Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ghosts of the Antinea

In an effort to thrill and chill all of my faithful readers, I've decided to go ahead and post a few more ghostly tales. These are all from the Hotel Antinea in Quito, Ecuador, where my wife used to work as the receptionist (and where I met her when I was on vacation).

I’m not really sure of the Antinea's history- it looks like a relatively old building- maybe 100 years or so, and perhaps was once a house that has been converted to a hotel. The front section has small rooms on the second. Most of these rooms face the street. In the back, there are 10 or so suites that all face out onto a small courtyard.

The most common occurrence is from guests who stay in the suites. Many of them ask about the blonde woman they saw in the courtyard. She has been described as having long hair, is dressed in an old-fashioned (19th century) style, and usually looks very sad. Most often she is seen looking in the windows of the suites, as if she’s searching from someone.

There’s also some weirdness going on in the single rooms, too. A few years ago, I went down there with my sister and some friends. My sister shared a room with my friend Olga. During the night they heard a lot of noise coming from the room next door- it sounded like someone was stumbling around drunkenly, moving furniture, and later they heard the sounds of vomiting coming from the room. The next day, they asked my wife if the guy in the room was OK. She told them that no one was in the room, and, in fact, it was completely empty as they were refurbishing it.

Room 12, though, seems to be the center of activity. Guests staying in the room have reported seeing a dark figure moving about at the foot of the bed. Usually the figure moves around the room and then jumps out the window into the garden below. The police have been called several times to investigate, and have searched the premises, but have never found anyone.

When I went to Ecuador to get married, I spent a couple nights before the wedding in that room. I never saw anything myself, but I did feel very uneasy, especially at night. For some reason, I was always too scared to look in any mirrors- I actively avoided them for my entire stay. I'd never gotten that feeling in any of the other rooms in the hotel. My wife actually didn't tell me about the other sightings until a couple years later- she figured that if I had known the stories, I wouldn't have wanted to stay in the room by myself (she’s right). She didn't even want to put me in the room at all, but the hotel was full that week, and that was the only room available. (That room is one of the nicest in the hotel, but, because of all the stories, they tend not to rent it out unless there are no other choices.)

So there you have it- a nice little haunted hotel in beautiful downtown Quito. If you’re ever in Ecuador, it’s definitely a nice place to stay. And, if you’re feeling especially brave, request Room 12.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Crazed Argentinian Gnome....

...or is it merely Maggie Simpson in her snowsuit?

I saw this posted on the UK Sun, about a gnome that's been plaguing a town in Argentina. The video's pretty creepy- whatever it is looks odd, especially the way it walks. You'll see it around the 35 second mark.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Ghosts of New Orleans

If you click the "Slambo" link, you'll end up at Samantha's blog, where you can read a pretty cool, and very spooky, story of one of her paranormal experiences.

That story inspired me to tell one of my own. Originally, I had planned to post this around Halloween (appropriately enough, the anniversary of the event), but laziness got in the way, and I never did write it up. But now, however, you're in luck...

Halloween fell on a Saturday in 1998, so my friends and I decided a good place to celebrate the day would be in New Orleans. It's the perfect time to be there, seeing as it's a party city, and I would give it my vote as the spookiest and most haunted city in the US.

The weekend was a lot of fun- we had some excellent food, went to a lot bars, got to go out in public in our costumes and go to more bars, and then eat some more. You really can't ask for a whole lot more in a vacation.

I was sharing a room with my friends Rob and Hemsley. Rob was leaving Sunday evening, while Hemsley and I were going home on Monday morning. Sunday was pretty slow-paced- we were recovering from the night before, and we just walked around town, enjoying the sights before we had to head back to our regular lives.

In the morning before we started out I noted that there was no more soap left in the bathroom. As Hems and I were headed out early the next day, I made sure to stop by the front desk and ask for a couple bars. The porter assured us he would drop some off for us.

We went out walking, had our last meal together, and took Rob to the airport. Afterwards, Hems and I walked around some more, had dinner and went back to the hotel. My first stop was the bathroom to check on the soap (I can get kind of obsessive about things like this), but there was none. I called down to the front desk and they said they would bring some right up.

Hems went straight to sleep, but, since I had a later flight, I stayed up reading and waiting for the soap. After a while, my bladder started to need emptying, but I wanted to hold off until the soap came. When it looked as if it was never going to arrive, I went to the bathroom to answer the call of nature.

So, I'm in the loo, attending to business when I think I hear someone knocking on the door. "Perfect!" I thought- the porter arrives when I'm indisposed. Well, my bladder wasn't going to stop emptying just so I could answer the door, so I figured the porter was going to have to wait until I was finished.

After I was all emptied out and I had washed my hands, I headed toward the door. First thing I did was look through the peephole, but there was no one out there. I opened the door to see if maybe he had left the soap outside...

(Before I continue, let me describe the hallway. We were staying in a small hotel just off the French Quarter. Our room was at the end of the hall- to the right was the elevator and nothing else. To our left were a few more rooms. The other side of the hall was one long wall- all the rooms were on one side of the hall. The hall itself was pretty narrow- I could lean against one wall and touch the other wall with my palm. Basically, I'm saying that if anyone else was in the hall with me, I would have seen him.)

...I opened the door to see if maybe he had left the soap outside, but there was nothing. The floor was completely empty. Figuring that I had imagined hearing the knock on the door, I turned to go back into the room.

Just as I was turning, two bars of soap came out of nowhere and hit me squarely in the chest.

It was such a weird thing, that it didn't totally register. I took the soap, went inside, and got into bed. As I was drifting off to sleep it suddenly hit me what had happened. All I can say is I had a pretty restless night after that.

And that's my coolest ghost story. I have two more- one about the time I kept seeing possibly the lamest ghost ever, and a collection of tales from the hotel where my wife used to work.