I've Got A Feeling
A few months ago I went on a ski trip with three of my best girl friends to Silverton Colorado. I’ve been to Silverton many times before, the town has a certain magnetism that draws you back again and again. There is one paved road that cuts through the center of town and the rest of the roads are dirt, filled with potholes, and split off every which way in no sensical pattern.
Silverton mountain is like no other in Colorado, it’s a time warp. There’s no base lodge filled with yuppies and duchebags wearing fur hats and their goggles upside down. There is only a yurt, an outhouse, and a wood burning stove. A glorious wood burning stove.
The list goes on, but what brings me back to Silverton, isn’t the grade A+ skiing, or the $170 helicopter drops… it’s the ghosts. They are fierce and they are OH SO present. Even this last ladies trip had it's fair share of hair raising moments. Bringing to memory my favorite Silverton Spooky Story (SSS) as they have come to be. The Grand Imperial Hotel has been the setting for all of my ... paranormal experiences. I refuse to go on a camping trip in Colorado without a scary story book. All of the ghost story books that I have been able to get my hands on have been disappointing. Writers will talk about the history of a place- the backstory of a haunting. They’ll tell a regurgitated story that’s been passed down from source to source. The stories end up being predictable and corny, even if there is truth behind the tale. What most ghost stories don’t have is personal experience, they lack a sense of reality.
A good story doesn’t come to life through facts, but rather feelings. The feeling you get when there’s a different presence in the room that you can’t explain, or can’t see. The feeling you get when you know that someone, or something is standing beside you. When the hairs on the back of your neck tingle. The feeling that you are so frozen by fear that you can’t move a muscle, and if you were to move a muscle your stomach would drop straight out of your asshole. That kind of feeling.
I’ve had 3 encounters in the Grand Imperial. Here is one of my stories.
Part I- A Presence
It was my first time in Silverton. I had left Boulder with my boyfriend Sam late on a Thursday after my classes had ended for the day. We didn't arrive at The Grand Imperial until 2 in the morning, long after all the staff had retired for the night. It was unusually dark in the hotel. There were no welcome lights lighting the doorway or lighting the stairway leading up to our room. The only indicator that we were in the right place was a white envelope left on the front counter with our key inside. No note, no nothing. I shrugged off an unsettling feeling that began to creep in. Perhaps there was a reason no one wanted to stay late at night by themselves in the hotel. The interiors of the Grand Imperial are out of date, to say the least. The walls of our room were plastered floor to ceiling in striped dusty pink and cream Victorian wall paper with little flower patterns covering everything. No corner was left un-wallpapered. For a monochromatic room it was able to induce a serious state of vertigo. The yellowish patina of the wall paper was a clear reminder of how old the hotel actually was ... (135 years).
We walked into the room, set our ski bags down and organized ourselves for the following morning. As I was unpacking, making sure I had all the necessary snacks for the next day, I noticed a black and white photograph of a young girl on the wall right above my bedside table. One of those old 18th Century pictures where you don’t know if the person is dead or alive. It was too creepy to handle, I had to take it down. On the backside of the picture was the birth and death date of the girl. She died when she was 14. Who was this girl? How did she die so young?? With eerie questions swirling in my mind, I locked our door and forced myself to sleep. At around 3:30 in the morning I woke up freezing. Our hotel room door was wide open, the dull lights of the hallway hitting my face, and a nippy breeze biting at my cheeks. I know.. how predictable right?? A cold wind enters the room, your breath becomes visible, you feel something pass behind you.
I didn't feel something pass by me. But the cold air was real, it was like the room filled with glacial white noise. A white noise that you couldn’t hear, but that you could almost touch. I poked around to make sure Sam was still by my side, thinking he may have gotten up in the middle of the night, mistaking the hallway door for the bathroom or something. He was still asleep by my side. I could have sworn I locked the door. Confused, groggy and cold, I got up to shut the door, and made point to lock it- not wanting to make the same mistake twice. When I woke up to my alarm later that morning, I realized that the door to our hotel room was once again wide open. The odd freezing air still lingering in our room. I looked to my side and still, Sam was asleep. I knew I locked the door. I remembered it. I felt the cold metal jangle in my hand. And at that moment I had an overwhelming feeling that Sam and I had not been the only ones in Room 219 that night.