Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ghost Story, For Reals

Original staircase, Staab House inside La Posada, Santa Fe

Sorry it's been so long. The three of you (Hi there loyal readers!) must really think I'm a slacker, but believe me, I've been wicked busy. Among other things, we started a new semester with a fresh crop of students, and I'm getting ready to start teaching a new Title 1 after-school program, plus brainstorming/researching for the Latino Literature course for next year. Plus shoveling. Fun busy, for the most part. I just got back from a conference in Santa Fe where I stayed in La Fonda, a hotel I would never have been able to afford on my own, and that is where this adventure begins.

The conference topic was Content Area Literacy: Reading and Writing Nonfiction. I'm not getting into the details here, but one of the tasks we had to complete was a Group Inquiry, wherein the group selects a subject pertaining to Santa Fe, researches the topic, and presents to the conference on the last evening. My group (Courtney and Barbara are teachers from Arkansas, Stan is an English teacher from my own school) chose The Ghosts of Santa Fe on account of there being so many of them. We all had different reasons for being drawn to the topic, but for me it was mainly the opportunity for capers and hijinks.

Me, Stan, Barbara, Unofficial La Fonda Ghost Guide Gloria, Courtney

Our hotel was supposed to be swimming in spooks. There's the shotgunned bride, the salesman suicide, the stalking stranger in a long dark coat. Much spectral activity has been observed on the second floor (my floor, oh yeah) and in the basement. Several field trips to the basement failed to stir anything up, though we all agreed it was a little creepy. The only troubling disturbance I noted on the second floor was the noise of my neighbors, who did not seem to be used to margaritas. OK, I was a little freaked out to come in one night and see that all the lights were on in my room, even lights I had never turned on, but when I saw the chocolates on my pillow (!) I decided not to make a fuss.

Saturday night, Stan and I spent the evening with the other two conference attendees from our school, Sally (her group was researching the art market) and Rick (architecture) (how mature.) After an amazing dinner at Pasquale's , we headed over to La Posada to check out their ghosties.

A posh joint, La Posada is built around the old Staab House. We didn't yet know that the ghost of Julia Staab, heartbroken by miscarriages and the death of a child, still walks the halls, rearranges the furniture, and may be responsible for a hair-pulling incident that caused a hotel guest to bash his head into a wall. We were just on a lark, taking pictures and sneaking up the old staircase, trying to look like we were guests. (We also didn't know that genuine current guests of La Posada, Megan Fox and Mickey Rourke, are making a movie in Santa Fe, though Mickey was giving out a Golden Globe at the same time we were creeping around in the hotel.)

Sally, Rick, and Stan

So anyway, I was taking the goofy kind of pictures that tourists take, having my co-conspirators stand and point at things, and then I had Sally take a picture of me pointing. I pointed at an old picture of the Staab House and said, "Loookie, here's a ghost." Ha ha.

Caper over. On the way out, we stopped and talked to Carlos, the guy in charge of valet parking. That's when we learned about Julia, and about how people have sometimes seen weird things in the picture of the old house. I said, "Oh, we took a picture of the picture," and I pulled out my camera. We looked at the picture of me pointing but we didn't see anything.

I meant to advance to the next picture, but I hit the wrong button-- did you know the Sony Cyer-shot can zoom in while in review mode? Well, I didn't. So I hit zoom and everybody's looking at the little screen and we got a little freaked out.

I don't want to say what I see, nor will I say what other people see, because we are not in agreement. We all see something, but I won't say what unless there are comments. Do you see anything?

PS We went back the next day with our inquiry group and took a bunch of pictures from different angles, but the things we think we see in the Saturday night pics are just not visible Sunday morning. Thoughts?

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Cary T. said...

Do i see the old scowly woman? Yes, I do. Thats freaky.
You know, some ghosts can grab on to energy and travel with bodies they find comforting. Hope you didn't bring her back from New Mexico!!!

Shreds said...

Hmm, interesting. This is the first I've heard of "scowly" anything. Where in the pic is that happening, exactly?

Ex-in-the-City said...

Oh cool. I see a veiled woman. A little BVM-ish or perhaps funereal.
Fun travels!

Cary T. said...

she is standing on the stairs leaning a little forward and she has a scowly face.

Shreds said...

OK, what I always see is a figure standing in the doorway, leaning out a little. What a lot of other people see is a little family group in the grey area to the right of the doorway. Sometimes I see them, sometimes I'm not so sure. But the standing figure, definitely. Crazy.

stephanie said...

I think I see a hooded figure?

Shreds said...

Spectral beekeeper.