At first, I thought a surprising number of people were travelling to the east coast every other weekend. But at least I didn't move to Portland, Maine or Las Vegas, New Mexico. Their slogans really should be "No, no. Different one."
If you're interested in why Pittsburg, Kansas dropped the 'h', check out:
Also, Emily and I will be in Ottawa until Tuesday for my brother's wedding.
I booked us a room here:
The Ottawa International Hostel was originally known as the Carleton County Gaol. From 1862 to 1972, when it was closed for unsanitary conditons, the gaol was one of the most disheartening buildings in Canadian history.
During the early history of the gaol, conditions were absolutely horrid. Prisoners were seldom allowed showers; they were given 1 meal a day; and some were never allowed to see daylight, kept in filthy, unlit quarantine areas of the basement.
Bodies were burned in the courtyard, including victims that were illegally hanged inside the building. During the construction of the Mackenzie King Bridge, workers discovered 140 unmarked graves in the courtyard. It is generally assumed that there are hundreds more near the building and beneath the parking lot.
After just a year of rennovations, the gaol reopened as a hostel in 1973. Curiously, during the rennovations, an unexplained inscription was discovered on the main stairwell:
"I am a non-verdical Vampire who will vanquish you all. One by one I will ornate your odorous flesh with famished fangs. But Who? Are there 94 or 95 steps to the 9th floor? A book on the top shelf will lead you on the right path."
Given that it was a prison, it's not surprising that many stories emanate from Death Row. Apparitions include a man, sitting at a desk, writing something; and a figure sitting on a bed, his head in his hands. Guests have reported the feeling of a heavy presence and flickering lights, as well as the feeling of someone sitting down on your bed. The sound of knocking has been heard from inside the 3rd cell (the door of which has been jammed shut for years). Cell doors lock on their own, despite the fact the locks were removed years ago. The sound of cell doors closing can be heard, along with banging on pipes and disembodied voices reciting the Lord's Prayer. For guests, it is not uncommon to come out of showers and find your clothes strewn down the hall.
In the Office, hot water has been known to come out of cold water taps, the door locks itself, computers turn themselves on and print out pages of incoherent text, and the phone just keeps ringing.
On the 6th floor stairwell, guests have reported the feeling of being watched, along with a feeling of extreme cold inside a nearly-bricked up arched alcove.
Station 6, the former residence of the governor, is known for a strange 'vampire' spirit that even prisoners claimed "tries to push your soul out of your body." The apparition of a shadow was once seen dissppearing into a corner, precisley where a secret passage was later discovered behind the lockers.
On the 9th floor (the former hospital/women's cells), the sound of children's voices and women screaming can be heard.
In the debtor's portion of the prison, the sounds of moaning have been heard from a partially-filled tunnel.
"I was brave enough, or crazy enough, to spend a night in cell four of death row," remembers Croken as we stand down the hall from the cell where Whelan spent his final night. "I woke up twice during the night, once to see a man standing and looking down at me. It didn't really click in at the time, and so I just turned over and went back to sleep.
But then I woke up again and something was turning me over; the muscles in my shoulder woke me up by being strained, as if there was a hand pushing me over. None of it hit me until the drive home, when I had to pull over for about an hour because I was shaking so hard."
The hostel used to offer a free night's stay to anyone who could spend a night in this cell, but ceased doing it when strange incidents similar to Croken's continued.
Anyone want to bet on Emily sleeping soundly?