Mystery of the haunted hotel

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TECHNOLOGY can be a curse.

Whereas at one time a moron could only be a moron as far as his or her arm could reach, the internet now allows morons to display their stupidity on a global basis.

But then again, technology can also be a blessing.

When something weird happens, the entire world knows about it within hours.

CCTV cameras have been responsible for picking up all sorts of bizarre images; everything from aliens to phantoms and Bigfoot to balls of light – allegedly, of course, as many of those pieces of footage are definitely fakes.

But not all. Some anomalies caught on camera show no signs of being hoaxes and certainly can’t be attributed to tricks of the light.

The pieces of CCTV footage that intrigue me the most are those which are hard to categorise as either genuine or fakes; they lie tantalisingly beyond our reach, clamouring to be heralded as genuine, but always leaving that little seed of doubt.

There’s a fascinating piece of footage on YouTube entitled Ghost Screaming in Haunted Hotel – full length, which purports to show a Wingate Hotel employee from Illinois entering an empty room from which pitiful screams are emanating. His manager can be heard urging him to wait till the police arrive, but he investigates anyway. An eerie, white shadow can then be seen leaving the room and making its way down the hall.

On entering the room, the man found the furniture upside down and the carpets torn up.

My colleagues and I have had the same experience on more than one occasion.

During an investigation last year, seven of us entered a room and found it in a perfectly good state of repair.

We then went to investigate banging noises in the adjacent room, but found nothing out of place. However, on returning to the first room less than two minutes later, we found it looking like a bomb site.

It had been “trashed” without a single sound being made in the process.

The sceptics will say we were making it all up, of course. All seven of us.

The Illinois hotel footage is intriguing to say the least, and, although I initially had one or two suspicions about its veracity, I was more inclined to believe it after watching the full version.

I have a contact in Illinois, and I asked her if she could find out whether the location really was a Wingate hotel in her State.

It took her a few days, but she eventually got back to me and said the location was real, although she was unable to verify the story or the footage.

CCTV footage of apparently paranormal anomalies can be eerie to watch, as they have their own, unique “spooky ambience”; grainy, black-and-white images of deserted locations – a dark alley in the middle of the night, a deserted parking lot or, of course, a hotel corridor waiting for the appearance of a semi-transparent spectre.

Caution needs to be exercised, though. Sometimes insects can land on the lens of a CCTV camera and crawl around, providing a very convincing image of a blurry figure floating around.

I once analysed some footage from a pub CCTV camera like this, and pointed out that what had been filmed was not a ghost, but a moth.

My explanation didn’t go down too well, as the manager was, I think, wanting to capitalise on the footage to attract custom to his establishment.

If readers know of any good footage of mysterious entities, I’d like to hear about them.

* Got a spooky tale? Tell Mike at