The Girl Behind The Window


Pa (Ben), Adam, Hoss and Little Joe Cartwright -not the dudes most people associate with Halloween but I do!

Dear Readers – I wrote this post a few years back to honor Nevada’s 150th birthday. which was on October 31, 2014. Yes, arguably the nation’s wackiest and most haunted state was admitted to the union on Halloween.  Happy Birthday Nevada.

One of the best things about growing up in Reno was we got Halloween off from school. If the 31st fell on a Saturday or Sunday, we’d get the following Monday off.  If weather permitted, we kids would run down to the main drag (Virginia Street) to see the Admittance Day parade hoping to get a glimpse any celebrities who happened to be in town and there were generally quite a few.  Among the many I saw were Red Skelton, Wayne Newton, Bertha and Tina (performing elephants), Bob Newhart and Shari Lewis (with Lambchops, of course.)

However, the Cartrights (from the TV show Bonanza) were the only regulars. I suspect their appearance was mandated by their publicists to prepetuate the myth that the show was actually filmed in Virginia City and not LA. However, the Cartwrights really did know how to ride horses. Little Joe, the cute one, always rode a pinto (and who cared about the other Cartwrights.)

They’re all dead now and probably no one under 60 remembers their show. But Halloween will always mean the Cartwrights riding down Virginia Street.


Bowers Mansion

There are many haunted places in Nevada as it has over 80+ ghost towns, however, my favorite is Bowers Mansion.  It was built in the valley between Reno and Carson City by Sandy Bowers, a man who struck it rich during the mining boom and his eccentric wife, Eilley. Rumor has it that their daughter, Persia, who died tragically at age twelve, haunts the children’s playroom on the second floor. However it could be Eilley, who, after her husband died broke, told fortunes and had seances in the mansion. Eventually she lost her home to debtors and moved to San Francisco where she died penniless and desparate. Nevada is full of tragic boom and bust stories like hers.


Girl in the Window, Edvard Munch

To the right of the mansion is a county-owned picnic ground and swimming pool where I spent many an afternoon within view of the children’s playroom, Sometimes I could feel Persia Bowers watching me, always hungering for the life I lived. If I felt brave, I’d walk up to the tiny graveyard which holds the remains of the Bowers family.  Strange things are said to happen up there: cameras refuse to work and a chill air prevails all year long. But it’s the overwhelming sadness of the place that always gets to me.

Okay, just to embarrass my children, here are some my favorite ghouls:


Bridget as ???


Demon with funky angels


Keisha, Flapper Girl and Maitre’d?




Katie, the babysitter, as Pancho Villa

12 thoughts on “The Girl Behind The Window

  1. This post gave me a shiver, Jan. And so sorry to hear about your nephew. What a tragedy.

    On a much lighter note, a few days ago, I said something to my teenage son about the spirit of our cat, Mac–who died over the summer–remaining in our house and watching out for us. He said he didn’t believe any of that stuff, and that I was nuts. But that night, while he was trying to sleep, he heard something under his desk that sounded like a cat knocking a marble around. I went up and looked all around, but there was nothing there, and our surviving cat was sound asleep on the couch. I do hope it was Mac, having a little fun.

  2. Great! Fun and interesting. And the boys really new how to ride? Thanks for that.+

    Can’t listen to the Bonanza stuff tonight because utube seems to be playing nonstop Udall ads. I’ll catch them tomorrow.

  3. Definitely a mix of emotions reading through your post today, Jan. I used to work in Vegas, and occasionally traveled to Reno where friends worked and lived. I remember folks talking about that mansion.
    And my condolences on the sad and tragic loss of your nephew, but what a beautiful way to honor his memory and the spirits of all children with similar fates. Working for such a fine organization is a marvelous gift.
    The photos of your friends and family are priceless. What fantastic memories.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your lovely comments. The mansion was often the site of corporate picnics, birthday parties etc. as there was plenty to do. Lots of memories of that place!

    1. Good question. Ghost towns are generally just the ruins of an old mining town. Most of them have graveyards you can visit but the actual town isn’t much to see. Towns whose only inhabitants are ghosts.

      1. Got it. A friend from the States recently told me his wife was pronounced a witch at work and had to leave, and since a lot of people still believe in ghosts, I was wondering…
        Btw, graveyards are here like pop culture. People are so used to them that you’ll see couples holding hands, strolling through them, people jogging, eating lunch. I love that.

  4. Americans fear death more than other cultures. Perhaps that’s why they believe in ghosts. They think cemeteries should be like sanctuaries because they don’t want to offend the ghosts! There are also parts of the country where they believe in witchcraft – generally in rural towns.

Leave a Reply to Mary Rowen Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s