I had some neat company this month, Aunt Belle and also my friend from St. Francisville, Dianna. Aunt Belle only stayed a few days, but Dianna managed a week and a half. We had a ball! She attended the Spirit Fest at the Beckham Hotel and stayed overnight after the ghost hunts were over. However, we had more fun when we stayed again the following Friday. A group had asked to do some investigating and filming at the hotel, and since Connie wants me there when things like this are going on, I dragged Dianna with me. I didn't have to pull very hard. Dianna already loves the hotel as much as Connie and I do.
Aunt Belle, Me, Dianna
The group left around 2:30 a.m., after a couple cool policemen showed up, one who decided to join in the fun of contacting ghosts. He came in a skeptic, but left a believer. We had forgotten to notify the City Police that we were going to be there overnight, which we've neglected to do a couple other times, once just the week before. Two young policemen came to the door about 2 a.m., and sort of freaked out the members of the other group.
"Trana," one of them said. "Trana, the cops are here!"
"It's all right," I said. "Don't worry, I'll talk to them."
"But it's the cops!"
I calmed them down as much as I could and went to the door. When I informed the police who I was, they were fine with it, since they know I work with Connie a lot and had been in the hotel several times previously overnight. I'm not sure if it was the same officeers who had been there the previous week, because Dianna answered their knock that night and they didn't come in then. These two were awesomely nice and polite, though.
One policeman, who introduced himself as Officer Johnson after I asked his name, said, "Oh, I've been in this hotel many times at night. Must have been up and down that stairway sixty times or more. There aren't any ghosts in here."
"Would you like to join the group upstairs and see how they work?" I asked.
"Sure," he said, "but I know we won't be talking to any ghosts."
When he came back down a half-hour or so later, he told me, "That was really cool. They talked to me and not anyone else."
"Thought you didn't believe in ghosts," I couldn't help saying.
He just grinned.
From what I understand, since Dianna and I were occupied elsewhere, the group was using flashlights to communicate, without much success. But when Officer Johnson went up to the Ballroom with them, the ghosts across the Veil were very interested in chatting with him. I can still see his different faces, the one when he first came in and the one before he left. I was smiling myself at another convert to the paranormal.
The group left right after Officer Johnson did, and Dianna and I settled down to get some sleep. We had decided not to bring any cots, since we knew we wouldn't be sleeping that much, so we crashed out on the sofas in the lobby. The hotel was wonderfully peaceful, and I was just drifting off when ….
I stiffened, at first thinking something had fallen over somewhere close by. It sounded near us, but I thought perhaps it might have been upstairs in the Ballroom, it was that loud. However, since I assumed Dianna was asleep, I decided I wasn't going to get up and prowl the hotel alone that time of night. I'd already wandered into several of the rooms behind the lobby alone that night in the dark, so I told myself I really wasn't afraid to go to the Ballroom by myself. But frankly, that was a little bit of it.
Another thing that went through my mind was that what I'd heard sounded very much like an EVP my team and I had caught about a year and a half earlier. We'd determined that it was a gunshot, which happened right after a woman yelled, "Stop!" We had caught that EVP right there in the lobby on the camera we set up there. Angela isolated it, and it's a very clear, Class A EVP.
The story was that there had once been two phone booths in the hotel lobby. One day a man used the phone in one booth to call his girlfriend, and received some devastating news. The next thing anyone knew, the man pulled out a pistol and shot himself.
This story came from a verifiable source, the grandson of Andy Lillie, who managed the hotel for the Beckhams from the 1950's until Becky Penrod bought it in the early 1980's. So we know it is factual. Mr. Lillie said the phone booth in which the man died had to be burned and destroyed. The pistol bullet had also penetrated the other booth, shattering one window, which had to be replaced, and ricocheting into another window. When we first investigated the Beckham, the remaining phone booth was there, but Connie moved it out during restoration. She had recently returned it to the same place it had been, right by the bloodstained marble floor, which won't come clean. The ricochet impact is still in the same window.
I had gotten flashlight communications in that phone booth several times since it was returned to the lobby, and there was even a lost soul I crossed over a couple months ago, who possibly might have been the man who committed suicide. Hearing that gunshot in actuality versus in an EVP was way cool and interesting to me right then, but I was tired, so it didn't keep me from getting some sleep that night.
The next morning, Dianna and I got up fairly early, and I was making coffee. At one point, she said, "Uh … did you hear anything last night?"
I turned around excitedly and said, "You heard it, too?"
"Yeah," she said. "I'm not sure what it was."
"A loud bang?"
"Yes, that was it," she agreed.
"I'm fairly certain it was a residual of the man who shot himself in the phone booth," I told her. "I've got an EVP at home, and I'll let you listen to it."
When we got home, we did just that. I played the EVP, and we heard a woman's voice scream, "Stop!" then the sound of a loud gunshot. Since I was a tomboy in my youth and still love the outdoors, I was raised around firearms. I know the difference in the sound of a pistol shot and one from a shotgun or rifle. This was definitely a pistol shot sound.
Both Dianna and I agreed that yes, the shot was the same sound we had heard around 3 a.m. that night. We didn't hear the woman's voice then, just the shot. How cool is that? I mean, I'm sorry the poor man committed suicide, and I haven't felt any other lost soul in the lobby since I crossed the one man over, so I'm fairly certain it is a residual haunting. It shows, to me, how something truly traumatic can linger in time and happen over and over again, especially when the Veil is thin.
The story is up! My schedule in October kicked my butt, so I didn't get Deliver Us From Evil, A Short Story, up until the last day of the month. Yep, Halloween. So far, I've determined that it's available at the following url's. And since it's a short story, it's a bargain at $.99.
You can also find more pictures of my lovely cover model, Alyssa, at http://www.facebook.com/evremondevonware. She and Angela have made this another cover I'm proud of.
So now Halloween is over for another year. Ghost hunters have Halloween all year round, though. We've got a couple investigations in the works already, so stay tuned. And I'm also working on Ghost Hunting Diary Volume VI.
If some of y'all are already noting 2015 events on your calendar, as I already am, mark October 3, 2015 as the Second Annual Beckham Hotel Spirit Fest.