Tommyknockers, Ghosts and Other Legends of the Comstock

Mining is the industry that built Nevada’s Comstock, but along with the real dangers of working in the dark underground came old superstitions like the Tommyknocker, a Cornish knocker or mining elf which made the transition to western American mines. State Historic Preservation Officer Ron James will share some stories on these spooky gnomes along with tales of other Comstock ghosts and legends at the Nevada State Museum on Tuesday, October 23 at 7:30 p.m. This program is part of the museum’s monthly Frances Humphrey lecture series.

Legends about the Tommyknocker combined with stories about ghosts to become a dynamic aspect of regional folklore. James will talk about his research in Cornwall and how immigrants from that small Celtic county of Britain helped make Nevada and the mining West a hotbed for beliefs in the supernatural.

“With Halloween right around the corner, it’s a perfect time to recount stories about ghosts in the mines,” James said.

James is a leading authority on Tommyknockers having written the definitive work on Cornish immigrant mining beliefs.

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, and free for members & children under 18. For information, call (775) 687-4810.

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