My husband had a trip that he needed to take for business and I was so excited to be going. Our children were little and I was also nervous because I had to leave them behind. As a mother who was used to being there every hour with her kids it was a two-pronged situation, I both needed the break and also I didn’t want to leave them. (It’s very codependent, whatever!!! I’m not trying to pretend that I am super healthy here) I leave my children, who were probably like “Phew that stress ball is finally out of the house we can all relax….To the Dingle…I’ll grab the jump-ropes!!!!”
So my husband and I drive up to Connecticut and it is the beginning of the foliage season. Its lovely! We get to the hotel and I am looking at this amazingly quaint building. We walk inside and there are the other people who know my husband from work and they are all talking. I am listening to them at first and then something on the table catches my eye. I am not sure if I have situational ADHD or if what my husband talks about for business is exceptionally boring….but there it is on the table a little pamphlet that states “Have you seen the lady in white?”
I, being a reader of all things, wander over to this literary wonder and have to find out what it is all about. The picture on the front appears to be a photograph from the nineteen-fifties, so you know the quality is superb. As I look at this grainy photo I realize that the lady in white is the resident ghost.
Okay, I think it’s pretty clear what I am thinking right now, “Hey a ghost resides here and I do not feel there is room for both of us!!!!” I feel my mouth go dry. My heart is pumping my blood so that I have enough in my veins so that I can run away. I stare at this picture and I am trying to convince myself that it is a hoax. It can’t be real!!! I once had this conversation with my youngest, “I thought you said to me that ghosts aren’t real!” (because sometimes parents need to get some sleep.)
“I did! But I don’t want to hurt their feelings on the off-chance that I am wrong! So ghosts aren’t real, but I believe in them, so that they don’t suffer from self-esteem issues! After all I would want the ghosts to believe me if people told them that I wasn’t real! They would be like, Becki don’t worry we believe in you!”
My youngest, who was seven at the time, “You’re so crazy mom!” she and I both laugh.
So now I hear someone from the faint distant calling my name. My husband is standing there with people who he does business with and I am over by the side table choking this pamphlet having a doozy of a panic attack. I look over at him wide-eyed and I can feel that I am trying to smile but by their response it isn’t working well. My smile is paralyzed into a pursed lipped snarl because I am trying to smile but mostly I am baring my teeth at them. So at this point as I am trying to meet these people that I wanted to impress, but instead I am coming across as a deranged lunatic. Because the blood is rushing in my ears and my throat is all constricted when I try to speak up I shout “I FOUND THIS!” I lift up my fist that is holding what used to be a pamphlet, but is now more of a wad of colorful paper.
My husband looks at me with this look of “Oh shit! What the fuck did she just find?” I can tell that he is both embarrassed and concerned.
One of the ladies at the front desk calls a name and everyone in the group was just happy that someone broke the tension. They all go about their business and my husband walks over to me with the familiar look of scolding a child when they are touching something they shouldn’t, but also trying to come across as compassionate so that the room doesn’t think you are an asshole.
“Becki, put that down!” He says in a whisper of hot breath
“It’s haunted!” I wheeze. “The whole fucking town is haunted by this lady who was murdered or something.”
I show him the crumple mass of colorful paper. He unfolds it and reads it a little.
He smiles at me and says “Cool! Do you think we’ll see her?”
I can’t believe what he is saying right now. No I don’t want to SEE her. I don’t even think we should be here right now. I now am noticing that this beautiful building, which looks like a revamped barn, is more menacing than anything else. Oh sure they put luxurious furniture and pieces of art in there. But this is the sight of some horrific mass murder and this lady in white is telling us that we are not safe. Why else would they turn an old barn into a hotel? It’s to lure unsuspecting and weary travelers into their lair so that they can have their pick of victims. I mean it may as well be called the Bates Motel.
“What are you talking about?” he asks
“Oh, did I say that out loud?” I think
“Yes!” damn it, that isn’t in my head either?
“NO and neither was that.” He grabs me by my elbow and says “You need to get some fresh air!” and he guides me outside, “And you need to stop shouting your thoughts!”
I look at him and I say “This place, the whole fucking town is haunted!” I lift my hand and there is nothing in it any more because my husband has removed the propaganda from my hand.
“Becki, they put stuff like that out for people who enjoy that sort of thing. It’s not real! Did you even look at that picture? It was horrible. It looked like a simple case of double exposure!” my husband learned the term “double exposure” just for times like these. He has had to talk me off of many a ledge in his time with me. He read up on double exposure and he uses it, often even when it doesn’t apply, to settle my nerves.
I look at him and I breathe because I am losing this battle and I can tell. “Fine! You’re right! It is probably not real.” I’m lying because he wants me to. He wants me to go into this amazingly haunted hotel and live my last night on earth in total fear. Whatever, fine! I’ll stay in your super haunted barn, in this stupid haunted town, with the ugly lady in white who is probably looking for some young beautiful mom of three to possess. I am exactly her type. Thanks honey, Now I am going to be possessed and it is all your fault!!!
