When my daughter and I went to Chautauqua to pick up John, we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast that was well over a hundred years old. (Not pictured here.) It was a very interesting place, three stories tall, and very Victorian looking. When we arrived, I looked at the inn and thought how wonderfully beautiful it looked and how fascinating to think of its history. My daughter had a different thought.
Me: Wow. It's beautiful, isn't it?
Anne: It's probably haunted.
We both laughed.
Me: I wish you hadn't said that. Now I'm going to be hearing things all night long.
Anne: There will probably be a thunderstorm, lightning filling the whole room, huge thunderclaps, and the lace curtains blowing into the room.
Me: Anne! (laughing) Stop it! (But I'm actually getting a little nervous.)
We checked in and were shown our room.
Me: So. Do we have a key?
The owner: Nope. No keys and no locks.
Me: Oh.... OK.
Anne gives me a look. I smile back.
(Later John explains to us that Chautauqua has a zero crime rate. It's a gated community. I'm thinking, "And criminals can't climb fences?? Still, there's never been any crime....)
Anne and I take our car to the designated lot outside the gate. There is only very limited motor vehicle access in Chautauqua. As we're walking from the very far back lot we see a man who I thought was acting and looking very suspicious. He had several ropes in his hand and a chain. He seemed to be looking at an overgrown area of weeds off to the side of the lot. As we passed him though he greeted us and in a friendly manner said, "Don't worry about those rain clouds. That storm is already past us."
I occasionally glanced over my shoulder to see where he was. He was continuing to look in the weeds. Maybe he was looking at a wildflower?
Why the heck was the guy carrying ropes and chains???
After we entered the gate I looked and about a block behind us there he was!! Coming in!!
We reassured each other. He probably lives here! He lost his dog and was looking for it. Yeah, that was it. In a minute or two he was gone.
It was about 7:00 when we started to hear thunder in the distance. I kid you not. Anne and I exchanged smiles. No way!
Yup. By dark it was full force thunder and lightning. We went up to our room which was not air-conditioned and it was quite warm. The rain was not coming in so we could leave the windows open. But did we want to? The fire escape came right up to the third floor and it would be possible for someone to walk right up to that window.
I am a rather timid sort and I did not want to scare my daughter. We left them open.
Well, just as she had predicted there were huge thunderclaps and brilliant flashes of lightning as the breeze blew the lovely lace curtains softly into the room. We laughed about it (a little nervously.)
Me: I wish we had holy water. We could sprinkle the room. You know, just in case....
I DO have a rosary! We'll hang it from the lamp! I took out my white plastic rosary and it happened to be one of those that glow in the dark.
Me: Hey, cool! We'll be able to see it in the dark. (And so will the ghosts.)
We turned out the lights.
I'm lying there with my eyes wide open. Was there really a glow coming from the corner of the room? I blinked, telling myself that I was way too susceptible to suggestion to really take that thought seriously.
I opened my eyes again. There was definitely a greenish white glow with an indefinite shape kind of hovering around the corner of the room near the ceiling!!!!
I thought, OK, no more brave mom!!! I reached over, grabbed for the light, turned it on, and said to my daughter.
Me: Anne!! Is there a glow coming from the corner of the room?!!!"
Anne: ( a little nervously) There is.
A few seconds of silence.
Anne: I think it might be coming from the microwave.
Me: And then reflecting off the wall?
Me: (thinking I am not going to torture myself all night long) I'm turning off the light. I'm going to walk over there. I'll put my hand over the microwave clock and you tell me if the glow disappears.
Anne: OK. (Out goes the light.)
I walked quickly over to the glow before I lost my courage and and smacked my hand on the microwave clock.
Me: Is it gone?
Anne: Yes!!!!! (Casper had immediately disappeared. Thanks be to God. My daughter is a genius.)
We actually slept pretty well after that. Well, I woke up three or four times but I thought that was not bad for sleeping in a potentially haunted ancient inn with no locks on the doors.
P.S Chautauqua is a lovely, safe place. The inns are beautiful. The hospitality is warm. If you have the opportunity to go there and stay in a B & B, I would highly recommend the experience. (Don't let my paranoia discourage you.)