‘Tis the season to talk about ghouls and ghosts. I have stayed at two supposedly haunted hotels. One that I knew had wild stories and the other I hadn’t a clue there might be some unusual stirrings. Each location has an interesting history and each has nice accommodations. Yet, one left me with two sleepless nights and quite the haunted hangover.
When you step aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, you are transported back to an age of style and class. Its life began as an Art Deco ocean liner and continues to be a floating masterpiece. If you have read my previous work, you know I have visited the ship many times and I have even spent the night twice. I love visiting the ship for drinks and dancing because the Queen has a classic flare for celebration. Throughout the decades, stories have swirled about a variety of souls walking its decks. There is supposedly a female ghost in a white bathing suit wandering the first class swimming pool. The cargo hold towards the front of the ship “still” holds prisoners of war when the ship functioned as the Grey Ghost. A crewman who was crushed to death in a water tight door near the engine room is said to walk the lower corridors. Lastly, a woman strangled in a stateroom on B Deck haunts the tragic scene of the crime. There are many more strange tales on this floating hotel, but not one made a stirring during my stays. Yes, there was an eeriness about sleeping aboard, but nothing out of the ordinary took place. I should note; however, that I have had friends who visited the ship and experienced some very unusual happenings. Lights shutting off, bathroom cabinets opening by themselves, and one dear friend even saw a women dressed in vintage garb that no one else in her party could see. An old friend of mine used to work as a tour guide and he caught some unusual voices on a tape recorder (clearly, this was years ago). Yet, I didn’t see or feel it for myself so the jury is still out on this case.
Savannah, Georgia was gorgeous and I couldn’t wait for our romantic weekend in the South. We stayed at the East Bay Inn not far from the river. The hotel was ideal – brick walls, four-post bed, vintage trimmings, and a staff that was very accommodating. Our corner room had a journal and guests were invited to share their stories before they leave. So many couples spoke of their romantic stay and a few were repeat visitors to the hotel. I was really pleased with our choice. After a long evening of dining and walking the beautiful squares, we decided to turn in. I started to slip away into slumber when the sound of someone thumping up and the down the hall jarred me awake. My first thought was that it was quite rude. It was in the wee hours of the morning and this hotel guest was disturbing the whole floor. Then – and I still can’t quite believe it now – the footsteps shifted and creaked into our room. Yes, footsteps came into our room and started heading towards our bed. I woke up my husband and asked him point blank “Do you hear footsteps coming towards our bed?”. Still groggy (and grumpy), he said yes. We sat and listened to the steps move about our room. After a few minutes, they eventually stopped. My husband fell right back asleep – clearly not as disturbed as me – and I sat up watching an I Love Lucy marathon until the sun rose. I really wasn’t sure what to make of it. I heard it and Aaron heard it. Then, I went straight back to the room’s journal and started sifting through the pages. Romance, romance, romance, then finally, Charley. Charley was supposedly a resident ghost who walked the halls. Some guests knew about him and wanted to see if it was true. Most noted that he never showed. Well I took a brief daytime nap, then hit the streets to explore. I couldn’t let “Charley” stop me from enjoying this beautiful trip.
Later that night, we took a walking tour of the area. Our guide spoke of history and spooks throughout the city. At the end of the tour, she noted that the East Bay Inn was an old cotton warehouse and the slaves who worked there still supposedly walk the halls at night. It gave me chills. So I did what any self-respecting travel writer would – hit up the bars before going to bed. There were no footsteps on our second night, however, we couldn’t get our air conditioning to work anymore. It left the room humid and with a very strong musty smell. Now I couldn’t sleep for two reasons. The next morning, we checked out. We told the lady at the front desk that there were some unusual noises the first night and that our air conditioning died the second. Without blinking, the clerk apologized, discounted our stay, and off we went. She didn’t seemed surprised one bit which leaves me to believe she had heard it before.
When I got back to LA, it took me a few days to recuperate from the lack of sleep. I didn’t see anything but we both definitely heard something in our room and it came right up to our bed. Then to have our A/C give out with only a swampy, musty smell left floating in the room. Sometimes even smells are considered to be a ghostly encounter. Whatever you want to call it, it wasn’t a romantic getaway for me. Savannah was still lovely, but I had a bipolar experience. We had a great time during the day and rough time resting at night. Before I left, I did write an entry in the room’s journal. I talked about the cool things we did and saw. I briefly noted that there were unusual noises in the room, but I left it up to the reader to decide what it meant. After all, it appears that Charley doesn’t come by every night.