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Our October Fall Edition Report In Milford and The Smoke Creek Desert - 10/12/19


Our October Fall Edition Report In Milford and The Smoke Creek Desert - 10/12/19

Every year just when I thought I seen everything there is to see I lean more about these wild western heritage sites like the old Milford Historic Cemetery and one of the most haunted brothels in all the west. Every year around October I do a series of special adventures and we always try to make one of them something with haunted origins just because Halloween is around the corner.

I been down this road so many times its not like I just started doing this a week ago but after nearly twenty years of Halloweens visited paranormal sites I can definitively say that chasing the strange never gets old! The more I continue to see the more I want to see. Notice I say I because we really have not had a team the past five or six years. I want to rebuild a team but it takes allot of trust to bring folks out with me and usually when I do they blow it. Some places I visit are very risky most people do not want to take the risk to get a story I do that is what PGS is about and has been around for two decades now.

So our journey would take us up to small town life in northern California near Honey Lake in the town of Milford. We also would be visiting for our second time the Smoke Creek Desert, Secret Valley and Karlo at night. I had quite a few more places to go but daylight out west is very short especially when the sun goes behind the mountains and then you see nothing but seas of sage brush or thick lush forest depending on where you are at the time. I like to teeter the high desert and alpine forest of the sierras that way in one day I get the best of both worlds!

This is an area we have worked with before but mainly on the sierras end of things particularly surrounded Susanville and the Lassen Volcanic National Park. In this case instead of working with the sierras we would work east of them in the high desert and one of California's largest lakes Honey Lake to be precise. Its a beautiful area running along the Californian and Nevadan borders separated by the smoke creek mountains/hills.

The NE quadrant of California is railroading country while the sierras up here were making railroading history trying to connect the Reno Nevada area with Northern California all the way up into Oregon. With that being said there is many small towns which today are now ghost towns or are barely even visible. I enjoy going remote sometimes I find remnants of towns to me that is fascinating even the history alone. I do allot of what I do because history is intriguing and when I find something history I also find its ghosts.

Their is something fascinating about what we do here at PGS just riding off into sunset visiting these desolate remote locations. Even if some places do not seem remote they really are nothing but wilderness where we were heading that includes Wemples Pumpkin Farm. I just adore this area I remember coming on into Honey Lake about four to five years ago when it was nearly dried up due to that drought we had that lasted for a few years.

The Honey Lake area is fascinating it has cemeteries, historic ranches and even military sites around it. I have not done to much work with it but I plan on returning. But I did visit the little town of Milford which started off as a flour milling town and eventually when the mills ran dry ranching become the main industry here. Its one of those Smallville type of towns very rural, historic, picturesque etc. Towns like these are gems if your looking to visit a great wild western graveyard like the one found here. There are some other historical sites but most are tucked away on ranch land what isn't happens to be what is left of downtown which is easy to miss with just one blink.

Our day would include the cemetery, Wemple Ranch and of course some Smoke Creek Desert exploration. I wish I had more time the problem is that October for us is a hard month its a busy month but hard in the fact that it gets dark early up here. So when you sit there put a days worth of places together you tend to find out between getting to them and the actual exploration eats into your day. So we would not have time to visit everything but I did turn out a really creepy haunted brothel and a very haunting cemetery.

Milford Historic Cemetery
& The Wemple Ranch

I arrived in Milford at dawn sun was just getting ready to overshadow Honey Lake. I stopped at the ranch they were not open. But with the cattle, roosters and sounds of farm animals from afar you could bet that in a matter of hours I would be touring this ranch. I know that most folks have not been out west but we have some of the most beautiful ranches in the country up here. Most of the farms date back to the mid 1800s and were here when people like Mark Twain road by on a stagecoach just passing through.

I could barely make out the ranch but beyond it was Honey Lake. For that moment in time it looked as if it stayed still. I travel allot here out west so I have watched quite a few sunsets and sunrises in my time. But the one over Honey Lake in the morning is gorgeous and off in the distance I could see the farm. The same farm we would be picking pumpkins at as soon as we visited the cemetery.

The cemetery for me was just a mild investigation which every year we do so many mild locations ranging to extreme. But for us we relish old cemeteries they are great places to put on our website, serene, full of nature, history and they are full of ghost because folks do not visit these places often. So just past the ranch their is a dirt road you can take which dead ends at the cemetery itself.

Their is another road with a plaque near some community center/store that talks a bit about the history within Milford. I wanted to stop here to read about Honey Lake and the Milford area. The stone carved piece looks down onto Honey Lake talking about how Milford is one of the oldest settlements in this lake valley. But it also talks about the Wemple family in how they named this village along with the flour and saw mill industry that was founded here. The plaque continues to discuss what the town boasted which was a sawmill, grist mill, hotel, stores, blacksmith, butcher shop, post office and a school.

Today the area is made up mainly of farms, ranch land and downtown Milford are quite a few old large creepy homes. I say creepy because they really are most of you know what I mean when I refer to them as being old run down farm houses. Its easy to see the history around Milford such as an old general store, house next to it and then the graves on top of a hill surrounded by historic farms.

When you enter the cemetery their is a giant wrought iron arch then once you get into the cemetery you can take a loop road within. I looped around and just parked dead center in the middle of the graveyard. It was a cold morning in the teens and well when I got out to explore I realized how awful my hands felt from the crisp air. I mean most mornings in the sierras are cold like this even in the middle of summer to be honest with you. But it was a numbing cold out perhaps because I was cozy in my truck drinking hot coffee listening to some gothic music and eating breakfast. But it was time to get to work and so I grabbed my gear starting with the historic part of the cemetery.

The entire back half is all historic graves then on the other side of the road towards the front the graves are much newer. I parked near the Wemples Family Plot well their oldest plot which had about ten graves including the founder of Milford and the Wemple Farm. Little did I know at the time their was three other Wemple family plots maybe even four sections totaling over thirty graves. At first I was calling this place Wemple Cemetery because out of all the families buried here the Wemples are the most prominent and abundant graves found within. They been living in Milford since the 1850's and today they still do.

