Beyond the bathroom door of room 19, the steam on the mirror spelled out the words
“Judy, Help, Murder.” Murder was spelled backwards with the ‘r’ written just above it as if whoever (or whatever) wrote it ran out of room on the mirror.
An oppressive, heavy feeling spread throughout the entire room. The smell of stale urine and decrepit carpet provides an uncomfortable feeling. Something is off about the room, about the whole hotel.
Visitors to the Jefferson Hotel come to experience abnormal happenings such as this. Many want to feel frightened, just for fun.
The hotel was originally a cotton warehouse. It was later bought and transformed by the Schluter family in 1851. A brothel and a gambling hall used to operate where the lobby and a classy, period-themed restaurant now stand, and a skating rink upstairs has been replaced with antique-furnished rooms. Everywhere in the hotel, from the lobby to the rooms, antiques line the walls. Wooden dressers and upholstered couches line the hallways, along with beaten-up typewriters, rotary telephones, and dingy, old lamps. Nothing is new, only remnants of long ago.
The building remains the Jefferson Hotel today, and has the ability to impress guests not just with its beauty, but also with its history of frightening encounters.
“We have three well known ghosts that people see,” said Alicia Montgomery, the general manager of the Jefferson Hotel.
One of the ghosts is Lydia Grigsby. “They say she was jilted at the altar and she came back to the hotel and she hung herself,” said Jodi Breckenridge, Jefferson Historian and former manager of the hotel. The bed that the young bride hung herself from remains in the hotel today, located in room 19. The top of the towering
headboard curves in from the weight of the body, it is even chipped in one spot (from the rope), leaving behind the scar of the tragic tale of Lydia.
Another is “The Captain”. He is the only male ghost in the hotel. “He’s our grumpy ghost. He doesn’t do anything bad,
but he never wants to cooperate,” said Montgomery. The employees of the hotel do not know much about the Captain’s history, but have encountered him several times.
The last ghost in the hotel is Sarah, who was a child approximately 6-8 years old whenever she was caught in a fire and burned to death. “She’s famous for moving objects,” said Montgomery. “She’ll play upstairs sometimes right at the top of the landing area, but she also loves downstairs.”
Visitors to the hotel often share their experiences with the workers if they stay throughout the whole night, which not that many people can do.
There is a binder they keep behind the front desk of the hotel called “The Book of Death.”
“The Book of Death” consists of handwritten letters from guests describing paranormal happenings during their visit. It has pictures of the hotel on the front of it, and when it is opened it’s almost as if the person who wrote the lette is present. The book is so thick, one would have to use both hands to carry it.
The guests are not the only ones who have experienced odd things at the hotel. The employees have as well.
“Room eight. That’s when I was choked by something. I walked in to take a picture, and I got choked by something,” said Courtney Wells, one of the employees of the hotel. “I had handprints on my neck. I’ve never been back in there since.”
The manager of the hotel has also experienced odd things during her shifts there.
“One night I was here real late working on a project on the computer, and two of the phone lines to the rooms lit up like they were talking to each other. I had no guests, no employees. Then the lights to the phone lines went off, and I started hearing sounds of the plates being picked up and the silverware hitting the plates,” said Montgomery.
The paranormal encounters seem to be endless, and many that experience them were once skeptical. Even some of the employees began as nonbelievers.
“This place changed my mind,” said Wells.
Tragic history haunts the whole town of Jefferson, and according to the employees and guests of the Jefferson Hotel so do past citizens.
The whole town of 2,068 people is dead silent. It’s as if nobody lives there. As silent as it is, it still looks like it is well taken care of.
There is a building across the street from the Jefferson Hotel that is an old soup and sandwich shop. It is now the home to an old man, but there are said to be demons inside the building. The story behind this is unknown. It looks worn and is cluttered with lamps, chairs, blankets, and other items. It might as well be a storage shed of some kind.
The streets of Jefferson are lonely and there are hardly ever people out and about.
“I think there is a curse on this hotel, honestly, I really do. There’s a curse on this town, I swear there is,” said Wells.
Reserve a room if you dare, and see for yourself at www.historicjeffersonhotel.com