Ghost Hunters: Haunted Hotel

Ghost Hunters: Haunted Hotel

Ghost Hunters is finally back from their mid-season break, with a great episode set in a giant hundred year-old haunted hotel.  In their season premiere, the team investigates the Otesaga Hotel in Cooperstown, New York. 

Like almost every old hotel, the Otesaga has accumulated tons of reports of hauntings, from the sound of running feet to people's names being called from thin air.

The hotel was built in 1909, giving it over a hundred years of history.  One question I always have is, why hotels?  Granted a lot of people die in hotels, that's just natural for any place that has played host to as many people as a hotel will.  

Still, though, it doesn't seem like many guests will have an emotional attachment to a hotel.  And most authorities on hauntings believe that an emotional attachment to a place is one key element in what causes a haunting after someone dies.  That, and repeated actions - the "battery" theory, which is that each time you perform an action, you leave behind a very faint recording of yourself doing that action.  This is said to be the source of most hauntings where an apparition performs a certain set of actions at a certain time, like a chef walking through a kitchen every night at midnight.

Occasionally you get a report of a ghost former employee in a hotel, which makes sense.  (I'm reminded of the hotel said to be haunted by the ghost of a long-time caretaker who committed suicide in the cupola.)  But most guests won't spend enough time in a hotel to leave that kind of an impression, I should think.

And there's always a haunted room, isn't there?  No explanation is given for these, either.  It seems like every hotel in the world has a particular room that is the source of a ton of ghostly activity.  Occasionally it's a room where a guest is known to have died.  But in many cases, as with the Otesaga's rooms 307 and 585, it's just a room like any other.

Ballrooms also seem to attract a lot of ghostly activity.  The acoustics of a ballroom, and the many reflective surfaces (Jason and Grant point out all the mirrors, gilded chandeliers, windows, etc) make me instantly suspicious of any accounts of hauntings there.  

And finally, in a commercial building like a hotel, you're going to hear a lot of unfamiliar sounds.  Ice machines, elevator equipment, televisions and radios in distant rooms, various fans and HVAC units - all of these will be kicking on and off in the middle of the night.  In a big building like the Otesaga, they can echo around in strange ways.

In this investigation, the team brings in the "laser grid."  Is this new equipment, or have I just not been paying attention?  The laser grid paints a whole bunch of light dots on the wall.  Not really sure how it's meant to be sensing movement, although it certainly looks festive.  Amusingly, the laser grid only "works" in the sense that twice, the lights were turned off in conjunction with some unusual activity.

I guess ghosts don't like a good disco!