• AP Magazine

    An alternative way to explore and explain the mysteries of our world. "Published since 1985, online since 2001."

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Encounters with the Unknown



The Haunted Third Floor



by: Steve McLaughlin



My best friend, who is an airline pilot, had an overnight layover in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His airline puts their crew personnel in the Sheraton Read House Hotel in downtown Chattanooga, which is a pre-civil war era hotel that was used as a hospital and mortuary during the civil war. He was assigned a room on the third floor, across the hall from an infamous haunted room that he was told about by the shuttle driver who transported him and his crew from the airport. After listening to the shuttle driver’s story of a hotel ghost, when my friend pulled up to the hotel in the shuttle, he saw something white appear from the sky and fly into the hotel -- it was just a blur, but it was very noticeable. In the lobby he noticed several pictures of the civil war occupants, which added to the eeriness of the setting. The room across the hall from his assigned room is supposedly haunted by a civil war era prostitute who is said to have been brutally murdered by a civil war soldier. After my best friend got checked in, he was talking to a friend on the telephone and made a snide remark about the prostitute, when all of a sudden, the sprinkler system started flooding over his head, and he said it looked like water mixed with blood and had a horrible decomposing flesh smell.

He fled the room and went to the three story lobby, which was directly below his room. When he got down to the lobby, he noticed water seeping through the grand chandelier and then the ceiling started crashing down! People were fleeing in mass hysteria, and he was standing there looking like a drowned rat! The hotel manager went up to the third floor and came back down and began reading my best friend the riot act, saying he had smelled the room and demanding to know what he had been doing in there and yelling that he had destroyed the hotel!

Eventually my best friend was assigned a different room in the new section of the hotel, and he had the opportunity to call his wife who is from Jamaica and very well versed on the dangers of angering spirits. She told him to leave the hotel immediately, but he replied that it was late and he had an early flight. She then told him to find a Gideon Bible and recite a passage from Psalms. He found the bible and looked to no avail for the passage because he knows nothing about the bible, and when he was telling me the story he was calling it Palms, not Psalms! He then took a shower, and he said that he scrubbed and scrubbed and could not get that smell off of him! He set his electronic alarm for a certain time and it kept changing to another time on him. When he returned from the shower, the bible lay open and had been turned to the correct passage!

The hotel called the airline and tried to get them to take responsibility for two million dollars worth of damages! A few weeks later, I was driving to Disney World and my best friend asked me to stop by the hotel and see what I could find out. I told him I would just to appease him and actually did not have any intention of stopping for two reasons: if this entity was that powerful, I wanted to error on the side of caution and not be there for round two!; Also I was driving a one ton dooly and did not think I would have an easy time finding parking near a downtown hotel.

However, as I was nearing the downtown Chattanooga exit, curiosity began killing the cat, and I decided I would just drive by the hotel, but when I did, there was an empty parking space waiting for me in front of the hotel that fit my truck and trailer perfectly. Against my better judgment, I stopped, and as I exited my truck, I saw workers shoveling out old broken bricks from the hotel, and when I entered the once elegant lobby, I saw that it was covered in thick plastic and yellow tape. I took the elevator up to the third floor and walked past the haunted room three times, I did not see anything; however, I detected ghostly energy. I returned to the elevator and something told me to walk past the haunted room one final time, and as I did, a maid stuck her head out from the end of a long hallway and asked me if everything was okay. I replied yes, that I was just checking out the haunted room, and she then asked if I wanted to see inside of it, and I replied "yes I guess." She then came down the hallway and tried her card key, which did not work. She then saw someone who she referred to as the hotel engineer who all of a sudden mysteriously appeared and was a few rooms down the hallway. She asked him if he would try his card key and let me into the haunted room. He said he had to check on the hotel guest who had made a complaint first and then would let me into the room. He knocked on the door of the guy who had called in a complaint. An older gentlemen answered and said he had not made the call and did not need anything. The next thing I knew, I had gone from not going to stop at all, to being in the haunted room with a supposed hotel engineer who was called to the location by a prank phone call! I confided to him that my best friend was the guest who had been in the room when the flood happened and asked him if he knew what had caused the flood and he said they did not know!

Here a flood had almost collapsed a ten story building and two weeks later, they still did not know the source of the problem! The hotel engineer then started talking real strange to me saying things like there were many more spirits in the hotel other than just the prostitute, and he said guests brought Ouija boards into the haunted room and that he did not approve of that. How would he know if guests had Ouija boards in the room with them? As I exited the room, the maid who had mysteriously greeted me from the end of the long hallway and invited me into the haunted room was once again at the other end of the long hallway sticking her head out, looking at me as she had before in total deja vu fashion. As if all of that was not strange enough, that night I was in a shop at the local mall telling a local guy what had happened, and he started describing the maid in exact detail, and I said that she must be a friend of his, but he said no, that she is the prostitute and that the hotel engineer was also a ghost. He further stated that the third floor had been shut down for decades and when the Sheraton Corporation purchased the property, it had been a corporate decision to re-open the third floor. I also consulted several mediums who confirmed the hotel workers were indeed spirits.

When my best friend returned home, his wife began seeing a woman who matched the maid’s description in their home. The same day, they also had a very large tree hit by lightning and it totally blew up into splinters. Also, after getting her car washed and detailed, she found a decomposed bird in the grill of her car -- the bird was hanging upside down, with wings spread, an impossible position if the bird was accidentally hit.

A couple of years later, my best friend once again had a layover in Chattanooga and was surprised his airline still had an account with the hotel. When you work for an airline you sign in and do not check in; therefore, you are not personally tagged for having done two million dollars worth of damage on your last visit. This time, my best friend was assigned a room on the tenth floor (top floor) of the old section. He was entering the elevator with another pilot whose cell phone rang and he elected to stay in the lobby to take the call. As the elevator started up, everything was okay but then it started violently jerking to the point my best friend thought that it might drop! It made it to the tenth floor and the rest of the night passed without incident, although he said he did not sleep a wink and constantly saw flashes of white light.

The next morning, my best friend got into the elevator and pressed the lobby button, and for no apparent reason, the elevator stopped on the third floor and he got out, thinking it was the lobby! When he recognized it was the haunted 3rd floor, he pressed the elevator call button, but it never came -- he was forced to carry his luggage down the stairs. At his next destination he could not find an electric razor that he knew he had used the previous night at the Sheraton Read House Hotel, so he called the hotel and described the razor in detail to see if he had accidentally left it in his room. The desk clerk said yes, the razor had been found; however, it could not be his because he stayed on the tenth floor and this razor had been found in room 310 (the haunted room). After reconfirming the make and color, he said trust me, it's mine and they sent it to him, and it was his razor!

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Saturday, September 19, 2020