Clarissa Johal: Tangled Tuesday - A Visit to the Clown Motel and Old Tonopah Cemetery by Stan Hampton, Sr.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Tangled Tuesday - A Visit to the Clown Motel and Old Tonopah Cemetery by Stan Hampton, Sr.

Please welcome my guest author,  Stan Hampton, Sr.

A Visit to the Clown Motel and Old Tonopah Cemetery  
by Stan Hampton, Sr. 

And Then…

            The thing about things that go bump in the night is that they can go bump in the daylight too. And it doesn’t matter what the season is, though I suspect Halloween adds to the possibility.
            Recently I had a chance to go with the Nevada Camera Club of Las Vegas, of which I am a member, to photograph the International Car Forest of the Last Church just outside of Goldfield, Nevada. Because it was an overnight trip, my youngest son, his wife, the three grandchildren, and I decided we would stay in nearby Tonopah, Nevada. Both towns were boom mining towns from the early 20th century, and both, especially Tonopah, are noted for hauntings.

            The world famous Clown Motel—only happy clowns make up the some 600 clowns in the lobby—sounded like a fun place to stay. Besides, as the front office assured me, usually there was no paranormal activity in the office or the rooms. Only when a lot of people visited the Old Tonopah Cemetery next door, otherwise known as the Haunted Graveyard, was there some activity. 

            My grandkids were excited about staying at the Clown Motel even if it wasn’t of “It” fame. They sort of gave me a suspicious look though when I told them that if they wanted to look out the window at the graveyard, make sure their mom or dad looked first—no telling what might be looking back. My son kind of groaned and I felt kind of, well, I guess not. When we stayed at the Clown Motel my 9-year old grandson turned on all of the room lights and the bathroom light.
Though my grandkids and I visited the Haunted Graveyard that night and in the morning, nothing untoward occurred. I guess all of the happy clowns kept—other things—at bay.

Photographing at the Car Forest was fun. There are some 40 cars, trucks, and buses partially buried on several acres of land just south of Goldfield. The Car Forest is visible from Highway 95, the road to Reno, Nevada. It is an ongoing art project; and artists are welcome to visit and decorate the vehicles. It does make for a different and exciting art project in the Nevada landscape.
As the twilight descended on us we began working on photographing a pair of vehicles beneath the Milky Way that rose into the night sky. I had photographed at night before, but it was always something of a hit or miss affair. That night I took enough notes and learned enough that I’m certain that with more practice, someday I’ll become pretty good at photographing beneath the stars. And when I had enough photographs, we headed for Tonopah and the Clown Motel to spend the night.

            As I had told my son before we journeyed to Tonopah, we probably didn’t have to worry about taking any anti-ghost precautions. We would only have to take precautions if something followed us back from Tonopah. My son looked at me and I felt—well, actually, no. I laughed.


PS: The next day we stopped at Gemfield near Goldfield, where the grandkids looked for gems near the abandoned mine. And further south we stopped briefly at the ghost town of Rhyolite, near one of the entrance roads to Death Valley.


                                                                       * * * *                                       

TAG LINE: You can run, but what if you find yourself aboard a space faring Flying Dutchman?

BLURB: Luther Raynor is a son of one of the world’s wealthiest and politically influential families. When the Etava Virus appeared and spread across the world, mankind’s very survival was in question. Luther used his family’s wealth to construct a sleeper spacecraft to take the family into space, to orbit in safety around Jupiter for a thousand years while in suspended animation. At the last minute he changes the plan after calculating that upon awakening, survival supplies for one would last far longer than for two dozen or more people. He flees into space alone except for the Mobile Artificial Intelligence Image—May, responsible for operation of the spacecraft. But, Luther had no idea of what awaited him out there.

