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Hotel spirits awfully quiet on Halloween

Tue., Nov. 2, 2004

My Davenport Hotel room came with a view of Spokane and all the amenities one would expect from luxury lodgings.

Plus a few surprises no one could anticipate, like the skeleton in the closet, the snakes in the bed, the ghouls on the phone…

“Where’s my golden arm?” growled a woman who called Sunday at 8:56 p.m. “I want it back!”

Halloween night found me in the 11th-floor parlor suite on a mission to see if the room is as haunted as some believe.

Some Davenport staffers point to the fact that the northeast corner room was once the apartment of hotel founders Louis Davenport and his wife, Verus. Louis died in the room in 1951. Verus expired there in 1967.

Are the spirits of the long-dead Davenports still rattling around in their 90-year-old hotel?

Claudia Erickson, front desk supervisor, believes something must be going on. There are just too many strange stories coming out of Room 1105.

Take the couple who stayed there last New Year’s Eve. Upon checking out, they told a weird tale about how their complementary noisemakers kept winding up on the floor. Three times they placed them on a counter. Three times they came back to find them scattered.

Last Friday, a guest in 1105 couldn’t understand why her cell phone worked only in the bedroom. Then reception came back throughout the suite. Then the cell phone wouldn’t work anywhere in the suite. She “thought the whole thing was very spooky,” notes Erickson.

I had no cellular breakup. Opening the closet door and pulling back the sheets, however, almost stopped my heart.

Inside the closet, some fiend had wrapped a glow-in-the-dark plastic skeleton in a Davenport bathrobe. “L. Davenport,” read the official hotel name badge pinned to a lapel.

Someone planted lifelike rubber garter snakes in my bed sheets.

Not even the best psychic could probe the paranormal under these conditions.

The crystal ball I borrowed from the New Dawn metaphysical bookstore was no help. I gazed into the orb and thought I saw something red coming into view. I did. It was the $90 price tag.

I hurriedly put it away, not wanting to become a “you break it, you buy it” victim.

The Ouija board was a bust. My wife wouldn’t touch it. And as scientific studies have shown, it takes at least two to properly Ouija.

Out came the tarot cards. I reached into the deck and pulled the seven of cups and the five of coins. I interpreted this as a sign to go to the bar and have another drink.

Inviting the public to call only upped the confusion.

One caller, a 37-year-old journalism student, wanted to know how he could get a job where a newspaper paid him to stay in a swank hotel. A lot of my co-workers wonder the same thing.

At 9:31 p.m. granny growler struck again: “I found a golden arm. Would you like a golden arm? Ahhhhhrrrrgggg!!”

Something bizarre is going on inside the Davenport Hotel. Tony Traver, a Davenport valet, told me the hairs stand up on the back of his neck each morning when he distributes free copies of The Spokesman-Review to hotel guests on the seventh floor.

I would have guessed that happens only on the days my column appears.

There’s one way to get to the bottom of these mysteries. And that is to extend my Davenport stay to, oh, at least a month.

That will give me time to fully explore things like the “crème fraiche” sauce that comes with the Palm Court Restaurant’s crab and avocado omelet.

And I hear the Spa Paradiso offers a “hot stone massage.” How can any paranormal investigation be complete until I get my naked body rubbed with hot stones?

Wait a minute. I’m receiving a telepathic message. It’s my editor. He’s coming in loud and clear. He’s telling me…

“Not a ghost of a chance.”

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