I was sitting out on my verandah earlier tonight. I was having a quiet moment and was doing a bit of quiet contemplation. In the distance I heard some little girls singing the song "London bridge is falling down. Falling down" It must have been a kids party. It was really spooky and sounded like a soundtrack to a horror movie. I don't know why but I had to go inside. Clowns have that effect on me too as do scarecrows and corn fields. I find them really scary.
I used to be a skeptic. I was a non believer in ghosts and ghouls and other such supernatural monsters. All that changed though as I am about to reveal.
I was in Taipei on business a couple of years ago. I used to go there often for work. I like Taiwan and I have quite a few friends there. I normally stayed at the Landis Hotel as it is comfortable and luxurious and spanking. These are my three main criteria for overseas hotel accommodation. On this occasion though there was some big convention on in town so the Landis was full and I was booked into the Grand Hyatt instead. No drama. The Grand Hyatt was close to my office so I could walk there.
I like walking.
I arrived in Taipei in the morning and I went straight to the office. I had meetings from dawn to dusk. I did my stuff. My day was busy but it was mostly uneventful.
I like the Taiwanese and I very much like the way that they choose their own Western names. They do this as adults. One of my friends in Taipei chose the name Elton because he likes the music of Elton John. A work colleague of mine chose the name Snoopy because he likes Snoop Dogg. The Rapper. I associate Snoopy with the Charlie Brown cartoons. It must be my age. I giggle inside when I meet with Snoopy as I have this Charlie Brown image firmly in my mind. Snoopy is a very nice bloke though and I would never giggle to or at him. That would be rude
So I went back to my hotel at about 8pm and I ordered room service. I ordered a club sandwich with a side order of fries and a chocolate milkshake. No booze. I checked my emails and I made some phone calls then I channel surfed the TV. Taiwanese soap operas are hysterical. There is a lot of screaming involved and delightful and colourful costumes. I can't understand a word of course but it amuses me regardless.
I felt a bit weary about 11.00pm so I had a shower and I got under the covers then I read my book. At the time I was reading "A Fraction of the Whole" which is a novel by Steven Tolz. I regard this work to possibly be the greatest Australian novel of all time. It is a cracker. I read until about 11.30 by which time I felt quite sleepy so I put down my book and I turned off the lights and went to sleep. At exactly 1.12 am I was awoken by the feeling of someone sitting on the end of my bed! I recall the exact time as I saw the digital glow of the bedside clock. I sat upright. I turned the bedside lamp on. There was nothing there so I assumed that I must have been dreaming.
So I turned off the light and went back to sleep.
At 3.10 am I was awakened again. Plunk. Someone had sat at the end of my bed. What the fuck? On went the light again. I got out from under the covers and I looked around the room. I checked in the bathroom and I even peeked under the bed. I felt uncomfortable and I was a bit frightened. There was no one there though.
Was I going mad? I left the bathroom light on and got back under the covers. I must have drifted off to sleep again then thump again. 4.42 am. Someone had definitely sat down right next to my feet. But there was no-one there! I turned all the lights on.
I sat up in bed.
I was very nervous.
At 6.30 am I went downstairs to breakfast. This was when the restaurant opened. On my way there I went to the concierge desk and I told them what had happened. The man there looked at me strangely but he nodded politely then he brushed me off. I began to doubt myself. I went to the office and told Snoopy what had happened and I told some of my other Taiwanese colleagues too.
"Didn't I know?" they asked. “That hotel is haunted, there had been many reports”. I jumped straight on to Google and I searched for information myself.
For fucks sake - the place was built on a killing field. During the occupation of Taiwan, Chiang Kai-shek's soldiers had slaughtered thousands of Japanese on the very spot that the hotel was constructed. It was a blood bath! Google reported dozens of instances of guests seeing and hearing ghosts.
I asked my colleagues to immediately find me another hotel. I told them that I would not stay there another night. Try as they did there were no rooms to be had in all of Taipei. The bloody convention! When I went back to my room that night I found that the hotel had put two small statues on either side of my bed. There was also a single red rose in a vase on the TV cabinet. I immediately rang Snoopy again and I also consulted Google. These were Buddhist ghost warding devices! They would supposedly protect me.
I took two very powerful sleeping pills that night.
I knocked myself out and I had no further visitations.
I checked out the next morning and have not returned since.
I will never stay there again.
However I am now a believer.
There are spooky things out there.
There are spooky things out there.