Friday, September 28, 2012

Nevada's Haunted Dake House

The Dake House is located in Genoa, Nevada, a town established in 1851 and often laying claim to being Nevada's first permanent settlement.  This Victorian style home was built in 1872 by Genoa's local undertaker, C.W. Dake, and was later sold to a T.P. Hawkins, former Pony Express Rider.  Over the years, the home served, among other things, as a justice of the peace office, and a post office.  Today, it is home to Antiques Plus, a large antique store owned by Mrs. Martha Williams.

In 1962, 14 year old Martha moved with her family from California and settled in the Dake Home, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  In 1980, she opened the first antique store in the home's carriage house, which slowly over the years came to encompass the entire home.

As Martha collected antiques to showcase in her beautiful home turned store, she also allegedly picked up a ghost or two.  The house itself had a long reputation in the community as being haunted, but Martha didn't really have any paranormal experiences until much later when she tried repeatedly to sell a turn of the century oil painting.  The oil painting, featuring a vase of beautiful pink roses, was said to have been either a copy of, or the original painting by a spiritualist medium during a seance in San Francisco.  According to some sources, this painting belonged to Martha's mother, Bernice.

While its sketchy as to who owned the painting, or exactly where it came from, what is known is that Martha tried to sell the painting at least three times.  Each time it was put up for sale, it would violently plunge off the wall, but in a manner as to not damage the painting, the nail, or the picture wire from which in hung.  The first time it happened, the force from which it fell was enough to hit a plug below and dislodge it from its socket, resulting in a shower of sparks.  The painting has since been taken off the market.

It took a painting being flung off the wall multiple times for Mrs. Williams to admit she might have a ghost, but other visitors to the Dake House needed even less convincing.  The apparition of a woman has been seen on the first floor, and a sweet smelling perfume has been observed in the parlor area.  Objects will disappear, only to reappear hours later in obvious locations and footsteps are heard coming from the upstairs bedrooms when no one is present on that floor.  In one particularly alarming incident, a customer was upstairs in a former bedroom when he was slapped on the head.  He made a hasty retreat.

Theories abound as to who the resident ghost or ghosts may be, but a visit to the antique store by ghost researcher Richard Senate, and his psychic wife, Debbie, may have shed some light.  Debbie felt a distinct presence of an older woman occupying the second floor of the store, and felt strongly that this woman had a connection with the owner of the building.  Mrs. Williams' mother Bernice, did live in the home before her death, but due to health problems, never spent any considerable time beyond the first floor.  Mrs. Williams, DID, however, note that it would not be out of character for her mother to slap the gentleman visitor if she felt he deserved it!

The house is still open as an antique store, and in 2010, celebrated its 30th anniversary.  It is an integral part of several different history and cultural events held in Genoa, and is a popular stop on the Genoa Historic Ghost Tours.  It is also open throughout the week.  The address is 2242 Main Street.

Photo of Dake House property of Thin Veil Investigators
Photo of Martha Williams and the "haunted painting" property of Jonni Hill of the Record-Courier

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