I'm learning that there really is such a thing as being "energetically exhausted."
At this point on my road trip, I've stayed at four hotels that report paranormal activity. At all four hotels, I've felt very welcome, safe, and while I've had what might qualify as spooky experiences, I haven't been frightened (well, mostly).
I am, however, exhausted in a way I've never experienced before. I'm not physically tired, but I feel as if my "life force" so to speak, is drained. If I were a light bulb, someone forgot to turn me off.
Maybe it's the excitement of visiting these gloriously ghostly places. Maybe it's the long hours on the road. Maybe it's being in places that seem to be alive with SOMETHING intangible that keeps my senses "on" at all times.
As I explained to my husband, I feel like I've been in a room full of people for five days straight. I need to recharge. This feeling is so unexpected, but fascinating.
So tonight, when we pulled up to the Walking Horse Hotel in Wartrace, Tennessee to find it dark, closed up, and empty (the hotel suffered a severe fire a few weeks ago, they are still in the midst of repairs) a part of me was relieved. As much as the Walking Horse's haunted reputation intrigued me, my gut was screaming, "You need a break!" — a "psychic break" if you will.
So here we are in a very not-haunted hotel in Chattanooga. Having not been in a "ghostless" hotel in almost a week, I'm kind of astonished by how different our room feels. I feel like I've gotten a break from the party.
Look at me! I'm learning things about myself on my Creepy Corner Road Trip!
That's not to say I haven't enjoyed the party. We recently stayed a night at the Tuck U Inn at Glick Mansion in Atchison, Kansas, and I couldn't have enjoyed a more pleasant evening at "the party".
A more than 140 year-old structure, the grand old Victorian house is one of the many supposedly haunted homes in Atchison. Stepping into the romantically decorated Glick Mansion, one couldn't help but feel a certain energy alive in the house.
We arrived after a long drive from Estes Park, Colorado and were warmly welcomed at about 9:30pm by Loman Wildly, one of the owners. He efficiently checked us in, gave us a quick rundown of the house, and showed us to our room, the First Lady's Room, where Governor Glick of Kansas once stayed.
The room in the charming B&B was large, with a bathroom almost as big as my whole Hong Kong apartment, and was decorated in a way that balanced modern conveniences (a TV, telephone, plumbing) and Victorian elegance. I was especially delighted/creeped out by the mannequin wearing traditional Victorian garb at the foot of our four poster, king size bed.
The ghosts reported at the Glick Mansion are rather subdued and quiet, only having been reported to open and close doors, make odd sounds at strange hours, and walk about the house when nobody is around. As I settled in for the night, nothing felt unusual or seemed in any way spooky.
The only thing mildly unnerving I found, was the extra door at the back of our closet that I assumed is used by the owners to enter the room from a back staircase to clean up the room. I threw the extra lock on the door, just in case.
There was only one other person staying at the Glick Mansion that night, someone who was staying in Lizzy's Attic, THE haunted room at the house. Other than that, the house was silent as I climbed into bed.
As I typed away on my laptop around 1am, I heard creaking around the house and some nondescript tinkling noises, but I couldn't be sure if I was just hearing "old house" or old spirits. Either way, it didn't bother me, and if nothing else I felt a little less alone (as usual Mr. Louise was asleep hours before me).
I dozed off around 1:30am only to awake around 3am to hear what sounded like fingernails tapping on a door. Was it my closet door? My bedroom door? I looked around the shadowy room and nothing was different. The mannequin still stood vigil over our bed. I thought about moving her into the bathroom and shutting the door, but I didn't want to upset the balance of the room (or any unseen eyes).
Snuggling into the cushy, feather bed, I drifted off again. I awoke around 4am, I'm not sure why. Glancing around the room, something caught my eye at the foot of my bed, but when I focused, there was nothing there. I fell asleep again and did not wake until my alarm went off for 9:30am breakfast.
Overall, the Glick Mansion gave me a good night's rest — even if I couldn't help but feel like our housemate in Lizzy's Attic and the owners were not the only occupants. Everything about the Glick felt friendly. Nothing much to report Creepy Corneristas, just some good old fashioned hospitality.
Of course, there was the rest of Atchison to explore. The whole small town is considered to be "The Most Haunted Town in Kansas." A transportation hub in the 1850s, many of the stunning Victorian homes around town date back to that era, as do most of the ghosts.
One of the more famous houses in Atchison is the Sallie House, located right across the street from the Glick Mansion. In the town's early days it was home to Atchison's doctor. As the legend goes, a small child by the name of Sallie was suddenly taken very ill with stomach pains and was rushed to the doctor's house on North 2nd Street.
The doctor diagnosed Sallie with appendicitis and had to administer ether to the terrified girl in order to perform surgery. However, due to the girl's struggling the ether was not properly administered and she woke up during surgery. Sallie died, but as the story goes, her final moments were filled with fear and anger toward the doctor, the remnants of such feelings seem to have remained in the home.
The house now sits empty, maintained by the local ex-sheriff who owns a total of 22 other properties in town (according to a very friendly tree trimmer working on the Sallie House the afternoon we walked by hoping for a peek). While nobody lives in the infamous house now, many say that playful Sallie, as well as a dark presence inhabit the house.
Most famously, a couple with a young couple with a child rented the house in 1993, encountering not only a spirit that moved their possessions around the house and played pranks on them (thought to be Sallie), but a darker entity that eventually attacked the husband. After the husband was pushed over a railing, the couple moved out in 1994.
The Sallie House has been used as a home, an event rental, and a paranormal investigation site ever since. Asking around the town, everyone seemed to know about the Sallie House and its ghosts, "If you believe in that sort of thing," said our friend the tree trimmer.
To me, the Sallie House did not look inviting at all. Standing outside the house on a sunny day, I had no desire to get any closer to its front porch than the sidewalk. Maybe it's what I know about the house but, unlike the Glick Mansion just across the street, it did not seem friendly.
"It's actually really nice on the inside, it's a shame nobody lives in it," Mr. Tree Trimmer told us. "But lots of people don't like the house's reputation."
Or maybe they just don't like the huge frat house next door, complete with pool toys strewn about the front yard.
Next my husband and I drove by the "Gargoyle Home" on 4th Street. A HUGE, gorgeous stone Victorian, there's nothing all that odd about the house except for the two ominous-looking, red gargoyles poised on the roof. Built by B.P. Waggener in 1885, Waggener supposedly enjoyed much wealth and success due to a deal with the Devil. The gargoyles are a representation of that deal.
The house is supposedly cursed, with one of the later owners falling to his death when he tried to remove them.
A private property now, it is impossible to get closer than the sidewalk to the house. And that was just fine with me.
We left Atchison, bound for Eureka Springs, feeling pretty darn good.
Kansas and Atchison was great. Along the way, every time we had told someone we were going to Kansas, people said something like, "I'm sorry." But it was a great palate cleanser after the Stanley Hotel, and an encouraging way to head off for the Crescent Hotel.
Thanks to Loman and Chris Wildy for the peaceful, happy stay at the Glick Mansion. They were so accommodating and considerate (they asked me about my Celiac disease and even double-checked the cheese for my omelette with me in the morning!), it was like staying with family.
And as always, thanks for following along on my road trip, Creepy Corneristas. I may be tired at the end of the day, but getting to write about my experiences and share them with you is part of the dream.
Next post? The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa in Eureka Springs, Arkansas!