Time for one last check of my new-and-improved ghost hunting kit before heading out for a night of ghost hunting.
In addition to the notebook and pen from before, I’ve added a flashlight, camera, tape recorder, bottled water, almonds, and a bag of M&Ms to my ghost hunting kit.
I then shoved in three bottles of iced, salted-caramel mocha coffee. Actually, four bottles would make more sense; that should last me eight hours if I drank one every two hours. I stuck in one more.
Wait, maybe some Reese’s peanut butter cups, too. Peanut butter is good for you, right? It has protein. Plus, the sugar would help keep me awake.
You know, with all that sugar, I probably would crave something salty. I had the almonds and salted mocha, but maybe a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.
I took another look at all the food I was taking in my ghost hunting kit and had second thoughts. Did I really need all that junk food? I was trying to lose the 10 pounds I gained after Craig and I broke up. Maybe I should pack carrot sticks and celery in my ghost hunting kit. And some dill dip (I mean, if I’m eating carrots and celery, I deserve the dill dip). Plus, don’t you burn calories with every piece of celery you eat? Definitely need the dill dip.
Sigh. It’s still a lot of food.
Although … just because I brought it didn’t mean I had to eat it. Wouldn’t it be better to have it with me (in case of emergency, of course) rather than be hungry and grumpy? “Be prepared,” the Boy Scouts say.
As a ghost hunter, I should always be prepared. And a ghost hunting kit is the perfect way for me to be prepared. Maybe I’ll make that my motto too. I’ll add it to my ghost hunting blog, once I get it up and running. I made a mental note.
My plan was simple: I was going to sneak upstairs the Hassayampa Inn and find some corner near room 426, which is where Faith the ghost hung herself, and spend the night waiting to see what materialized (pun intended).
What could be simpler?
“You can hold down the fort,” I told Geist, my dog (pronounced GUY-ist and means ghost in German). “It’s just for one night.”
Geist sighed and put her head down.
“Right. I’ll be careful. I promise.” I tugged my oversized tee shirt down. I was wearing what I hoped would be a nondescript outfit: a navy blue tee shirt and jean shorts. That should allow me to blend in, right?
I took a final look around my camper (the first thing I purchased when I realized I was wasting my life in a job I hated and wanted to follow my dream of becoming a ghost hunter) before heading out.
The Hassayampa Inn had been less than forthcoming when I had asked about Faith, their resident ghost. The woman at the front desk hadn’t allowed me to go up to the fourth floor to investigate properly. And, if I was going to be a ghost hunter, and publish all of my ghostly encounters on my blog, then I needed to investigate.
Hence my current plan to spend the night near the room Faith killed herself.
I headed over to Hassayampa Inn, all the while telling myself that all I needed to do was simply act like I belonged. If I acted like I had a room there and had every right to be walking up the stairs at that hour, then I would have no problem.
It’s not like there’s a guard standing by the door demanding to know who each person is.
The lobby was empty save for one employee sitting behind the desk. He looked up at me, and it was all I could do to not confess this whole crazy scheme to him.
Instead, I steeled my shoulders, smiled pleasantly and headed for the stairs.
I had just started to climb when he called out to me. “Ma’am?”
I whirled around. Oh God, he knew. Somehow he knew.
And who was he calling “Ma’am,” anyhow? He didn’t look much older than me sitting there with his pressed shirt, short brown hair … sort of cute in a wholesome, clean-cut sort of way.
He nodded to the side. “Would you like to use the elevator?”
I turned to stare at it. It was one of those old-fashioned types, complete with levers and contraptions, and it looked complicated. And not very safe. For a moment, I remembered that old elevator in “The Shining,” and thought maybe it would be a good idea to avoid elevators on general principle, especially if I was hunting for ghosts.
Besides, I had a thing about elevators anyway, even if they didn’t look like they were as old as the hotel itself. “No, I’m good,” I said, and continued up the stairs, hoping I looked like I was simply a guest heading off to my paid for and totally legit room.
Speaking of “The Shining,” the hallway looked a little like it. All that gold and gilt and old-fashioned elegance. Crap. Why did that cute guy downstairs have to draw my attention to the elevator? Damn him.
I quietly crept to room 426. It was off the main hallway and tucked in a corner of the hotel. I studied it for a moment waiting for … I’m not sure what. A cold spot? A flicker of light? So far, it looked like any other hotel in the middle of the night.
Of course, I just got here. Maybe I better find a place to hang out for the night. I especially didn’t want to be caught standing in the middle of the hallway if that cute guy decided to do a walk through. Yeah, that would be pretty embarrassing.
Instead I found an unlocked maid closet kitty corner to the room and tucked myself inside. I could barely fit with all the cleaning products (complete with mop and bucket), but I found I could adjust the mop to keep the door propped open a crack, allowing me to hide behind it.
I unpacked my ghost hunting kit and arranged all of my ghost-hunting tools in front me. Camera. Tape recorder. Notebook. M & Ms. Maybe I should eat a couple. Just to keep me awake.
Half the bag was gone and I was considering opening one of the iced salted mocha coffees when suddenly …
Riley Longhill is a fictional alter ego of Michele Pariza Wacek. The Adventures of Riley Longhill, Ghost Hunter, is a fiction account loosely based on real life ghost and haunted places. Yes, the Hassayamapa Inn in Prescott, Arizona is a real place and
Faith is an actual ghost who reportedly haunts the hotel to this day.
(And no, I didn’t personally try spending the night in the hallway—this is all a figment of the author’s imagination.)