Thursday, October 3, 2013

Haunted Retreat

As a writer sometimes you just need to get away and re-charge your brain cells.  The best way we light a fire under our dormant muse is to hang out with like-minded friends, brainstorming, eating chocolate and drinking wine.  We do this several times a year by going on a weekend retreat at a fun place in our state, Arizona.  And nowhere is more fun to us than staying in a hotel that is supposedly haunted.  For us as writers the fun of delving into ghost lore comes from learning the story behind the haunting and then exaggerating it to another level. 

We blogged about this retreat once before, but today we were reminded about how much fun we'd had and how we need to do it again. Maybe this post will bring back all the memories and get us motivated.

In the spirit of Halloween, here's our ghost story.

One of our favorite haunted places to visit is Jerome, AZ.  Jerome is an old mining town set on the side of a mile-high mountain.  The timeworn, crumbling buildings are now home to mostly artists who sell their work in the shops lining the main street.  Jerome is a wonderful little town to purchase gifts of sparkly jewelry, scented candles, lovely paintings and beautiful handmade clothing.  And when you get hungry you must stop in the Haunted Hamburger for lunch, but be sure to save room for dinner.  The Asylum, the dining room in the Jerome Grand Hotel features mouth-watering entrees and a great wine list.  Besides, you never know who might drop in to say ‘hello’ while you’re dining there.  Local legend tells the story of a lady who roams the building looking for her daughter who died at birth.

A couple of years ago during October a group from our local RWA chapter reserved the entire third floor of the Jerome Grand Hotel, which sits on top of the mountain.  This Spanish mission style building, constructed in 1926, started out as the United Verde Hospital.  In 1930, it was known as the most modern and well equipped hospital in Arizona and possibly the Western States.  In 1950 as the mine operation was being phased out, the hospital was closed and the building remained vacant for 44 years.  In 1994 the building was sold and the new owners turned it into the Jerome Grand Hotel.

When the hotel doors were opened in 1997, the haunting began.

“What makes the Jerome Grand Hotel a worthwhile place to stay, is the fact that this is probably one of the most active haunted locations in the world,” according to

As we checked into the hotel we were told stories of strange noises coming from empty rooms such as coughing, labored breathing, and even voices.  We were told not to be surprised if the lights or TV's turned on and off by themselves.  As we made our way toward our room, our spines tingled in anticipation of a ghostly encounter.  Several in our party felt cold spots in the hallway and there were reports of strange sensations. 

On Saturday night, the Jerome Grand took our group on a fun ghost hunt where we got some great orb pictures.  We didn’t see any ghosts while on the tour, but some creepy events happened to us after we went to bed.  Our room phone rang at midnight waking us up, but when answered, no one was there. The ringing phone was a bit spooky, but the scariest of all was the feeling of panic Bev aka/Dani had as unseen hands tugged on her body as if trying to scoot her off the mattress.  Since this hotel was once a hospital could it have been a nurse trying to move a patient?  Convincing ourselves this was only a dream we tried to go back to sleep, until Chris aka/Tia screamed that someone had yanked her hair.  After that happened neither of us slept until the sun came up.

Was all this real or just active imaginations of creative romance writers?   A personal experience can either change your mind or reinforce your belief in paranormal activity.  We believe there are things that can't be explained.  And, besides, who doesn’t love a good ghost story?

Our next story will have a ghost in it. We're finishing up the last chapter as we write this blog. Meanwhile check out our latest release, Time's Enduring Love. It's a time travel set in Kansas during 1866. We think you will enjoy reading it and we promise that you won't be scared.

Happy Halloween,
Tia Dani

1 comment:

Mary Tate Engels said...

What fun- a haunted retreat for a bunch of writers! If you don't believe... The local resident ghost will haunt you,
Invite me next time!