EXCERPT: The dream was always the same. He was floating alone in an unknown darkness until a pale dot emerged in the distance. He wrinkled his nose at the smell of burning wood and something else, something that smelled like sizzling bacon. His hand opened, fingers spread wide toward the dot that became a blue-green world, blanketed with dirty white clouds that sailed across a starry blackness. Dark, smoky clouds with a flickering yellow heart trailed the world whose colors were fading as if losing their vitality. An unfamiliar low, deep keening sounded from an unexplored deep…

* * * *
            “This is the Deep Space Sleeper Spacecraft Hope. Can anyone hear me?” After several moments of silence he closed with the by-now routine, “Hope out.”
In the cramped dimly lit cockpit cabin Luther Raynor covered his mouth with a trembling hand. Beyond the surrounding windows above the numerous instrument panels was a primordial night deeper than that of an unlit cave.
He listened intently. Beyond the dull hiss of circulating air he knew a stealthy creak issued from the narrow corridor through the open hatchway behind him. The sound would have been more at home on a haunted wooden sailing ship drifting aimlessly on a mysterious ocean rather than in a brightly lit spacecraft of which he was the only occupant. He was sure, after several frantic searches, that he was the only one aboard. But still…
Luther swallowed uneasily and ignored a faint groan. He touched the screens set in the control panel before him to activate another sensor and visual scan.
He was lost in the depths of unknown darkness, but knew he was a long way from Jupiter and the four moons discovered by Galileo Galilei - Callisto, Ganymede, Europa, and Io. After a months long journey the Hope was supposed to slide into position behind Europa, the moon with a possible planet wide ocean beneath an icy crust, and thought to have the best possibility for life outside of Earth. From there the gas giant, almost 700,000 kilometers distant with its myriad of misty blue, gray, orange, white and purple pastel bands, would fill the windows of the spacecraft. He would have a bird’s eye view of the mysterious Giant Red Spot, the hurricane-like storm that always was and always would be, as it grew and shrank according to its whim.
For a thousand years the five Galileans would circle that failed sun, after which the automatic flight systems would activate the return sequence and with a flare of rockets the powerful Zama Drive, descendant of the early 21st century Cannae Drive, would fling Hope away from its companions. Because of the speed generated by the Zama Drive, the world of his birth would soon appear in the spacecraft windows again.
            At least, that was what was supposed to happen.

* * * *
The darkness was fading before a kaleidoscope of spinning colors. A biting cold made moving difficult and painful.
Luther opened his eyes and after several moments of blinking against dim, yet painful lights, and blurriness, he realized he was still firmly secured within the titanium alloy suspended animation chamber.
            Elation filled him—he was alive! The emotion was replaced by confusion—where was he? But then, there was elation again—at least he was alive.
Luther examined the inside of the chamber with its maze of monitoring wires, electrodes, suspension fluid tubes, chemical nutrient tubes and waste tubes—the Personal Environmental Control and Life Support System—all connected to him through a layer of protective clothing by implanted plugs. There was a thick glass window above his face and one to either side of his head. Through the window all he could see was the ceiling of the cargo bay.
Luther frowned at a dim memory of being thrown around violently, but perhaps it was only a dream.
He had no idea how long he lay in the chamber lit by tiny lights from small instrument panels. When no one peeked through the chamber windows, he fumbled with the communication switch and in a hoarse voice painfully whispered, “Hello?”


            Stan Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather with numerous grandchildren, and a published author, photographer and photojournalist. He served in the active duty Army and Army Reserve before enlisting in the Nevada Army National Guard; Hampton retired in 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class. He is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle and Iraqi Freedom, with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.
            He has shown two solo photographic exhibitions and curated a multi-media exhibit. His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.
            Hampton has an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis, from the College of Southern Nevada. He is studying at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas with a double major in Art and English. Hampton also spent a cold, rainy Spring 2017 semester studying at a university in southwestern France in the shadow of the Pyrenees Mountains, where he developed a fondness for sugar crepes and hot chocolate with marshmallows, and a love for the French lifestyle.
            After almost 20 years of desert in the American Southwest and Southwest Asia, he still misses the Rocky Mountains, yellow aspens in the fall, running rivers, and a warm fireplace during snowy winters.
 Hampton can be found at:



Anonymous said...


Hi. Thanks for the opportunity. I appreciate it. And, Happy Halloween to you and yours!


Clarissa Johal, Author said...

Back at you, Stan! Have a great Halloween with your family :)