In Honor of Halloween


Melodie Abell, Staff Writer

The stairs creak with the weight of nothing. You see something move out of the corner of your eye, but when you look again, it’s gone. The shadows of the trees outside look like arms caressing your windows, yearning to come inside. The ketchup splatter on the wall looks suspiciously like something else, something darker, and thicker. The alarm clock keeps going off at 3:17, even though you unplugged it. Sometimes you hear voices at night, moaning and keening in your ear. You wake up covered in sweat and you could swear someone is watching you. Something is watching you. You can’t shake the feeling that there is something else in the house with you, always out of the corner of your eye, always just out of your reach. Your family told you the hotel was haunted, but you dismissed it with a wave of your hand. You don’t believe in ghosts and monsters. But. Something is there. Something is always there.

Such is the atmosphere of haunted houses. One of the most haunted houses in America is The Stanley Hotel, according to the Huffington Post. The grand architecture and impressive beauty of The Stanley Hotel only adds more to the haunted and otherworldly mood. It’s where Stephen Hawking got his inspiration for The Shining, and people swear they hear children’s voices even when there aren’t any children in the hotel. At the beginning of the hotel’s history, a large explosion caused the hotel’s west wing to be damaged and injured Elizabeth Wilson, a chambermaid. After her death, her ghost haunted the hotel, sometimes folding guests’ clothing and putting them away. Guests have seen their luggage being moved and report hearing voices at all hours of the night.

Another haunted building is the Ohio State Reformatory, which was built in 1896 with the goal of reforming juvenile and young offenders. The institution eventually led to a way of “better life” through a path of despair, pain, and even death. Tormented for decades with overcrowding decay, and explosive violence, the doors closed for good in 1990 for inhumane conditions. The stories say something was left behind along with the rusting iron bars and the peeling paint; the troubled spirits of the forgotten inmates still remain behind the stone walls. It’s said that ghosts of angry men have physically attacked visitors and staff and that ghostly whispers are heard throughout the cell blocks. The most specific “ghost” that has been recognized is the wife of the former warden who cries from her old chambers, with her unique rose perfume following her spiritual presence.

Another place, haunted with the accusations and stories of spooky occurrences, is the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia. The institution was the place to dump the worst of the worst. It held murderers, rapists, thieves and other violent offenders. The Asylum quickly became a place of pain and misery, and after the doors closed for good in 1994, it’s said that the spirits of the former patients were left behind.

Haunted buildings are full of ghost stories and apparitions and shadows and figures moving slowly in the dark. There are obviously logical explanations for things that go bump in the night. But the creak of stairs when you’re alone, the shadows of trees swaying in the wind and the voice of a long forgotten friend is enough to make anyone a believer.