I did not notice it till later but Joseph is buried near the cemetery loop next to his wife along with three to four children which died under a year or two old. It is sad to think that he came here started one of the most successful flour mills yet his children died all very close to one another in age. It tells me that the trials and tribulations were very costly when men like Joseph Wemple came to this area. This was a volcanic land surrounded by desert, forest and  the shores of Honey Lake. Its amazing that despite losing his kid he continued to have more which ended up becoming prominent players in Milford's history. The family grew to be very large and they ended up raising cattle, livestock, growing crops and living in this area for most of their entire lives.

I wanted to visit the Wemple family plots before heading to the ranch. That way when I do put the cemetery on the site you get to see the ranch that the family ran for over a century just below it. They were one of the first families to come here build a life. Id say almost half of the cemetery are the graves of Wemples. But the families the Wemples have known for decades are also found here.

The cemetery sits below a woodsy mountain and all three sides of it are surrounded by small farms. I noticed towards the back of the cemetery was an old wooden homestead and farm rotting away to the elements. Not far from that was a newer farm house so over the years more then likely land, homes, farms etc have stayed within these families for many generations. While many of the old barns and homes are no longer in use on ranch land they are visible like the one I noticed over the barbed wire fence behind this cemetery. So it kind of gives it a bit of a creepy feel to it all as your wandering around.

I love going out in the Fall especially October and I wish October lasted all year because these are the type of places id go often. This is a cute little cemetery all sorts of big old trees which many of the leaves were turning colors. If you look up on the sierras you will see patches of golden trees up on the mountain. Their are so many leaves just changing colors and on the ranches also. I bet waking up on one of these ranches is heaven man id love to retire myself on a farm with a small cemetery down the road and a lake nearby to fish at. I look at Milford and think anybody who grew up here is lucky enough to grow up here because while it might be a bit of boring slow small town life it is definitely wholesome up here.

The one thing that stood out to me more then anything at the cemetery was the fact that my EMF meter kept going off. Ill keep it in my pocket then when levels are high I get an alarm. My detector went off the entire hour I was there on and off constantly. Sometimes the thing never goes off but up here it did and it was virtually everywhere in the oldest section of the cemetery. I would grab it and it would shut off which was funny that happened to. But from what I could see the levels were extremely high here. Some places I go are just that way it might be a good thing for EVP because generally where you get high readings like this you also get good EVP. I know one thing I was so cold that first hour walking around brrrrr after checking for a bit id have to get warmed up at my truck vent or keep my hands in the pockets.

I noticed there was a small children's section in the cemetery its a bit strange because one would think they would have been buried next to their parents. But not all children buried here were buried next to there siblings or parents only some. Nearly half of the cemeteries interments are that of children its a pretty sad place. Honey Lake was not an easy place to live the winters were harsh, illness ran amuck and it was very remote. While you had larger more bustling towns in the area you were still cut off from the rest of the world. Children helped out on ranches and you worked hard to sustain yourself up here. The men had to hunt and grow crops to feed their family up here and the truth is children ended up suffering because being a pioneer here was a difficult life.

Their was a few wrought iron enclosures but one of them seemed to have no grave in it. I seen about four to find vandalized graves that either were off their pedestal or were in pieces. However, the shape of the cemetery is allot better then most places I been to. I have seen some bad cemeteries over the years but this one sits up on a hill overlooking town so it does not get to much attention. But you could see due to its isolation it had been a target of toppled stones and maybe even a sledge hammer. Its possible to a few tree limbs fell on them at one time. One grave was broke in half, another missing from its foundation and another just leaving against a tree. As the sun was coming up some of the graves looked orange and I could hear cows mooing morning was here and it finally had begin to warm on up.

I noticed the oldest graves all date back to the 1880's which that were all of children ranging from a few days old to twelve years of age even. I been going to quite a few cemeteries in the west and man I see this all the time. Epidemics ran wild up here and while I see it at other locations its evident here. As you hike around the cemetery you can see Honey Lake at the bottom of the valley. Its a really scenic place I spent a couple hours here did not rush took my time reading stones, taking readings etc. I could not do much of anything else because Wemples Farm does not open till 9am so this was an early morning graveyard investigation.

Tammy and I took some funny Halloween pictures here man I tell you I have no luck my skull cane fell apart so did my tripod both within a couple minutes. I just got this tripod I go through a few a year but this thing just fell to pieces. I love having a tripod so I can get pictures of whoever is with me on an investigation for a group shot. I think that may have been my clue that its time to go! I sometimes get carried away and hate leaving this is a cute little country burial ground. Just the leaves, trees, mountains, lake etc made it all worthwhile. Their is a ton of nature here to guess there was some deer out in a field behind it, birds chirping and I found a few flowers still barely hanging on. I also seen something human like walk between two trees in the back of the cemetery. Ghost? Its possible but I caught it out of the corner of my eye while take a photo and I never seen it again. It looked like a person hovering off the ground that went between the two trees then I never seen it again.

The graves are beautifully engraved here but it would be time for us to go there was a farmer watching us at the entrance standing with our Halloween getup and Wemples had just opened their gates. I hope we turned out something good here. These folks worked at the flour mill or on a ranch or they owned a local business but everyone one of the graves here comes with a story. Another prominent family buried here is the West Family they have a big marble memorial and a few small ones including a wood cross nearby. I did notice that their were many open spots maybe their are some unknowns here especially surrounding the flag pole with the heavily frayed American Flag blowing in the wind. The cemetery is significant because its what remained of the original town.

I noticed that on the back side cemetery road runs behind it separated by farm land not sure why this is maybe at one time you could enter here from that side or road but not anymore. I bet at night this place is downright creepy just because of where its nestled in between. You have the forest behind it then farms on all three sides of it with decayed buildings or what is left of old town. I got some great black and white photos up here lots of old stones. The people that are buried here came to this lake valley as pioneers so this is where they came to rest. The oldest burials I believe here are Joseph Wimples sons who died in 1870 so more then likely he begin burying his loved ones here and the rest is gravy. 

