Monday, October 13, 2008

Haunted Weekends

October is one of my favorite months. The weather in Arizona begins to cool off, children are excited over the candy binge about to take place on the 31st, and just under twenty female writers invade a local haunted hotel armed with laptops and alcoholic beverages.

I turned the Valley of the Sun Chapter of RWA retreat into a haunted getaway several years ago. We have stayed at the Venn Dome in Prescott and at the Grand Hotel in Jerome. This year we will return to Jerome, an old mining town an hour north of Phoenix.

It's hard to tell if our ghostly encounters have been the result of a mixture of overactive imaginations and wine coolers, or a true paranormal experience. At the Venn Dome, a group of us piled into the haunted room and the closest door slammed shut. I wasn't in a position to see if anyone tapped it, so I can only rely on the testimony of those standing near the door, who to this day swear no one touched it - at least, no one human.

My sister, Tacha, says she attracts ghosts. One night at the Venn Dome, I experienced what felt like a small animal jumping off the bed. I thought my sister was walking beside me, but when I turned over, she was tucked safely into her own bed across the room. Oddly enough, I wasn't frightened or even concerned. A cat supposedly haunts the hotel, and if it did visit my bed, it meant no ill will.

In Jerome, I woke to find my sister working crossword puzzles in the middle of the night. I know something spooked her. She claims she saw the bed coverings depress and felt the presence of something crawling into bed between the two of us. I always thought someone should at least tell you their name and buy you dinner before slipping into bed with you. Maybe I'm being old fashioned. Was I scared when she told me about our visitor? A bit. Okay, more than a bit. The next day I bought rocks that are suppose to ward off evil, asked the archangels to protect us, pulled the covers up to my neck, and listened to a meditative CD while falling asleep.

So why do I continue to plan these haunted trips? Why do people ride roller coasters? The thrill of the ride. Anything can happen when you stay at a haunted hotel.

I became interested in the paranormal at a young age, after my mother told me the toys on our kitchen floor began flying around the room while she was paying bills. Paper flies around the room when I pay bills, but there's nothing ghostly about it.

The adventurous side of me wants to see an apparition next weekend and the frightened child in me hopes the ghosts stick to haunting the local graveyards.

Do you have a ghostly tale? If so, please leave a comment. We would love to hear it.
I'll let you know what happens at the Grand Hotel after we return.


Kathy Otten said...

My daughter who was 17 at the time worked in housekeeping at a local resort/conference center. One particular condo was reported to be haunted and the ghost who lived there used to change the stations on people's radios. Well, since the basement was where this ghost resided, the ladies in housekeeping were reluctant to go down and would take turns cleaning. On this particular occasion my daughter and an older lady where chosen to go down. The older lady scoffed at the young girls who were scared and decended the stairs calling, "Come out, come out where ever you are." Nothing happened and the woman opened a closet for supplies. My daughter started dusting and straightening the magazines on a coffee table positioned across from the fireplace. The other woman still scoffing told the ghost she didn't believe and he had better show himself now. Well the fireplace went whoosh and lit itself. My daughter and the lady raced up the stairs. A different housekeeper drew the short straw to go down to lock up the closet and turn off the gas for the fireplace. When she went down the gas was off and the fireplace was still burning. She went to the closet, the door was closed and locked. When she went back to the fireplace the fire turned off. Spooookyyy!

Tina LaVon said...

I love your story!!!!
How fun.
Can you tell us the name of the resort?

Anonymous said...

Hey Tina, having been there with you I'm glad only the cat stopped by looking for a place to sleep two years ago. Last year there was that weird, unexplainable cigarette smoke in the hall next to us. Who knows what this year will bring? I'll be bringing my sage stick and Holy water to keep the ghosts at bay. Wanna share?

tina lavon said...

At the first sign of trouble, I'll be pounding on your door for your holy water and sage stick, so be expecting me.