Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Guests Who Never Checked Out


How better to research a ghost story than to stay at a haunted hotel? 

If you’ve read past entries, you know I’m writing a novel length ghost story.  Last October I stayed three nights in the 1886 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, generally considered to America’s most haunted hotel.

Strictly for the research, you understand.

The place has quite a history, at one time in the late 30’s having been converted to a hospital that guaranteed a cure for cancer.

No wonder it’s haunted.

Saturday night after taking the ghost tour (and experiencing nothing out of the ordinary), I retreated to my room to write a while before bed.  As the hotel had WiFi (which I had used several times without incident), I decided to listen to some tunes from YouTube.  I tried for Ellie Goulding’s “Lights” since that was the song I associated with my novel’s ghost.

What popped up on my screen I’d never seen before, nothing but a white background full of letters and characters.

As that didn’t work I tried another song, this one “Superman” by Five For Fighting.  Same screen.  Funny that I no trouble getting to any other website, including the one for the Crescent itself.

I poured a glass of wine pondering why YouTube was the one site I couldn't access.

Or was it?

I returned to the computer and tried accessing YouTube directly from Google.  No problem.

I tried another song, this one a country song from the sixties. Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man."

No sale.

Well, maybe the hotel didn’t like modern songs, I thought.  Not expecting anything beyond another failed effort, I tried for an older song.  My first thought was "Let Me Call You Sweetheart."  I found the 1911 recording by Henry Burr and The Peerless Quartet, a grand old song.  Below is the link.

It played all the way through without incident.  I tried again for “Lights.” Another screen full of gibberish.  How about another oldie, but goodie, I thought.  I tried “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” recorded in 1908 by Edward Meeker.

Check it out, particularly if you want to hear the actual lyrics.

It played all the way through as well.

Still no “Lights” or “Superman” or anything since William Howard Taft was President.

I sent a text to a friend.  “Weird things are happening.  Can’t play modern music.  The ghosts are stopping me.”

My friend texted back.  “Ask permission.”

Whoa.  What a concept.

I looked toward the ceiling.  “May I play ‘Lights’ by Ellie Goulding?  Please?”

To my amazement, I could but nothing else this side of WWI.

“May I play ‘Superman’ by Five For Fighting?”

Not even a buffering pause.

Hey, what a concept.  With specific permission, my laptop treated me to a concert.

The powers, however, did not grant a general dispensation.  One song at a time, please.

Failure to secure a blessing, and the white screen of gibberish appeared.

All I could do was shake my head, and thank the guests who never checked out for their kind cooperation.

For my next entry, I was tagged by a friend to do an interview called "The Next Big Thing."  In it, I will answer nine questions about my novel, then post it here and then post link on my Facebook page and the one for Wayward Writers.

Starting April 1, I will be participating in the A-Z Blog Challenge on this spot.  One post every day except Sunday.  My topic is “Ghosts:  Real, Imagined, and Metaphorical” and will be exactly that up to and including ghosts from my past, people I've loved who are no longer with us, and yes ... ghosts.

Since that will entail 26 posts during the month, some will be short.  I will tell you that A in the A-Z will be “Adoption.”

Hope to see y’all then!

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