera ready old west town. The tourist attraction sits on top of a real-life Spanish Trail wagon train stop established in 1843 to give pioneers bound for California a chance to rest and re-supply.

Bonnie Springs Ranch owner Alan Levinson and Ranch Supervisor Joe Tasso split the task of walking GAC through their fictional town while they talked about the challenges real travelers encountered in the 1840’s.

Both Allan and Joe were convinced the location was haunted both by the ghosts of past travelers and the Native Americans who lived all around the area at the time of the prairie schooner migrations.

In the past Allan had heard strange voices and disembodied footsteps walking nearby. Allan said quick checks around corners or attempts to figure out who else was around him  proved fruitless.

With a background as a former private investigator and corrections experience under his belt, Joe wasn’t the easiest person to rattle but he told Zak both he and today’s tourists frequently felt watched as they toured the movie set built on top of a wide spot in the road so many lives flowed through.

Once Joe saw an outdoor child-sized merry-go-round rotate itself. This self-locomotion was accompanied by sounds of distant children’s voices at a time when the theme park was not open to visitors. As Joe approached the spinning toy it stopped turning.

Zak discussed with Alan the many dangers pioneers faced. Mexico was a chronic threat to the south. Bandits, starvation, illness and the harsh elements were more immediate dangers.

Next up was the school-house. Joe told Zak a recent female tourist claimed to have heard the disembodied voice of a little girl who said she wanted to go home.

What I saw was a much smaller, more modest school-house that belonged to the wagon stop era. Like many shanty buildings of it’s time it’s scholars could have shot spit balls through the gaps between the wall and floor boards. My guides said the building was used intermittently as different groups of wagon trains passed through. If a group of travelers had a school teacher with them or even an adult with some formal education, school would be held for the children of the families for the few days or weeks they were at the wagon stop.

I asked the ghost girl why she wanted to go home. The answer was she was sick. She told me, “My tummy hurts” as she cradled her bloated abdomen. She fainted in class and hit the gritty floorboards. As the students and teacher crowded around her she died. When I ran a laundry list of common and deadly illnesses past my guides I got the impression the little girl died of dysentery. Dysentery was and still is frequently spread by contaminated water. That was an interesting side note that became more significant as the episode progressed.

GAC had a blast recreating a standard western movie scene or two. Zak played a gunslinger shot from the second floor balcony of the Saloon by a lawman. In another bit of genre tribute GAC rode into town looking stern or in Aaron’s case, simply demented.

Joe took Zak into the Opera House and said at one time Joe and three other investigators had been inside. Yet five shadows appeared on a nearby wall.

I took a closer psychic look at who the fifth shadow was. It was the ghost of a cowboy who died on the spot during the wagon stop days of Bonnie Springs Ranch. The cowboy’s ghost showed up later during lockdown.

As Zak and Joe chatted in the Opera House they discussed the dark spirit rumored to inhabit the space. As they discussed the anger of this spirit both felt the air around them go cold.

In yet another sidebar GAC enjoyed the attentions of a wild burro that nosed around the window of their SUV. Not convinced it was particularly wild as it knew to approach an open car window in the hopes of a snack. Zak tried to question the burro but apparently ghosts were not of interest and it wandered off when goodies failed to appear.

The somewhat disjoined walk through continued in the Wax Museum. Zak confided to Joe that dolls, clowns and wax figures were among his personal phobias. This seemed to tap a wellspring of creepy recollections from Joe.

Near an exhibit showing an early friar missionary figure Joe told Zak for the first year he was on the job as supervisor the friar relocated to the floor every night despite the fact it was bolted down. Joe also mentioned the cheerful fact that the Wax Museum was always damp and cold.

The wax figures confused the ghosts in the area. A display that showed a worse for wear bear reared over a prone frontiersman prompted one of the ghosts to ask, “Is he hurt?”

Photographer Tom Knapp recounted his experience with Joe at the Wax Museum. As Tom and Joe approached the padlocked door, Joe grasped the lock in one hand and reached into his pocket for the key with the other. When the key to the padlock was about an inch away the padlock abruptly opened itself in Joe’s palm. Zak joked that the ghosts wanted GAC to go inside.

A previous investigation with Las Vegas Paranormal Investigators and Joe yielded some still photos of a black cloud that moved from where Joe stood in the direction of investigator Wallie Luna.

Owner Alan mentioned to Zak that a number of nearby mountain caves once housed Native groups. He said artifacts and Native writing remained in some of the caves. A sprint up to the former cave homes of the Native Paitue tribe only yielded GAC hi-jinks. Aaron was rudely impaled by a local cactus plant.

I asked any of the remaining spirits of those who once called the caves home if there was anything they wanted me to know. The ghost of a young warrior gave me a high-speed tour of what had happened in those caves. I got glimpses of a woman who cooked food over an open fire in a pot, of children playing, of an infant in an oval-shaped basket, of a couple arguing long and loud at the mouth of a cave. It was a lot like watching a PowerPoint presentation on fast forward. I am sure people died or fought there but overall my impressions were of everyday people from another time going about the business of living.

GAC thoughtfully invited a Paiute Tribal leader and a group of young adults in full regalia to give them a blessing and a colorful display of dancing.

Lockdown commenced as Aaron hit the floor with his camera gear the moment he walked into the Opera House. Zak was right when he said it was going to be a long investigation.

Several guests were included in lockdown. At midnight Joe joined GAC.

