While riding in the hotel shuttle on our way to the hotel, crewmembers usually talk about their plans for the overnight should they be lucky to have a long one. Unfortunately that night, we were exhausted and decided to ax our plans for a nightcap and wait for our longer overnight the following night in Rapid City, SD. That’s when the captain dropped the bomb. “Probably better to have some help falling asleep tomorrow anyways since the hotel is haunted,” he simply stated. Of course, I didn’t buy it. They were a fun crew perfectly capable of trying to trick the flight attendant. “You’re bullshitting me” was my response. It was at that moment the first officer stuck his phone in my face with a website on haunted hotels plastered all over it. “No he’s not…..see?” Sure enough, there at the top of the page, The Hotel Alex Johnson, Rapid City.
Every now and then as a crewmember, you find yourself staying at these so called “haunted hotels”. There are stories and rumors of weird things that go “bump” in the night and it’s certainly not the flight attendant and pilot getting it on. Ask any airline crewmember. Stories of haunts in Chattanooga, TN, Wichita, KS, and Peoria, IL run rampant from legends of evil spirits, Confederate soldiers, and dead bodies hidden under beds. So as I bid my crew goodnight, got into my pj’s, and crawled into bed with my laptop that I started my investigation of the Hotel Alex Johnson.
Built in 1928 by Mr. Alex Johnson himself, it has been known for its living guests such as celebrities and presidents as well as it’s uh, not so living guests. Located in the heart of downtown Rapid City, it is walks away from shops, restaurants, and bars and a quick 25 minute drive from Mt Rushmore. After a nice long ghost-hunting excursion and should you find yourself hungry, walk across the street to Tally’s Silver Spoon for a wonderful breakfast spread. Going ghost-hunting that night and need a little liquid courage? Stop by the hotel’s very own Paddy O’Neills Pub and grab one of many wide varieties of beer imports available to you. As you walk into the lobby you are immediately aware of the history you are walking into. The architecture and décor are full of Native American designs that leave you in awe. The rooms are quaint and cozy but full of amenities found in your more modern hotels. The hotel comes with a variety of packages for your weekend getaway whether it be romantic, business, or adventurous. Visit their website at www.alexjohnson.com to get rates and availabilities.
One special package they have is of course the “Haunted Room Package”. The legend behind this is of a special guest who just hasn’t gotten the hint that checkout for her was um….decades ago. The “lady in white” is said to roam the halls of floor 8, feeling a special attachment to room 812 where she supposedly fell to her death from a window. No one knows for sure if it was suicide or homicide but most feel she was killed and is trying to prove that to the unlucky guests who stay in that room. She likes to open the window in the middle of the night. There are many other little stories here and there and you can look them all up online. There is even a video on youtube with the hotel manager talking about spooks and strange occurrences. You can also chat up one of the friendly hotel staff to see if they have any stories to tell you.
So as we clamber into our hotel van the following night in Rapid City, we are again talking about our plans for the evening with another crew sharing the van with us when the first officer groans and exclaims, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” I look down at our hotel sign in sheet and see that we have all been assigned rooms on the 8th floor and one room key says 812 on it. It was a unanimous decision at that point to change rooms once we arrived at the hotel. No one felt like being adventurous that evening. So we meet with the hotel clerk and she is more than willing to try to help. She then tells us that according to the T.A.P.S crew who just visited the hotel, a different room in the hotel had more occurrences. For those not familiar, T.A.P.S or The Atlantic Paranormal Society has a show on SyFy known simply as Ghosthunters. They paid a special visit to the Hotel Alex Johnson for the special on Hotel Haunts which conveniently enough airs tonight on SyFy at 9est/8cst.
Needless to say, nothing occurred to any of us in our newly acquired rooms which we were all grateful for. I, at one point felt my toiletries bag moved from where I originally put it but that was probably my imagination. The only creepy noises I heard was the pigeon crooning near my window and the wind howling through the area. Thank goodness that noise occurred in the morning. Perhaps maybe next time, with the help of my friends, I will stay in room 812 or perhaps I will just continue to be a scaredy cat!