I go inside with the wisdom of my untimely possession soon to befall me and I am going to make the most of it. We finally get into our room and it is gorgeous. Of course it is, it’s a trap! They want you to be distracted by the huge luxurious bed and the soft robe that I may now be wearing even though I don’t remember ever putting it on. Shit it’s happening! My will is being taken over by the lady in white. I gulp because I see the look on my husband’s face.
“You are not being taken over by the lady in white. You just said, look at this robe and put it on over your clothes. Also stop narrating your crazy, we don’t all need to know!” He walks into the bathroom because he needs to prepare for his big night. I realize that I am causing him more stress than is needed.
I say my prayers and I am like “You got this, right Jesus?” and I am ready to behave myself. Less like the lunatic that I usually am.
My husband comes out and I see the look of horror on his face.
“What?” I say.
“Don’t read the book in the bathroom. It’s not for you!”
I run into the bathroom and I read the book, naturally because it is a book and it is forbidden, so yes it is for me. Duh!
“I just said not to read that book.” he said
“I only read a little bit, why would they turn this place into a hotel after a family was killed here?” I ask.
“I don’t know. But seriously Becki, don’t make too much out of it. People stay here all of the time.”
I start to sing “Hotel California” because it seems appropriate!
He starts to laugh and then before we know it we are both laughing and joking. When I met my husband he had taken me to see “Silence of the Lambs” he didn’t know me then. He had a rude awakening as to my true nature after that movie when he was trying to coax me into his truck to drive me home. I was all “I don’t really know you that well. I think I will just take the bus home thank you very much.”
We talk about that night and laugh some more about how he eventually got me to get into his truck I made him drive with he interior lights on for the whole ride which was extra long because he took the back way because he was driving with the interior lights on. We didn’t have cell phones then so I couldn’t text my friends and tell them to come searching for me if I didn’t make it home that night. I had to just trust this super adorable blonde hair blue-eyed guy who just took me to the worst fucking film I have ever seen. People usually know me better than that. My husband still loves films that scare the piss out of you. I am all like, “yeah no thanks! How about a nice period piece about how women fought for the right to vote!” and we usually compromise and see a movie about super heroes.
Before we know it, it is time to go and do this business dinner. We had such a good time at dinner and we even sit at a table with another young couple who also have kids. The wife and I talk about kids and eventually my husband hears me say “A whole family got murdered right on the property.” He grimaces because he knew me better than to think I would let it go.
The other woman listened intently as I retell the story that I didn’t even really know, but I can totally embellish upon because I am good like that. The woman asked “How do you know all of this?”
“Didn’t you guys get that book in the bathroom of your room?” my husband interjects because he knows he needs to snuff out this fire before we are up all night singing show tunes from the seventies. like “You take the good, You take the bad, You take them both and there you have The Facts of Life….The Facts of Life!” He’s familiar with this kind of night.
“What book?” the husband asks.
“In the bathroom of your hotel room there is a book about the history of the town and the property.” my husband states.
“We didn’t get a book.” the wife says.
“I knew it!” I gasp.
My husband knows not to ask “knew what?” because there is about to be a shitload of crazy heading his way. So he puts his hand on mine and continues.
“I’m sure it is somewhere in your room. There is a price tag on it so if you swipe it you get charged for it.” he pats my hand meaning that’s enough of this because I am not singing the theme song from “The Love Boat” with you tonight because I have a meeting first thing in the morning I have to be fresh for.
We end up having a great time and it was late when we finally get back to the room. The bed as I said before is luxurious and huge and it is a four-poster bed and it has this lovely gauze canopy that is draped over the top and it hangs down each pillar of the posts. I sigh because it truly is the bed of my dreams when I used to think that I was really a princess. I climb into the bed and I fall asleep because I was exhausted.
So I don’t know about any of you, but when I sleep in an unfamiliar place I have to get up frequently to go to the bathroom. I am sleepily laying in this bed and I open my eyes and there she is that fucking lady in white. She is here for me and I am unable to scream because I really have to pee badly and even though I am terrified I don’t want to piss the bed. I crawl over my husband and get out of the bed on his side and I sprint to the bathroom. I see the book sitting there on the back of the toilet and I read it because maybe there is something in there that tells me how to get rid of her. I read and I see that the murders happened on the property but not this property that the hotel is on. The murders happened on the old farm but then the land was sold off years ago. This property the hotel sits on is no longer a part of that sight. So then I start to think, Do ghosts know when land is sold? Do they respect boundaries? Do they get that this Hotel is no longer a part of the gruesome murders that had occurred long ago? I am now humming the tune from “The Facts of Life” because I know that it will calm me down. I then start to realize that obviously the lady in white doesn’t give a shit about the land being sold. She’s in my bedroom ready to haunt me, or possess me or something.
I know that I need to go and check on my husband because I am married to him and that’s in the vows, “I take thee to wed and to fight whatever ghosts hover over you when you sleep!”. A part of me thinks it’s all of his fault that we are here in this damn nightmare of a place. I grab the book and I creep out of the room. As I turn the corner there is a whooshing white that flutters and hovers the bed. “It’s obviously the Ghost!” I think because honestly what else could it possibly be. I then try to think of how people get rid of ghosts. But the problem is I don’t watch scary movies like that . I don’t know how to get rid of them because when I do watch scary movies, I cover my face with my hands and I stick my thumbs in my ears and I wait until someone tells me that it is over. I am completely ill-prepared for moments like these. Why don’t I ever ask people how they got rid of the ghosts in the movie?
