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August 1, 2014
CNN’S BILL WEIR ON THE FOX NATION: "WILLFULLY IGNORANT FUCKSTICKS" • DISCORD REACTION: "OUTRAGEOUS! 'WILLFUL' IS GIVING THEM WAY TOO MUCH CREDIT," MICK ZANO • THE NEXT PERSON WHO DOESN'T KNOW WHAT AQUAMAN UNDEROOS ARE, I'M JUST GOING TO PUNCH • NRA PLANNING "SOMETHING SPECIAL" FOR UPCOMING 75TH SCHOOL SHOOTING SINCE COLUMBINE • OIL TANKER EXPLODES OFF COAST OF JAPAN: NO GIANT MONSTERS CLAIM RESPONSIBILITY • TED CRUZ WINS REPUBLICAN STRAW POLL? THAT’S THE LAST STRAW POLL...YOU BROKE IT. • CLOSE GUANTONOMO: FIVE DOWN, 149 TO GO... I ADMIT THIS POSITION WON'T BE HORRIBLY POPULAR WITH HORRIBLE PEOPLE •
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The Hand of God
The Haunted Weatherford and the Yahtzee Séance
By Mick Zano
The Haunted Weatherford and the Yahtzee Séance
Mick Zano

Flagstaff, AZ—Arizona was still a territory when the Weatherford Hotel was erected in glorious downtown Flagstaff. The old hotel remains one of the coolest structures in the southwest. It’s the home of the Flagstaff Writing Group and it’s also quite haunted. The majority of the ghost sightings occur in the Zane Grey ballroom, so last week, with an almost unrivaled determination, Alex Bone and I made the intrepid 11 pace march from bar to ballroom.

Did I mention there’s a step involved? We cleared that hurdle like pros (with our gear!). There ain’t no mountain high enough... Our weekly writing group typically meets on the third floor. From May to October you can usually find us on the balcony harassing waitresses, and the rest of the year you can usually find us in the old Wyatt Earp bar...er, harassing waitresses.

The balcony view from our writing group
The balcony view from our writing group
Wyatt Earp’s bar, which is actually his bar transported from Tombstone
Wyatt Earp’s bar, which is actually his bar transported from Tombstone

Oddly enough, the Weatherford Hotel was built by some dude named Weatherford. This proved to be the first of many such strange coincidences. The old place is rich with history, of which I know next to nothing. Did I mention the Flagstaff Writing Group meets there? That’s about all I know. Winslow doesn’t pay me enough to do actual research, so there...I said it. There’s also this great jazz group on Thursdays, but what makes the place really special for us is Shelly, the barkeep, who rarely throws us out, even when we’re being obnoxious...er, weekly around writing group time.

Apparently, there is a resident ghost who haunts one of the tables we meet at for our writing group. Yes, for three years we’ve been traveling all over the southwest to cover hauntings and paranormal phenomenon, never realizing the very table where we plan each excursion is, in fact, haunted. 

Not much gets by us...

You know what’s worse? A film crew was there about six months ago. We were in the way and we were interrupting them and they were interrupting us and we had no idea what they were doing at the time. Shelly just confirmed they were conducting a paranormal investigation.

Not much gets by us...

Oh, and on that same night, Alex Bone kept getting up because this door in the far corner kept opening. He would go over to close it and then walk back to the table. But just as soon as he sat back down the door would open again. This happened three times. So he walked back over and finally said, "Damn these ghosts tonight!"

Now nothing would be horribly interesting about this occurrence except this film crew, these ghost hunters, were literally right around the corner filming the hallway, probably saying, "Nope, no ghosts over here."

Each of the five members of the Flagstaff Writer’s Group in attendance witnessed this. The door probably opened because of a draft, but the timing was perfect. Never, in the three years we’ve been meeting here, had the door opened like that before.

Many of the ghostly sightings involve a nameless woman who is said to float around the Zane Grey ballroom, complaining about "the lousy grammer of that, obnxious witing-group!),"

First, we asked Shelly if she had ever witnessed anything strange in the hotel. She, of course, clarified, "Besides you idiots?" She did say, long ago, a tragic wedding night occurred in room 54. The groom apparently froze to death in the forest and the wife hung herself in the room out of grief. The room has since been converted into a storage closet. In fact, I think I passed out in there once.

The Weatherford staff does report the ghost’s message has changed over the years from screams of anguish to the more mundane "FYI: we’re running low on toilet paper and Windex again."

What the hell are those two thinking? Every corner of this place is awesome and you’re going to stay in the frigging closet for a century?  Ghosts...sometimes their behavior is downright frightening.

So on a dreary night Halloween week, we held us a good old fashioned writing group séance. We brought the latest para-abnormal research equipment to bear. We had a clear advantage over other investigators...being regulars the ghosts would be familiar with us. We also had a clear disadvantage over other investigators as...er, being regulars the ghosts would be familiar with us. 

The séance got off to a bad start as I brought a Yahtzee game instead, because I couldn’t score a Ouija Board. This development was met with considerable scorn.

As you can see we managed
As you can see we managed

Mick Zano, Alex Bone, Cokie McGrath, and our camera man, George, participated in the event. There were also two pharmacists on hand, Stephanie and Melinda, in case someone needed a Xanax (a séance must).

During our Yahtzee séance—not Nazi séance as everyone kept calling it—we discovered we really need to find more productive hobbies. After about a dozen questions we realized we needed to ask yes and no questions. Then after about a dozen more questions the cup moved directly to Melinda’s wine glass. Hmmm.

We also decided to focus part of our investigation on this door in the south western corner of the ballroom, but the ghostly phenomenon experienced several months earlier did not reoccur.

We also held a séance in room 54, because the further we are away from the bar area, the happier our barkeep seems. None of us had any strange experiences in that room, but I did notice something while in there and snapped this picture.

Our EVPs sessions also proved disappointing as we asked important questions like, "Ghost 54 wheeere aaaare you?" That’s an old joke but, you must remember, these were old ghosts. Know your audience.

Before we put our investigation to rest, I asked Shelly one last question and she confirmed my suspicion. I hadn’t paid my tab last time. She also told me there has not been any activity since they moved the beer into that haunted storage room. We have often found in previous investigations alcohol tends to appease spirits. This tied-in nicely with the only occurrence during our séance. We interpreted the ghost’s message as, "I want some wine from the chick who has access to those Xanies." Maybe the word spirit even comes from the alcohol connotation.

I think we can consider this case solved. As long as numerous cases of beer remain in the infamous room 54, folks will sleep easy over at the Weatherford. As for the ghost in the ballroom, we spill enough beer in there to keep her happy for a long, long time. Shelly, on the other hand, not so much.

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