The kind folks at The Daily Post at WordPress challenge us photographers to be eerie this week. And that challenge takes me to the most eerie place I know – The Baker Hotel. Located about an hour from the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex in a town called Mineral Wells (and yes, they do sell Crazy Water). A once regal landmark of luxury, attracting stars and visitors from across the globe, now stands in decay. A grand token of days gone by, its majesty deflated. The massive ruins in such a small town sticks out even more in its gruesome state. A state that yearns for renewal.
It is this place I visited last year, during a cold snap and full moon. The post of my midnight ghost run got Freshly Pressed for creepiness – The Baker Hotel Ghost Walk – on Halloween.
After our ghost hunt, I kid you not, I slept with the lights on for a week. But I told myself…one day, I will return to face those ghosts in the day. Because surely, it would be so much better with all the lights on.
And isn’t that ironic? Because, the Ghost Adventure Guys got their best EVP of the episode – in the day.
And in the day I returned….
And it is still as creepy as ever. And I still cringe to walk anywhere near the boarded up windows.
But I do.
I walked all around the building. Peaking through broken walls, taking photos, and not having any focus or camera malfunctions whatsoever.
I did not smell lavender. I did not capture a disembodied head. And I didn’t hear anyone telling me to drink the water.
In all honesty, I didn’t want to walk around taking photos of this monstrosity, but at the same time, I couldn’t NOT take photos of this monstrosity.
Image below – a window wasn’t quite boarded up on the mezzanine level. I peaked in and snapped a photo. It was pitch black inside. It was pitch black on my LCD screen. I had no idea what could be in the photo. I lightened it up later, and was grateful not to see anything in the image. I think?
But I am not looking that hard either.
The Baker Hotel did not disappoint. As eerie as it was in the dead of the night, it was just as eerie in the eve of the sun.
There is just something about it that makes you unable to look away.
First off, let me get this straight, I am NOT big on paranormal. In fact, it scares the stuffing out of me. I almost lost my cookies when we visited this Old Haunted Cavern over a year ago.
I DO watch Ghost Adventures, but only because my husband likes it Zak makes me laugh.
However, this was suggested as a great photo-op, and that is one thing I can’t resist – a great photo-op. Plus, it is this week’s Travel Theme: Spooky by the wonderful blogger Ailsa.
So, maybe I ventured outside of my comfort zone, and took off about an hour away to a place said to be haunted, on a night with a full moon, in a town nick-named for CRAZY water. It landed me on the steps of the biggest and creepiest hotel I have ever seen in my life.
The Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas.
And let me just give credit to our tour guide Angela of The Baker Hotel Ghost Walk. She is the real deal. There are a few copy cats, but she is the one that put all the work into the research of the history and stories.
I’ll be honest with you. I took way too many photos for one post. I lost one whole battery (luckily I had two) in just a few hours (normally it takes 8-10 hrs per battery). I battled many other camera problems – mainly focus issues and a flash that would just up and DIE, off and on. I did not PHOTOSHOP any of these. They are straight out of the camera. I did add my watermark, but nothing else was altered.
The ghost walk starts on the front steps of The Baker Hotel. We get a run-down of its history, and its ghosts. At the back of the building, where we proceed, is a pole marked for a tipsy woman who jumped from the roof (trying to land in the pool). She didn’t make it. Angela advises this ghost likes to mess with men, and sometimes you can smell her lavender perfume. As soon as she said that, I smelled Lavender very strongly. So did several of the people with me. Coincidence? Maybe…
I took this shot of Jason (after the tour). Looks to me like something is by him coming off the pole back left of the photo. He says it is some “tree” or something. Although, it was not in ANY of the other photos I took of him in the same spot.
The other part of the tour was down a few blocks (we covered 10 blocks). The guide advised some people get sick in this area, because a lot of children were abused and died at this house. It was the home and business of a Doctor, and an orphanage for children of parents who could no longer afford to keep them during the depression era. I DID feel sick. Both times when I walked by there. Coincidence? Maybe…
Our minds are a powerful thing. Apparently, so is the paranormal.
Regardless, this place is spooky with a capital S. Solely for the upside down crosses, and because the owner of the property still lives on the third floor. Photo above is the second floor. The first and second floors have no electricity and he is known not to be right in the head (too much Crazy water?).
