Thursday, February 28, 2013


Today's topic: The Hayes Mansion . . . is it haunted? 

If you missed yesterday's post about my little connection to the Hayes Mansion and how it inspired the writing of Lancaster House, click here.

My time spent exploring the Hayes Mansion in San Jose, California is most definitely a treasured childhood memory. To view the restored mansion, click here:

However, it was downright creepy. There’s something about old, large, dilapidated houses that leave me looking over my shoulder, even if there’s nothing really scary in the house! Old rambling houses tend to spark my imagination—just the sight of one can send shivers down my spine. They have an ambiance about them—a feel to them, an atmosphere. And they just look like ghosts should inhabit them. Frankly, they creep me out. But just like a cat, curiosity always gets the best of me! I always have a desire to explore all of the nooks and crannies and gaze upon the amazing architecture—just as Zoe does in Lancaster House.

My siblings and I were always convinced that the Hayes Mansion was . . . for lack of a better word, haunted. We never toured the house alone. We always stayed together. For one thing, you could easily get lost. For another, you never knew what might be lurking around the corner. I’m talking about vagrants here, not anything paranormal. But the supernatural aspect was always in the back of our minds, no doubt about it! The feeling inside the house was palpable, like something was about to jump out at you any minute, or as if you were being watched. By what or whom, I have no idea. Yet, we enjoyed our romps through the house. And, to be honest, nothing scary every happened. Not once. Only in our minds!

However, my sister recently toured the renovated mansion. A hotel worker took her on the tour and as she explained our little connection to the mansion, the worker told her the following story:

A lady was staying at the mansion—a VIP—in one of the suites. As she was trying to sleep, she kept hearing the sounds of children playing in the hallway. Fed up, she called the front desk and asked that they please remind the other guests that people are trying to sleep and would they please keep their children quiet.

The front desk said no one was staying on that particular floor with her—and there were no children on that floor.

Tired, the guest shrugged it off and went back to sleep, probably assuming she’d been dreaming. (I guess, because . . . really?) As she tried to get back to sleep, her bedroom door opened of its own accord, and she felt something trying to tug her covers off of her. At this point, she was so freaked out that she ran down to the main lobby in her PJ’s and said she would never stay another night in this hotel! She wouldn’t even go back up to retrieve her luggage; they had to get it for her.

Sounds like something out of a Stephen King movie, right? For me and my siblings it only confirmed what we’ve always known!

It was this kind of ambiance that I tried to capture in the writing of Lancaster House—only not nearly as creepy or scary as this! Are you kidding? I’m a wimp!

COMING NEXT: Learn about another old mansion mentioned in Lancaster House! (Just click and follow along!)

This was originally posted as part of a book tour at Phantasmic Reads.

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