Jerome, Arizona is a place that proclaims itself “America’s most vertical city” and the “Largest Ghost town in America,” but the use of the word “Ghost town” may be fitting in more than one way as several visitors over the years have discovered. And no more harrowing a place can be found in Jerome than the Grand Hotel.
The history of the hotel is as bloody as the fictional Overlook Hotel from Stephen King’s “The Shining.” Those visiting have often reported a considerable amount of “bad energy” in the area and have actually seen apparitions within its walls. Who these apparitions actually belong to could be any one of a number of people who died or were murdered within its walls.
And then there’s the legend surrounding room 32, also almost paralleling the Stephen King story. Room 32 is the place where a wealthy corporate executive shot and killed himself under suspicious circumstances. In addition, there were several other suicides at the hotel, the most famous of which is the death of the maintenance worker, Claude Harvey who was killed, also under suspicious circumstances by an elevator in 1935. As he was working maintenance, the elevator whirred to life and crushed him to death. Later his body was found. Of course ever since that fateful day when Harvey was killed, strange sounds come from the elevator shaft where he was found crushed.
The elevator also seems to move on its own. Could this be Harvey manipulating the controls himself? Or is it moved by the same unexplained phenomena that killed Harvey? Other phenomena attributed to Harvey includes playing with the lights in peoples’ rooms. One can only guess what would motivate a paranormal spectral figure to turn off the lights. Is it merely to show its presence?
And of course after Harvey and the other ghosts in the hotel gained in popularity, several “Ghost hunting” shows came around to try to use tools to measure the ghostly activity and attempt to get the spectral figures on film. Of course the most compelling evidence to date is the testimony of the guests themselves who often complain of hearing strange sounds as though someone were in the room with them, doors suddenly slamming in completely still rooms with no open windows, seeing figures darting away or suddenly appearing in the mirrors standing behind them, and photographs ruined by smoky residue.
Perhaps it is nothing more than a collection of stories in a history rich place making people believe they’re making contact with the other side. And maybe the trend of ghost hunts isn’t necessarily helping the objectivism of it all. And maybe the guests did all just happen to have similar experiences by some monumental coincidence. But as visitors passing by stare up at the hotel up high on Cleopatra hill over 5,200 feet above sea level, many can’t shake the feeling that the Grand Hotel is staring back. And perhaps that feeling is the most proof we’ll get out of a place like the Grand.