Saturday, October 11, 2014

#Ghosthunt No. 3 for new book at Fairplay Hand Hotel



The Hand Hotel looks down on the Platte River

We're still having fun ghosthunting for the new creative nonfiction book and, next stop, the historic Hand Hotel in Fairplay, Colorado.

The Hand Hotel has a fair amount of paranormal activity, with reports of full-body apparitions manifesting on the second-floor hallway (see picture later in this post), little girls appearing in the vicinity of the staircase, faces appearing on at least one guest room mirror, child-size imprints on freshly made beds, and a hand-biting ghost dog that haunts the basement.

We took our cue from a hotel scrapbook reporting on guest accounts of the Hotel's paranormal happenings -- plus receptionist Twyla’s experiences -- and decided to set up our base of operations in Room 6, which displayed a door faceplate called “Mattie Silks.” This infamous lady of the night hailed from the Front Range in the late Nineteenth Century, but with reported enterprises in Fairplay. The room’s furnishings reflected typical brothel décor with lavish red wallpaper, brass bed, and several mirrors.

Room 6
We wanted that room because of Twyla’s sighting of a semi-transparent apparition standing just inside the windowpanes. Room 6 was also near one end of the hallway, which gave us a quiet place to conduct our investigation.

Kym disappeared to scout out the premises, so Mark set to work recording audio for possible EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena). Later analysis revealed two sequences of voices on the recording, following Mark’s requests for interaction. Both were clearly of the same woman with a lilting voice, but neither one of us could make out exactly what she said. Kym’s impression was she spoke the word “baby” in the utterance. Not an unlikely reference for a room named after a brothel madam or the life of the soiled doves who worked the brothels in that era.

In the meantime, Kym had chatted up another guest out on the balcony, a woman who’d visited the Hand Hotel on three separate occasions. She told Kym that each room she’d tried had a different personality, and she suggested we look in on the one near the head of the stairs on the second floor. 

We trotted down to the other room – unoccupied, door open – and … yes, it definitely had a different vibe. Was it due to a resident ghost or just the room’s distinct décor? Twyla  assured us the hotel ghosts wandered promiscuously (our word, not hers) from room to room, so maybe the impression was just ours. And the other guest’s.

Captured by another guest
Back in our own room, the Spirit Box seemed fixated on a "table," which it repeated a number of times. There were two small tables located in the room, but we couldn't detect if one was more significant than the other. No orbs appeared on photographs, and the EMF meter didn't spike near either of the tables.The meter did, however, spike when Kym sat on the bed. Base readings in the room in general hovered near 300 mG compared to the bed, which jumped to 500+ mG intermittently during our investigation.
We also set up our video camera in the room, pointing it at the infamous window and letting it run while we conducted Spirit Box and EVP sessions. But review of the footage revealed no further anomalies. To be fair, the videocam had to battle a fair amount of glare. 
In retrospect, we wish we'd set it up for a while in the shotgun hallway outside the door, where other guests had reported so much activity. But that day we also didn’t get much of a jump beyond the baseline EMF readings in that corridor of the hotel. That’s certainly the location of the great photo of the apparition included here.
We asked to visit the basement but learned it was off-limits except to employees. That was okay with us since we preferred not to be bitten by the ghost dog (yes, that's one of the reports from another ghosthunting operation!)
Loved this place, and we think we'll give it another try sometime when the ghosts want to come out and play.
Next time, we'll report on the Forest Queen Hotel in Crested Butte, where Kym got more interaction than she bargained for!

Don't forget you can follow along during our investigations as we live-tweet from Twitter @writeinthethick. You can check out our Facebook page for updates about dates and times.