True Ghost Stories

I was talking recently to a local friend who had worked in a promenade hotel.  When I mentioned that I write horror fiction, he told me about the hotel where he had once worked. 

This hotel, built in 1927, has a history of criminal activity, including drug use and prostitution. Today, the hotel is known for the paranormal activity that occurs in several of the rooms and halls.

Watch Blackpool Promenade Extension (1905) online - BFI Player

Guests who’ve stayed in room 213 have experienced the TV changing channels on its own accord. Some have said they felt cold hands touching them in their sleep. There’s also reportedly a phantom receptionist who knocks on doors and announces, “Room service!” However, when guests get to the door, no one’s there.

One of the more disturbing phenomena is the sound of an infant crying in the basement.

My friend said that the crying infant was the feature that finally made him hand in his notice.  He had been working as the night porter in the middle of autumn. The hotel was quiet with only three rooms being occupied by guests on that Wednesday night. He was alone behind the desk, being on call in case any guests needed him. And that was when he heard the sound of an infant crying.

He’d heard the stories about a ghost inhabiting the basement, but he’d never experienced anything like this before. He said a cold chill swept down his spine and he was suddenly too scared to investigate.

“The crying continued for the best part of half an hour,” he told me.  “It was a pitiful sob that came from the basement.”

After a couple of minutes where he had hoped the noise would stop and he could then pretend it had never happened, he realised it was going to continue until he’d investigated. Consequently, he unlocked the door to the basement (it was secured with two deadbolts) and made his way into the basement.

“There was a light there,” he said. “But it wasn’t really large enough for the room. There were lots of shadows, particularly in the corners, and lots of old junk that had been dumped there over the years. But there was no one else in that basement. I was there on my own.”

2,203 Basement Videos and HD Footage - Getty Images

He went on to say it was bloody cold in there, so cold he could see his breath, and no one answered even though he called out several times asking if there was anyone there.

“I figured it had been a trick of my imagination,” he admitted. “Or a couple of the kitchen lads coming back to give me a scare. So, I started back up the stairs ready to scratch it up to me being over-sensitive.  I was halfway up the stairs when I heard the infant again but this time it wasn’t crying: it was laughing.”

He said that the laughter had been more disturbing than the sound of the child crying. He ran up the stairs as fast as he could, fled the hotel and didn’t bother returning to collect his final wage packet.

I’m not going to say which hotel it was, but I will say, if you’re looking for a part time job in Blackpool, only consider working as a night porter if you have nerves of steel.

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