As I have described before, I am an engineer and I seek logical (known physics-based) reasons for things that occur. However, I have come to realize that not all things can be explained within the bounds of my engineering textbooks. As I relate this story, I find myself wanting to stress the details. For me, the details lend themselves to a knowledge that what I experienced was based on factual observations. I would like to consider the following a listing of true facts, and where I include reference to my emotional state, I include it in that same train of thought: to list the facts of my mental and emotional state in case my state of mind at that time would have somehow influenced my observations. I am deliberately trying not to "make a long story short". I believe that details are important to establish the facts, and I believe the facts will show that I have certainly experienced an encounter with the (as-yet) unexplained.
Again, forgive me if this will tend to be lengthy. I appreciate your patience as I try to explain. I think you will find the long read worthwhile.
I was traveling with a colleague to Bangkok, Thailand for some business meetings. For those that may know Thailand, it is a country that has ghosts and spiritualism deeply ingrained into their philosophy and outlook. Since I had an important business meeting, I chose a hotel near the customer office which I stayed at only a few times before (without any incidents).
Upon arriving at the hotel at 3pm, I had some time to kill before meeting with my coworker at 5pm when we decided we would go out to dinner. I decided to iron my clothes for the week so that I would not be bothered in the mornings. I promptly set out to do this, but it is important to know the layout of the room. The bathroom was immediately on the righthand side as I entered the main door. Past the bathroom door was the closet. In fact, the bathroom door and closet door were one and the same, a sliding door. When the door was pushed to the right, the bathroom would be closed and the closet would be open. When the door was slid to the left, the bathroom door would be open and the closet would be shut. Further past the closet the room opened out for the bed (next to the bathroom) then a nightstand and finally a desk under the window. The only thing not typical with the room was that the wall separating the sleeping room from the bathroom was glass so that I could see into the bathroom from the bed. I would be looking through the shower but the bathroom sink was clearly visible from the bed.
I was busy ironing my shirts in front of the closet so that I could hang them up immediately after ironing them. Iron, hang, iron, hang. In order to do this, the door was slid all the way to the right, meaning that the bathroom was closed. As it approached 5pm, I put away the ironing and wanted to go into the bathroom to freshen up for going to dinner. As I attempted to slide the door to the bathroom open, I found that I could not. It wouldn't budge. I thought immediately that somehow the latch must have been such that when I closed the door to iron, the latch had locked itself. Annoyed at this delay, I called down to the front desk to explain that the bathroom door was locked and waited while she sent a repairman to my room. He duly came and with a screwdriver managed to open the lock mechanism from the outside of the bathroom and left. I quickly freshened up and left the room a bit late to meet with my coworker. At the time, I thought nothing strange of this incident, and I gave it no second thought as we went to enjoy a delicious dinner (Thai being my favorite food in all the world).
It was about 11:30 pm when we returned to the hotel and I entered my room. For the sake of stating the facts, I will say that I had been drinking at dinner and while I was not exactly sober, I was far from being debilitated. I would not have allowed myself to drive, but I was fully functioning and certainly in my right mind. My computer was on my desk and I responded to a few emails before deciding that I needed to sleep in order to be fresh for my important meeting in the morning. I prepared for sleep in the bathroom and then laid down on the bed. Next to the bed was that nightstand, and on the nightstand was one of those control boxes that contain the A/C controls and light switches. American hotels usually do not have these devices, but they are in most Asian hotels that I have stayed at. It is important to this story know how these devices work. Simply, there are buttons on the control box that when pushed will turn on or off the lights. Each light in the room had a button that could be turned off at that control box. The switches at the lights themselves worked as well, but they can be centrally controlled at that control box.
As I said, I laid down on the bed, ready for sleep. I then reached over to the control box and turned off the lights to the room and bathroom. Laying back, I had my eyes closed and I remember I was thinking about the big meeting the next day, so I was certainly not yet asleep. You can imagine my surprise, then, when suddenly the bathroom light turned on. My eyes opened and I looked to my left into the bathroom (remember, the bathroom had a glass wall allowing me to see into the bathroom). I lay there looking into the bathroom thinking how odd it was that the light had turned on, but I saw nothing of interest in the bathroom. While contemplating the oddness of the light turning on all by itself, I remembered also hearing a sort of scratching or clacking noise that occurred at the same time that the bathroom light turned on.
My mind had not made any jump to supernatural explanations at this point. I simply wanted to turn the light off and sleep. So I did just that, reaching over to push the button on the control box and turning off the light. I settled my head back down on the pillow and resumed to consider my presentation for the next day. About 15 seconds later, I heard the same scratching/clacking coming clearly from the bathroom and even though my eyes were closed, I could tell that the bathroom light turned on again. I am pretty sure my head snapped to the left and I stared into the (empty) bathroom. I remember holding that position and staring into the bathroom, my mind searching for some explanation. Faulty wiring was the logical explanation my mind fastened on. Grasping at that thought, I reached over to the control box to turn off the light and settled myself down again.
