Though many often come to Nevada to seek some level of thrill in Las Vegas, visitors might experience a real adrenaline rush at a motel located about three hours away from Sin City, in the very small town of Tonopah.
Situated across from the Old Tonopah Cemetery, the Clown Motel has been known as “America’s Scariest Motel.” According to KLAS, Bob Perchetti founded the establishment in the late 1990s after retiring from a state tourism job and subsequently owned the motel for over 20 years. Over the course of those two decades, he and his business partner decorated the entire place with family clowns.
“He had a house full of clowns, and he decided to bring the clowns up and put them to work,” Perchetti told the station in 2017.
That same year, the motel, which had been up for sale, caught the attention of Hame Anand, who had similarly shared an interest in clowns. In an interview with Thrillist, the motel’s owner revealed that his brother was initially hesitant about buying the place mainly because it was right next to a graveyard. But Anand, who had some expertise in marketing, saw the motel’s location as an opportunity.
“All my life I worked in advertising,” he said. “So I know that even if you had $10 million you’re not going to get that kind of publicity. I told my brother, ‘See, this motel is very popular and the graveyard — that’s the catch.'”
Though Perchetti may have laid the groundwork for the motel’s notoriety, Anand capitalized on it by adding his 200 clown figurines to the 800 that had already come with the property. The large collection housed within its walls has only made the residence more haunting.
“I was scared a little bit,” Anand told Thrillist. “I couldn’t sleep in my room. But, one day, I thought, ‘Why did I come here? There must be some divine power. They want me here to run this motel. So probably, they are not going to mess with me.'”
According to Anand, he’s heard unexplainable noises in unoccupied rooms, from voices to footsteps. Guests have also reportedly heard or seen strange things in rooms 108, 109, 210, 215, and 217 in particular. In one case, a group of women even claimed that they had seen a ghost who had offered to fix the bathroom.
But paranormal activities aside, Anand, who said he’s had guests from all over the world spend the night at his motel, asserted that he finds some comfort staying with its 2,000-plus clown figurines.
“This was how I knew that they were telling me, ‘We are here, but don’t worry about that,'” he said.
And for what it’s worth, the motel, which now has certain rooms dedicated to specific horror films like “It,” “Friday the 13th” and “Halloween,” has gotten decent reviews on Tripadvisor.
“DON’T judge a book by its cover,” one visitor from Indiana wrote. “The outside looks questionable (cause you know … clowns) but the newly renovated rooms will definitely surprise you! Very clean and nice looking.”
“I was delighted with this motel,” another added. “Definitely a novel experience. Barring the transparent creepiness, the locality is infested with black cats and the cleaning-man wears clown pants!”
If you enjoyed this story, you might want to read about this high school dance team’s Pennywise-inspired routine.
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