I jammed the key into the rusty lock and opened the French doors of our new humble abode. The hotel manager had upgraded us to a larger room at their sister property in New Orleans. I say upgraded because I soon enough realized that their sister property is one of the most haunted hotels in New Orleans, a city that’s already known for their past lives sticking around a few centuries too long.
After doing a deep dive of the property online, I found out that some of the rooms at this place were actually built in an old mortuary, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of a little girl named Sara. My apologies Sara, but this room is only big enough for the four of us.
Flicking on the chandelier, I think it’s safe to say that we all let out a collective “Hell no,” in our heads. The exposed brick lined the living room from the entrance to the winding staircase which led up to the attic. Squeezing my oversized carry-on over my shoulder (shoutout United Airlines for letting it slide), I slowly made it up the stairs.
Poking open the door on the left, I shouted a quick, “Dibs not!”
I didn’t even have the courage to step inside the room, as the darkness and eerie energy poured out into the hallway making me shiver. Across the hall, I opened another door which would soon come to be known as my bedroom.
Being the attic, the ceiling was slanted to match the rooftop. A small desk sat overlooking the alleyway and a large bed with maroon and gold basketweave print adorning the sheets was pushed up against another exposed brick wall. A lone television was propped up atop a dresser across the room, but I didn’t dare risk turning that on only to have someone else turn it off on me when I least expected it, if you know what I mean.
Calling my brother upstairs, I informed him of the family emergency i.e. we need to explore this place A.S.A.P. Stepping into the creepy room I’d skipped before, we flipped on the dim lights and were immediately drawn to the crawl space cupboards on the far side of the room. With both of us opening one door on opposite sides, we realized they were connected.
“Okay, Dawson, this is your chance to prove yourself to the family. Crawl back there and see what ya find.”
Shooting me a look, he hesitantly stepped into the closet and peeked around the corner that connected the two spaces.
“It’s literally just garbage.”
“Wait, really? Lemme see,” I said, making my way in.
I grabbed the crumpled piece of paper from the otherwise empty room and began to unfold it.
“Oh. My. God,” I said, now shifting my eyes up at Dawson.
“What? What is it?”
I handed him the piece of paper and he looked up at me.
“Okay, that’s creepy,” he said throwing it back. Scribbled on this white sheet of paper, was a bunch of different heads with hairstyles: Ponytails, braids, and curls—all drawn in pink crayon. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like something a little girl might do. We went back downstairs to show the rest of the family our newfound trophy, but they were already in conversation with the neighbors.
“Yeah, we’re from Wisconsin. What about you?”
Making our way back up the winding staircase to show them where we’d found this little girl’s artwork in their bedroom, we opened the cabinet and came face to face with a room that wasn’t empty anymore. Sitting in the same place as the last picture we’d found was another crinkled white piece of paper.
I reached out, grabbed the piece of paper, and flipped it open to reveal another drawing, this time in purple crayon. A tractor was scrawled onto the sheet, perhaps Sara’s way of saying that she heard us tell the neighbors we were from Wisconsin.
There was no doubt about it, sleeping in this room all week was going to be a survival of the fittest challenge. We went to bed that night, each of us waiting for the main event to unfold as it got darker and more unsettling in the hotel.
Waking up in the middle of the night, I realized the walk down the dark hallway to the restroom was going to be less than ideal. Wagering with myself, I figured it’d be better to take the journey now, before I hear any other sounds to deter me from being able to resume sleep. Getting back to my bedroom, my door now refused to close. I tried about seven times before giving up and just letting my door remain ajar to the abyss for the remainder of the night.
The rest of the house, unaware of my struggles had now awoken from the door slamming, but weren’t sure who was doing it, so they were lying in bed praying these would be the only sounds they’d hear until morning. However, they weren’t as lucky as I.
“Hi,” whispered a voice that didn’t belong to a Patzke family member.
“…..Hi,” the voice whispered again from the edge of the bed in the dark room where we’d found Sara’s pictures.
“……Hi,” the voice repeated, as if it was awaiting an answer.
I don’t know about you, but if you were in a dark attic and someone (or something) whispers, “Hi,” to you in the middle of the night, you can’t tell me you’d just respond with a casual, “Hey, what’s up?”
The voice repeated itself two more times, remaining in the same spot at the foot of the bed before giving up on having a nice conversation.
The activity in this hotel room continued throughout the rest of the week. From hearing scribbling sounds in the vents, to having drawings I didn’t create appear on all of the Instagram stories I made in the house, to literally having my foot grabbed while I was lying in my bedroom alone, I can tell you that I know one thing for sure: This was the most haunted place I have ever spent the night in. This is saying quite a bit as I literally slept on the grounds where the Battle of the Alamo took place last year. Though I am someone who finds hauntings thrilling and exciting to explore, being trapped in a room with them without a way out is a completely different experience, one that I’m glad I lived to tell the tale of.