St. James Hotel - Page 3
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Readers' Stories of the
St. James Hotel
Phantom Poker at the St.
Though I had seen the
Hotel featured several times on the popular television show, "Unsolved
Mysteries," and was very impressed with the stories, I never thought I
would have the opportunity to visit there, let alone spend the night.
However, in the late 1980s, I took a new job
installing pay phones all over the State of
New Mexico. When I was given the task of installing several phones in the
Cimarron area, I decided to spend the night at the St. James Hotel.
That first night, I stayed in the Zane
Gray room and as I was getting ready to take a shower I noticed a
small mirror hanging on the wall that was rocking back and forth. Click, click. Click, click. Though I tried to ignore it, the
clicking sound persisted until I finally walked over to the mirror and
felt the wall to see if it was vibrating. It wasn't.
If a house was seated on some melancholy
place, or built in some old romantic manner, or if any particular
accident had happened in it, such as murder, sudden death or the
like.... That house had a mark set on it, and was afterwards esteemed
the habitation of a ghost.
-- Bournes' Antiquities
poker in 1882.
This image available for photographic prints
I then looked into
the mirror to see if I might see the reflection of something other
than myself. Nope, nothing but me. Then I touched the mirror
on the lower corner, holding it the wall, before slowly taking my
finger off. The rocking stopped.
Before going to the
shower, I looked at the mirror and said out loud, with a smile on my
face, "What's the matter, are you tired of playing?" The mirror
went, click, click and stopped.
Over the next few
months I had several more opportunities to stay at the St. James.
In fact, I would plan my trips so that the Cimarron area would be my last stop, and always stayed in the Zane
Gray room. However, nothing more happened until what turned out
to be my last stay there.
Just down the hall
from my room is another small circular room with a
table. I always thought it would be great fun to play
there but never had the chance.
On that night, I had
gone to bed early, having be in
the next morning and needing to get an early start in order to get
back to my home in Rio Rancho,
the next night.
However, I was having
trouble getting to sleep and as I tossed and turned, I began to hear
the sounds of people talking down the hall. It was odd, as I was the
only guest in the hotel that night. As I listened to the voices,
it sounded as if they were calling
games, such as "Jokers Wild, or "Jacks or Better to Open.
Curious, I got up, pulled on my pants,
opened the door and looked down the hall. There, in the corridor was
a lady in a bright red, ruffled, 19th century period dress. Looking a little annoyed, she was holding a round serving tray. I went
back in my room, thinking this might be my chance to play a little
cards in the circular room I had always wondered about. I put on
a shirt, went back out, and walked down the hallway to the
room. When I poked my head in, three men, all in period dress,
were playing poker. One of them asked me if I wanted to get in, to which
I responded: "What are the stakes?
"$20.00 ante, he
Unfortunately, all I had
with me was a twenty dollar bill and a company credit card. Having
to decline, I went back to my room and went to sleep. (For those of
you who do not play poker, the
"ante is the price to get into the game. I would have needed more
in order to bet.)
When I got up about 5:30
a.m., I got my stuff together and as I walked down the hall I looked in
room. It was spotless -- no empty bottles, no cigarette butts, not even a
dirty glass. I then went downstairs to the front desk to check out
and asked the desk clerk, "Were there any big winners last night?
"What do you mean? she
"Those guys playing poker upstairs
last night, I said.
Shaking her head, she
said, "Mr. Jenkins, Ive been here all night and you were the only one
I just stood there
speechless. Feeling as though I had just been hit over the head, I
then simply walked away, left the hotel, and have never had the
opportunity to return.
I was absolutely sure
that those people that I had seen the night before had been part of some
kind of show or had been to a square dance or something, because of their
dress. They seemed so much like "flesh and blood" people. But
the desk clerk had said I was there alone and their no one is allowed
upstairs at night unless they are guests of the hotel.
I don't know what I experienced, but I wish I
had stayed a while longer and talked to "them" more. Like so many other
experiences that we have on a daily basis, I berated myself later for not
having asked the men their names. What would have happened if I had
asked them to leave? Would they have simply disappeared? Of course, I
wouldn't have asked them to leave -- I truly thought they were "real" when
I saw them.
As I write this, the hair on my arms is
standing up. It's a funny thing, I remember so much of that
encounter as if it happened just yesterday. On the other hand, there
are so many details that have totally escaped me. I compare my
experience to a chance meeting of someone that you respect and look up to
and not recognize them -- only to find out later who they were. There are so many things I wish I would have said and done. If only
I had ............
I don't do drugs and I don't drink. Nothing
quite like this has happened to me before -- except when I was seven, but
that's another story. ~SMILE~
Submitted by Tom Jenkins, October,
2005. No longer installing pay phones, Tom now pursues his love of
wood carving full time. An award winning sculptor, his custom art
has been featured in newspapers, wood carving catalogs and magazines
across the nation. Today, Tom lives in Casa Grande, Arizona. See Toms fantastic art at
After this article was published on the
internet and Mr. Jenkins got a chance to review it, he wrote back to say
that when he clicked on the above photograph of the poker players
(which we added to his story), he said the three poker-playing
aberrations that he had seen that night at the
were dressed almost identical to the ones pictured above. Of the
photo below, which pictures a ghost in the hallway of the St. James,
he had this to say: "I
don't have words to explain how I felt when I saw that. I was hot
and cold and tingly and numb. I have seen lots of photos like this, but
not in 'my' hallway. ~SMILE~"
at the St. James
As ghost hunters we were
excited to stay in the second most haunted room of the
St. James Hotel. The most haunted room, as told on the Unsolved
Mysteries TV series, has been sealed for the protection of hotel
employees and guests. The ghostly inhabitant still makes claim to
owning the hotel as he won it in a
poker game on
the very same night he was murdered in room 18. This hotel is full
history, having guests such as
Holliday. We walked about the hotel using our EMF meters and
found some strange readings. We also gathered some strange sounds from
room 18 (the sealed room) which we are still analyzing.
As I was falling asleep I felt a tender touch
on my back and then noticed that my wife was not lying near enough to have
touched me. When I inquired if she had just touched me...she had
not! Immediately after, she was startled by invisible fingers
gliding over her hand.
Finally we slept, until
3:00 a.m. when we were awakened by a strange scream coming from inside our
room, the Mary Lambert room. I began taking photographs, one of
which contained a vortex. Vortex's are funnels of energy that are
associated with ghostly activity.
The strangest phenomenon
was a picture I had taken of the second story window. There is a
face in the window...not a reflection, not someone looking in. A
ghostly face staring back as I was walking past the forbidden room 18.
St. James Ghost courtesy
St. James Hotel
Even if you are not a
ghost hunter, the history, the wonderful staff, and the great food makes
St. James Hotel a wonderful vacation spot.
Submitted by Rick Smithson, May, 2005 - Rick is a certified ghost
hunter and member of the International Ghost Hunters Society.
of America, updated May, 2016.
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