Almost 40 million people visit Las Vegas each year with the expectation of world-class accommodations, gluttonous amounts of food, ritzy shows, and gambling. What they may not be betting on is an experience with the paranormal. However, that’s what some tourists have found beneath the glittering lights of the desert.
One can hardly think of Las Vegas without thinking of the Flamingo. The hotel has been an icon of the Las Vegas strip since its construction in the mid 1940s. And one can hardly think of the Flamingo without thinking of its once nefarious owner, Bugsy Siegel (below). Guests lucky enough to stay in the Presidential suite often report seeing the ill-fated mobster during their stays. His innocuous presence is said to wander his old room as well as the chapel and other parts of the hotel.
Bugsy wanted to make the Flamingo an international attraction and a hotel for the ages. But it wasn’t until after his murder that the money began to really roll in. While the ownership has changed and the rooms and interior have undergone renovations, the ghostly presence of a former mobster ladies man has remained.
One former guest told of a visit years before as if it was fresh in her mind. “It was late and I was opening the door to my room when I saw a quiet figure glide down the hallway. Then, just before it turned out of sight, it slowed and looked at me.” Her story was all too common an occurrence to be dismissed out of hand.
However, with the age of the hotel and the mob involvement for so many of its years, one can’t help but speculate if some of the other specters seen throughout the hotel might be tortured souls who lost their final wagers. Las Vegas has been called the suicide capital of America and what better place for a restless spirit than the fabulous Flamingo?
“An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself,” Charles Dickens once said. Perhaps someone will someday gather the courage to learn why the ghosts of the Flamingo continue to linger after so many years, but I wouldn’t bet on it.