the little girl playing with a ball on the steps wasn’t all there. let me explain: i could almost see right through her, and her clothing was more befitting of the early 1900’s than the early 2000’s. still, my “mom impulse” kicked in and i wanted to tell her not to play on the stairs. when i looked again, i was unable to see her. of course i knew that she existed, just not in the present-day.
three friends and i had just arrived at an old, floor-creaking hotel in bisbee, arizona. though i was probably the most knowledgeable of us about hauntings and such, and having expressed my doubts about staying there, my friends had prevailed with their absolute excitement about staying at a hotel which was billed as haunted. they were thrilled that i had already seen a little girl from another era.
the four of us piled into a small room between the kitchen and a sitting room, to get checked-in by the owner of the hotel, who began to recount some of his personal experiences with entities there, and some stories from past owners and guests. when he told the story of a little girl who, in the early days of the building, fell to her death while playing on the stairs, four pairs of wide eyes turned toward me.
in those eyes, i saw excitement that one of us had already had an “experience” which had just been validated. i also saw a tiny spark of fear created by that very same validated experience.
because we had arrived a bit early and were the only arrivals so far, our rooms were not ready. but the hotelier offered to let us roam around and even check out the various rooms upstairs. intoxicated with fascination and whetted imaginations, like a pack of over-excited little kids, we pounded up the hallway stairs.
at the top, we located the two rooms that were to be ours, one in which a kindly grandmother sometimes showed herself to visitors, and one with a window through which a young woman had plunged to her death. subsequently, bars had been installed on that window. they were still there when we arrived at the room which would be norma’s and mine.
the woman had been alive during the height of bisbee’s famous mining days, when, just around the corner, “brewery gulch” was lined with bars and brothels, women of the night and much laughter, yelling, and cursing and fighting. having fallen into an unrequited love affair with a gambler, our “roommate” lost her life from that fall through our window. it was still unknown whether she had jumped or had been pushed by her “lover”.
i felt a pervasive sadness in that room, and we set off to explore the others. the “grandmother” room felt quite comfortable, with no such horror stories to contemplate. at the end of the hall was a room which immediately reminded me of my maternal grandfather. it smelled of pipe smoke. i had rarely seen my grandfather without a pipe in his hand, wafting tobacco smoke.
suddenly unable to stay in that room, feeling trapped between the bed and my friends blocking the only door, i shouted, “move!…please move!” and began actually pushing them out of my way, for when i shouted “move!”, they instantly froze in place. i hope to never again see anything like what i had seen in that room.
the bed had begun to indent as if our pipe smoker had just laid himself down – first the buttocks, then from buttocks to head, lastly the legs leaving the perfect impression of a man. the discomfort i had already felt in there shot up at least ten-fold and i was desperate to get out.
shaken, the others lingered only a minute or two, then followed me down the hall, down the stairway, back out the front door to the wide expanse of the huge front porch. i sucked in the fresh air of this tiny mountain town while the others sat down only for a moment before deciding that we should go somewhere to have lunch and return when our rooms were ready.
upon our return, we were introduced to a couple who had arrived in our absence. apparently the young woman had been a paranormal investigator for a group formed at pima community college in tucson. her husband had reluctantly come along, after having deciding that he had had enough “experiences” and had planned to stay home the next time his wife decided to go explore someplace haunted.
they decided to stay in the room across from the “grandmother” room. while two of us entered into a pleasant conversation with the investigator and her reluctant husband, ophelia and i snuck away and eyed the steps leading to the third floor. after sitting on the steps chatting for a few minutes, ophelia felt she simply must check out the third floor. she did not plan on going up there alone, of course.
slinking along behind me, my friend spewed encouraging words to spur me onward. having reached the door at the top of the steps, we both experienced that giddiness we’ve all felt at some point in childhood, a result of hearing one too many ghost stories! upon slowly opening the door just enough to see that it wasn’t a third floor at all, but a dark attic full of unidentifiable lumps under covers and assorted other “attic-y” things, we quickly fled back down the steps and tried to pull ourselves together, attempting to look normal as we neared the bottom, to where the investigator conversation had meandered.
in time, the four of us excused ourselves and headed to the plunging-to-her-death-woman room to share some alcoholic beverages raucous laughter. there we were, four grown women, having so much fun that the hotelier knocked on our door about ten o’clock to ask us to quiet down since most of the other visitors had already turned in for the night.
after having enjoyed an unusually large amount of alcohol, we had a difficult time keeping our voices low, and burst into giggles at the effort. we took pictures, told stories, and finally decided that we were too old to be up so late drinking and turned in.
throughout the night i continued to feel the sadness in our room and, once or twice, even “saw” a woman in white, early 1900’s dress, standing by the window.