I set my second book, Dead Voices, in a haunted bed & breakfast. Jim and I even booked a room at a local B & B so that we could try one out, but also so that I could interview the owner. It was an interesting experience, but it wasn't haunted.
Fast forward to last weekend in Hannibal, Missouri. When I booked the suite where our friends joined Jim and me, the owner told me that her place was possibly haunted. She added that nothing about the place was frightening. She and her husband, as well as guests, had experienced things like whistling, or an unexplained cough, or other small, almost negligible things. Except that there was no explanation for any of those noises when experienced. Usually the person -that is, the living person- was alone when the noise occurred.
We spent last weekend in Hannibal, and our first night there,we took the ghost tour. As always, there was a great deal of local history included in that tour, and it culminated at an old, old cemetery that included the grave of a slave, an unusual thing to find in a white cemetery. But although we got to explore the place with flashlights and dowsing rods, the cemetery was actually pretty peaceful and calm. Nonetheless, after the tour was over and we headed back to our digs, I made everyone walk through some salt that I sprinkled on the ground. I figured better safe than sorry: we certainly didn't need to add anything to whatever was already in our building.
The next day, we went exploring historical Hannibal and by early afternoon were ready to head back to our suite and freshen up before thinking about dinner. When we arrived, however, we couldn't get into our shared bathroom in the hall. Apparently someone from the next suite over was using our bathroom, a total breach of etiquette since they had their own! Still, the door was locked and my friend could hear water running. We gave our neighbor about ten minutes or so before checking the bathroom again. This time, the door was closed but opened readily at the turn of the knob. There was no sign that anyone had been in there, and the sink, tub, and shower stall were all dry. No one had been running water.
That incident didn't feel malevolent, even if it was a bit strange, so we thought no more about it and had a nice evening that included an amazing dinner and a generous helping of ice cream from the nearest shop.
But that night, our last night, I had trouble sleeping. If the night before had been peaceful, even after a ghost tour, Saturday night was a different story. I kept feeling something or someone had come into the room with us and I would think, "I should open my eyes and see who's here." And then I'd think, "Maybe not." It was a night of waking up constantly. Sometimes I would look around and not see anything, sometimes I'd keep my eyes closed because I had a feeling I would see something. I couldn't get past the feeling that Jim and I had a visitor.
The next morning, he told me that during one of the times I was actually asleep, the light above the bed turned on, then off, then on, then off, and then on and off one last time. The odd thing about that is that neither the light fixture nor the attached ceiling fan worked. The owners had even acknowledged that fact by setting up a portable air mover in the room and leaving the bedside lamps lit.
We shared Jim's story with the owners over our final breakfast there, and they told us that they had heard the same thing before; someone else had talked about the light turning itself on and off several times in the middle of the night. We also learned that the suite next to ours had once driven away a guest, who felt uneasy in the room and complained that he felt someone was watching him when he showered. Our hosts also mentioned that they found themselves completely locked out of the building on two different occasions.
So the haunting there, whatever it is, is pretty mild and not at all menacing beyond that feeling of having a third party hanging around. Truthfully, I'm grateful that's all it was, and that Hannibal didn't feel the need to go all Gettysburg on me!