By Catherine Brown–

I would consider myself a paranormal skeptic. I think that there’s a special category for those of us who believe in the potential for a supernatural world but can’t quite trust the “evidence.” 

I’m not trying to convince you that the supernatural world exists. I don’t want to scare you with a spooky ghost story. I just want to share my experience in the effort that maybe I can better understand what happened that night.

Everything happened on a fall night in 2019. My family and I were travelling up to Michigan to visit extended family. And, well, traveling in a car and sharing a hotel room with your family is already a living nightmare. 

We were getting settled for the night in our hotel room. We needed to wake up early the next morning to get to our grandparents’ house. As such, my family decides to go to bed early. Pretty soon, I’m the only one still awake. Mom, dad, sister and brother are out cold.

As nice as it is to have peace and quiet, there’s also a sense of unease when I’m in a room with 4 other people but they’re all fast asleep and I’m not. I can’t help but wonder: What are they dreaming about? How am I going to get to sleep?

And more importantly: how am I going to walk around everybody on my way to the bathroom?

I decide to get up and go to the bathroom before I finally nod off. I make my way to the bathroom after navigating my way around people sleeping in the beds and on the couch. 

But when I get there, I feel a sense of unease. For some reason, I’ve always had this feeling using a hotel bathroom at night. Hotel bathrooms are like the liminal of the liminal. Nothing inside of the bathroom feels like it did when you entered, as if you’ve transcended reality. 

I shut the door behind me and I turned on the light. As soon as I did,  I was in for the surprise of my life. 

From the corner of my eye, I see something move. Was it the shower curtain? Was it something on the wall? Maybe, an apparition of some sort?

To this day, I have no idea. All I remember seeing is an abstract of black out of the corner of my eye and I feel a whoosh come over me. The vision that I just saw was moving like it had a sense of life. It was something alive. But what? I get this bodily chill like something was just in this bathroom before me, and I walked in on it and scared it off. Or made it mad.

As I said, I’m skeptical of the existence of ghosts. Could they exist? Sure. Is it likely that they exist? Well…

After that startle, I decide to try to be as quick as possible and leave as soon as I can. But then comes the next scare.

My name. 

Someone is calling my name.

But that makes no sense. My family is asleep. I can hear their snores through the crack in the door. But I definitely heard my name. And the weirdest thing?

It sounded like my dad’s voice. I heard my dad whispering my name through the other side of the bathroom door. 

In a whisper, I call out, “yeah?”

No response. At the time, I assumed that my dad was just checking to see if the bathroom was occupied and knew the most likely culprit would be me. But after I wash my hands and open the door, I find the hallway right outside the bathroom to be puzzlingly empty. Wasn’t my dad waiting for me to exit?

Sure enough, when I walk back to the bedroom, my dad is there in bed, just as he was before, soundly sleeping. Oblivious to the life-altering scare I just had in the bathroom. Unknowing of the portal that I probably just opened to some ghostly realm from which I’ll never quite recover.

Lesson learned. Never trust a hotel bathroom at night. 

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal