Byron T. Mills was 3 prominent Las Vegas attorney
and abstracter who owned the Plaza Hotel during most of the first
half of this century. He arrived in Las Vegas in 1852, just after
the landmark hotel was completed, and took over ownership of the property
some 36 years later. According to the January, 1945 issue of New Mexico
magazine, Mills was beginning to dismantle the hotel and sell its
furniture in anticipation of demolishing the three-story structure.
The article neglected to explain his motives, but devoted considerable
space to Mills' knowledgeable discourse on the hotel's history.
Mills was even quoted as saying, "I almost feel guilty [about
the demolition]. It certainly is an old landmark."
For reasons unknown today, Mills never followed through with his plan.
Some speculate a disembodied "Byron T."
haunts the hotel today out of a sense of guilt while others believe
he remains because he loved the hotel more than he claimed in life.
A third faction suggests the historic hotel's resident ghost simply
enjoys the company of others, especially women, which may explain
both the reported presence of a man (Byron T.) coupled with the sudden
scent of perfume, (a lady companion?).
A story from the Plaza Hotel
It was a dark and stormy night.
Nique Clark, desk clerk at the Plaza hotel was starting to doze off when
she was startled by a plaintive
"Miss?" I think there's a ghost in my room!"
There stood a thoroughly frightened elderly lady in robe and slippers.
"He was sitting on my bed" she cried. "He stayed there
for hours, and he wouldn't let me get up!"
Clark was now wide-awake.
"Are you on the third door?" she asked. "In room 310?"
'"Yes, how did you know?"
Clark sighed, Not again! She thought.
"It's all right ma'am. It's just Mr. Mills."
Indeed, the ghost of Byron T. Mills had put in another appearance. The eccentric
former owner of the Plaza Hotel was certainly entitled to visit, even though
he had died in 1947, at the Elks Lodge. He had lived in the hotel for years.
At one time the building was used basically as a dormitory for university
students, while he sold furniture, preparing to have the historic structure
demolished He died before that could happen.Mills was a prominent citizen: former mayor and
owner of the Mills Abstract Company, and a territorial representative.
Mills and Elisha Porter created the Porter and Mills addition to the town
of Las Vegas, and so naturally named it Mills Avenue after himself. He
was also an inventor, tinkering with various devices in his garage.Why Mills keeps returning to the third door of
the hotel is a mystery. His favorite targets are women alone in their
roams and apparently, traveling salesmen.
Clark recalls another annoyed guest:
The salesman had checked into his room on the third floor, dropped his bags,
and went directly to the bathroom. When he got out he noticed the door's
dead bolt was locked. That is funny, he thought I don 't remember locking
the door. He then undressed for his shower, carefully putting his money
under his clothes, neatly piled next to the sink.
When he got out of the shower, he was startled to find his money now on
top of his clothes!
"Is there a ghost in my room?" He demanded of Clark.
"Are you in room 310? She replied.
Lauren Addario, a waitress at the Landmark Grill in the Plaza Hotel, can
top that one. She and her husband spent a winter night at the hotel, since
he was in charge of repairing the heating and there had been frequent problems.
They checked into room 316, and at 2:00 a.m. The heat went out and he was
called away to fix it.
Lauren drifted back to sleep, and was awakened by
a door opening, and footsteps across the room. Then she felt someone sit
on the bed. She sat up, and saw nothing. She tried to go back to sleep,
but until 5:00 a.m, when her husband finally returned, she heard Byron pacing,
pacing& across the room.
Fortunately, Lauren and the ghost had already been introduced. Many times,
she states, she had smelled cigar smoke in the bar, and heard heavy boots
walking when there was no one there.
The bar was also the scene of another of Byron's
pranks. This reporter heard the story of a couple of devout Catholics, who
after church on Good Friday decided to go to the bar for drinks. They were
sitting on the patio, feeling a little guilty to be spending that holy day
in such a frivolous way, when a drop of blood fell out of nowhere, landing
on a white tablecloth. They fled in horror, and have not indulged in liquor
on Good Friday again.
We arrived at the hotel around 5:00pm. After checking
into our room (310), we talked to the hotel's staff. From the stories of
their encounters the second and third floors seem to be the most active.
At 7:00pm, we started searching the third floor.
The hotel has many strong AC electromagnetic fields due to the aged electrical
wiring. However there very very strong DC fields around the both staircases
leading to the third floor. The fields would appear for about 30 seconds
then vanish for several minutes before reappearing. We attempted to locate
a mundane source for these fields under the stairs and surrounding areas
but were unable to locate anything that would produce a DC electromagnetic
field. The space weather that evening was unsettled, but there was not enough
activity to explain the high readings we got on the Trifield. Still we suspect
a mundane source for these readings due to the systematic appearance of
the DC fields. Another unusual DC field was discovered near the
entry to Room 310. It measured 6 nt and stayed steady for 45 seconds before
quickly vanishing. The distinct smell of perfume
(a lilac scent) filled most of the south wing of the third floor while the
reading was present. Several photographs were taken during this time, but
all appear to be foreign contaminants illuminated by the camera's flash. The ghost hunt formally ended about 3:00am. After
retiring to our room and going to bed, a very strong smell of cigar smoke
filled the air. No one was smoking cigars, and stranger still, the smell
lasted for about ten seconds and then completely disappeared.
Although we found nothing definitive that night at
the hotel, it might be work another look.
Click on the thumbnails to view the larger image