by Paul Dale Roberts, HPI Ghostwriter
It's 10 a.m. and HPI paranormal investigator, Hanako Zeidenberg is in my driveway. Hanako has driven all the way from Oakland, CA to do a scouting mission to Georgetown. Georgetown is located deep in the valley on Hwy 49 between Placerville, CA and Auburn, CA. Hanako jumps into my vehicle, known as the Ghost Tracker, and we head up towards Hwy 80 to pick up paranormal investigator/ sensitive, Holly DeLaughter. After driving down historic Hwy 49 through a zillion winding roads to get to Georgetown, we stop first at the Georgetown Hotel. We meet up with HPI paranormal investigator/ researcher Michele Stump and her boyfriend Scott. I introduce myself to Tanya Fox, the bartender of the Georgetown Hotel, and tell her I am a paranormal journalist for HPI and I am here to do a story on their haunted hotel. Tanya is full of ghost stories and is eager to share them with me.
Let's run down some of the stories that haunt this place:
- There was a child three years old that died in his sleep. People sometimes hear a ball bouncing downstairs and they believe it's that child.
- The water in the sink goes off and on - on it's own accord.
- Her young son was playing ball with a phantom boy child.
- People hear a baby's laughter at times and hear footsteps walking down the stairs.
- One time pipe smoke was blown into her face from an unknown source.
- Her son witnessed a locked door open by itself.
- A transparent nightgown was seen floating upstairs.
- There is a mural painted in this old bar and there is a picture of an ominous silhouette of a cowboy. That cowboy silhouette was never painted on that mural and one day it appeared and has been there ever since.
- Big Dave was a caretaker of the hotel and he was found dead on the toilet from an apparent heart attack. Big Dave is known to haunt the hotel. He is very playful with the clients. Holly used her psychic abilities to determine that there was a man sitting on a toilet that died of a heart attack. She had this vision of Big Dave before she was told the story of Big Dave. That was pretty amazing to validate this information from the bartendress, Tanya.
- The clock hands move on their own accord, always giving the wrong time.
- Patrons of the hotel have said they were touched while walking to the kitchen of the hotel.
Kevin Preuss, a cook, was recently poked on his side "it felt like an electrical shock, I believe Big Dave did it." Juli Oates, a waitress of the hotel, said that the paranormal activity is "most active during the Winter months." This would make perfect sense, since the veil between the living and dead is the thinnest during this time. Must be all the moisture in the air...
I learn that the Georgetown Hotel was once owned by the Wiley Family, and there was once a brothel upstairs. The brothel had 9 cubicles where the action would take place. Sounds like a fun place back in the day! The hotel was founded August 7, 1849 by George Phipps and his party. Georgetown was actually once known as George's town, after George Phipps. The hotel burned down once in 1852, then again in 1856 and one more time in 1896. The bar area is filled with antiques, animal trophies, artifacts and remembrances. The rooms are decorated in Gold Rush era decor.
Tanya's son gave the HPI crew a full tour of various rooms in the hotel, the 2nd floor and even the basement. The basement is connected to a mineshaft. Before we went down there, Holly felt like there was a mineshaft under the hotel and again, she was right on the money. Her psychic abilities were arrow straight today. There is more information on the Georgetown Hotel at www.myspace.com/Georgetownhotel
Another ghost that haunts this hotel is Merna. She usually hangs out in Room #5. Hotel workers found photo albums and sketch books of Merna's in this hotel room. Merna was a lady of the night. One night Merna and her boyfriend got into a heated argument and her boyfriend threw her off the 2nd floor balcony breaking her neck, killing her. In Room #5 the water turns off and on, on it's own and the drapes on the window sometimes move back and forth. As I was using a temperature gauge, the normal temperature of the room was anywhere from 63 to 71 degrees, but at one point it went up to 95 degrees, indicating a hot spot. Holly got a feeling that a man died in Room #10 watching TV. It was confirmed that a man named Butch did indeed die in this room watching TV. Holly felt energy presences also in Room #1 and Room #11. Tanya Fox provided us with loads of good information and even gave us coffee and cranberry juice that were on the house. Thank you Tanya for the hospitality! As we left the Georgetown Hotel we saw a certificate posted, it read: "This hotel is certified haunted." Signed by none other than the legendary "Ghost Girl", Nancy Bradley!
Our next stop was the Starving Dog Pizza, where Hanako and I shared a pineapple-topped pizza. Paul Kenny, the owner of Starving Dog Pizza gave us a grand tour of the basement. The only ghost that ever has been seen here, is an apparition that glided from the back room towards the front door. The basement of this pizza place is filled with odds and ends. Holly looks at Paul Kenny and asks him if he knew Butch, the man who died at Georgetown Hotel. Paul was surprised, because Butch worked for him for a short spell at this pizza establishment. Another psychic item that Holly was able to pick up on.
We stopped at the Miner's Club briefly. The Miner's Club was once a morgue and is reputated to be haunted. The next place on our tour was the American River Inn, that was formerly known as the American Hotel and Woods House. The inside décor of this hotel is GORGEOUS, a nice fire was roaring in the fireplace, Christmas stuff all around the hotel, old antiques, old pictures of celebrities that once stayed there and a cute black cocker spaniel that greets the guests.
Vanessa Seal and Rashelle B. Branam who both work at the hotel gave us a grand tour of this fabulous place. They opened the rooms for us, while Holly snapped pictures galore. Vanessa a historian of the hotel explained the history of the hotel to us in full detail. Too much detail to write in this article, it would become a big book! The story that caught my attention is about Oscar the Miner (the hotel ghost) and his lady love that jumped over the balcony to her death, when she discovered that Oscar had been unfaithful to her. Both Oscar and his lady love haunt this hotel. Oscar frequents Room #5 and sometimes occupants of this room complain that their beds shake or that the bed sheets fly in the air on their own accord. After the tour, the hotel treated us to warm apple cider and brownies. Ah... the perks of being an HPI ghost hunter!
Our last stop was the Georgetown Pioneer Cemetery where Holly went crazy snapping more photos.