About a year ago, Laura blogged about the New York Knicks staying at a supposedly haunted hotel in Oklahoma City. Now it seems another person in the sports world is claiming to have experienced paranormal activity in the hotel, ESPN’s Bill Simmons. From USA Today:
Skeptical about ghost stories?
If so, check out ESPN columnist Bill Simmons’ latest NFL picks column. In a sidebar, he writes about his stay last week at Oklahoma City’s century old Skirvin Hilton – a famously haunted hotel – that was so powerful that it made abeliever out of him.
“Just know that the next time someone tells me a ghost story, I will believe them,” Simmons writes.
The Skirvin is often noted for its ghost sightings and strange noises. You may recall that a year ago, some New York Knicks players – in town to play against the Thunder – said they were distracted by ghosts during their night at the hotel; the Knicks wound up losing to the Thunder.
Simmons, who’d traveled to Oklahoma City to watch the Thunder play a home game with friends, writes:
When we were checking in, I jokingly asked the clerk to put me on one of the haunted floors. She claimed that she did. We laughed and that was the end of it. That night, I was so tired that the ghost stories never entered my mind. I got ready for bed, called my wife, watched 10 minutes of “SportsCenter” and fell asleep. So you know: I am a heavy sleeper. Once I’m out, I’m out.
That’s what made it so strange when I woke up at 4:30 with my heart pounding. I swear on Tom Brady’s ACLs that the following happened: At first, I heard a baby crying and realized that was why I woke up. I thought it was one of my own kids before remembering that my kids weren’t babies anymore, then remembering that I was in Oklahoma City and not Los Angeles. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I wasn’t alone.
The story is generating some buzz in the sports world. In noting Simmons’ experience – and his own skepticism, Larry Brown of LarryBrownSports.com writes:
Until now, I had no desire to ever go to Oklahoma City. Now I do, just to see if that hotel really is spooked. It’s like a theme park attraction — good business move.
Ok, there are two things wrong with this story, in my opinion. The first and most obvious to a paranormal investigator is the fact that he was asleep when this “experience” occurred. It is entirely possible (and extremely likely) that he was having some sort of dream, perhaps caused by a real external noise, and the noise became incorporated into his dream. If he woke up quickly, he still could have been having some auditory hallucinations. In essence, sometimes the brain still dreams when we are awake. Sleep paralysis is a perfect example of this.
The second thing that bothers me, as mentioned by Larry Brown, is the tourism factor. With the success and popularity of ghost hunting TV shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, it’s not surprising to see more places jump on the bandwagon, for financial gain and notoriety. Many places that were quietly haunted, perhaps with one or two quaint ghost stories, are now full-blown vortices of paranormal activity, usually after they are featured on one of the aforementioned shows. These places can then charge more for guests to stay there, and many are now actually charging paranormal investigators exorbitant prices to conduct an investigation at their place of business. So in my mind, it’s quite possible that the hotel is piping in eerie sounds via hidden speakers, or perhaps they are just having sports personalities talk up the hauntings in exchange for some sort of discount.
Of course, it is also entirely possible that the hotel is indeed haunted.