The Accidental Ghost
(“This happened to me in the late 1980’s. I was vacationing in Southern California. Across the street from the apartment where I was staying was a beautiful old building. I found myself admiring its architecture on several occasions before experiencing something that truly took me aback.”)
That building turned out to be a hotel called the Horton Grand. I didn’t learn its name until several days after my incident and only recently learned its history. Their web site offers several interesting tid-bits of information. What’s most interesting to me is that they now publicly acknowledge being haunted by at least one, but up to several ghosts.” –RWZ (Spooked)
The Accidental Ghost
What I could see made me fall in love with the place. Everything about it was antique in that older Victorian style. The windows were covered with lace curtains. A few were open and allowed for what could be described as a glimpse of the past.
From my vantage point in a third floor apartment across the street, I opened my own window to lean outside and gain a better view. The scene could have been something straight out of the old west and I fully expected cowboys to ride by on horseback at any moment. I learned the building was a hotel that had been painstakingly and beautifully refurbished. Its history dated back to the late 1800’s and could boast of housing such guests as the notorious and legendary cowboy lawman, Wyatt Earp.
There was something about this place that made me want to look… and keep looking. I’d done this several times over the last few days. I would come home from a day of sightseeing and find myself drawn to the window. But this time something felt different.
Some movement caught my eye. A woman was seating herself in a wooden chair on one of the upper floor balconies. She positioned herself in the shade just out of reach of the mid-afternoon sun. I was intrigued by her clothing. Like everything else about the hotel, it was period specific. Her dark dress had a high collar and was tight in the upper body. There was ample material in the sleeves and some kind of puff at the shoulders. I noticed her hair pulled neatly into a tight ball at the top of her head. “Must be an employee”, I told myself. I was impressed at how far staff and management were willing to go to recreate the look and feel of that era.
My trance was broken by a man shouting for a cab on the street below. The masses passing by on the sidewalk in front of the hotel all looked out of place in their modern attire. Business people mingled with tourists and locals as everyone made their way through the city’s famous gas lamp quarter. No one paid attention to the lady on the balcony, or myself for that matter, and my focus soon returned to the intricacies of the hotel’s architecture.
After a long while, I had finally enjoyed enough of the view. I was about to leave the window when the lady across the way suddenly stood and moved a few paces to the railing. Something struck me as unusual about this person, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I stayed and looked her over trying to pick out what was troubling me. I began to think the problem was with my eyes. Then I realized I couldn’t make out her face and tried harder to focus. It was odd. The area around her face — and only her face — was a blur to me. I rubbed my eyes quickly and tried again.
The harder I looked, the worse it got. Her face was increasingly out of focus. Then I noticed something that made me turn cold. She didn’t seem to have any hands. Her dress sleeves just faded away somewhere between the mid of her elbow and wrist. Shock and fear seized me as I realized I had been trying to focus on a face that had no real discernable features. No eyes, no mouth, no nose — Nothing but a blur.
The hair stood up on my neck and I thought: “GHOST”. Almost on cue, as though my thought had been heard, the entire figure became blurry now and then rapidly disappeared in a haze of broken wavy lines. Even the lines had looked alive, like wriggling baby snakes escaping a disturbed nest.
To this point in my life, I had been extremely skeptical of any talk of ghosts and their existence. I had held prejudiced and stereotyped images of likely scenarios for such encounters if they were to happen to other people. You probably know what I mean… the grave yard on a dark night, or a decrepit old mansion in the middle of nowhere are the places one would expect to look for ghosts, if one actually believed in such things. Never did I foresee having to seriously consider the reality of their existence, much less, their existence in broad daylight on the balcony of a famous landmark hotel in downtown San Diego.
I quickly moved away from the window and avoided looking out again. I was afraid of what I might find staring back at me. My love affair with the hotel next door had ended as abruptly as it began.
Author © 2006 : RWZ (trueghoststories.co.uk screen name: Spooked)
Republication of this story elsewhere is authorized but does require credit and / or a link to trueghoststories.co.uk