Personal experience creates a paranormal believer

There are plenty of scary movies about ghosts, haunted mansions, and dramatic exorcisms, and they are all the same.

The creepy noises coming from upstairs and the completely brilliant girl who decides it is a wonderful idea to go up there (to an almost certain death) and find out who or what made it. They all start with the unleashing of an evil spirit, consist of a theatrical battle between the ghost and the characters (a few are usually killed off) and end with the extermination of it.

These movies are made for entertainment and intended to give the viewer a good scare or even a laugh. Many do not actually believe in these haunting figures that roam the hallways at night or the demons that lurk in the shadows. It is all a big hoax, make believe, and camp fire stories. Right? Or so I thought.

About two hours north of Phoenix lies the small town of Jerome. It is nestled into the side of a mountain overlooking a beautiful valley and is full of art, amazing food, and site seeing. Oh yeah, and ghosts.

In the late 1800s, Jerome was a thriving mining settlement. Then after a number of rockslides, and the closing of the mines, the inhabitants vanished. It is now one of the most famous ghost towns in the world. People come from all places in hopes to catch a glimpse or feel the sensation of paranormal activity. And many do.

The most haunted structure in the eerie city is the Jerome Grand Hotel. Once the only hospital for many miles, it is said that guests can still occasionally hear, see and feel the occupants that never really left the premises.

The hospital, because of its spectacular location, became the grand hotel once the town was restored in the early 1900s. It attracted many visitors, but after three suicides (a hanging, gunshot wound, and a jumper), an attempted suicide, and a possible murder (the old elevator decapitated the maintenance man, it never was explained how), the aged building closed its doors once again. This time, the hotel did not reopen to guests until 1996.

Like most, I was very skeptical of the whole ‘haunted hotel’ thing. But, last weekend I decided (like that brilliant girl I mentioned earlier) I would spend the night in one of these infamously famous rooms.

While the hotel had a little bit of a creepy vibe, and there was apparent evidence that it had indeed once been a hospital, I was not at all convinced there were in fact ghosts. I studied the halls that previous guests had sworn they had seen figures for fog machines or some sort of device that might be used to give this effect. By bedtime the only abnormal happenings that I could report were a few cold spots, a random whiff of perfume and couple swaying light fixtures. Again, not convinced, but, I have to admit I was a little at ease.

Then around midnight there was an unexplained flash of light in the corner of the room. It freaked me out, so I went to sleep. Then at one in the morning there was a sudden and instantaneous bolt of energy through my neck followed by a few seconds of extreme pressure. Completely startled, I woke up my boyfriend, who basically told me I was crazy and to go back to sleep. Like I could sleep after that.

So I laid there awake, petrified, until about four in the morning. Then I felt him tense up next to me, and stop mid-snore. Seconds later, he bound across the room swearing about the same exact sensation that I had felt hours earlier. I had not told him what I had felt. Neither of us slept until the sun came up.

It sounds completely insane. And I would not believe it if someone told me, but the experience definitely made a believer out of me, and hundreds of other doubtful visitors.

Check into the Jerome Grand Hotel for a real scare, and after your stay, see if you can honestly say you don’t believe in paranormal activity.

Reach the columnist at cwbrown1@asu.edu


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