After we left the cemetery we arrived at the ranch as soon as they opened. Nobody was hardly around which was great we had the grounds to walk around and do some exploring. The Wemples split up there ranch years ago one part of it is for livestock or cattle grazing the other part of it is for growing crops like there amazing pumpkin patch. So far the past eight years or so I have gone to a different historic ranch and pumpkin farm every single year. I am trying to carry that torch so when I read how awesome this place was and that it sat on Honey Lake I was excited. I  just love this ranch it has a few old homes on the grounds, big trees, multiple barns, corrals and supposedly a fifteen acre corn maze which folks claim it takes three hours to finish. The farm is about 500 acres its huge they grow wheat, cow peas, rye, alfalfa, grass hay, corn, pumpkins and other seed crops too.

The ranch is very large we went on over to the corrals first to visit with some of the animals. We seen a large hog along with a few adult goats and a few baby goats that were hopping around playing. Their was also a peacock, hens and a turkey who was not enjoying my company at the moment. Nearby in the corral was a large black cow she was grazing with a really pretty spotted horse. I had gotten to pet the cow and the horse we always love going to the ranches just to see the animals. The baby goats were adorable they were just hopping all over chasing one another. Near where you can visit with some of the animals there is many rusty relics of the past of old farm equipment some of it dating back to the 1800's. Their was old tillers, plows, wagon wheels etc You guys know me and my rusty relics I go crazy for anything vintage or old really.

If you walk around the farm there are old John Deere tractors you can see or a massive hay press. Their is a few old rusty trucks to including an old Ford we took a photo at and an old wagon. The ranch dates back to the mid 1800's while Joseph ran a flour mill here he used the rest of the land for his ranch. His sons had operated a dairy in the area then eventually some of that land would be used to grow crops. The farm has been in the family since this valley was settled. So when you look at old structures or even the country home you have to wonder if they were both here when the Wemples first built their ranch. Allot of what you see on this farm is original whether that is a wood post, beat up wagon with pumpkins on it, wagon wheels or a barn. Its all nearly original its just being well taken care of.

We took a tour on the grounds but then decided we probably should go pick some pumpkins. Every year I carve them for Halloween and we eat the seeds. I make all sorts of different seeds every Halloween! Their is a small patch near the parking area most of them are five to ten pound pumpkins probably more so for little kids. But if you go up the hill with your wagon to the left of the corn field and maze are quite a few more pumpkin patches. The pumpkins are much larger in these patches but they have a variety too. One patch had white pumpkins another one had these pinkish ones and then their was a patch of gourds etc etc. Their are a variety of different pumpkins we actually picked out four of them. We picked a green and orange one that was tall, a short fat round one, one that was fat and taller while Tammy found a Long Island Cheese pumpkin which is kind of beige in color. The Long Island Cheese pumpkins the lady at the farm told us are good for making pies and that is what we would use it for. It fell off the cart broke on the bottom so Tammy made a puree which was used in making a pumpkin pie and pumpkin chocolate chip pecan bread!

Its a bit of a journey to get your pumpkins back to your vehicle but I will say that they have some pretty awesome breeds of gourd and pumpkin here. They have this old ford truck which is piled with them things I never even seen before. They have quite a few things you can buy up here including organic products too. I like Wemples better then last years trip at Ferrari Farms in Sparks Nevada. Last year for nearly 50 dollars I had gotten a couple pumpkins but this year for under forty dollars I walked out with four decent sized pumpkins one of which makes a great dessert. They are all decent sized so I definitely loved this pumpkin farm and id go back if I did not have so many other places I want to see the next few years. But that does not mean ill forget Wemples I go to the places I do just so I can tell my friends about these places or to visit them.

It was funny there was a Border Collie Puppy who was following me around the patch and growling at me. That dog did not like my hat or something who knows but he was not having it. Its a farm so your going to see dogs, cats, chickens etc. Its a nice farm though playground, picnic benches, big trees, old wagons, pumpkin patch overlooking Honey Lake, Country store and even a food shack. I liked the country store a bit pricey but they have candles and wax cubes which are dynamite. We bought this rose candle it burns slow we left it on for 15 hours and the wick barely burnt up. We also bought these cidar wax cubes my entire home smells like apple cider its amazing. When Tammy was not looking I bought her an elephant charm bracelet to surprise her with. I like to spoil her and surprise her when we travel on the road it keeps her on her toes a little. She helps me with my paranormal projects even though she really does not have to.

We saved our pumpkins went to the store to look around they have some vintage items too like this old stove. They sell Christmas ornaments, candy for the kids, treats etc etc. But like I say a bit pricey but it was nice to get a little something. I mean I get it running a farm is costly such as growing, harvesting, making treats, raising the livestock and feeding them. So I hope my money goes towards keeping the history alive on this farm. After we went to the store to have a gander we went to their country snack shack where Tammy got a homemade cookie and I bought a piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Man I have not been able to find pumpkin pie in ages it was the first piece I had in a year so I sort of went a bit crazy with it almost bought an entire pie lol. But it was fun to sit on a picnic bench under a big ole tree by the barn eat some pie watch the little kids play and all the cute mommies with there little kids.

I try to always relax when I am on the road while in between I might be chasing the paranormal I also am trying to enjoy the culture a little too. The pie was awesome and we had four big pumpkins loaded into the truck. I walked around a little more to get a few more photos. Their is so much going on here hay rides, harvesting, dogs running around, birthday parties etc. Its more or less the next best place to go if your living in Reno and want to get pumpkins and its only an hour away so its probably overall a better place to take the family. I did not like going to the pumpkin farm up in Reno it was to congested, pricey and airplanes were flying over us from the airport nearby lol. At least with Wemples the views of Honey Lake, Mountains etc are gorgeous all while your picking pumpkins, eating pie and roaming one of the first ranches that came to Milford. So with that being said I was happy that I got to drive around town a little, explore the cemetery on the hill and get to see a real live working ranch that has been here since the town was named!

I mean really it tells a tale here about resilience you look at how Joseph and his wife lost a few kids yet they stayed here to make this land a home and one that can be enjoyed by many. I know when I left here this place was bustling the parking lot was full, birthday party at the playground, tractors driving around, patch was full etc. It was time for me to leave I enjoyed the solitude while it lasted took photos of nature, ranch grounds, barns etc. Allot of times many of the towns we go to in a sense are semi ghost towns while the town may be gone the ranches that stood from such a valleys early beginnings still stand today. Wemples is an example of early ranch history that came to the Northern California Sierras. If you did not operate a ranch then you probably lumbered the mountains above the ranch or you had worked at one of the local mines.