Because of their impressive past results Wallie Luna and Christy Silva of Las Vegas Paranormal Investigations were also included. Christy had photo evidence from the time her back was scratched by an unseen presence in the Wax Museum. It was a vivid mark that ran down most of the length of her back.

GAC enjoyed wandering from building to building with a new improved thermal camera that noted both the hottest and coldest spots in the frame at any given time. First they scanned the Opera House with it. They got an image that at first looked like a man sitting Indian style against a wall. GAC quickly debunked the image as a water leak that had soaked into the wall. Next the thermal camera toured the inside of the School House.

Zak noted GAC had set up a static night vision camera on the children’s merry-go-round along with some low tech but effective wind movement devices. They stuck a pin wheel and handkerchief on a stick into the ground, side by side. So any wind that might have nudged the heavy metal toy would be documented. The ghost children didn’t seem inclined to play.

When GAC headed into the General Store Zak and Aaron both heard footsteps from the back of the store. Aaron’s camera audio picked up some unexplained noises, but they proved to be caused by dripping water.

Wallie, Christy and Joe were brought into the investigation. Christy briefly recounted how she was scratched in a prior investigation. Zak cut her off as he said, “Let’s stop chit-chatting because I want that to happen to me.” He didn’t get his desired experience.

GAC trooped into the Wax Museum with Joe and their own EVP expert Billy Tolley. Billy ran a live EVP session wired to his laptop and headphones as Zak and Joe provoked with few results.

Meanwhile, Nick, Aaron, Wallie and Christy tackled the Wax Museum. All four heard disembodied voices that unfortunately were not recorded. Aaron asked any local ghosts to “Do something we can see and feel.” They obliged as the group heard distant Native chants and drums.

I took a psychic look into what had scratched Christy in a prior investigation. Sure enough there was a common sort of dark entity in the Wax Museum. I asked my guides what attracted it to that spot. I was shown a lot of hasty, poorly marked graves and told the Wax Museum was built on top of the informal wagon stop graveyard. Men, women, children and infants lost on the trail or at the wagon stop were quickly buried to avoid illness and keep the bodies from the local coyotes. Some of the bones in that jumble were pretty small. Childbirth was dangerous enough for women in the 1840’s but women on the trail had a higher documented infant and mother mortality rate.

It took some doing after the episode but I had by guides and assorted other divine helpers release the occupants of the graves. There was a mass exodus of spirits that headed straight for the presence of God. As for the dark entity, it was dissolved in the presence of the divine as all such critters I run across are handled. It didn’t put up much of a fight. Despite the bad scratch it had given Christy, it was strictly minor-league in the darkness department.

Since GAC and Billy didn’t have much luck, Joe tried his past trigger, he talked to whatever was lurking in the Opera House about the anger it must have felt. Anger became such a common word in that bit of provoking a counter was run on the bottom of the screen to track its use. Joe got some results when Billy commented, “It’s darn cold over here.”

On a roll, Joe asked the ghosts, “Did something happen to you?” in the Opera House. Now that Joe mentioned it, yes. Remember the fifth shadow Joe and LVPI had encountered on an Opera House wall during a prior investigation? I saw that shadow as the ghost of a wagon stop era cowboy.

Instead of the Opera House walls, I saw a disputed well of water. Water was the difference between life and death for the wagon trains that crossed the Nevada desert. According to the ghost of the cowboy, a major dispute erupted between the members of two wagon trains about who got how much water and why.

Things got so bitter the cowboy was posted to guard the well overnight. He did his duty but it cost him his life when someone from the opposing party shot him. My guides showed me the ensuing battle over the well resulted in significant bloodshed. Somehow one of the bleeding combatants ended up in the well, fouling it for everyone.

I suspect the little girl who died of dysentery in the original school-house/shack may have become ill from drinking the blood polluted water. Fresh blood diluted in water wouldn’t be much of a problem, but in desert heat it broke down quickly into rotted proteins fully capable of sickening man or beast.

Since I knew a bit of the cowboy ghost’s history I wasn’t surprised when I heard him answer Joe’s question if something had happened to him at that location. His ghost heatedly told Joe, “I got shot in the back.”

About this time Billy heard an EVP, but it turned out to be soft and of low quality. When played Joe thought it sounded like a woman. Zak’s take on it was the voice of a little kid who said, “…come here…”

Back at the Wax Museum Nick was provoking in classic GAC style. He told the haunts, “If you want to scare us out you better do something pretty crazy. Hit something, do something!” Results came when the ghosts were asked to repeat the chant and drum sounds the group had heard earlier. An EVP was recorded that said one of two things. The first interpretation was, “Let me tell you something.” The second option was, “Let me help you.”

Joe asked the ghosts, “Can we go on the stage?” He got a response of sorts when he suddenly felt a breeze on his face. GAC’s camera captured a dark misty shadow figure dart from behind the door Joe’s back was to. Every effort was made to debunk the dark mist. All light sources, angles and reflective surfaces were scrutinized with no explanation found.

Zak and Joe headed to the Saloon. As soon as they entered the building both heard a half dozen heavy booted footsteps from the back of the room. No source for the footsteps was determined.

Zak made good on GAC’s promise to show Joe any notable recorded images from their cameras. It spooked Joe a bit to realize the dark misty shadow figure in the Opera House had only been about 10 feet from him.

 Blessings, Lynne

 Lynne Olson can be contacted for private readings via email at:

© 2011 Lynne Olson. All rights reserved.

About Lynne Sutherland Olson

Professional Psychic Medium
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