By: Sammy Scoggin
In the spirit of Stephen King’s The Shining, haunted hotels have always been one of the scariest entities of horror for me. The Overlook Hotel, which is the hotel where The Shining takes place, is said to be based off of the Stanley Hotel. Stephen King was staying in room 217 of this Colorado hotel when he was inspired to write his horrifying masterpiece. According to Haunted America Tours, the Stanley is number three on the list of the Top Ten Haunted Hotels. Coming in at a close number seven is the Sagamore Hotel, where my family vacationed about six years ago.
I was 12 years old when my dad’s side of the family took a trip to Bolton Landing, New York. We had no idea that the hotel we were staying at was one of the most haunted in America. Each family had their own suite, one for my immediate family, one for my aunt’s family and one for my uncle’s family. It was my Uncle Jim who experienced most of the haunting, which is surprising because anyone who knows my Uncle Jim knows that he is a big skeptic and does not believe in ghosts – or at least he didn’t up until this trip.
We were all settling into our rooms, but my uncle and his family had a bit of a setback. When he went to unlock the door with the key card he found that the door wouldn’t unlock. He then peered into the glass windows on either side of the door and spotted an old lady dressed in all white sitting in a chair inside the room. He immediately assumed that the front desk had given him the wrong room, and went back to fix the problem. When he told the front desk that the room was already occupied and that there must be a mistake, they assured him that he had the correct room and they gave him a new key to try once more to open the door. When they got back to the room the door opened on the first try and there was no trace of the woman inside.
My Uncle Jim’s youngest son was about 17 at the time and was just enough of a horror movie guru to be scared out of his mind at the paranormal activity taking place in his suite. After the first night he told us that he felt as if there was someone watching him, like the unwelcome presence of someone else in the room with them. He also said that he woke up in the middle of the night with a start because he felt someone hit him, but when he turned on the lights there was nobody in sight. After that night, he spent the rest of the vacation sleeping on the pullout couch in my family’s room.
According to hauntedamericatours.com one of the three most recognized ghosts that haunts the Sagamore is “a mysterious lady in white who enters many rooms. Guests are said to feel wispy chills. They say she awakens sleepers by peering into their faces and blowing a cold chill on their eyelids. Many guests have reported sleepless nights and the feeling of being watched.” Creepy, huh?
Prior to this experience I was not a big believer in ghosts, but seeing my older cousin so terrified and my cynical uncle so adamant definitely roused a change in my opinion. Whether you believe these stories, or they seem like coincidences spun into something horrifying, one thing is for sure – I will never go back to the Sagamore Hotel.