I was feeling pretty good a friend of mine gave me these marijuana transdermal patches its for pain so I was seeing how it would make me feel hiking around the farm. I had put one on my wrist earlier and glad I did because I was so exhausted from hauling a wagon full of pumpkins through a field lol. I really enjoyed seeing the old trucks, tractors, farm equipment, animals and picking pumpkins. I sort of felt like a little kid even if it was for a few minutes. I thought this was the perfect October project I try to keep PGS wholesome, fun and full of little historical tidbits. I cant say the farm is haunted but its old so is the two story home. But I can say the cemetery I believe has something going on and so when you tour the ranch you have to know that many members of this family are buried up on that hill which looks down into this farming community below.

We had quite the journey to our next location I was snacking on some chocolate marble bread and we decided it was time to drive around Honey Lake. There are a few old historic towns along the lake worth just stopping for a few just to enjoy some of the old buildings. I was so close to Susanville and Lassen Volcanic National Monument I could smell them. I enjoyed going up there a few years ago we need to go back Lassen is a kick ass place to hike. But while we were not up in the national forest we were instead below it where the high desert of the sierras meets the high desert of the cascade mountains. I was heading on another adventure only to the Smoke Creek Desert.

I stopped up on the north side of the lake to let my dogs get some exercise and go to the bathroom. I brought both my dogs because my son cant really watch my puppy and he is in training right now for journeying with me. Since I go to cemeteries, ghost towns, farms, wilderness sites etc its a good learning experience so both of the boys came along. They were a bit yancy and cooped up they could see me walking around at the ranch but I did not let them wander because of all the farm animals. So we took a break let them wander that is when I realized my puppy tore up my pumpkin mask boy was I pissed that is a super creepy prop we use every October and I guess it slipped between the bars of the gate and the rest his history. He shredded the cloth hanging and tore the mask from it lol. Lesson learned do not put anything close enough to the pet gate he will pull it through the bars and devour it lol. Its work in progress he was only 6 months old and he did quite well on our bigfoot jaunts this past summer but going out in the desert ehhhhh that's an entirely different experience even a very bumpy one so the dogs were pretty riled up hoping to get some more free time.

Once I cleaned up the pieces of mask and the dogs got there energy out we got back in went north. There is quite a few old semi ghost towns that once were on the old Nevada California Oregon Railroad they called it that because it begin up in Reno then you took it NW following the sierras then into the cascades and eventually up into Oregon. Many of these towns had train stations but the line was mainly used for lumber exportation. Trees were timbered up in the sierras then brought down to town to be loaded on rail cars where they could be shipped on another rail line or unloaded to help build some of the towns. Hell the line that goes through Honey Lake use to run in the 1990's now no trains run on it and most of the towns are just that remnants of but a few foundations, shacks and piles of wood. I would find this out for myself when I would visit Secret Ranch Manor. A haunting brothel along the lonely rails through Northern California and the smoke creek desert.

Secret Manor Ranch

Sometimes when I put together an adventure as a bonus ill visit extra sub locations within. I try my best to be thorough see as much as I can and take my time with certain projects. This is a big area a lonely desert highway with many abandoned ranching towns along the way. It was not always like that as a matter in fact many towns had train stations and were booming in the later 1800's. You could get on a train from Reno and travel right up to Susanville or go beyond ending up in Oregon. The railroad that rain from SE to NW came right through the Smoke Creek Desert. The Smoke Creek Desert or rather Mountains run along the Nevadan and California border. The train had a terminus near Honey Lake so you could branch off if you went west you ended up in Susanville if you went north you went through the middle of the desert stopping through little towns which today are open expanses of ranch land.

The old railroad also follows the highway and although there are names of towns on signs the only thing you might see out here are tumbleweeds. This is a really barren landscape if your going north you have the sierras to your left while your tetering the Nevadan border on the edge of the Smoke Creek Desert. The desert does boast quite a bit of history such as old wagon trails, thieves dens, native petroglyphs etc. The only other time I been through here is when we did a couple ghost towns up near Pyramid Lake. You can take the old Nobles Emigrant Trail from California and head east into Nevada over the Smoke Creek Desert skirting Pyramid Lake up to Rabbit Springs. I mention Rabbit Springs because we are going to be going there within a couple months it is where this wagon trail begin and its a historic site in the black rock desert.

I have been to the Black Rock Desert once so far loved it but to get to it from where I live you have to cross smoke creek. However, I was in Smoke Creek Desert wilderness a couple years ago up near Pyramid Lake on the Nevada side. The Californian side however is an entirely different adventure awaiting us. When I had gotten above Honey Lake the first place I stopped was at the Nobles Emigrant Trail plaque. You can see the road going up into the mountains through this canyon and right away you just know Nevada is just over them on the other side. You can take the road if you dare but their are no services and some areas are washed out. I could see mud and washouts just standing by the plaque wondering if I should have a go at it lol. Sometimes I am alone offroading smoking bud listening to music and I see something going for it spontaneously so it did cross my mind.

The route was first used in 1852 by the emigrants traveling to Northern California who were seeking to avoid the hardships of the Lassen Trail. I have to agree the Lassen Trail was rugged it goes through Lassen Volcanic National Park. I once hiked a portion of it and to the left of me was this volcanic cinder cone which I climbed to the top. On top there was a massive calderas it was beautiful but I thought man it must had been hell to get your wagons around this volcano because the trail did climb along it and it was fairly steep. The pioneers would travel from the Humboldt River region of Nevada then from a junction in Rabbit Springs they would cross the Smoke Creek ending up just North of Honey Lake. From there you could take a wagon up to Susanville or you could continue on the Noble Emigrant Trail to Shasta City which today is a ghost town I plan on visiting in the near future.

