Secrets of The Desert: Amboy, California

Secrets of the Desert with Gerard Ramalho (KSNV News 3)

We are back on the road this week in search of more Secrets of The Desert. This time, we are exploring areas along Route 66, once the most travelled highway leading from the midwest to California.

Gerard's second stop is in the small town of Amboy, California. While there isn't much there, there are a lot of people who will recognize the location because of the numerous movies filmed there. It's a creepy town. It's been a ghost town, technically since the highway came in and bypassed Route 66. But there is some activity out there, and some of it may be paranormal.

Travel 135 miles southwest of Las Vegas and eventually you'll reach Amboy. Roy's Motel is little more than a dilapidated landmark now, but back in the 50s, it was a popular stop-over for motorists headed to the west coast. The town itself dates back to the mid-1800s. Settlers from a nearby mining claim developed it. A cemetery on the outskirts still has the grave sites of about 30 children who died from an unknown disease.

Then came the railroad, followed by Route 66. Amboy flourished, adding a school and a church.

"At one time, we were told that Roy's employed over a hundred people," said Carol Aceves, Town Manager.

Amboy now has a population of 4. Mainly, Aceves runs the gas stop and the souvenir store, but Roy Crowe is the man who owned Amboy back in the 30s. He was a mechanic. Crowe's wife is credited with starting what would eventually become the motel.

"She turned his parts warehouse into a cafe, you know, started serving food and taking care of the kids," said Aceves.

Eventually, all of that progress came to a screeching halt.

"In the 70s when that interstate opened up, everything just went dead around here," said Aceves.

And perhaps not just figuratively. According to Aceves, there have been many reports of ghosts and paranormal activity in town. Noises heard at the church, also the Amboy school. The classrooms today are still littered with books and notepads.

"We heard kids screaming and having fun, like a typical day in school. But it was in the middle of the night and we know there was nobody there," he said.

In one of the motel rooms, they say, blood suddenly appeared on one of the walls. Blood that had not been there the day before.

Amboy survives today, mostly because of the movies. A number of big screen productions were filmed in the town, featuring stars like Brad Pitt and David Duchovny. The cult classic 'The Hitcher' was even filmed in the town in the mid-80s.

Carlos Aceves admits, he's more than just a fan of Amboy. he says it would be a shame if the town disappeared for good.

"I'm into preserving it and bringing it back to its original state, and I got this tattoo to really show my pride for Route 66," he said.

Check out Secrets of The Desert: Williams, Arizona

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