Story and Photos by Kathryn Jones
There are strange things happening in Room 19 of The Glen Hotel.
One guests claimed that she awoke in the middle of the night to see a woman standing at the foot of the bed, staring at her. When she turned on the light, the visitor vanished.
Other guests report hanging clothes in the closet. When they leave the room and return, they find their clothes on the floor. Or odd changes in temperature from cold to hot.
So many unexplained events have taken place that the Society Paranormal Investigators Network, or SPIN, visited the hotel in August 2008 for an all-night investigation. They placed electronic voice recorders throughout the hotel and set up video recording equipment in Room 19. The video recorder batteries would not stay charged and they got no usable images. But the investigators said the pants they had put on hangers in the closet had been altered.
They also claimed that they detected extreme changes in temperature and asked, “Are you a man or a woman?” When they went back and reviewed the recording, they claimed to hear a whispered voice say, “I am a man.” The investigators also asked for a sign of a presence. A flashlight on the other side of the room fell over and began clicking.
“So my conclusion is that we either have more than one non-paying guest, since the reports of Room 19 all involve a woman, or that we have a cross-dressing ghost,” said Shoni Albro. She and her husband, Jeff, have owned the hotel since 2004.
From the outside during the day, The Glen Hotel doesn’t look particularly creepy. Its 1920s styling complements Glen Rose’s historic and eclectic downtown district and it’s just a block from the busy square.
On a recent moonlit night, however, the hotel sign’s red glow and its façade cast in a blueish hue did look, well, ghostly. Looking at the dark upper window and the balcony, one’s imagination could conjure some pretty frightening images — especially if you remember the haunted hotel from Stephen King’s book, “The Shining,” and the creepy movie made from it. The Glen Hotel, however, would be about the size of a cabin compared with sprawling Stanley Hotel overlooking Estes Park, Colo., that was the inspiration for King’s book.
Albro takes the attention in stride. Ghosts are good for business, especially this time of year around Halloween. Haunted hotels have become sought-after travel destinations for people wanting something unusual — a room with a boo.
One Internet site, Haunted America Tours, ranks the top 10 haunted hotels in the United States. No Texas hotels made the list, but the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells also been the focus of people on the trail of paranomal activities.
On its Web site, Haunted America Tours offers this tip for booking a guest room with ghosts: “For all haunted hotel travel, ghost hunting or paranormal adventures, early hotel reservations are always advised!”
Joking aside, guests who call themselves “sensitive” to the unexplainable and the paranormal seek out The Glen.
“One girl wanted to come and said she felt a lot of things in the hotel,” Albro recalled. “A sensitive feels and doesn’t see them (ghosts). At 2:30 a.m. the bed was pushed off the rails. I sent her a gift certificate for half off” since her guest didn’t get a good night’s sleep.
Albro said she finds it interesting that ghosts would choose Room 19. Other rooms in the hotel have had strange occurrences, but they seem to be concentrated in that particular room, she added.
“I thought it would be in the basement. It’s creepy, like a Freddy Krueger thing,” Albro said, referring to the fiction character from The Nightmare on Elm Street horror films. “I don’t go down there.”
Call this The Nighmare on Barnard Street Near Elm Street.
Does Albro believe in ghosts?
“Yes, I do,” she said.
One year the hotel was on the holiday season Tour of Homes and Albro was getting ready to decorate. A covered wagon replica sitting on the mantel came flying off and landed on the floor.
She said she’s heard voices singing and music when there’s no one else in the hotel. One time Albro heard something rolling upstairs and found a chunk of wall on the floor. Only the walls were intact. Or she’s smelled the strong aroma of coffee, as if someone is breathing it in her face. Only there’s no coffee brewing.
“My husband tells me it’s my imagination,” Albro said.
If the hotel is, indeed, haunted, Albro thinks the ghosts are not bad ones. A woman did once live in Room 19 years ago, she said.
“I figure she’s still there,” Albro concluded. “I just wish she’d dust a little more often.”
A Room With a Boo
Top Ten Places to Stay Scared
Provincial Hotel, New Orleans
Hotel del Coronado near San Diego
The Stanley Hotel near Estes Park, Colo. (This is the creepy, sprawling hotel that was the setting for the Stephen King’s novel “The Shining.”)
Le Pavillon Hotel, New Orleans
Heathman Hotel, Portland, Ore.
Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Sagamore Hotel, Bolton Landing, N.Y.
Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs, Ark.
Ramada Plaza Hotel, Fond du Lac, Wisc.
Queen Mary Hotel, Long Beach, Calif.
SOURCE: Haunted America Tours