It’s been a very long time since I was sick and had to stay home from work. Out of habit, I woke up early, fed the cats, got some breakfast, checked e-mail, and by 10:30 was back in bed for a nap.
Then, after I woke up, I did the unthinkable: I turned on the tv. Yes, it’s true. And as if daytime tv isn’t scary enough all by itself, I turned on the Travel Channel to watch about 3 hours of shows about haunted hotels. How fun is that? ‘Tis the season and all. I’m not into the gore-fest that is American Halloween, but ghosts and the supernatural seem, well, natural this time of year. It was the usual stuff about the Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana, Gettysburg, PA, the Tower of London, the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, but there were a bunch of places I’d never heard of with stories of ghosts I’d not heard before. The hotels as always attract the curious who seem to go because they place is reputed to be haunted, but when they experience something odd, they bolt. I don’t get that. If you go to see ghosts, why do you freak out when you see one? Some folks were more nonchalant about it, and seemed to take the otherworldly inhabitants in stride, and some seemed downright fond of their resident spectres. In one hotel a guest checked in, got to his room, and flopped down on the bed exhausted and fell asleep still fully dressed without even pulling a blanket over himself. When he woke, he was covered by a blanket that had been tucked in all around him. I thought that was awfully nice of the ghost to do.
So after my haunted hotel marathon, I did some surfing to see what my location boasted in the way of ghostly attractions. Portland is home to the the Shanghai Tunnels, reputed to be one of the 10 most haunted places in America (according to the Travel Channel). Then there’s the Portland Haunted Tour, although I wasn’t able to get their own web site to come up. The article in the link is two years old, so it’s possible they’re not still operating. Beyond Bizarre Portland Walking Tours seems more promising. I found mention of them on a local newschannel web site as of October 15, 2008. They also claim to have a “proven” clairvoyant on board with them. Now if I can just con someone into going with me… I’ve been to the Scream at the Beach, which is a bunch of lame “haunted houses” set up inside various buildings in a strip mall. It’s crowded, it’s expensive, and if you’re over 12 nothing will scare you, except the people hawking cheap merchandise while you wait in line to go in. I’m not into the gore fest aspect of the holiday as I’ve mentioned before, so seeing cheesy mock-ups of severed (plastic) body parts is not my idea of a good All Hallows Eve. Pulling out the ouija board, reading Tarot cards, taking flowers to the cemetery, holding a dumb supper – all good. I guess honoring the dead isn’t creepy enough for most people.