Rolling into Point Pleasant, West Virginia at midnight was by far the creepiest night I experienced on the Creepy Corner Road Trip.
Sure, the St. James Hotel was SILENT and atmospheric, and the Crescent Hotel's resident second floor spirit might have been messing around with me all night, but everything about Point Pleasant in the dead of night put me on edge. Nothing against Point Pleasant, Mr. Louise and I had a great stay and met some really memorable and friendly characters, but SWEET CRIMINY I can see why the Mothman and Friends might feel right at home there.
After visiting Domino's Pizza, the only food place open at that hour, my husband and I pulled onto Main Street to find our hotel, the Lowe Hotel.
The. Street. Was. Empty. At the time, it felt like the quietest, emptiest street in the world.
Standing in the middle of the intersection to take some pictures of the hotel, the (oddly muscular) Mothman statue, and the street devoid of humans, traffic, or hints of life, I said to my husband, half-jokingly, "What have we gotten ourselves into?"
We laughed, but even my unflappable husband admitted that he felt like he was in the beginning of a horror movie. A good horror movie. The kind of horror movie where you never really see the ghost or assailant but you KNOW THEY ARE ALWAYS WATCHING.
Partly due to the fact that I get swept up in my own imagination far too easily, and partly due to sleep-deprived paranoia, I felt like I was being watched from the moment we got out of our car in Point Pleasant. I rarely feel uncomfortable walking around in the dark in public places, but midnight on Main Street outside the historic Lowe Hotel, I kept throwing a glance over my shoulder just in case.
Mothman, can you hear me? Mothamn, can you see me? Mothman, can you find me in the night?
But really, the Mothman was the least of my worries. Looking at our hotel for the night, the eerily still and shadowy Lowe Hotel, I involuntarily tensed up. "Well shit," I muttered to myself. "Sleeping will be fun tonight."
It's not that the Lowe is shabby, or even all that spooky looking from the outside. Opened in 1901, there is simply an untouched, "hotel that time forgot" vibe to the place. The combination of the original brick and stone construction, paired with the "early-20th-century-time capsule" feel of the decor sent my spooky imagination reeling.
We were buzzed into the Lowe's dimly lit lobby (the lights were turned down for the night) and quickly given a key and directions to our room. "We'll deal with the paperwork in the morning, go on up to your room and enjoy your pizzas," the night manager/owner kindly said to us.
We thanked her, and rode the creaky, I-can-hear-the-electricity-buzzing elevator up to the third floor. The elevator doors opened to reveal a dark hall and a long, narrow table with three angel dolls and an open Bible on it. The Bible was open to the book of John.
It was DARK on the third floor.
As my Mr. Louise and I tried to tread lightly across the squeaking floors, we found ourselves squinting down dark side-hallways wondering, "Is that our room?"
We walked around the third floor for a few minutes baffled by our inability to find room 327. Finally, we spotted a white door at the end of short, inky hall off the main corridor. The white door was unlocked and in the low light I could barely make out the number plate that read 327. We pushed open the door only to find another DARK hallway.
"Oh fuck this," I said without thinking as my husband and I stood at the threshold to room 327, staring into a nearly-pitch black hallway. "You have to find the light and turn it on before I'm going in there," I told Mr. Louise.
Being the trooper he is, he walked into the blackness, feeling around for a light switch. When he flicked on the hall light, I gasped.
Room 327 was basically a little apartment. The main door opened to a narrow, curved corridor that had a master bedroom through the first door on the left, a windowless, mid-century bathroom across the hall from it, a small bedroom with a sink further down the corridor on the right, and a little living room with couches, chairs, and an old TV at the end of the hall.
I felt like I was in a 1960s drama about cops or mobsters. While the rooms were comfortable, tidy, and decorated with "antique" flair, the word that kept popping into my head as I looked around was "gritty." I felt like I should be in a mystery movie, and that Robert Stack should be narrating.
I have never in my life stayed in a hotel like the Lowe Hotel. It felt completely authentic to its "historic" moniker.
Oh yeah, and I was SPOOKED.
