- February 14 is Valentine's Day. However, having no significant other, I had not reserved a room at the Jefferson Hotel with romantic intentions in mind. I reserved it because:
- It was the weekend of a full moon.
- Paranormal activity is supposed to increase when there's a full moon.
- Room 19 at the hotel is supposedly haunted.
- Feb 14 was the only Friday of a full moon the room was available*.
|A view of the lobby inside of the Jefferson Hotel.|
I did not take this picture. I borrowed it from the
hotel's website. I've included the link in this post.
When we checked into the hotel and the staff realized we were in room 19, I noticed a hint of hesitation in their eyes. I assured them I wanted the room. I happily accepted the key and hauled our luggage up the stairs. As we made our way down the hall, Gwen examined and commented on each piece of antique furniture.
We entered the room. Based on the stories I'd heard about 19, I guess I expected to feel an overwhelming sense of dread, or to see the bed floating, or at least to have a flower vase hurled at me. Instead, I observed a small nondescript room decorated with stylish wallpaper and antique furniture. No cold spots. No voices telling me to get out. No mists wafting toward me.
Just a hotel room. In fact, one so boring I failed to take a picture of it.
|The ghost walk went inside a|
closed antique store reported
to have lots of activity. This
was the scariest 'monster' I
saw. I think it's a doll, but
can't be 100% sure since the
store was dark.
After the tour, Gwen and I returned to our room. We talked for a while, then she decided to take a bath. I left in search of a bottled water. I met the front desk clerk as she was leaving about 10:30 PM. The Jefferson Hotel is unique because it closes every night. There is no staff onsite until they return in the morning. Just a phone number to call if there's an emergency. The machine had no bottled water, so I settled for a soda and walked upstairs (Queue ominous music here, if you would like.)
|The phantom chair as I found it in|
front of the door to room 19.
I moved the chair and unlocked the door, but the knob would not turn. Instantly, my mind flashed on the hundreds of horror movies I've seen. I twisted the doorknob harder and it finally gave. I rushed into the room.
"Gwen, are you alright?"
"Yes," she called from the bathroom. "Why?"
I told her what had happened. She finished her bath and joined me. We both examined the chair and agreed it had not been in there earlier. I moved the chair away from our door and into a far corner. Gwen assured me she was not playing a prank on me. I even opened the door several times just to see if the chair would return. It didn't.
I went into the bathroom to prepare for bed. When I returned to the main room, Gwen was staring at the closed door with the strangest look on her face.
Without hesitation, I opened the door. No one was there. I walked into the hallway and the floorboards creaked.
"That's what I heard," Gwen said. "Only it sounded as if someone was jumping up and down."
"There's no one here now," I said and locked the door. It didn't happen again and we went to bed.
|This is exactly how we found the chair the|
next morning. Neither Gwen nor I put it there.
|Gwen with the phantom chair. Notice|
she's wearing her jacket. We intended
to check-out when the chair appeared
for the third time before the closed door.
I returned to our room and half expected to see the chair in front of the door. It wasn't. We gathered our belongs and prepared to check out of the room. When we opened the door - you guessed it - the chair was back. There was no way Gwen had done it. She'd never left my sight since I'd returned to the room.
|The upstairs hallway of the hotel. I did|
not take this picture but found it on the
Internet. No credit was given to the
photographer who took it.
We left the room with our luggage and happened upon two housekeepers beginning their day. I showed them a picture of the chair and asked if they recognized it.
"Yes, but what's it doing in front of that door?"
I told her our experience.
"Oh, that's Sarah. She haunts room 4 and 19."
By this point, my brain with its there-must-be-a-logical-explanation kicked in and I began to sort the 'facts'.
- The first time the chair appeared, Gwen could have staged it while I was gone. However, having been around my sister for 47 years, I know that she is no prankster. It's not in her nature.
- The second time the chair appeared, it's doubtful Gwen could have staged it. The bed was just too small. We felt each other's every movement with her under the covers and me in a sleeping bag atop them.
- The third time, it's impossible Gwen did it. She never left my sight.
- Gwen had told me about the child tugging her PJ's before we met the housekeepers. In fact, she hadn't mentioned a little girl, just a child. If she had fabricated the story, she would have been more specific. Especially because Gwen had refused to hear any of the stories associated with the room**.
- She did not have the time to conceive a plan this elaborate, or to enlist the help of others, because she had agreed to travel with me only a few days before we departed.
- Most importantly, I trust my sister. She does not lie. She also does not share my writer's imagination. Whereas I might want to trick a friend, she couldn't conceive of doing such a
The stairs at the Jefferson Hotel with ...
you decide. Again, I did not take the picture.
I found it on the Internet. The photographer
was not given credit.
- Tourism drives their business and they need people to spread word about haunted Jefferson. However, I don't believe this one either, because there are more residents in the town who refuse to discuss the possibility of ghosts than there are folks who embrace them. In fact, some of the older residents are downright hostile toward "all that spook stuff".
- The hotel runs on a small staff. They wouldn't have time prank the guests.
- This was not my first time to stay at this hotel. I've stayed in three other rooms and never had a supernatural experience. In fact, I talked with one guest who said he's stay there over 10 times in as many different rooms and has never seen a ghost. If the staff were staging sightings, surely they would have included him at some point.
- Same question: why?
- What was their motivation? No one knew Gwen or me.
- To pull a prank you need to anticipate the prankee's reaction. The whole basis of the TV show Scare Tactics is friends scaring their friends. In other words, a prankster needs to get something out of it. A laugh. Seeing their friend piss their pants. Something. No other guest at the Jefferson Hotel had a vested interest in spooking us. Even if they did, they didn't get their monies worth. Neither Gwen nor I screamed, or ran down the hall. We were both just curious.
- That would be the logical answer.
- But it's the wrong one. I did not do this, especially not the third time it happened. The door was closed and locked, and just like my sister, I can't walk through solid wood.
Do I believe in ghosts now? I'm still unsure, but I know I cannot fully explain what happened to my sister and me. We may have experienced the spirit of a bored child who wanted to play, and that makes me sad. To envision anyone stuck in limbo for an eternity searching for a playmate.
What about you? Do you believe in ghosts? Let me know your thoughts and experiences.
* And to get Feb 14 I had to make my reservation way back in May 2013. Yes, the room is that popular.
** I knew the history of the room. However, none of the stories I had previously read mentioned a child haunting 19. In fact, I had expected to see either a woman in a white dress, or a cowboy in a duster.