Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Allerton Hotel Ghost?

A short story for all, but particularly my friend Julie Krawczyk with whom, mostly through social media, I've shared a few laughs (Julie to me: "Is this YOU?!").

I was staying at the Allerton Hotel in Chicago for a week-long business trip. The Allerton is a nice hotel along the famed Michigan Avenue strip. It's an old place that's been well-updated and is a great place to stay if you're looking to camp in Chicago for a night or two. The Allerton is highly visible by its historic "Tip Top Tap" sign above Michigan Avenue. [Sadly, the Tip Top Tap no longer exists, but somebody has got to reopen this -- I'm sure it would be a gem!] Even though this hotel is appointed with modern amenities, it's still easy to tell that it's an old building and, at night, when it's quiet, it can feel just a bit haunted.

After a long day at a tradeshow, I had my laptop out on my desk and was reviewing the day's twitter stream. I came across Julie's [@kisluvkis] where she was vacationing in Europe with her then beau and now husband C.J. She had tweeted and posted a link to her Flickr stream where you could see their trip pictures. Liking European travel myself, I clicked the link and started watching the slideshow. I needed to get ready for the following day too, so I unfolded the squeeky hotel room ironing board and started preparing the next day's navy blue oxford (for industrial tradeshows, they're all navy blue oxfords). As I ironed, I'd glance at the slideshow every few moments, but eventually, the power-saving settings on my laptop caused the screen to go black. Shirt crisply pressed, I put away the board, brushed my teeth and went bed. Exhausted from a long day, I was asleep in seconds.

I may have slept for up to an hour - I'm really not sure, but something disturbed my slumber and I began to wake. I heard a child's voice. A rather faint, but ghostly sounding voice singing to trumpets and trombones from the 1920s. As I fully regained consciousness, I shot up in bed like lightning! "CALL GHOSTBUSTERS!" I thought! "THIS PLACE IS HAUNTED!!"

No kidding. For about 10 seconds I was completely bewildered and thought something ghastly must've happened in this room 8 decades ago. I stumbled to my feet in the darkness, heart pounding, and tried to determine the source of song. It was coming from ... from over there. There, by the desk next to the closet. Eyes adjusting and the blinking amber light of my laptop guiding my way, I determined the source. The poltergeist was in my laptop! I rubbed my finger on the mousepad and, ta-da!, there was the ghost:

With the screen off, the slideshow continued to play until this video came on. Once I had it all figured out, I chuckled to myself and thought, "Julie, you got me good on this one!"

As for the girl in the video, she's a cute kid, but I'm not sure if I ever want to meet her. If she looked at me and said, "Hello mister!" I'd probably go run and hide in a closet and stay there all day!
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  1. Just bought a groupon to this Hotel...No wonder the deal was too good to be true!

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