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Haunted Destinations: MacKay Mansion (Virginia City, Nevada)

Mackay Mansion is one of Nevada’s most haunted houses. This manor house is a beautiful three-story Victorian with a hand-carved staircase, business office, parlor, living room, kitchen on the ground floor, and bedrooms and bathrooms. You’ll also see the first indoor bathroom in Virginia City at the Mackay Mansion, the silver set John had made for his wife, and many other fine furnishings. Located at 129 South D. Street in Virginia City, Nevada, today, this stunning house is a museum and the home of many of Virginia City’s ghosts. The current owners offer tours of the house.

Mackay Mansion, along with the rest of Virginia City’s Historic District, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1961.

Mining superintendent George Hearst built this gorgeous mansion in 1859.

Hearst not only lived here but also ran the Gould and Curry Office mining agency from the mansion. This practice was not uncommon in the mid-1800s.  Many buildings served as mining offices and were designated as mansions if they resembled houses in the slightest bit.

In the early 1870s, Irish immigrant John Mackay moved into the mansion.

Mackay controlled the Kentuck, Hale and Norcross, and Belcher Mines and the Gould and Curry Office. Incredibly, the mansion survived the great fire of 1875 that tore through Virginia City, causing millions in damages.

Mackay was known for his incredible woodworking talent. Mackay and Hearst carved and/or created much of the original furniture and ornate wood.

Mackay partnered with James Fair, and the two men discovered the most significant silver deposit in North America.

Mackay kept his fortune in a vault in the house. The treasure mainly consisted of gold bullion.

In addition to the exquisite furnishings and impressive mining history, Mackay Mansion is also rumored to be extremely haunted.

Many paranormal “experts” claim the mansion is a melting pot full of Virginia City’s lost souls. Here are some of the ghostly visitors you might encounter on a trip to the house:

  • A pair of bandits tried to rob Mackay of his fortune. A security guard shot and killed both of them. Their spirits are said to haunt this exact location.
  • A little girl dressed in white:  She reportedly fell down a staircase to her death and now haunts the upper-floor bedrooms. When Johnny Depp stayed here while filming the movie Dead Man, he claims the little girl visited him in his room and sat on the foot of the bed.
  • A second ghost of a little girl: Mansion staff named these two ghosts Lily and Emma. Many people who tour the house have reported feeling a tug on their clothing, likely the girls wanting to play. One of the small upstairs bedrooms is constantly messy, and staff believes it is due to one of the little girls climbing into bed each night.
  • An adult woman: She floats around the second floor and has been seen sitting in the living room. Many believe this may be Mrs. Mackay’s spirit.
  • A busy woman: This apparition is likely a former servant who frequently climbs up and down the stairs. This apparition seems to travel between floors often. Visitors see orbs of light moving up and down the stairs as well.
  • The apparition of an old Colonel: This spirit hangs out in the kitchen and is credited with (or blamed for) more sounds of footsteps going up and down the stairs and unexplained noises coming from the third floor. Psychics who have visited the mansion claim to see him or feel his presence.
  • A ‘shadow man:” Visitors report seeing a “shadow man,” widely believed to be John Mackay himself.
  • Psychics report seeing dozens of ghosts walking around the grounds of the home.

Nevada has plenty of supposedly haunted places, but the Mackay Mansion in Virginia City might be the most haunted house in the state.


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