It’s 4am. I am snoozing as peacefully as one can during the first night in a new bed. It’s a Sunday night and I’m in a hotel in Melbourne, having opted to travel for work late on Sunday rather than first thing Monday.
I’m really not a morning person and I’m glad to have this opportunity to rest properly before the madness begins on Monday morning. The trade off to this being, of course, that I’m not in my own bed.
Still, you pays your* money and takes your chances and here we are, at 4am on a Sunday night in this exact bed in this exact hotel in Melbourne. Minding my own business. Probably dreaming about cake.
And all the lights in the room and the bathroom suddenly turn on.
I awake, confused. As I’m sure anyone would be. My first thought is that maybe this is some sort of fire drill? You know how sometimes emergency lighting comes on when you need to evacuate somewhere.
I’m a bit dazed by the blazing lights and I blink a few times, blearily.
Then maybe I think I’ve been checked out automatically – since I’d arrived fairly late at night, maybe check in hadn’t processed properly and they thought I hadn’t arrived and so had turned the room back on again (??!).
I realise now this isn’t a thing, but if you’ve ever been in your room past the time you’re supposed to have checked out and your tv suddenly comes on – well, to me, those situations were directly analogous.
Beginning to wake up a bit further and applying some thought to these possibilities, and with no emergency siren forthcoming, neither seemed to be the case.
So what could it be?
Clearly, it was a ghost.
Having glanced around the room wide-eyed for a few moments to make sure there weren’t any ghouls within direct line of sight, I decide to employ the tried and tested anti-ghost tactic of pulling the covers up around my ears and lying very still.
Satisfied I am now invincible, I reach over and hit the master light switch, and a few moments later fall back asleep. If somewhat uneasily.
The next morning, I laugh at myself. Silly me! Ghosts don’t exist.
How foolish, I think as I walk into the shower cubicle and wash my hair, half asleep.
You watch too many spooky videos on YouTube and listen to too many creepy podcasts, I tell myself as I put my hair in a towel turban.
Then all the lights in the bathroom and bedroom switch off.
I freeze. I don’t even know where the light switch is in this room – I barely noticed as I zombie-walked past on my way to the shower.
I pat around for where I think I may have last put my phone, still dripping slightly. This is not a state in which I wish to be accosted by anyone, least of all a ghost. Having located my phone, I turn on the torch and use that to locate the light switch.
There still don’t appear to be any actual ghosts around, but I am still not wearing any clothes so this becomes my first priority. Being suddenly plunged into the dark while naked is, as it turns out, quite unsettling.
Ten minutes later I am still not fully over this unsettled feeling, but am now nearing final stages of making myself look presentable for work. Mascara wand in hand, I’m telling myself this is an unfortunate coincidence and won’t this make a funny story to tell when I get in to work.
And then the lights go out again.
Luckily, I had taken the precaution of keeping my phone very close to me at all times. I am able to quickly grab it, trying not to give it a coat of mascara in the process. Torch on, lights back on, and I exit the hotel room swiftly thereafter. I may or may not have only had mascara on one eye.
So what do you do when you objectively don’t believe in ghosts, but still think your hotel room might be haunted?
At the very least, lights that keep turning on and off are fairly disruptive to really most activities you might want to do in a hotel room. On that basis I was able to request a room switch after gentle insistence that no sorry, a maintenance visit wasn’t quite good enough as I wanted to be sure this wouldn’t happen again.
And of course, everyone knows that hotel ghosts don’t move between rooms. Haven’t you read The Shining? So I knew I would be completely safe in my new room, just 5 further down the corridor.
I was right, too, because those lights were very well behaved for the rest of the week.
What would you do if your hotel room lights kept switching on and off again? Also, I’m curious to know whether you believe in ghosts… objectively or not?
*/put it on expenses…