The first thing we noticed when we walked in was that it looked… old. Maybe old isn’t the right word. Out-dated isn’t right, either, because it was almost certainly done on purpose. It was antique. Antiquated. The carpet was thick, and the chairs had claw feet. Upholstered furniture with the type of golden-threaded patterns you would expect in Buckinham Palace. The artwork and the wall-paper didn’t help much either. That deep crimson laced with flashing gold. Old money. This place had been around. Kept up, too though. It was clean, well-lighted. Outside the window you could hear the indefatiguable sounds of the river rushing relentlessly to it’s massive drop. Niagra. All in all, it was beautiful. And we had finally made it.
The road trip began in Burlington, Vermont. By lunch time I had picked up my travelling companion in Massachusetts, and continued on to Pittsburg. Nightfall would see us cruising into Columbus, Ohio. Onward from our short stop in Ohio, we reached Chicago. Beautiful stay. Beautiful city. Two days later we had cruised back through Cleveland, the mistake by the lake, and were working our way up the lakes towards Canada, and our final stop on our semi-cross country trek.
The inn was well-known enough, by the standards of the town. Not cheap, but also not the most posh place around. There were spider webs in alarming numbers all down the wrought iron front fence, that separated the inn and it’s slightly over-grown landscaping from the promenade of pedestrian tourists.
I made no further thought of the spiders and was content to enjoy the last days of my journey with my sweet companion, in relaxation and good spirits. We made quick work of checking in, and I happened to find an old and battered copy of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary in the small library that doubled as the general waiting area for the inn. I dropped the book in my bag, after reading the first chapter, and walked from the waiting room to our suite.
It wasn’t long before we started to discuss the slightly creepy feelings that the room brought out in us. It definitely had the feeling of a room that has been through a lot. You could tell that it was old, and you could tell that you weren’t the first to have sat on those old divans. But the sound of the rushing water and the road-weariness that dragged on us were pleasant lulls.
As we sat listening to the water go by, we snapped a few pictures in the room. Us sitting bolt upright in the old armchairs, hands folded on our laps, poking fun at the decidedly stiff motif of our room. All we needed was a platoon of fox terriers around our feet, and the picture would have been complete.
After a bit of similar horsing around, we decided to take a short rest before getting ready for dinner. Lounging on the couch we both subtly turned our heads toward the door to the bedroom, and the bathroom inside there. It was clearly nothing. Just a rattling of pipes, or a breeze. But it certainly sounded like the door of the closet coming unlatched and opening into the bedroom. We couldn’t remember having closed it, particularly, but after furrowing our brows and staring into each others’ eyes for a short interlude, I got up to see what might have made the sound.
Well, the closet door was definitely open now. But maybe it was open before. Or maybe it just wasn’t closed all the way, the spring action in the door handle had been pressing the dead-latch against the frame. Eventually it built up enough pressure to push the door all the way open. Right?
In any case, the door should probably be shut. I shut it. Firmly.
By this time, we are pretty much done with the possibility of taking a nap. And I am pretty wary of picking up a Stephen King book when this room is clearly putting myself and my lady friend in such an agitated state. I decided to try some TV.
My companion headed to the bathroom for a shower, and I decided to turn the TV off and try to get a bit more shut-eye. I put the remote on the coffee table– one of the more modern-looking pieces of furniture in the room. It was glass-topped with a wooden frame around the outside edge, about an eighth of an inch tall. I remember being pleased that a pen would never roll off of it.
I remember looking out the window and wishing that I could open it all the way. Instead, I closed the small opening, to muffle the sound of the water. Minutes later, I am finally relaxing on my bed, with a wary eye still cast towards the closet door, to my left.
After a few minutes of listening to the shower run, I feel the same breathless sensation as when I heard the closet door open before. But this time, a noise had come from the other room, where I had just been minutes before. I sit bolt-upright, and think. I closed the window. The door is locked. Nothing should be making any noise. Especially not a sudden sound like that. It sounded like something had fallen or been knocked into something else. Something had fallen onto the carpeted floor.
Before my friend got out of the shower I went to investigate. A couple of deep breaths and glances around the room and I see what’s different. The remote. The same one I had just put down a few minutes before, is no longer on the coffee table, but on the floor a foot away.
At this point, I am down-right agitated. My neck hairs are standing on end, and I am starting to sweat. I’m not exactly a skeptic, I believe that there is a lot out there that we humans haven’t figured out yet. But I also wasn’t ready to brand myself as a “believer.” To this day, I have not been able to come up with a satisfactory explanation as to how a half pound TV remote could move itself a foot, lifting itself over the lip on the edge of the table, and clatter down on the floor, in an empty room.
When my lady friend emerged from the bathroom, she found me looking distraught, sitting on the couch. I told her what had just transpired, and she couldn’t help but believe what I told her.
She walked back into the bedroom, to get ready for dinner. She cleaned up quickly and was cautiously pawing her way around the rooms, waiting for me, when I heard something I didn’t expect from behind me.
“Oh my god!. You aren’t going to believe this. Well. You probably will.”
“Did you see that there’s a guest book in the drawer of the beside table?”
“Well it’s pretty cool, and I was looking through it to try to get some ideas for restaurants or whatever. Well. Here. Just read this one.”
“Beautiful room. Lovely view. We had a great time. But, this room IS haunted. Not in a bad way though. It’s just a nice old woman, we think.”
“This is too f***ing weird,” I said, taking the book from her. “If one person wrote about it, there has got to be at least one other person in here.”
The majority of the notes left were very run-of-the-mill. Great view, great staff, perfect honeymoon, anniversary, etc. Except for two others.
One of them read something like this:
“This room is really creepy. We like it here, but it is definitely haunted. Things moved around when we weren’t in the room. And something woke my husband (a very heavy sleeper) up in the middle of the night.”
And then there was the last one, from a mere three weeks prior:
“What a great place! It IS haunted though. My husband woke me up in the middle of the night to point out the old woman in an old fashioned white night gown who was standing just to the left of our bed. She seemed kind. She smiled and looked at us for a moment, like she was just checking on us, and then disappeared towards the closet.”