Kidding! It was a beautiful spring day back in 2011, and I was visiting Salem, MA for a writer's conference - NECRWA’s (New England Chapter Romance Writers of America) “Let Your Imagination Take Flight.” The lobby of the historic Hawthorne Hotel was overflowing with writers, all checking in via one small, seriously overwhelmed front desk.
I stood in line with everyone else, checking our watches, sweating a wee bit. It was 3:00 PM. Most days that wouldn’t be a problem. It’s a standard check-in time. But on this day, many of us had tickets to attend Donald Maass’ bonus workshop, beginning in thirty short minutes.
When it was my turn, I watched the desk clerk activate my plastic room key. Twitching, I glanced at my watch again and stifled a groan. 3:15 – Fifteen minutes. Yikes! Sign-in complete, I spun with my luggage to encounter the epic line for two tiny elevators. They were lovely with brass trimmings and red velvet interior back then. However, they were not lovely when you have only minutes to heave your bags into a room on the fifth floor, change, and be back downstairs to learn things, and be social. I’ll step back here and add I was a VERY NEW WRITER, and I was pitching my first book to an editor that weekend. I needed all the help Mr. Maass could give me!
|Hawthorne Hotel, Salem, MA|
Yay! That was super-weird. Now hurry!
Fast forward to later that night. I DID make it to the extra workshop and learned lots of great things from Mr. Maass. My friends and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner out, making a night of it. Everyone said their good-byes and went their separate ways. I returned to the fifth floor, slid my plastic key into the lock, and, you guessed it…… Nothing. Several tries later, I had an idea. “Please, may I get into my room?” I asked sweetly of whoever or whatever might be listening. Lo and behold…the door opened.
So, there you have it, a polite ghost. Or a manners-obsessed ghost? Perhaps someone’s mother, grandmother, or governess? Or just a busting ghost that laughed and laughed at the dummy in the hallway. Take your pick. I share this story because it’s a fun ghost story—not a scary one. Ghosts, spirits, whatever you call "them," are often NOT scary, in my opinion.
I’ve stayed at The Hawthorne many times since and haven’t encounter that spirit again. Maybe you will if you visit. But remember to brush up on your manners first, and “please” tell me if you do. I love a good ghost story!
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