A Real Ghost Story

Sunday, October 27, 2013
Pendle Hill Witch #10-

Pendle Hill Witch #10-

It  is  irrelevant  how I  ended up   staying  at  a  ritzy hotel in New Jersey  back in March of  1990.  Suffice it  to  say, I  was  sick with a  head  cold  and  was ordere  by a  doctor not  to fly  back to California.  My  first night on the East Coast  had been spent in a  chain motel without  incident.

So I  was  very  sick with a severe head cold, sore throat  and  fever when I  checked into  the Victorian era, ivy -covered stone building.   I was dizzy and fatigued  and  craved soup and sleep.

I  was sharing a  room with my  mother.   As  we  made our  way down  the corridor, I  noticed  the  Laura  Ashley  motif  covered  everything from  the walls  to  the  seat cushions  to the  comforters  on our  beds.   I  ordered   room service: duck  wonton  soup   and   lemon- lime  soda  for my  throat.  I took a hot  shower, put on my  pajamas  and  crawled into bed.  My mother  was  concerned, but let me  be.

In  the  darkness hours later, I  awoke to  find  an old  woman with long grey  hair  in an old fashioned  night gown  trying to smother me  with a pillow.  Behind her  were  four  other  women  dressed in similar nightgowns. The look in this woman’s  eyes  was frightening.  She  seemed possessed.   The  women behind her were chanting “kill her! Kill her!”  I  struggled  with the apparition and  screamed “NO! NO! NO! NO!”. I knew  my mother  was asleep in the  bed next to me, and  when I screamed “NO! ”  the third  time, she  turned on the light  and  rushed to my side .   I  pointed  and  said ”  there  was a woman in this  room  who  just tried to kill me!”   My mother shook her head and said  “No.  You were dreaming.  You  have a  fever and a head cold.”  I  responded ” I  know I am dealing with a  head cold, but  what I experienced was real.”

The  doctor  had explicitly  told my mother  I  was not  to fly  for another  four  days.    My step father  was coming to meet us  after attending a conference in Boston,  which  meant I  had  to  move  into my  own  room  down the hall.  I  was scared.  I  told my mother ” this hotel is haunted.”  She   laughed  at me.    My new  room in the  hotel was  decorated  exactly  like the  first  one;  patterns of   blue  peonies  and pink  carnations  were  everywhere.   My mother had told me  I  could order  room  service and watch cable  T.V.  News of the  tragic Happy land  Dance hall fire   in Brooklyn, which  killed  several  dozen  people,  was  splattered on all the  stations. I kept going  back to watching music  videos  to forget what had  happened the night  before.

Maybe it  had been a bad dream.  Tonight  would be better,  I  told myself.   I  turned off the  T.V. and  then the lights.  I  don’t know  how long  I had been  asleep  when I awoke to  find  yet  more women  with the  same night  gowns in my room. I  quickly  turned on the lights & the  T.V. Splashing  water on  my  face , I  realized  the  next few  ays were going to  be rough.   There  was  no way I was going to  be able  sleep without the lights on.

I  asked  someone  in the hotel   if the place  was haunted.  They  just  shrugged.  I vowed  that one day I would find out the truth.

Maybe I could  discover it  in Public Records, some kind of history of the building  before it was a hotel.   These  were the  days before  the Internet .  The  incident  never left my psyche.  Someday.  Someday.

Several  years later I  moved to the East Coast.  I was living in Philadelphia and was at a church rummage sale.   I noticed two older women  who appeared   to be in their  early seventies sitting  in a  corner of the room.  I went  over  and sat next to them.   They smiled and said hello. I asked them  where they lived.  They  mentioned the  town  where the hotel was located.  I asked them if  they  had heard  of the hotel.  They nodded.   I paused, unsure if  I  should tell them  the story.    But I  knew what  I  had experienced  had not been the result of a  feverish head cold or a common  nightmare.

I  expected  laughter to  erupt.  Instead the faces  of the  women had a look of  compassion and kindness.  “We  believe you” they said  in unison.  The hotel  had been a  residence for homeless and mentally ill women at the turn of the Century.   As they shared the history of the hotel,  I felt  myself go pale and my legs started  to  shake.

Several  years  later   I moved to  the  suburbs.  One of my neighbors  was fascinated  by the paranormal.  I  shared  my  story with her, and when I  mentioned  the hotel and  it’s  location, she  got very excited.  ” I have  a cousin who lives  in that town! I ‘m  going to call her right now and    find out  if she knows anything about this hotel.”

For  years I had tried to  do research on the hotel.  A  well -known  travel rating  site  didn’t mention the hotel being haunted , but it did mention  the lovely  rooms..  Ten minutes  after  my  neighbor left  to go home, she called me on the phone  ” I  just talked to my  cousin”, she  said. ” That  hotel is  VERY haunted.! It’s an open secret.  Everyone who lives in that town knows that.”

Since that time, I  occasionally  google the  hotel to see if  anyone has mentioned if  it is haunted.   No on has.  I toy with this idea of going  back  for  an overnight stay at the hotel.

A  few weeks ago, I  created a series of witch paintings   I dubbed  THE PENDLE HILL WITCHES.  The last  witch- witch number ten closely  resembles the  apparition who tried to smother  me with a  pillow.

Happy Halloween.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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