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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Blogfest: Jana Richards


The Fort Garry Hotel was built in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in 1913 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway as a posh stopover for train travelers. The architects took their inspiration from the Park Plaza Hotel in New York City. This twelve story, 340-room hotel is still a symbol of opulence today with its marble floors, bronze railings, paneled ceilings, and crystal chandeliers. It’s a place guests truly enjoy staying.

In fact, some guests enjoy it so much they never leave.

Ghost sightings, unexplained noises and strange flickering lights have been reported for years at the hotel. One guest room in particular is said to be haunted: room 202. The story goes that a young woman hung herself in the closet of the room upon learning her husband had been killed in a car accident. Guests have described a woman in a cloak or a robe hovering at the end of the bed, or being awakened by the sensation of someone climbing into their bed. Hotel maids claim to have seen blood seeping through the walls of the room.

But the haunting isn’t limited to room 202. The same woman who haunts the guest room is said to have been seen crying in a corner of the lounge after asking an employee for a glass of water. In 1989, two staff members were cleaning the kitchen overnight. At about 4 a.m. they heard noises coming from the locked dining room. When they went to investigate they saw a man eating dinner. By the time they brought someone from the front desk, the man had disappeared, even though the dining room doors remained locked.

Other employees have had strange experiences as well. Here’s testimony from an employee who worked as a front desk clerk and night manager, courtesy of the website :

When I first started there and heard the "ghost stories" I laughed and thought anyone who would believe in ghost must be crazy. Well, after working there for 6 years I am a believer.

One occasion I had an airline attendant check out early in the morning almost hysterical. She said she woke up and there was an elderly man dressed in old fashion style clothing with a black bowler hat and handlebar moustache, he had been standing at the foot of her bed watching her sleep. On a number of occasions I had upset women tell me they woke up to the sensation of someone stroking their cheek while they slept, other times to their bedside lamp being turned on and off.

Guests calling down with noise complaints about the room next to them...of course the room wasn't occupied. Coming back to the room after being away to find the room window left Winnipeg in the me no housekeeper would do this.

As for myself...where do I begin?? The bellman and I working one night and heard a crash of dishes...not one or two....but dozens and dozens...crash, crash broken dish to be found and us being the only two to hear it.

For about 1 year I was the evening duty manager. Part of my job was to walk every floor of the hotel 2-3 times a night ensuring cleanliness and order.

I could walk the floors night after night day after day with no problem. Then every so often I would have the distinct sensation that A. I was being followed or B. I was being watched.

For whatever the reason I always felt it was a man....and that I wouldn't be harmed....if anything he was curious or even amused by what I was doing........don't ask me why I felt this way. I just did.
Do I believe the hotel is haunted? I honestly don’t know. But to paraphrase Shakespeare, there’s more things in heaven and earth then exist in the philosophy of mere mortals. So when it comes to ghosts, I’m keeping an open mind.

Tell me your ghost story or whether you believe in ghosts, or just comment on my story and you’ll be entered to win a PDF Ecopy of Home Fires, which sadly, is not a ghost story! The draw takes place November 3.

About the Author: Jana Richards has tried her hand at many writing projects over the years, from magazine articles and short stories to full-length paranormal suspense and romantic comedy. She loves to create characters with a sense of humor, but also a serious side. She believes there’s nothing more interesting then peeling back the layers of a character to see what makes them tick.

When not writing up a storm, working at her day job as an Office Administrator, or dealing with ever present mountains of laundry, Jana can be found on the local golf course pursuing her newest hobby.

Jana lives in Western Canada with her husband Warren, and a highly spoiled Pug/Terrier cross named Lou. You can reach her through her website at


Jean MP said...

That sounds like quite the place to visit if you want to encounter a ghost. Never have seen a ghost, but I do believe in them, there are too many things that can't be explained.
skpetal at hotmail dot com

Debby said...

There are stories like these of the Newport mansion in Rhode Island.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Jana Richards said...

Hi Jean,
I've never seen a ghost either, but just to be safe, I'm not going to book a night's stay in room 202!


Jana Richards said...

Hi Debby,
Many cities have a hotel or other building that is said to be haunted. It makes me wonder if there are that many ghosts, or if we just like the idea of haunted houses. I'm thinking maybe a little bit of both!


Jana Richards said...

Congratulations Jean MP! You are the winner of my novella "Home Fires". I hope you enjoy it!