An Excerpt From A New Hauntingly Good Book

An Excerpt From A New Hauntingly Good Book

Posted on May 23 by Dorah L. Williams
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Living with a haunting can be very unnerving, and investigating them can be, too…but, based on my own many experiences, I find that comic relief sometimes helps quite a bit.  And, along with respect for the living and dead, and an open mind, a sense of humour is often an important  “tool”  to bring with you into these situations, whenever possible.  Because, for me at least, things don’t always (or usually) go as expected…

It isn’t uncommon to receive emails from people, from near and far, suggesting I “check out” a haunted house or business.  I usually decline due to distance, privacy or safety issues…but sometimes…when I’m especially intrigued, and if there is public access (ie a hotel, tavern or theatre)…and if I’m going to be “in the neighbourhood” anyway…I do enjoy seeing/sensing for myself, whenever possible.   And, even if the owner doesn’t want public acknowledgement, (though they usually do), I have yet to meet one who doesn’t want to at least discuss their own haunting experiences with me, if they have occurred, once I have made my introduction to them.

And, so it was recently… My husband and I were planning an upcoming anniversary celebration and an email I received about a haunted inn, in the same city as our arranged romantic getaway that very weekend, seemed like a great co-incidence to me.  The email’s author no longer worked there, but gave me a long list of his paranormal experiences during his lengthy tenure as the grounds-keeper for the stately Victorian manor.  So, Ted (always a good sport about such things) agreed we could stay there, that very weekend, if I wanted.

When I called, and made the reservation,  I mentioned we wouldn’t be getting there until around 9:00 pm (because I wasn’t sure if they had 24 hour front desk service and wanted to ensure they held our room).  They assured me that someone would be there, to welcome us and check us in whenever we arrived. So, when we got into town that night, right at 9:00, just as I’d told them, I  put the address for the inn into the GPS.  It guided us through all the quiet tree-lined streets in the oldest section of the city ...and with its last direction, finally said: "Destination is on the left".

And sure enough, there was a huge Victorian mansion, just as we had been expecting to find...but in the darkness of the night I do remember saying, as we pulled into the parking lot, "Didn't it look a lot different on its website?"...Ted didn't think so.  We grabbed our bags and walked to the grand front door, but it was locked.  Looking around we noticed a porch on the west  side of the building (with a sign on the door  saying "OFFICE) so tried that next.  

But, oddly enough, since they said they’d be expecting us, that  door was locked too.  We rang the doorbell but no one answered...we rang it again....and again…still no answer...so we looked at each other, puzzled and frustrated, and said "What now?"...we had already prepaid for the reservation so didn't want to just leave and stay elsewhere.  Ted pulled out his phone to call them again, to let them know we had arrived and were waiting right outside to be let in.  He talked to the same woman that I had spoken to when I booked the room, and she told him she had just been busy upstairs for a moment and didn’t hear the knocks or doorbell, but would be right out to greet us.  So we sat down on the wicker chairs on the porch and waited...and waited...and waited...

I texted our kids, to let them know we had safely arrived at our destination...and to complain that the inn had locked us out and had kept us waiting about half an hour, by that point, on the front porch.  After such a long trip, I was getting pretty annoyed...we still hadn't had dinner yet and we were both  tired and starving.

Finally, the front door opened...to our relief...but it wasn't the woman Ted had just spoken to...it was a couple, leaving.  They gave us a very strange (almost startled) look when they saw the suitcases in our hands, and then glanced at each other...but they held the door for us so we could enter as they left (and that was really all I cared about at that moment).

Inside it looked exactly like a period-piece movie set, and I was enchanted (temporarily)!  That was the largest Victorian mansion I'd ever seen inside, and as there was no one around to check us in (or anywhere in sight), we wandered from empty room to empty room looking around as we looked for assistance.  By now, though,  I was getting pretty impatient...it was almost 10:00 p.m. and we just wanted to get into our room to drop off the bags, freshen up, and then go and get some dinner.  Ted made himself at home, sprawled out in an over-stuffed chair,  in the huge parlour, but I kept wandering around looking for someone (anyone) and admiring that incredible old building (it truly felt like we had stepped back in time to the late 1800's…even the manual elevator, beside the staircase that looked like it was straight out of “Gone With The Wind”, was amazing to me).

Finally...finally...a very elderly lady slowly made her way down those grand stairs, towards me.  I was so relieved to see her (another person, besides ourselves, in that huge, eerily quiet, old place) and called out a greeting , hoping she could help us get checked into our room.  She looked completely baffled when she saw us standing there holding our suitcases...even more so than the couple who let us in earlier, as they left.  I started to explain that we were the couple who were expected at 9:00, but we could find no one to check us into our room...she looked so confused as she looked at us both intently...and the more confused she appeared, the more I tried to explain who we were and why we were there (I even got the reservation confirmation number out of my purse to show her).

She finally said, "Well, you are welcome to move into my room with me, if you'd like"...Ted and I looked at each other (now we were the baffled ones)...I thanked her for the kind and generous offer, but again explained we had already reserved and paid for a room, and they were supposed to be holding it for us.

She then said, "Well, I'll go and get someone to help you then"...and I thanked her, and thought "Oh, thank God!"

So we waited...and waited some more...and wandered around the main floor again until she finally came back with a man, dressed entirely in white (like an orderly).  He looked exactly like Marty Feldman (circa "Young Frankenstein”…the resemblance was uncanny) and I was so glad to see him.

And as they both walked towards us, Ted said, "Hi, it's us, The Williams"...like that should straighten out any misunderstanding...but the man and elderly lady just  looked at each other, and then back at us, without saying a word.

I was getting  pretty anxious  by this point...it felt like we were in the Twilight Zone...but I was also still starving...so I walked towards the man, and said, imploringly, "I said we would be arriving around  9:00 p.m.  when I booked our room; and then my husband called again from the front porch when we got here, because we were locked out...we're expected...we have a reservation..." holding the confirmation print-out  in my hand.

And he then came right up to me, an inch away from my face, and said in a very disturbing  tone, "Are you quite sure about that?"

I slowly backed away from him, and looked at Ted (with complete horror) and said, "Wellll...no, maybe not..." I just wanted to get the hell out of there by then and decided they could keep our prepayment...if they just let us leave!

Then he said (in that same creepy tone), "Do you want to stay here for the rest of your life?"....after hearing that, I was expecting him to suddenly pull a syringe out of his white coat and inject us with something to render us unconscious...I know how it works in the horror movies...and I began to wonder, whatever that place was, disguised as a charming Victorian Inn to lure in suckers like us,  if we were ever getting out of there again!

My cell phone’s ring broke the tense silence and I glanced at it, seeing the call was coming from the Inn…that just confused me all the more…especially when I spoke to the caller, who informed me she had been looking for us for over an hour, since Ted had called to say we were waiting outside…where were we? she asked….I was certainly wondering that myself…

When he figured he had discombobulated us enough, the man in white finally started to laugh, and said, (now in an entirely normal and friendly tone)"This is a Retirement Home!  I think you are trying to check in a few decades too soon"...I have never been so relieved…or so embarrassed...to finally grasp a situation…we weren’t lost in the Twilight Zone…but we did just basically break and enter into a (very) private seniors’ residence, instead of going to the other huge property at  the end of the street,  to the actual Inn, where we were expected (stupid GPS).

And, after all of that, the inn was a bit anti-climactic, when nothing paranormal presented itself during our weekend  stay there any way.  But the manager did assure me, when I explained my curiosity about his establishment, he had heard many stories of strange happenings in the retirement home up the street.

Copyright to Dorah L. Williams 2014