Sure, the other hotels we'd visited had creepy aspects to them, or more ghostly reputations, but he Lowe was the only one that looked the part of the haunted hotel. I don't mean this disparagingly, COME ON, you know me better than that. I LOVED my experience at the Lowe Hotel. But yes, I was CREEPED OUT.
When it came time for me to brush my teeth and wash my face after gobbling down my pizza (Domino's Pizza makes gluten free pizza FYI), I made Mr. Louise keep me company in the bathroom. Then, as we got ready for bed in the master bedroom, I locked the door that lead to the living room, and propped a heavy chair in front of the door that lead to the inner hallway. It wouldn't stay closed, and I didn't want to sleep with a view of the hallway.
I didn't want to see who (or what) might be walking that hallway in the middle of the night — because I am a weenie.
Properly sealed into the master bedroom, Mr. Louise immediately fell asleep (like he does), and I watched some movie with Paul Rudd on TV while trying to relax. Straining my ears to hear ANY signs of other humans in the hotel, all I heard was some distant dog barking, and a few random creaks and rattles.
Around 2:30am, just as I was dozing off, I heard something a little strange that seemed to be in the room with us.
Tap, tap, tap.
It seemed to be coming from behind me.
Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.
It sounded just like someone tapping on the wooden headboard of the bed. Looking at Mr. Louise sleeping on his stomach next to me, I figured he was tapping his fingers on the headboard in his sleep — not unusual behavior for him.
But then I leaned over to check, and both his hands were clearly under his head.
Huh. I listened hard for a second, but heard nothing. I tapped on the headboard with my own fingernails. Yep, that was the sound.
It was one of those moments that I made the conscious decision to BE COOL and let it go. To be honest, once the initial eerie shock of the room wore off, I'd grown quite calm. At 3am, I was too tired to get all riled up. So I said out loud, "I hear you. Please leave us alone tonight. Please?" and closed my eyes. I slept quite happily through to the morning.
The next day, as we were checking out, there was another person checking out too.
"I kept hearing a tapping noise, like fingernails on a tin can, but I couldn't find the source anywhere," the other guest told the same woman who checked us in.
She laughed, "Yeah, that happens. People hear the tapping and weird noises all the time. I get stories everyday from guests."
"Do people report anything about room 327?" I asked. I had purposely not wanted to know anything about it before staying there.
"Oh yeah, that's the Captain's room. There was a sea captain who stayed there — did you see his portrait? — and people see his ghost in there all the time. He walks around that hall and people see him standing by the bed. You see anything?"
I told her I did not, but thanked her for putting us in the three-room suite.
"Well, I knew you guys were on a creepy road trip, so I thought you'd like it."
And like it I did. While a chill went down my spine at the thought of having "spent the night" with the Captain (a ghost I've come to learn is one of the hotel's most active and well known spirits), I couldn't have been more delighted by the singular ambiance and energy of the Lowe Hotel.
Of course, what's a trip to Point Pleasant without a trip to the Mothman Museum? We weren't in Point Pleasant long enough to do some real Mothman sleuthing, but the museum was a lot of fun and gave a really engaging and accessible history of the strange events that occurred in Point Pleasant before the tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge in 1967. Mothman, aliens, men in black — maybe my creepy senses were picking up on SOMETHING in Point Pleasant after all?
I do want to mention the Silver Bridge collapse, the details of which upset me much more than I expected — Christmas presents floating in the water, people crying out, the bridge shuddering and falling so quickly. I suppose I never really knew how much it shook the community. In a way, I'm glad the Mothman mythology helps us remember this tragedy.
Well, Creepy Corneristas, that concludes the Creepy Corner Road Trip. I'm actually writing this post from Logan Airport in Boston at 4am as I wait to check-in for my flight back to Hong Kong.
Thank you for creepin' along with me this whole time. Your company made this trip that much richer and more exciting, I mean that — a big part of the fun for me was taking notes to share with you all.
I'll leave you with part of a prayer for travelers that the Glick Mansion left in our room. This is from "The Stranger Within Our Gates":
We are all travelers. From "birth till death".
We travel between eternities. May these days
Be pleasant for you, profitable for society,
Helpful for those you meet,
And a joy to those who know and love you best.
Safe travels Creepy Corneristas, it has been a joy to travel with you!