I stood at the trail plaque it was this windy road through the hills towards the mountains in the desert. The grass was very brown up here the scenery is not as stellar here as some places I been but the trail holds wild western history. Sometimes its fun to drive these old emigrant wagon trails to take the same path your early emigrants took while braving the mountains of northern California. This was one of the earliest pioneer trails that went off into California. The more I explored the Smoke Creek Desert the more love I have for it or respect. Man its a harsh landscape but we wont get into that part yet but if you traveled the railroad because you worked for it or were a passenger life may have gotten lonely perhaps rough.

Back in the gold rush days or early west if you were lonely you often drank away your sorrows at the saloon or went to the brothel to find some adult company. Like mining towns having brothels and saloons the town of Secret aka Karlo, Ravendale, Termo, Litchfield etc etc all offered lonely men a little something extra. While the towns may no longer exist you can still hike or drive the old rail bed the brothel however I was about to explore it had been moved away from the tracks down a lonely stretch of road in hopes to revitalize its use since trails were becoming highways and trains at some point became obsolete. Reason being is that lumbering would slow down once certain towns peaked out.

Much of what is left in the Smoke Creek Desert of California are old or abandoned ranches, perhaps a cemetery or two, foundations consumed by the high deserts growth and what's left of the rail bed. The Secret Ranch Manor once sat along the railroad but as stations closed and folks depended on the rails less towns died out. The lively brothel and lodge where gamblers gamble and men drink was merely no more. It would be moved where it came to rest on a ranch. The story goes that it was moved closer to the highway then the tracks due to the growth of the highway. But somehow after that its hard to know if it actually was moved near the highway to be a brothel or if it was moved near the highway to be used as a family ranch house. Its hard to know if the ranch was here first or the brothel/lodge became part of a ranch at a later time. While it was referred to as a manor or brothel it spent its last days as providing a family with country living.

I read quite a bit about the places I go but I often do not believe everything I read because its not always accurate. People often refer to this as a brothel but its signs of being a lodge or providing adult entertainment ended a long time ago. When I arrived here I realized the manor which hosted men of the railroad was now a lonely ranch home decaying within the oasis it came to rest. I mean I never know what to expect till I arrive on the scene for an investigation or exploration. I do my best work alone however it has its downsides like in regards to this exploration since I would be alone for four hours here for nonstop seeking out its ghosts of the past.

The roads in this desert are very rough and rugged but this place sits literally in the middle of nowhere its not one of those locations you can park at. Rather you have to hike out to it and that depends on peoples comfort level. When I started off my hike it was not very inviting for one there was piles of cattle bones everywhere including in a dry mud pit by one of the dirt roads. My dog was running around with a cattle femur he still is a puppy and the bone was so heavy he could barely lift it lol. There are a few old rusty trailers, debris fields, overgrown roads and foundations its about all you see out here. There is no town perhaps a few small ranches but its a very small population who braves this harsh desert.

While it might seem harsh there are creeks that are found through this region one of them is Smoke Creek so if you travel out into the desert you can take the canyon along the creek where groves of giant cottonwoods grow, meadows with butterflies are found and pools of blue water reflect the skies. Along these creeks up here were and art cattle ranches even today. When I was offroading to get to this place I am across a wild burro  he ran right out in front of me. There are also herds of antelope, deer and a diverse amount of wild birds found up here. Its not as green along the creek this time of year one of the down sides to Fall but in the Spring this region of the Smoke Creek is full of green meadows and hillsides. Most of the trees and greenery grow along the creek which is one of the main sources of water in this desert. I offroaded along the creek came across a few roads that I had to turn around on.

I eventually grabbed my gear set off on a journey to visit this legendary location perfect for October. If you want me to give you it I wont for numerous reasons and good ones including the fact that you may get charged by a bull or shot by one of the locals for brown nosing around just saying. The only thing I cared about at the time is just seeing this place in a sense showing this place the respect it deserves. I get sick of going to places that are overcrowded, vandalized and to well known. Sometimes I like to go off the grid strap on the backpack and see where the road takes me. Along those journeys I find some cool places that perhaps were only meant for my eyes then again maybe also to share them with our dedicated viewers who appreciate this kind of thing.

I ended up hiking on foot in the brothel is on  ranch hell it was a ranch which may have been the original ranch but nobody anymore lives at Secret Manor Ranch. As I was hiking out to it all I could see in the distance coming down a hill the old brothel or rather country home. Their are no windows in it its just this big dark gray foreboding home and you cant see it that well because it is surrounded by many old cottonwood trees. The cottonwood is very popular out here in Nevada and California its very resilient and some of them get huge. This ranch has some of the biggest I have seen out west the creek that runs through here runs through on both sides of the home all in between the outbuildings. I bet when that use to flood it had to suck living here trying to cross over to other outbuildings like for example the outhouse or the chicken coop to get eggs.

You have to be very careful dangers lurk everywhere for example there is an area with glass and metal everywhere its sharp. But I was fixing to put a battery in my cam and looked down saw a rattle snake inches from my foot. If it would have bitten me that could have been very bad and there are also mountain lions which hide in the brush up in these hills. Its unforgiving terrain I was walking for awhile over rocks, past cattle and my new sneakers got muddied up fast back here. But alas there I was standing before this home because that is what it had become and I would not figure that out till later during my exploration.

Their is probably about twelve structures on site from what I could see is the chicken coop, workshops, corrals, collapsed wood cabin, a couple residential cabins, outhouse, barn and a few other structures. I should have captured that moment I walked up on this place I just sort of stood in front of it looking up thinking to myself wow I am about to go in that haunting manor. I was getting super excited as a matter in fact I set my bag down grabbed a flashlight, filled my bud in my pipe, prepped my EMF detector and was prepping to go on in. My heart was racing moments prior I had a rattle snake go right past my foot. This ranch is in the middle of nowhere if someone wanted to hack you up they could nobody would see a thing. The trees grow everywhere but they appear to have also fallen on the brothel and two other structures one of them being a workshop.

