The old United Verde Hospital perches like an old witch at the top of Jerome, it’s watchful eye looking over everything below.
The historic and haunted Jerome Grand Hotel is calling me, taunting me, to enter. The dark clouds quickly envelop the blue sky, casting down shadows upon the town.
I walk into the lobby, a gray and wispy haired woman at the front desk gives me a nonchalant look as the lobby elevator is hand cranked downward by some unseen force. I don’t see any people inside.
“Can I help you?”
“Room for one please.”
I shrug off her bewildering demeanor, grab the key and decide to take the stairs up the two flights to my room. The elevator never did return.
Along the way there are portraits of patrons and patients hanging on the walls. Their eyes seem to follow me no matter where I go. I can feel their stares on my back as I walk past.
Cabinets line the hallways, filled with the medical instruments used in the former hospital. I am at first intrigued, then become unhinged as the hairs on the back on my neck tingle.
The severed foot, with its blue veins and too white toenails, gives me the Hebe Jebes. I stumble with the lock due to sweaty palms, but finally manage to open the door to my room. I hurriedly get inside, lock the door, and put my ear against the wood to listen…..
I open a bottle of wine to cool my nerves, and survey my surroundings. The feeling of watchful eyes is just as strong in here as it was in the lobby and hallway. I don’t feel as though sleep will be my friend this night.
Orbs of light float across my vision, dancing above the bed before disappearing into the ceiling. It must be 2am, but laughing children are running up and down the hallway just outside my door.
Yet I can’t seem to rise to look out the peephole, nor open the door to ask them to go back to bed. I feel restrained and confined in my own prison, as if an unknown force is keeping me bound by my own sheets.
The sun slows starts to rise at 5am. I wearily make my way down to the lobby for a cup of coffee. The young man running the desk asks how my night was. When I tell him the story of the loud children in the hallway, he smiles maniacally.
“Yeah, the nursery room children have always been a bother to our guests for some seventy odd years now. God knows what happened to them while they were here originally to keep them around this long….”