I should start off by saying I'm fairly new to this site and when I came across it and enjoyed reading other's experiences before eventually making an account of my own just recently. It made me feel like I could post my own little encounter on here with little judgement (I hope) since I was quite young at the time but it always stuck with me, in a somewhat positive way.
My family have always been in the hotel business (my father's side) and though we only own one hotel these days, there used to be another that had belonged to my great grandmother and was an old building, built in 1930. There were once two hotels side by side. The other, named The Oxford, owned by a man called Mr. Oxford. But when Mr. Oxford died, the hotels merged and it was taken on by my family.
The hotel was passed down to my grandmother and it was when I was younger that I would spend a lot of my time there, particularly every Sunday. It wasn't just me, my brother and my two cousins were very close at the time and would usually be together, and I was the oldest and, therefore, in charge when the grown-ups needed some down time (we were quite the handful when together). As you can imagine, ground rules needed to be set in terms of roaming and exploring the hotel and causing mischief, and numerous stories were told in order to spook us into staying out of trouble.
One story in particular came from my father who is a troublemaker himself and got a lot of joy in watching our faces fall in horror as he told us the grim tale of a poltergeist roaming the halls looking for children who explore places they shouldn't. Though these tales worked for some time, as we grew older so did our curiosity and we became less inclined to follow the rules set for us. Something we were definitely encouraged not to do was to go upstairs; particularly one set of stairs behind a door in the corner of the main lobby. My dad always told me that if we ever got to the top of the stairs, the poltergeist would appear and we'd never make it back down the stairs (did I mention he enjoyed scaring us silly?)
I mustn't have been much older than nine or ten, our parents were having afternoon tea and that's not exciting for children. I have to admit I was a little bossy in my childhood years and I had suggested that it be a good idea to see really what was at the top of the stairs. Now, this was no mean feat and we did not make it to the top of the stairs on our first attempt, nor second. We'd scare ourselves stupid around halfway up and chicken out. But we did make it all the way up one day. I don't know what suddenly gave us a burst of bravery but we, all four of us, started up the stairs and left the door ajar behind us. Once reaching the top of the stairs, I immediately felt a chill in the air and it became very cold.
My memory from that time is a little vague. After all, it was well over ten years ago but it's something that I will never forget entirely.
Another story my dad had told us was that the poltergeist was the spirit of someone who had died in room 41, and the spirit didn't like anyone staying there. We thought that it would be sufficiently adventurous if we were to touch the door of room 41 and then run. We never did get that far as my cousin swore he heard someone coming down the corridor and we hot-tailed it around a corner because we wouldn't have been able to hide on the stairs. We waited (holding our breath) for the person to either walk around the corner and catch us in the act, or listened to hear them go down the stairs, but neither happened. The lights flickered on and off and I can still remember the looks on my cousins' and brother's faces, and it didn't take more than that for us to get out of there immediately.
The only other thing from that day I can remember is that the door I had left ajar was shut when we tore out of there. My bossy, ten year old self had placed the blame on one of the others shutting it when I had said to leave it open, but I couldn't shake the feeling that they were telling the truth when they said they hadn't shut it. The reason I remember this so clearly is that we still argue about it to this day!
Now there are so many ways to explain these happenings and I am honestly somewhat sceptical of the paranormal and pretty sure it was the hype of our young minds and the fear, on top of my father's ghost stories, that caused us to be so sure of this poltergeist at the time. It was an old building, there was bound to be faulty wiring, drafty corridors and unexplainable bumps and creaks. The only thing that changed my mind were the conversations I had with my dad when I grew up, long after the hotel had been closed by the government to build a shopping centre.
Mr. Oxford had lived in the hotel back when his side belonged to him and he had lived in, what was then, room 41. Not only had he lived there but he had breathed his last breath there, too. I was told that Mr. Oxford was a lovely, well known man in his day and always spotted in a long, grey coat and a black hat.
My dad, though sceptical like me about paranormal goings on, is deniably a little freaked out by it and is the first to brush things off as faulty wiring and drafts. But he did tell me honestly that there were countless times in that particular corridor where he'd see shadows disappearing around corners and cold spots, as well as the lights not just flickering but turning off and on over short periods as if someone was playing with the light switch. The thing that bothered him was, despite having the wiring replaced, it never seemed to disappear, nor would it happen anywhere but that particular area of the hotel where Mr. Oxford's room had been.
Sure, that can all be explained but it would be bad for business if anyone were to shout about that we might have a ghost! Which is precisely why nobody ever mentioned Mr. Oxford's death in the hotel or the happenings that occurred. It wasn't just my dad, it was other staff members and some of the chambermaids would point blank refuse to clean up in that corridor, much less room 41.
There were reports from guests who had seen or experienced things such as seeing a man walk right through a wall or door, or simply waking up to noises or things being moved in their room, and some even saw a man standing at the foot of their bed. Many guests were known to up and leave in the middle of the night and some would never stay again. Need I add that these occurrences were all around the same area once again?
My grandmother swears to me that she has also experienced something similar and she would never lie to me about something like that. She grew up and lived in the hotel and it wasn't until after Mr. Oxford's death that these things began to happen.
I'm sure there are perfectly logical explanations for these, but the thing that still makes my spine shiver is that everybody that reported a sighting of a figure or ghost gave the exact same description: a tall man in a long, grey coat and black hat.
If this is true, I do not doubt that it was Mr. Oxford himself checking up on things and seeing how his side of the hotel was fairing now in different hands. Who knows? I just hope that if it was him that he has found peace now that the hotel has been demolished.