The Haunted Air

The Whitmore Hotel was built in 1894, designed by Stephen Newton, and named after its owner Mary Whitmore. For many years it was an unremarkable hotel that appealed to middle-class tourists and businessmen. In the mid-1960’s, rumors that the hotel was haunted began to increase. For the next twenty years, the owners and staff disputed these stories and complaints as overactive imaginations or lies. However as guest numbers began to dwindle in the 1980’s, due to newer ghost free hotels opening, a new policy was enacted to drum up new business. Tours of the haunted floors were created along with an ad campaign to entice those interested in the supernatural to visit. This new direction paid off and the hotel was soon booked solid for months.

People flocked to see the spirits. There was Mary on the seventh floor who wandered the halls. John on the fourth floor unlocked and locked doors with his keys. On the sixth floor, Sarah stayed in her room crying just loud enough to be heard in neighboring rooms. A simple knock would quiet her for the night but those brave enough to stay the night in her room could hear her whispering about her life. Edward rode the freight elevator, announcing the floors it stopped at. The poltergeist on the tenth floor never had a name. It tossed items around at night but music could calm it.

They were strong spirits with ghostly bodies that faded in and out, except for the poltergeist. For a while, they bolstered the hotel’s popularity. People came to see and photograph Mary. They came to ride the freight elevator. They came to listen to Sarah. They even came to dodge ashtrays thrown by the poltergeist. But slowly the novelty wore off. Everyone who wanted to stay there for the ghosts had already done so or knew someone who had. Eventually, the hotel closed.

For five years, it stood unoccupied except by the ghosts and homeless until it burned down. The exact cause of the fire was never discovered. There were rumors of arson to collect insurance money but nothing was proven. Firefighters were called to the scene but in the end, the hotel was a total loss. It collapsed in on itself after only three hours. It is theorized the poltergeist may have become agitated during the fire and created a wind funnel effect that fanned the flames. No one was killed, five firefighters were injured.

The night after and every night since the Whitmore collapsed, Mary and John could be seen in the air “walking” through the now non-existent hallways. Sarah was also visible and audible in her “room” from the ground. Edward would not be seen again for several months until the freight elevator was uncovered in the basement while clearing the debris. After it was removed, he took up station where it once stood on the first floor. The poltergeist remained, ten stories above ground, unconsolable and constantly lashing out. Gusts of wind can be observed in the empty lot even on still nights.

There are currently no plans to build there.

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