As I reflect back on one of my most disturbing memories, I recall a scene that neither I – nor anyone else – has been able to explain.
My former roommate got married in 2005, and her rehearsal dinner was held at what used to be a top-of-the-line hotel in 1910: “The Greystone.”
It’s been a landmark in the tiny town of Paris, TN, but now the hotel rooms are rented out as apartments. The lobby and decor of the place still looks like a ritzy 1910 establishment…large dusty chandeliers, elaborate framed mirrors, old-fashioned fancy couches, gold curtains, and the place still looks identically like a hotel, perhaps only a tiny shadow of what it once was.
When we walked in, we stepped into the dark, empty lobby… no noise, no tenants out and about, only a dimly lit hallway lined with 8 old hotel rooms, and to the right, the path that led us to the dining hall.
A perfectly normal rehearsal dinner: great atmosphere, eating, dancing, and celebrating.
After a while, I excused myself to look for a restroom. I walked back toward the dark lobby… no restroom… kinda strange for a lobby, I thought, but ok, maybe it’s more near the hotel rooms.
As I walked down the short hall with only 8 rooms, *I turned the corner and there was long corridor – at least 50 hotel rooms (25 or so on each side), with a huge, oval, maybe 10-foot mirror at the end of it (very elaborate frame, like the others).
Walking toward this mirror got freakier and freakier, cause here I am walking toward myself down this long, dimly lit hallway, and it reminded me of “The Shining.” I half expected to see identical twins appear in front of the mirror, chanting. So I got a little creeped out and decided to stop and instead glance down a short hall that crossed this one… no luck, just a closed door about 3 yards away from me.
The short hallway was completely dark, and I remember trying to find a light switch, but there wasn’t one. To the left were windows that revealed something like a dark kitchen with hanging pots and pans.
Even if there were a restroom down whatever hallway was behind that door, I didn’t care to find out. Didn’t want to venture further into the maze, so I turned around and headed back.
I quickly found a restroom where the short hallway curved around and connected to the dining room.
“The powder room” was just as elaborate as the rest of the hotel. Another huge oval mirror with a fancy frame, sitting above an old Victorian couch…ivory pedestal sink, and a stall with painted swinging doors…gold trimmed everything. There was a window with tiled glass (almost like clear stained-glass, but opaque, like ice).
I thought it was odd that it looked like twilight outside. Because…we got there at twilight, and it had been about 2 hours since then.
I looked AT the window… It wasn’t tinted glass, so the blue-ish tint wasn’t from that. I nearly pressed my face against the window trying to make out the shape of anything outside…sky vs. ground, outline of cars… maybe a streetlight?…I couldn’t tell.
I came out, went back toward the lobby and noticed that it was pitch black outside.
As I rejoined the dinner party, I told of the scary hallway and bathroom… I’m sure it didn’t sound as impressive as it was in my mind. So before we left, as my friend and her family stood in the lobby discussing plans, I said “Sara, you have to come see this creepy hallway.”
I took off on my own, expecting her to follow shortly. I walked in view of them, down the first short hall of rooms…and it lead me straight to the restroom.
It curved around and led me straight to the restroom.
(Where was the long hallway with the mirror?? Surely I missed something.)
I yelled to Sara that I has missed a turn. Slowly I searched again.
No corridor. No crossing hallway without lights… no deserted kitchen. Six times I went up and down that hall, and six times it curved around to the restroom.
The only door that wasn’t a locked, numbered tenant’s room was a broom closet.
I searched for stairs, or an elevator. Perhaps it was on a different floor. …Nope, it was a one-level building.
I called the Greystone a few days after, and I asked the receptionist some made-up question wanting to know “the history behind the huge oval mirror at the end of the long corridor of hotel rooms in the back.” She said, “Ma’am, there are only 8 hotel rooms in the whole place now – the ones in front – and we rent them out as apartments.”
“No, but…the long corridor…with the little hallway in the middle and the kitchen – there were like hanging pots and pans?”
“Umm…we have a little kitchen with a sink, a refrigerator, and a microwave in back of the fellowship hall?…”
One more …weird… question and I’ll let you go. Is there a parking lot outside the girls’ bathroom with a bright blue streetlight? I mean, does it always look bright outside because of something like that?”
“Uh…(laugh) No ma’am, there’s no parking lot or light or anything on that side of the building. It always looks dark outside at night when I’ve been in there!”
To this day, I have never been thought of as insane or in need of medication… I had no alcoholic drink – and I wasn’t high – at the rehearsal dinner. I was slipped no drugs… and my friend will tell you I certainly didn’t fall asleep… it wasn’t a dream.
I don’t seek out things that are paranormal, I’ve never seen a ghost, or a UFO, or a bright light that was otherworldly.
I’ve heard that some people believe in “thin places of the universe” where time and space, present and past, can intersect for a moment. I don’t know what I believe about that.