The property was very muddy water had settled in ponds along the creek some of it came right to the edge of the porch which was collapsed with nails protruding upwards. Their is so much scattered wood, debris, nails and metal on the property it kind of looks like a tornado hit this place. My main goal was to explore the brothel which sat in between many other structures. I cant tell if those structures were here before the brothel was moved here or were built after. I read somewhere that the brothel was also a lodge where you could water down your horses for the night. That would make sense you had to have a working ranch on site in order to feed the guest this place was probably a beacon in the night. I can imagine being on a horse and hearing music playing seeing candles in the window thinking oh man I reached the gates of heaven as I walk in and whores are lounging around on sofas lol.

My theory is that the brothel was not doing well for business and the ranch was already here. I seen some old wood cabins but they were small maybe once the family grew they bought the brothel and decided to turn it into a family home. Maybe they needed a larger home and wanted to have their ranch hands instead living in the smaller cabins. Perhaps the brothel did reside here for a short time where it was moved maybe they used it as a ranch to so that the guest here could seek lodging get a steak or eggs for breakfast. I read that once it was moved to the highway you could come here get lodging, gamble, drink, get a dinner, tie up your horses for the night etc. Regardless of how long it was a brothel or for how long or what locations it sat as a brothel is a bit of a mystery perhaps even hearsay. Based on this being at one time a full working ranch and seeing the home on site id say a large family ended up living here before it began to enter its state of decay which could have been caused by the tree that had fallen on it.

There are three entrances actually four into this home its very strange again though it was not always a home. Each side of this manor has an entrance into it but I wanted to enter through the very front where these steps takes you to the upper floor a very tall upper floor because this is a big home. I have seen some really nice old country ranch homes in the west abandoned or out in the middle of nowhere. But this place is really a marvel it still is standing strong but without it having windows, doors etc the elements have weakened it. I almost stepped in a deep hole in the living room because I was photographing a coat closet so you have to keep your eyes wide open. When I first stepped up onto the porch I slipped off a piece of wood stepped forward to get balance and I had a nail go through my foot. So goes life shit happens I explore I get hurt I move on from it if you do not like this type of exploration it wont get any better its a very dingy place full of rodent and bird droppings.

I was alone but excited could not help feeling watched something did not sit right with me back here. I just kept feeling someone was back here with me watching and I might be wrong but this is hill have eyes shit. This is a place you would see in a Rob Zombie movie. I mean there really is no signal up here, its deep on a ranch, hazards are everywhere and there is plenty of places for something to hide in. I text Tammy told her the place is like a small town there are other homes, structures and outbuildings. You have no idea how big it is till you start to walk around and realize there are structures on both sides of the creek.

When I first entered the home there was two rooms to the left and to the right. Both were parlors or living rooms of sorts one had remnants of an old vinyl couch, a chair and the other room a twin parlor had remnants of some old wood tables. One probably was an office while the other one was probably a parlor just based on what I observed. The floors were really dusty floors were giant thick wooden planks the carpeting had been torn up. I did notice light fixtures so at some point it had working electricity throughout. It probably was upgraded to having electricity but in the 1800's they probably just used candles. The type of fixtures I seen here were from 1920's id say its possible that when the brothel was moved they upgraded it or when it become a family home maybe they renovated or upgraded it then. Im not sure it always had electricity but I could be wrong its just that the towns found in the Smoke Creek Desert were off the grid all along an old wagon route and rail bed. None of them ever grew very large and amenities like electricity probably did not come till later on well into the 1900's. The parlors had grayish pain chipping and peeling exposing the wooden walls also the parlor with the tables had remnants of peeling wallpaper. 

The home is rather simple in design it has a main hall with a stairwell when you first enter. If you take the hall straight ahead you can visit the kitchen to your right or the dining room to the left. If you turn off at the stairwell without taking the hall all the way to your right is the living room with the coat closet but your left is another parlor but probably what was used as an office. The owner of the ranch probably had a desk here maybe a study with books. He probably handled all his finances in this room it looked like it may have had a wood stove to. This probably was dads study or man cave lol who knows maybe it just was that a second parlor. The parlor to the left leads into what appears to be a dining room. That room has two older stoves in it id say from the 1950's maybe even the 1940's they are old so whoever lived here was using that kitchen to cook and bake back then. That room also had a couple mattresses, collapsed kitchen table and allot of torn wallpaper. If you go through a doorway you can go through the hall across the way and enter the kitchen or a second kitchen. The kitchen had an old fridge from the 1950's in it and a stove along with a hot water tank. So the home eventually had running water and electricity based on the appliances laying around. Of course as a brothel the stove, fridge, small washer etc probably did not exist these appliances were from around the mid 1900's.

The kitchen with the hot water tank had Ivy wallpaper it also had a kitchen sink but no faucet maybe they poured buckets of water in the sink to do dishes. Their was cupboards all covering one wall and a separate room with shelves which id assume is a pantry of some kind. If you step out of the kitchen there are two smaller shacks or rather sheds. They probably stored cleaning supplies or anything they needed for the house in these sheds. They were only a couple feet away as a matter in fact there are four entrances and exits you can go out through the pantry from the kitchen to the back of the house and to other outbuildings. The house did not have a bathroom as a matter in fact there was an outhouse with two toilet seats out back. While this house may have had electricity and perhaps a hot water tank for laundry it did not have sewage. The ranch was a bit old school if you wanted to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night you had to physically exit out the back of the home, cross a shallow creek and go up a small hill to get to the outhouse so it had to be a pain.

The downstairs is in real bad shape though holes in the floor, rat droppings, holes in the wall, peeling wallpaper and paint. Its definitely in a state of decay but it is structurally sound compared to other buildings I been in. The wood is solid everything from the wood to the walls with very little wear and tear. However, the elements are getting inside therefore it looks like something you would see in hell. I still had the upstairs left to do as well I was a bit skeptical thinking man what if I fall through the stairs or the floor above. Things get really hairy when you exploring upper levels in old homes like this. I once had a buddy of mine fall through a floor he was hanging on for dear life because he fell above a water filled room with dead rats floating on the water. In this case the second story is quite high up so if I fell through it would be a long injurious fall.