Sure enough, about 15 seconds after I had resumed laying down, the same noises were heard and the bathroom light turned on yet again. It was at this point that I could feel myself start to get a bit nervous. Having a light switch itself on three times is enough to start anyone searching explanations beyond faulty wiring. From my position in bed, I did all I could to see into the bathroom, but my visual search did not show anything of note. Deliberately, I once again leaned over to turn off the bathroom light using the control box.
I was trying very hard to remain calm and I remember thinking that if I got myself worked up, then my big meeting the next day would not go as well as could be. With this thought in mind, I forced myself to remain calm and closed my eyes. I waited for around the same amount of time as the three times before, half expecting the light to turn on again. This time it didn't turn on, and that relieved me. As I waited longer, my mind was thinking over the strange occurrence and somehow I got it into my mind that I wanted to turn on the bathroom light. Sitting up, I reached over to the control box and pushed the button. To my immense surprise, the bathroom light would not turn on. I pushed it several times, pushing harder with each subsequent attempt. It was no use, the bathroom light would not turn on, and when I tried to turn on any other light in the room, no lights in the room would turn on. At this point I admit that I was becoming upset.
I fumbled to find the phone and called down to the front desk. I explained to her that the lights would not come on in my room, and she kindly suggested that I need to put the key into the slot to activate the power to the room. I found this suggestion rather silly but it actually relieved me a bit, sort of bringing me back to reality. I assured her that my key was in the slot and had been in the slot. We agreed that it would be best if someone came up to check. After hanging up, I sat on the desk by the window (the farthest point away from the bathroom) and stared into the dark trying to see into the bathroom. Of course, my mind was racing for explanations and causes. It was during this intense period in the dark when the knock on the front door had me nearly jump out of my skin. Luckily, it was the night repairman sent to my room. Here was a real person, and the thought of this man coming seemed to strengthen my resolve. And I needed a lot of resolve, because in order to open the front door, I had to walk past the bathroom door (which I did walking sideways and never taking my eyes off of the darkness in the bathroom).
His first action was to check the slot on the wall to make sure that my key was indeed there. Assured that it was, he moved over to the control box and testing it found that it would not turn on the lights for him either. In broken English, he made me understand that he wanted to change that box out, that the problem surely rested with the box. I was very relieved, for here surely was the cause of all my problems. Faulty circuits indeed, and the control box seemed to be the cause. This assurance, however, went only so far as I was forced to sit in the dark again waiting for him to get a new control box. I resumed my seat on the desk at the farthest possible distance from the bathroom that I could get. I will admit my nerves were a bit frayed as I jumped a second time when he knocked on his return about 15 minutes later.
He commenced to changing the control box and when he had finished, he showed me with pleasure how a mere press of the buttons would turn on the lights in the room. I was certainly relieved that here was the logical explanation for all those times the light turned on by itself. Thanking him, I was ready to finally get to sleep for my big meeting in the morning. Before laying down, I made sure to push every button on that control box multiple times, turning on and off every light in the room. Satisfied, I decided it was time for sleep, but I needed to use the toilet before settling down. Going into the bathroom, I even stood at the light switch in the bathroom, flicking it on and off several times watching my wryly smiling face in the mirror, partly ashamed of my thoughts that this was anything but faulty circuits.
Then, my eyes came to rest on the bathroom door, focusing on the lock of the bathroom door. Somewhere in the back of my head came the memory of that afternoon where the door had become locked. For about a minute I stared at the lock thinking it strange that it had locked by itself. I remember distinctly thinking that no faulty electrical circuit was going to make a door lock all by itself. Walking over to the lock, I turned my attention to it for the first time, leaning over it and poking at it. I tried multiple ways to set it so that it was halfway thrown and that it would be able to lock itself upon closing. I could not seem to find a way how it would do that.
However, my investigation into the lock would remain incomplete. It was cut short while I was leaning over the lock, poking at it. Because directly at that time when I investigating the lock, I heard the scratching noise directly behind me and the bathroom light turned off, leaving me in complete darkness.
Within a matter of moments, I had determined that whatever was responsible for the lights and for the locked door did not want me in that hotel room that night. In the dark I came back to the control box next to the bed, but could not turn on any light in the room. My mental state at this time was quite a bit agitated, as you may guess. I called the front desk and told her that I need to switch rooms and switch rooms right now. She hesitated for a half a beat before she said someone will be right by to help me with my things. It probably took me half a minute in the dark to throw everything of mine (including my nicely ironed shirts) into my suitcase and I was out of the room long before anyone could assist. In my haste in the dark I had not seen a stack of expense receipts I left on the desk and needed someone collect a few weeks later (which could have costed me thousands of dollars in unreimbursed business expenses). That was my state of mind at the time, but one thing was certain - I was not going to be disturbing that spirit in the room any more.
People have suggested to me that this certainly was a case of faulty wiring (electrical), and I grant that it may be so. It may also be coincidental that the lock (mechanical) was also faulty. However, I find it compelling that the electrical problem resurfaced (even with a new control box) at the precise time that I was looking at the lock. The timing of it all strikes me as well. For instance, during the time I was writing emails there were no occurrences of the bathroom light turning on. That only started after I laid down. For me, this sequence of events is too much of a coincidence to be faulty this plus faulty that. However, I present this to you for your consideration.