Wait I saw ghost busters. I start singing “Who you gonna Call? Ghost busters!!!”
“Did you say something?” my husband asks
“Do you think Ghostbusters are still in business?” I ask (I need to point out that at this particular moment in time I mean the original Ghostbusters not the latest completely wonderful all girl version with Melissa McCarthy)
“What’s wrong?” my husband asks
“The lady in white is hovering right over the side of my bed. She wants to possess me or something.” I tell him.
“It’s the canopy! Now stop singing show tunes and get back to bed!” he says so sure of himself.
I don’t believe him and that is why I am always going to have to be the hero because he doesn’t ever believe me that these things can happen. After all there all of these books, including the one in my hand, that talks about it. Why would they talk about it if it was not real?
I finally draw up the courage and I look around the corner and I see the fluttering again. Shit she is determined to get me. What did I ever do to you lady in white? I look at my husband and he looks nonplussed! He stands up and takes that lady and white and he wraps her around the pillar of the four-poster bed. He is badass I tell ya!!!! He’s not even afraid. She isn’t even struggling that hard though. I mean maybe if I fought her I would have won because she seems like a real wimp. I then get closer and I realized that it was the canopy all along. That’s why the lady in white wasn’t fighting back. So we are still in danger…because she is still out there and probably stronger than the both of us.
“Are you okay?” he asks not really wanting any other answer besides ‘yes I am okay.’
“Not really, because she is still out there.” I say. He takes the book that I am holding in my hands and puts it on the bedside table.
“I told you not to read that book. They just put it in there to scare you and so that you will buy it.” he pulls me into him. “You need to listen to me. I am trying to help you.”
“Can you sing the theme song to the love boat to me?” I ask
“No!” he says, “Get some sleep!”
Guys, I was very brave that night. I stayed awake all night long and stood guard over my husband so that he could sleep and be fresh in the morning for his meeting. When he woke up he startled because I was lying over him staring at him while he slept.
“Did you get any sleep? At all?” he asks
“Nope.” I say “I was just making sure you were safe.”
“From the canopy?” he asks
“Yup! And look at you now, alive and well!” I say “You can thank me by getting me a cup of coffee!” I tell him
“Do you want me to leave you in the room by yourself?” he asks
I look around the room and out of the corner of my eye I see that gauzy white canopy ripple in the breeze.
“No, I’ll come with you!” We go down to the lobby to get ourselves some coffee. We see the other young couple down there looking similar to us. The husband well rested and the woman looking like she had been fighting ghosts of her own (which is why the new version of ghostbusters is more believable)
“She read that book!” her husband states.
She nods. “We didn’t have a copy in our room so I asked the front desk for one.”
“Yeah, thanks for that.” the husband says to no one in particular.
“I can’t believe that there are so many ghosts seen around the area!” she said.
“What? I only knew about the one!” I explain.
Both husbands want this conversation to end because they know there will be no sleep had until we leave in a few days.
“We should go up to the room and get ready for the meeting!” my husband nudges me in the general direction of the elevator.
“What are you doing while they are at their meeting?” my new friend asks.
“Do you want to go into town with me? Do a little shopping?” she asks.
“I’ll be ready in about an hour!” I say
I get the talk about how I am not to be going out and scaring myself today, by my husband. I promise.
That day we asked everyone that we met if they had seen any of the ghosts in town.
“No, I haven’t!” the confused girl at the coffee shop answers
“It’s an old wives tale!” the woman at the art gallery tells us
“What? Ghosts?” the newly scared person on the street visiting her son at college asks.
We were so helpful by explaining our knowledge with her. She was all ears. She joined us for lunch. The young man at the restaurant laughed when we asked him about it.
“Yeah! I don’t think that’s real. They are just trying to get you to explore the town.” he did give us some places to visit, though. So we got good and scared before we had to go back to the haunted barn hotel. We walked our new friend back to her hotel and then we walk back to ours. As we were walking we started talking more about the town and the really cool things we explored.
That night I slept more soundly because we had found out that the lady in white was actually an old nurse that would show up whenever someone was in need. She was comforting and pleasant.
“Good night, angel!” I say before I turn out the light.
“Good night dear!” my husband says
“Oh, I wasn’t talking to you. I was talking to the ghost.” I said and I went to sleep.
Moral of my story: Sometimes its best to find out all you can about the ghost who haunts you. They might be nice. Also the all girl version of Ghostbusters is more accurate, in my opinion, because men would just stand there mansplaining how you don’t see a ghost when it is obviously clear that there is a possession of Sigourney Weaver going on right in front of them. Also its always good to share your fears with sympathetic strangers. We had a great time that day, me and my new friends that I didn’t ever keep in touch with nor do I remember their names. Those sometimes are the best types of people you need in moments like this.
Until next time:)
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