I carefully went up the grand stairwell to the second story and I did it very slow with caution. I was amazing at how good in shape the stairs were even the hall upstairs. The hall runs right or left when you get to the top of the stairs. Id say there is about six bedrooms upstairs all of them different colors and wallpaper. To go upstairs you just go through these small hatch leading up to the second story its a bit odd. Their are nothing but bedrooms upstairs  one room was completely red another one was blue and another one was green. I enjoyed the view from the upstairs as I went room to room to have a look around. Nearly all the rooms are just empty upstairs yeah their is some dirt, leaves, animal drops, a few boxes and bed springs but that is about it. One of the rooms had four to five bed springs and next to it a wooden crib. Which means at one time this ranch probably had quite a few children living here in what use to be a brothel on the railroad. I am sure those kids growing up seen some things no doubt as this once was a lively place full of gambling men, whores giggling and rowdy drinking no doubt.

If your able to find it there is a narrow passage behind the hatch and main stairwell which you can squeeze past. Their is a very narrow series of steps that leads up into the attic. Yes I did go to the attic did not trust the floors so I stood on the beams for more sturdiness. The attic had a giant hole in the roof caused by a tree which some of it had been cut and removed. But the damage here was already done and I noticed all sorts of dropping here ranging from birds to rats etc. The steps were covered in rat and mice droppings while the attic had bird crap everywhere. Their was other piles of crap not sure what animal was coming up here but it appeared to be big and I was in its domain unless a human is coming up here to shit lol.

You have to be careful upstairs while the attic is open and empty its in bad shape from the hole in the roof. But you do not need  flashlight light pours in enough where you can see the entire attic. It was really dingy up there but nothing was up here just a big open empty room. The hall down below on the second story does have an area the floorboards are missing as a matter in fact one of the rooms I went in the entire floor almost gave way it was buckling so again you just need to be careful. I take quite a bit of risk doing what I do and have for years. I wanted to get out of here in once piece because it is a bit hairy of a place. I already was hurting from the nail that went into my foot.

As I was wrapping up my investigation of the second story I heard voices it spooked the living hell out of me. You could hear a couple voices talking getting closer to the house. I was going room to room looking out the windows but I never seen a soul not once. I thought it was strange one of the voices sounded like a man and I know what I heard. Then seconds later on the front porch I heard heavy boots walking and I am thinking to myself how am I going to get out of this one or where can I hide. Then I thought oh shit maybe ill jump from the second story grab my pack out back and book it. I was not sure what to think I just knew I was not alone whether that was humans approaching the home or a ghost remained to be seen then again I seen nobody. I could hear walking on the porch then something or someone came into the house walked around near the entrance and main hall which is in the front of the house. I was looking out the windows and seen nobody even carefully peaked around the staircase looking down at the main entrance and nobody was present.

I believe this place is haunted and if its not it sure has that vibe. I sat quietly for about fifteen minutes then came downstairs announcing to whoever I was just exploring and I am not a threat or armed. Nobody responded back their was nobody here I was alone along with the ghosts that haunt this homes halls. The place got creepy real fast and I still had some Halloween gig pictures to do and since I was alone I had to set up the tripod. Which ended up keeping me here allot longer then I thought I would be. I still had other buildings to explore also so I was not going anywhere anytime soon despite that I wondered in the back of my head who the hell is up here or what was it that I just experienced.

On the grounds are other structures worth exploring such as a collapsed chicken coop, barn for cattle or horses, out houses and even a dugout in the hill for cold storage. They probably utilized the cold storage leading up to when electricity had came to this home along with an actual fridge. I went into the dug out more then likely from the 1800's may have even been built before the brothel came to rest here. It was the only way to keep food items from spoiling or cooler was to store them underground. The dugout had a few shelves inside I went all the way back however it was in bad shape nearly collapsing so I had to be careful do not want to be entombed underground.

There is at least three workshops that I had found one of them had a tree that fell on it and I knew it was a workshop because it had a bench with a vice. I could not get into the workshop it was in bad shape and I ended up again slipping onto another rusty nail trying to climb down off the tree from looking on inside. The other workshops were a bit smaller the medium size one had a couple work benches, hooks for tools, cabinets, cubbies etc. Whoever lived on this ranch liked to build and fix things I mean come on I heard of one workshop on a ranch but three? The barn is just an empty shell its been gutted surprised its standing. There is a few cabins also which in theory were probably on site before the brothel came to be. Then again maybe they were built after for ranch hands! Its possible that the cabins were lived in before the brothel came to rest here or they were used by staff when the brothel was in operation. Keep in mind I am just theorizing I have no idea since this really is a site shielded with some mystery.

Maybe the lodge built these other structures so that people traveling the road could water down there horses and tie them down in the barn for the night. I read but not sure how true it is that at the time the brothel also had a small farm on site. This would make sense so that you could offer travelers food, water and staff living out here could be self sufficient since this locations is in the middle of nowhere. Back in the day small hotels in the desert were more then just a stage stop they offered supplies, entertainment, food etc. Life was harsh on the railroad even more so if you were traveling via wagon along this route or through the Smoke Creek Desert. I guess ill never know the entire story other then this was a brothel that was moved and came to rest somehow on this ranch supposedly it continued to operate as one. But at some point the property did fall into the hands of a family because again after my exploration seeing the crib and appliances it was obvious someone tried to make this into a home.

Many of the structures are in bad shape no windows, no doors, cow dung everywhere, mud, flooding, wood boards, some old rusty farm machinery. The trees on the grounds are gorgeous there is a corral with a smaller barn and cattle loading area. Actually there was a couple small corrals then a giant grazing area along the creek. The grounds kind of look like a tornado hit it glass all over, ripped furniture, rodent droppings in all the buildings, piles of wood with nails protruding out of it, drum barrels, pallets, rusty paint cans, wood stove, aluminum roofing, piles of papers, leaves and the list goes on and on. I took video footage of every single structure inside and outside. I took photos of every structure inside and outside! Despite how uneasy I felt I stuck it threw probably spent three to four hours here by myself and not anywhere near my truck to make a speedy getaway so I was in for the long haul.

