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at the Haunted Hotel
In the fall of 1980 I had joined
a top 40 cover band called The Sky Willow Band. Our agent sent us out on
the road for two months, first to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; then
to a small town in central Michigan called Owosso.
It was there in
Owosso that we were booked at an old hotel called
The Presidential Arms. The staff had told
us stories of ghosts that haunted the inn, supposedly as a result of
a tragic fire in the Hotel's past. The band found the yarns amusing and
took the stories lightly.
We had Thanksgiving weekend off,
but had to clear our gear off of the stage, as the hotel had booked a solo
performer on our regular Monday night off. My drummer, Jeff, and I helped
each other load the keyboards and drum gear into the old manually
operated elevator so that it could be stowed temporarily in a
basement storage area.
The main hallways of the basement
were bright, well lit areas with conference and meeting rooms. We
were making multiple trips moving the gear from the elevator to one
of the smaller meeting rooms. Off of the main hallway was a long,
dark corridor with old tables and chairs stacked up.
On a subsequent trip back to the
elevator, Jeff asked me if I had seen his trap case (a large black fiber case on four wheels that holds the drum hardware). It
typically weighs well over 100 pounds and takes two people to lift. I
told Jeff that I had not seen it. Each of us thought that one was
playing a practical joke on the other. But in reality, one person
couldn’t lift the case. There was definitely no one else in the
basement besides us, and if there was and if the case had been
wheeled, we would've heard it, as the floor was made of brick
tile and the wheels would've made plenty of noise rolling over the
After searching every inch of
space in the main hallway, we reluctantly started down the
previously mentioned dark corridor. When we got near the end, we discovered that
the corridor then turned ninety degrees to the right and was even
longer and darker than the first section.
Jeff and I could both feel
chills down our spines as we proceeded slowly, waiting for our eyes
to adjust to the dark. After about fifty feet, we could just barely
make out the silhouette of the trap case. There it was, sitting
perfectly centered at the end of the long corridor, as if taunting
us. We each grabbed a side of the case and wheeled it out as fast as we possibly could, the wheels
making loud clacking sounds from speeding over the brick tile!
I have no explanation
for what happened that night and I still get chills even thinking
about it. The Presidential Arms Hotel is long gone, but the memory
of its haunting remains.
Halloween October 31, 2011
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