Do you believe in ghosts?
I don’t think.
I laugh when I hear stories and secretly hope they’re not real.
I’m fascinated by ghost stories, though. I watch paranormal shows and movies like The Others and What Lies Beneath while the hair on my arms stands up and I constantly look over my shoulder.
In the last couple of years I’ve had the opportunity to travel to two “haunted” hotels through work. I was excited about the trips. I thought maybe this would be my chance to see if there is really something to the tales, although I didn’t really believe there was. But the whole time I was there, both times, I was on edge for fear that maybe there was some truth.
My first trip was a conference a couple years ago. Pat and Sarah, a baby at the time, traveled with me to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. The Stanley Hotel is the infamous hotel where Stephen King came up with the idea for The Shining while he was snowed in doing research for another book. It’s been featured on Ghost Hunters on the Sci Fi channel.
Even though I was creeped out during my stay, I never experienced anything except for jumping when I saw my white shirt hanging in the closet while I was getting ready before the sun came up. Those early morning conferences will make you hallucinate like that.
Two ladies from work traveled with us. One, we’ll call "T," was originally placed next door to Stephen King’s room. He claimed to hear children playing in the hallway at all hours and other experiences in his room. She asked to be moved to another room. The next morning when she told me her new room number I didn’t say anything, but as soon as she walked away I looked at my other co-worker, this one we’ll call "J." Our eyes grew and we immediately reached for the computer. Sure enough on the Ghost Hunters website, there was T’s room, jumping table and all. We kept our mouths shut until we arrived back home. She said nothing happened until her last evening.
T was sitting on the bed working when suddenly there was a knock at the door. She said she had an immediate uneasy feeling. Then there was a little girl’s voice, “Mommy, let us in.” Another knock. “Mommy, why won’t you let us in?” And then it stopped. No footsteps. The story is that a woman drowned her two twin girls in a room on that floor.
J claimed she also had an experience. She had stepped out to take a breather on a balcony that was next to her room. She heard footsteps coming down the stairs above her and then footsteps behind her, but she never saw anyone. She turned to see if anyone was there and saw a black shadow moving down the hallway. No shadows on the walls, just a dark figure walking down the middle of the hall.
I must place a disclaimer after this story. J frequently came to work smelling of alcohol, and this conference was no exception. She no longer works for my organization.
T was creeped out by the entire trip. She thinks the General Manager was a ghost. I have to admit he was a little creepy and loved to tell ghost stories. For instance, every New Year's Eve they close all the blinds and lock the doors to one of the ballrooms so the past employees can have their own party. He claims you can hear them talking and laughing and playing music.
My second trip to a “haunted” hotel was just recently in mid-October. I attended a conference at the Omni Shoreham in Washington, D.C. I had completely forgotten there were ghost stories about this hotel until I had breakfast with co-workers that had come in before me. T was one of them again, and believe me, she hated being there. The General Manager had taken all three of them up to the “Ghost Suite” the night before and tried to call the ghost out. T said they all had sufficient wine in them to allow them to laugh their way through, but she didn’t want to go back.
My last day there one of the ladies came into our onsite staff office completely freaked out. She said she had placed her shoes beside her bed before she went to sleep. She claims her closet light turned on and then off again in the middle of the night, and when she woke in the morning her shoes were in the closet with the heels lined up at the threshold with the door closed.
Later that afternoon the General Manager came to tell us that one of their housekeepers had just quit when a porcelain lamp went flying across the room in the Ghost Suite. I think she just didn't want to pay for the lamp.
Did I have an experience this time? I washed my face in the bathroom sink and when I looked up in the mirror a saw a figure behind me. A figure that turned out to be from the picture on the wall that had reflected just right in the etching around the mirror. I had let out a scream, though, and ended up doing my make up backed up to the headboard of the bed and it was done in record time, thank you very much.
I have another conference coming up there in a little over a year. I’m going to have to get Pat to go with me because I know my mind will play tricks on me.
So, do I believe in ghosts now? I still say no, and I’m still fascinated by the stories. I’m watching ghost stories on television as I type this. Also, I think General Managers love to scare the crap out of their guests.
What about you? Do you believe in ghosts?
Booo-wah-ha-ha-ha-ha! (That’s supposed to be a spooky laugh.)