Their are a few areas you can cross the creek as someone made some makeshift bridges out of wood and rocks. That did not matter I slipped on some mud trying to jump across not once but twice on my investigation and my sneakers came out dripping with brown oozing mud. Their are a few fallen structures to and plenty of tree limbs at least two to three trees have fallen in storms which have decimated certain structures. This probably led to the condition of the property today but then again some structures are just plain horrid. Anything of value has been stripped of course you can kind of tell the elements had there way but so have people over the years. I know vandalism when I see it one wall had spray paint on it in the brothel. This place probably is not even safe to enter breathing rat droppings stirred up is bad so bad in fact if the particles get in your lungs you could die. People have no idea in my paranormal group how many risk I take yet most of you want to watch cheesy paranormal programs and follow groups who take photos of dust sitting on someone's couch. I don't work like that I risk everything for my research and this place has quite a few hazards.

I am sure when this place was an operable hotel and brothel or a full working farm with little kids running around it was a great place. I can sometimes envision the past or what things were like and its easy to see what this place use to be like with the little creek splitting off going around the house, cattle being milked in the barn, chickens running around, noises coming from the workshop etc. Then again as a brothel I could see men gambling, women entertaining those men and the occasional drunken brawl. You probably could hear the organ music playing a mile away and at the time seeing lanterns hanging from its entrances or up in the big tall windows upstairs where the women often entertained railroading men's desires in a very lonely high desert miles from any services.

The brothel/ranch house sits in the middle of it all kind of a focal point really. I ended up going back into the house a few more times even upstairs to look around again. It was fairly quiet after that incident where I heard voices and walking around. Granted I did get some EMF readings on the property and heard a few strange noises but its an old property. Boards creek, metal roofing blows in the wind and branches are blowing up against various structures. So you hear quite a few things and you do not really always know what is what or if someone is hiding or if its ghostly. I am no stranger to investigating old ranches I have done quite a few out west and some turn out to be extremely haunted or less known about. Not many people know about this place and its probably better that way because the place is standing on its last leg. Sure the elements played a role but that does not explain how stripped, gutted and decayed the structures are. It looks like squatters lived here once and were throwing rocks at the windows.  Not once structure has a single window in it and even in ghost towns I go to Ill come across structures with a window or two so its pretty bad.

I hiked out of here feeling pretty good about my exploration but most of my day was gone and nightfall was approaching fast. I have heard about the haunting's here and feel good that I did not end up falling threw a floor or pushed out a window. Its a creepy place its one of the reasons I saved it till October to do because when I do things in October I pick special creepy locations for our members to enjoy. The photos and video will tell more then what I can put into this report even the EVP. The place is haunted somehow I felt some relief to be back at my truck. When I was hiking I found some old stone ruins also not far from the brothel. These hills hide probably quite a few old pioneer ranches based on what I seen offroading in the area. Some of them are inhabited its hard to believe they are when you see how decayed some sites are you have to look at the bigger picture that nature is consuming or reclaiming these ranches once again. This is not a friendly desert I mean come on I almost got bit by a rattle snake. Emigrants died crossing it as well! You have two deserts up here bordering one another the Smoke Creek and the Black Rock which both have serious extremes in temps and diverse weather. While summers may reach over 100 degrees winters here are below zero and it does snow hefty sometimes here so yeah not much is left standing or even around to explore anymore so I was lucky to enjoy this place.

I only had an hour or two till dusk so I did not get to visit other locations I had planned which included a ghost town and a cemetery. I also had another ranch to explore but I ran out of road and time trying to get to it. We took off east on this really rugged jeep road. I had 12 miles to go and well with rock crawling I got about two miles away and ended up having to turn around. We seen some wild horses and herds of antelope though lots of nature out here. But the road had gotten so rough that any further and id probably broke an axle or something. It was a rocky road for miles with boulders, washouts etc. A few times I drove off the road because the terrain was a little less rugged or because the road was out. This is a rough desert to traverse it does not have much growing it either the road was not even dirt it was ALL rock.

When I realized there may have been another route to get to this other ranch I knew I would not see it because id have to go twelve miles out then north on the highway a few miles then take this other road for twelve miles. By then the sun was down. I was so bummed out the thing is we have no idea the conditions of these old stagecoach roads and jeep trails till we physically get on them. The road bares the name of the ranch so I thought it probably is not a bad road to take to it hell no boy was I wrong. So next time I am up this way ill make a second go at it but ill have to take another route on in. I was so close but even if I made it I prefer to take photos of ranches and historical sites during the day so people can enjoy the mountains, scenery etc. I use to for many years go to places at night which was so so back east but here out west everything I do has nature and scenery. That all goes away at night besides the fact that in a desert like Smoke Creek you wont find everything you want to see so ill come back so I do not miss anything.

Sunset out here was beautiful the skies were all pink and purple we climbed uphill for eight maybe nine miles so once I turned around I just was bummed because I busted ass trying to get up into the Smoke Creep Mountains. There is actually a beautiful canyon you can take following Smoke Creek along with a grove of cottonwoods. I hope next time I check out the ranch I can hike around the grove and enjoy the creek more in depth. I also will try to go back up here so I can check out some more ghost towns. I actually found an abandoned settlement in the area not many know about and you wont find any ghost town groups that have it. So much more work needs to be done out here trust me were not done yet. Many old railroading towns graced the edge of this desert along with ranches built in the 1850's it would be great to see more but at least I got out to the brothel and spent most of my day on this ranch exploring it so it was a stellar day.

I was hungry really did not eat even dinner yet so I went out to another semi ghost town at night called Karlo which use to be a railroading town. Today there is only a few working ranches up in Karlo with miles of dirt roads and of course the Biscar Wildlife Viewing area which has a couple reservoirs. I parked up at the reservoir had some potato salad and other foods. I smoked one rested a bit because I needed to fuel up for the journey home. It was nice being out under the stars but man I could not see anything the moon was barely visible I could sort of make our the outline of the reservoir and see a bit of a reflection on the lake with my naked eye.

The roads around Karlo are a bit confusing I tried to go to what was known as downtown at night some farmers big ass dog started to chasing my vehicle. I also seen a train car back here too near an old ranch house. This use to be a bustling town they had a station all of it including the businesses are long gone. I spent about two hours after relaxing at the lake offroading on various dirt roads some of them were so narrow my truck was touching the sides. Many of the roads use to lead to ranches and parts of the town today there is nothing to be seen nature has ov


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