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Haunted hotel

Groveland Hotel investigation gives Journal contest winner ‘the willies’

Haunted hotel

Unexplainable whispering is recorded during the paranormal investigation at the Groveland Hotel.

POSTED October 29, 2010 8:38 p.m.

When Peggy Mosley bought the Groveland Hotel in 1990 she was not aware of the hotel’s paranormal history. It didn’t take long, however, for her to realize that something out of the ordinary was happening in the Sierra foothills building.

“There were 18 of us that spent Memorial weekend in 1990 fixing (the hotel) up. We were working and strange things would happen; paint cans would turn over, lights would turn on and off. We were blaming each other,” Mosley said.

Then she met long-time Groveland resident Ernie Beck, and he told her about Lyle. Lyle was a former resident of the hotel who spent his days scouring the now defunct mine in Spring Gulch for gold. He lived in the hotel for 15 years, until his death in 1927. Beck told Mosley that Lyle’s spirit never left the Groveland Hotel.

Since 1990 Mosley has heard numerous accounts of visitors seeing a ghostly apparition of a tall slender man with a beard wearing a straw hat. This description fits what Beck said Lyle looked like during his stay at the Groveland Hotel.

On Sept. 23 the Journal, along with the Western Region Paranormal Research group and the two winners of the Journal’s paranormal investigator contest and their guests, visited the Groveland Hotel in search of Lyle and any other paranormal event.

While Lyle failed to make an appearance that night, all members of the investigation team had at least one personal paranormal experience. Also, audio recorders picked up a whisper that cannot be explained and a voice saying “not” through a Ghost Box. A Ghost Box (or Frank’s Box, named after paranormal researcher Frank Sumption) is a device that continually scans radio frequencies. Some paranormal investigators believe that spirits use the white noise of the radio to create their own vocals through the receiver.

The two sensitives — people who can sense spirits — on the investigation team both reported feeling that there were numerous ghosts still hanging around the hotel.

Belinda Bentley, a Sacramento psychic who has appeared on several television shows, in magazines and on the radio, was able to communicate with a spirit who said his name was “Bob” through the Ghost Box in room No. 10. When asked by Bentley what year it was, “1950” was the replied heard through the box by the investigators in the room.

Ann Bender, a sensitive and founder member of American Paranormal Investigations out of Sacramento, said she sensed quite a few spirits throughout the hotel and especially in the basement. This experience was backed up by a team of investigators who reported seeing a shadow figure.


Journal contest winners experience the paranormal

This was the first time the Journal contest winners and their guests had been part of a paranormal investigation.

“I just felt it would be an interesting experience,” said Karen Reeves, winner of the Journal’s paranormal question and answer cut out contest, about why she wanted to go on the Groveland investigation.

“I’m not saying I’m a doubter, but I’m not a believer. I thought maybe I could see the other side,” she said.

And after the investigation?

“I’m more of a believer than a doubter,” Reeves said.

Reeves said her most exciting experience was in the basement of the hotel.

“I did not see an image of a ghost behind me, but others could and I had goose bumps,” she said. “I thought it was amazing that (ghosts) are really there.”

Journal essay contest winner Leisa Williams has always been curious about the paranormal. She related experiences she had with a ghostly shadow as a child and with disembodied voices as an adult in her winning essay. Those experiences gave her a desire to learn more about the paranormal.

“To me, it’s just exciting to find out what’s out there,” Williams said.

Williams said both she and her son, Neil, had interesting experiences during the overnight Groveland Hotel investigation. At one point in the investigation, Leisa and Neil opened the door to their room at the hotel and an area of hot mist appeared.

“We came in and it felt just like it was a shower in there,” she said.

Leisa said she, Neil and two other investigators looked around the bathroom, but there was no water running. They also checked the rooms nearby and there were no showers running or water anywhere.

Leisa said the most exciting experience for her was when Bender used dowsing rods to communicate with a male spirit in room No. 9. The metal rods, traditionally used to find water, are said to cross or uncross in the presence of spirits in response to questions asked. Metal dowsing rods are known to be able to pick up electromagnetic energy within a few feet.

“It gave me the willies when I asked if (the male spirit) knew we were coming before we came and the rods said yes.”

Leisa’s experience at the Groveland Hotel has prompted her to become more involved in the Western Region Paranormal Research team and even plan an investigation of her own.

To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.

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