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Plaza Hotel, Las Vegas, NM (Analysis of the ghost story and paranormal claims)

One of the most important considerations that have to be determined is the longevity of the haunting. However, the actual history conflicts with back-story and elements of the reported phenomenon cannot be verified or have no record of occurrence. However, the historical accounts are relatively constant. The 1910 and 1920 census shows Mills living at 921 8th street in Las Vegas. However, the 1930 and 40 census shows him living with his family at the Plaza Hotel. The census from the 1930’s also shows that the hotel is still operating. Both the night clerk and the kitchen manager are also living at the hotel. So the backstory of Byron Mills living in the hotel is correct.  However, the assumption that room 310 was Byron’s room is not.  Byron and his wife lived in several rooms on the second floor near the front of the hotel.  In 1940 Byron would have been 75 years old and would not have lived in an area that required a trip up several flights of stairs and then back to the rear of the hotel. The blurring between the facts first appears in the 1983 newspaper article where to Mrs. Lucero claims that Mills died in one of the rooms on the second floor. The confusion of room 310’s former occupants may stem from the fact that employees of the hotel were also living in the building and these people were assigned the rooms on the third floor at the rear of the building.

Longevity is also a problem with the claim that the hotel is also supposedly haunted by a former manager who worked at the hotel from 1882 to 1912. However, the earliest recorded reference of this ghost is not until 1992 when it is mentioned in a newspaper article that the smell of orange blossom perfume was associated with an unknown female spirit.

The sounds of disembodied footsteps in room 310 is another significant element of many of the ghost stories. After staying in room 310 one evening, a hypothesis was presented that guests staying in room 310 might be hearing sounds from the hallway and adjoining areas which they misinterpret the source of these sounds as originating in the room. Testing was performed during the 2004 investigation. This was accomplished by blindfolding an investigator (test subject) who was lying on the bed in room 310. Additional investigators were placed in room 310 and the hallway outside the room. At predetermined intervals, the investigators would take turns walking back and forth in the room or hallway. The test subject would then indicate if they thought the source of the sound was in the room or in the hall. The test was repeated four times with each investigator taking turns as the test subject.

The results of our testing indicated that footsteps occurring in the hall could be misinterpreted as coming from inside the room. After the testing was completed a camera was positioned on the table at the end of the hallway near room 310 to observe how many of the hotel’s guests were walking in the hallway near room 310. The camera was left running overnight. From the hours of 7:00 pm to 6:00 am the camera recorded 37 people walking up to room 310. They looked at the door and the table before walking back down the hall. The frequency of hall traffic is probably due to the table at the end of the hall which is the location of the ghost in the hotel’s ghost photo and to look at the doorway to room 310 (the haunted room). Twenty of these visitations occurred after 11:00 pm.

The results of our testing, along with Hypnagogia hallucinations, presents a logical alternative to witness reports of hearing an unseen person walking around at the foot of the bed in room 310.

Finally, there is the question of why would Byron T. Mills be haunting the Plaza Hotel? The historical record shows that he did not have any sentiment for the old building. At one point he was going to demolish the old hotel before deciding to cut his losses and sold it to Johnny Ortiz in 1944, three years before his death. It seems rather odd that Mills would hang around the hotel after his death, especially when you consider his reputation and ego. Byron T. Mills was a local attorney, acted as town Mayor and as a territorial representative. Mills Avenue carries his name, which he named after himself. If ghosts do exist, it seems he would have chosen a more suitable locale to spend eternity.

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