Las Vegas; a city famed for its bright lights, plentiful drinks, shotgun weddings, and, hopefully, a meeting with Lady Luck. Every year, nearly forty million people make their way to this Mecca of excess to soak up all it has to offer and to, hopefully, get lucky.
But Sin City also has another side to it. For the spiritually aware, this other, often unseen, part of Vegas hovers above the city, a mix of lost souls and spirits. A few moments of standing in a hotel lobby can provoke a wave of different feelings. For Las Vegas is home to more than spirits of the alcoholic kind.
For a single week in April 2014, I stayed at the Luxor hotel. For me, it was the end of a ten year dream, one which had seen me travel half way around the globe to stay in a hotel I’d only seen in photographs. Something had drawn me to the iconic pyramid and I was desperate to stay within its walls. Driving at night from the airport to the hotel was like watching ever Vegas themed movie come to life. The millions of lights, the long, sweeping Strip, and the sound of a million slot machines singing their songs all come into sight as the freeways sweeps up from the airport. It’s an excitement like no other, one which crackles through the air like lightning.
Yet, within a few hours of stepping into my hotel room I began to feel things other than overwhelming excitement. Creeping chills which were more than the air conditioning and an ache in my head that indicated the start of a drop into depression. Without even stepping onto the Strip, I was picking up something other than the city’s vibrant life.
I’ve always been spiritually sensitive. It’s what my Christian mother calls my ability to pick up the vibrations of places and people. Strangely, she doesn’t see it as an odd skill. For her, it’s more of a blessing, a super strengthened sixth sense if you will. But it’s not just the living I’m able to pick up these energies from. It’s those who’ve passed, or those who aren’t even a part of our Earthly plane.
I knew before I went that Las Vegas was going to send this sense into overdrive and that staying in a massive pyramid would only add to the experience. Before I left, I made sure I had enough protection watching over me, and every night I asked for a white, protective light to surround me. Still, I was interested to see exactly what the self-proclaimed City of Light had in store for me.
Within a day of arriving, I had my first experience with a shadowy figure on the twenty-fifth floor of the hotel. For those who’ve never been, the Luxor pyramid holds the record for the world’s largest atrium. Check in desks, a food court, and the casino are crammed into this massive space with the interior of the pyramid stretching upwards for thirty three stories. The rooms are on the outside of the pyramid with the hallways running around the inside. These walkways are open to the atrium with nothing more than a four foot high wall to stop anyone from stepping over the edge. The elevators run up the inclined struts of the pyramid.
It was while exiting the elevators on my floor that I began to notice the shadowy figure. As I was turning onto the first of the long stretches of hallway, it would step up beside me and always on the right side. I never felt any threat from this being. Instead, I felt sadness and pain. By the time I reached my room, the figure had always faded away.
When I returned home, I did some reading on the history of the Luxor and discovered that, in 1996, a woman had jumped to her death from the twenty sixth floor, the floor above mine. A few years later and a gentleman took the same final journey down into the atrium. The Luxor is also supposedly haunted by two construction workers who lost their lives during the building process.
It’s no wonder there are so many lost souls, both human and spirit, wandering the Strip. Las Vegas sadly also holds the title as the suicide capital of America. A mix of huge hotels and a sense of anonymity allows those who’ve lost their way to end their lives without involving friends and family. Sadly, it’s often the hotel staff who are left to deal with the fall out.
Nowhere in the world is the energy concentrated like it is in Vegas. A single four mile road is what many people come to see, and they come in their millions. Most people stay for an average of three days. Nearly all of the major hotels and casinos can be found on the Strip with more being built every year. This causes a massive vortex of energy, a place where souls and spirits are attracted like moths to a flame. Not all are those who’ve lost their way. Some belong to people who fell in love with the city’s crazy lifestyle and chose to return in the afterlife. Others have come from the city’s past, a time when Las Vegas was run by mobsters and the likes of Frank Sinatra and Elvis put bums on seats. They appear to be more active at night, gathering on street corners and wandering the Strip. Maybe to show an unwary traveller the way, or to guide someone hunting the elusive Lady Luck?
The famous also remain long after they've departed this mortal coil. Elvis is reported to still be in residence as the Hilton, while Liberace haunts Carluccio's Tivoli Gardens.
For me, the casinos were the hotbed of activity. Ghostly fingers whispered across shoulders or there was a sudden overpowering smell of a long discontinued perfume. I noticed it more when I was playing alone. Hunched up at a slot machine, my feet perched on the ledge below, I'd often feel as though there was someone sitting beside me. They were friendly spirits, there because they had once enjoyed what I was now doing. Perhaps they liked the idea of sitting with a rookie gambler, one who had come to the city because she had heard tales of the bright, noisy machines. More than once I felt a hand on my shoulder. Again, it wasn't malicious, more of a reassurance when I found myself feeling lost among the city's crowds. Often the hands felt as though they belonged to a man, and they went no further than my shoulders. Maybe, just maybe, they once belonged to a protective husband?
In its own right, Las Vegas is a beautiful city with many things to offer. But you may come away with more than a spectacular week in this most decadent of cities.
Rae is an award winning author based in Leicester, England who loves being silly and taking photographs. “The Eve of War”, the third book in her LGBT Steampunk series is out now. Oddly, her ability to communicate with, and see, spirits shocked her more than it did her family. She accepts it now and enjoys travelling to see who she meets, whether living, dead, and from the spirit world.