Nervous laughter bubbled in my throat as I headed up to my room with my friends, our energy up and our expectations high. We talked and laughed as we made our way up the stairs, as if the sound of our voices echoing in the stairwell would somehow push away the spirits which were rumored to linger there.
But we were there to see them, weren’t we? We wanted to make contact with the paranormal, right?
One glimpse of the full length portrait of Miss Claire at the top of the stairs and I wasn’t so sure. Dread tugged at my spine, and I wanted to turn and leave, or fill my system with some fruity and delicious alcoholic beverage to settle my rattled nervous.
I was grateful that my dear friend Liss was the one who had the key to our room—my hands were trembling so badly from mingled fear and excitement I was sure I wouldn’t be able to unlock our door.
The door creaked open, a monument of history in its own right, the name “Miss Claire” lovingly catching the afternoon sunlight as our quarters were revealed to us.
My first thoughts of the room came in a rush of words. Quaint. Charming. Unassuming. Consuming. Familiar.
The room was dressed in all things Victorian, from gorgeous wall sconces to lace curtains and architecture that looked harsh against the delicate floral and chiffon of a ladies bedroom. The windows stretched to the ceiling, giving us a stunning view of the shops and ocean beyond.
Liss and I immediately took out our phones, eager to snap photos and begin our investigation. To clarify, this was our second venture out into the world of the paranormal, so we’re keeping things simple to start. Taking photos, using ghost box apps on our phones, and just using our common sense to debunk what is and is not supernatural.
Our first walk-through with our recorders was uneventful, but a quick tour of the Palace Hotel did not disappoint. High vaulted ceilings, gorgeous period-inspired furniture, and a stunning stained glass skylight are only a few of the incredibly features housed within the century-old walls.
After dinner and a short walk around town to explore the shops and enjoy the warmth of the sun despite the chill in the air, we headed back to the palace for a guided tour of our hotel.
Things bumped up a notch around 10 pm, when the main part of the hotel is closed down to tourists and the brightly lit hallways give way to warm yellow light from the vintage wall sconces. One of the perks of our guided tour was that we were able to use several pieces of legit ghost hunting equipment including an EMF reader, a ghost box, and EVP recorder, and much more.
Almost immediately, the EMF reader went crazy around the painting of Miss Claire. A painting which, I failed to mention sooner, is adjacent to her room—the one which Liss and I would share for the night. From our doorway, it’s as if she is silently keeping watch over the space, most especially, what was once her bedroom.
But I digress.
I could go into detail relaying every creak and bump we heard that night. Every strange anomaly and peculiar photo, every chill and feeling—every fleeting sense of dread. Instead, I will focus on my own odd experience, the one that stands out in glaring detail. To the rest of it, well I’ll touch on that only a bit, and leave the rest to the other ladies of The Ghost Squad so that you can see what occurred within those four walls from every possible angle.
The night gave way to strange words popping up on my phone as I wandered the halls with my ghost hunting app running—words and phrases like “so sorry,” “my father,” and “leave.” Liss, Makayla, and Javonne never were never out of my sight for a moment, nor I theirs. Looking back, it’s as if we unconsciously stayed within earshot of one another, not daring to venture anywhere alone for fear of making contact with something—though I’ll say it again, that’s why we were there!
Though the night brought many strange occurrences—our bedroom door being unlocked when I know for a fact I locked it, odd smells in the hallway like floral perfume and tobacco. At one point in the evening we were told to “get out” by a disgruntled soul who didn’t like that we were conducting an EVP session in the first floor sitting area, which was(in its prime) a place where only male patrons were permitted to be.
The most jarring thing to happen to me was when the we turned out the lights that evening and shut down our ghost hunting equipment, when sleep was just within my grasp. Strange dreams flooded my mind as I slept restlessly, dreams of being shown rooms by someone dressed in period clothing, waking myself up with a start, certain that I’d see someone watching me sleep.
According to my friend Liss, I woke at one point and began asking her the strangest questions. I began asking her to finish telling me about “the lovely places,” or “the love she had,” something to that effect. She said she hadn’t been speaking to me at all, and even thinking about it the hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention. What I had been talking about or who I ‘thought’ I was talking to is still a mystery I’m trying to work out. Like a tangled ball of yarn, it’s impossible to unravel.
As time passes my logical side tries to work out how the things I saw, heard, and smelled can somehow be explained away. But I know what I experienced. I know my own mind, and I don’t walk into anything with the assumption that every bump and sound is a spirit rattling its chains to get my attention.
Which is why The Ghost Squad is happy to announce that we are going back to Captain Tibbal’s Palace of Sweets in April, 2019.
Our short stay only scratched the surface of what Miss Claire wanted to share with us. We can feel it to our marrow that there is so much more to discover—and so much more, dear reader, to share with you.