Remember the words to the old spiritual, "I'm just a poor wayfarin' stranger?'
What if those wayfarin' strangers checked into a hotel, but never checked out?
I'm rest to start draft four of my novel, an old-fashioned ghost story with a dash of murder mystery.
How better to research a ghost story than to stay at a haunted hotel?
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. In that since, many guests check in but never checked it out.
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 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 had 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."
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 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 served as 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.”
I looked toward the ceiling. “May I play ‘Lights’ by Ellie Goulding? Please?”
To my amazement, I could play that song, but nothing else this side of WWI without permission.
“May I play ‘Superman’ by Five For Fighting?”
Not even a buffering pause.
Hey, what a concept. With specific permission, my laptop and YouTube 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.
However, for whatever reasons this site wouldn't allow me to post pictures, except for the W.
All I could do was shake my head, and thank the guests who never checked out for their kind cooperation.
And hoped they would one day move beyond their "world of woe."