I’ll begin with my own answer to the title question which is, most certainly, no. That is – until 4 days ago, and in the spirit of Halloween I decided to share my experience with you. I typically snicker at reality shows depicting ghost sightings and claiming that strange noises are potentially part of the paranormal. But, after my recent stay at The Brookstown Inn in Winston-Salem, NC, I am seriously questioning myself. I’ll let you be the judge.
(Img Credit: Southern Living)
After a long day walking the High Point Furniture Market, I was relieved to check into a charming room at the Brookstown Inn. It reminded me of the bedrooms in my grandmother’s house. An old quilt covered the bed, a dated television sat in an old armoire and there was a lace doily on the small desk in front of the window. I slipped into bed around 11pm and, after flipping through the few available channels, turned off the TV and fell asleep almost instantly. Around 5:15am, I woke to the sound of creaking wood. At first, I thought it was someone walking upstairs but the sound seemed to stay in a confined area right above my bed.
Annoyed, I tried to fall back asleep as the sound grew more intense. After ten unsuccessful minutes of “ignoring” the strange sound, I began to hear children giggling and playing. If I had to guess, it sounded like a few five or six year olds. Where were the adults in this room? Who would leave children in a hotel unsupervised? I waited for heavy footsteps or the deep sound of a mature voice but…nothing.
After thirty minutes of the children laughing, stomping and roughhousing, I wrestled with the notion of contacting the front desk to complain. Let me preface this by saying that I have three children of my own. I’ve been the parent with the crying baby on the airplane and the cranky kids at the grocery store. Normally, I would write this off to kids being kids but this was driving me bananas!
I reluctantly turned on the lights, dialed the front desk and relayed my story to Vickie’s pleasant voice on the other end of the line. After a long pause, Vickie politely told me that there was only a single gentleman staying above my room. In fact, there were only three occupied rooms on the entire fourth floor. (I was on the third.) I suggested that the noises might be coming from next door and, again, Vickie derailed my theory. There was just a single woman in the room next to me. Being market week, the hotel was primarily occupied with business owners and buyers like myself. Could the sounds be coming from the hallway?
Vickie offered to send security to the fourth floor to investigate. I thanked her and apologized before hanging up. I was already feeling guilty for complaining about children just having some fun. So, when I walked past the front desk several hours later, I stopped to thank Vickie and to do a little detective work. The current desk clerk, Angela, said that Vickie had gotten off at 7am. I felt compelled to tell my strange tale, yet again, to Angela.
When I got to the part about the giggling children, Angela’s face turned bright red. She clearly knew what I was talking about and had heard this story before. It was also evident that she was uncomfortable speaking about it in front of the other guests standing nearby. After what seemed like an eternity, I insisted she come clean. She was definitely holding something back.
Although she hadn’t heard the noises from her room across the hall, my friend almost jumped over the desk while attempting to get Angela to admit that the hotel was haunted. My friend absolutely nailed the landing on the “spill it or else” stare. Finally, although Angela technically wouldn’t admit that the hotel was “haunted” (and she’d never heard the giggling children herself), she did confess that many guests had described hearing the same sounds. And, on each of the reported occasions, there hadn’t been any children staying in the hotel.
So, back to the question at hand, do I believe in ghosts? Let’s just say that I’m not laughing anymore (but someone on the fourth floor of that hotel certainly is).