The resort I stayed in for a writing retreat was old.
It wasn’t one of those spartan, spa-like places with hot stone massages and seaweed facials. It was more of an old west lodge, with fireplaces in every room, chairs you could sink into, and loads of warm, belly-filling comfort food. It was built sometime around 1920 and was host to a number of well-known writers and artists.
It was also, reportedly, haunted.
The haunted part was not really an issue for me. As a connoisseur of old hotels, I’ve shared quarters with alleged ghosts before and found they were mostly benign, if not sometimes noisy. As long as they didn’t answer to a deity named Zuul and threaten the lodge with destruction by a giant Stay Puff Marshmallow man, I was cool with it.
I wasn’t really thinking about any ghosts, though, when my bathroom suddenly started to emit a rather pungent, unpleasant kind of bathroom smell. I flushed the toilet a bunch of times and ran the sink and shower, but everything seemed to be working fine.
“Can you call Maintenance,” I asked the lady at the front desk. “There doesn’t seem to be a problem with the plumbing, but the bathroom smells really bad. Maybe there’s a sewage issue?”
“There isn’t anything around or below your bathroom to cause that,” she said. “But I’ll get somebody over there to take a look.”
Eventually the maintenance man showed up and went under and around the building I was in, but nothing turned up. As the day progressed, the smell got worse and I had to close the bathroom door so it didn’t seep into the bedroom. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to spend the night in there, but there was no other room for me to move into … the lodge was full.
I went to sleep that night with my pillow over my head trying to hide from the awful poopy smell. I managed to fall asleep but was suddenly awoken in the middle of the night by the sound of my toilet flushing. Tentatively, I walked to the bathroom door, afraid that someone, somehow, had entered the bathroom, used the toilet and flushed it. I looked around my room to see what I could possibly use as a weapon in case the intruder was still in the bathroom. But there was only one thing that was heavy enough and pointy enough to inflict bodily damage.
I grabbed the deer head off the wall and using it like a shield, I threw open the bathroom door.
“Aaaahhh!” I yelled, brandishing the deer head at the mystery toilet user. But the bathroom was empty. The windows were locked. The only way into and out of the bathroom, besides my door, was the bathtub drain.
Deciding I must have been dreaming, I closed the door again, hung up the deer head, and went back to sleep. When I woke up in the morning, the smell was gone. Nothing lingered. There wasn’t so much as a whiff of what had smelled so bad the day before.
“It’s so weird,” I said to the lady at the front desk. “The smell was horrible yesterday and today it’s like it never even happened.” I told her about the dream I’d had about someone flushing my toilet in the middle of the night and she smiled a knowing grin.
“Well, you know, some people say this lodge is haunted.”
“So, you’re saying some phantom pooper came into my room yesterday, left a phantom poop in my toilet, and then came back last night because he forgot to flush?” I said.
“Could be,” she replied.
“Okay,” I said. “But next time he comes to do that, could you ask him to bring some air freshener?”
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