We explored on our own for more than an hour after the tour ended. That is when I got most of the photos that show “something”. All of them at, or around The Baker Hotel.
If anyone can explain these photos, I’d like to hear it. Look for the mists and the orbs. My husband had the other camera and he didn’t get anything taking the same pictures. And his battery never drained either.
This is the photo I took. I must admit. It freaked me out a little. It was not raining. No fog. My lens was not dirty. I don’t think simple street lights could make those orbs. It was a clear night. See collage at the top where I took a photo of the moon. They say, The Ghost Adventure guys stayed here in September. They named it one of the most haunted places they have been to. Could that be true?
It sure looks that way to me.
Oddly enough, I didn’t get scared. I felt uneasy a few times, but mostly calm. The only time I really freaked was when we heard noises from the window we had just peered through on the Mezzanine level.
This is the Mezzanine area we were at.
This is the area where the window was. I SWORE I got a photo of that window, but I couldn’t find it on my camera. Coincidence? Maybe….
Inside where we looked.
We heard a loud chang above us. ALL of us heard it. Then, within minutes, a ching, and a crack right by the window we had just peered through. My heart did a flip-flop! Jason says it was not a ghost, but trespassers inside the hotel. But really? That is hard for me to believe. For one thing, it’s a $500.00 fine and there are cops driving around every few minutes. For two, why didn’t we hear them walking around, or see them with flashlights? Go back and look at the photo above and imagine walking through that area in complete darkness. Could you navigate that room without making a peep? Without flashlights on? In the pitch-black? Wouldn’t we have heard them talking, shuffling, or banging their way around?
Jason is a non-believer.
I, however, am NOT. But strangely, I’m not as frightened as I thought I would be.
Even when I stood outside The Baker – by myself (being by yourself is a WHOLE different experience). I felt sick again, and I felt pressure on my sinuses; a sign of energy in the air. I pretty much made a mad dash to find the others. At the time, I was under a window where many have seen a mistress looking out. Coincidence? Maybe…..
So…that is my story. And These are my photos.
Haunted or not…this is one fascinating building with a rich history about it, and around the entire downtown.
I plan to go back sometime soon. In the daylight preferably…..
Down loooong underground hallways (between you and me…..I would always imagine running in terror down this hallway from something large and fierce, barely making it out the glass doors to the garage). And this is why you shouldn’t let your thirteen-year old read Stephen King books. And can I add? They pipe creepy elevator music down this tunnel making it seem like some kind of secret science project straight of Lost.
Up elevators to the fourth floor.
Riding the elevators would take forrrrrrever! Mostly on Mondays, and coming back from lunch late.
In my work suite, I would hide in my cubbie all day.
Popping up like a hamster to talk to fellow co-workers, or see who came in the door.
Being right next to the child support office, we had a lot of stragglers (not that the door didn’t say WHO we were), and rumor is……the waiting room at that government office had walls padded with Kevlar. Really!
My fourth floor window overlooked the Naval base. The high-sped jets, and the incoming storms were a sight to see.
I enjoyed the MOST amazing sunsets.
Oh, my dear, dear office space….I will MISS you.
NOTHING compares to the glorious office space of HOME.
It happened. I have joined thousands of workers, and employers that have implemented cost-saving measures (no rent, no gas, no commute) to office from home. After working in West Fort Worth, and commuting 30+ miles for over thirteen years, I am now working that same job in the comfort of my front room. I must say…..it’s different. I feel like I am playing hookey, but working harder than ever. I am sure I will get more used to it. I noticed last night, I did not have to sit in Ranger Game traffic to get home. My friends, that saved me over an hour of frustration. Oh yes, I think I will get used to this…..wouldn’t you?
See ya office space…it’s been great knowing you.
Now, I’m off to take my first shower in five days, and maybe I’ll change into a new pair of jammies….HA. I’m, of course, KIDDING.
I found this picture of my daughter on Facebook (I totally stole it!).
Sydney on the far left.
Here she is in her clown costume for the haunted house at Six Flags Frightfest. The 3D haunted house, called Cirkus Berzerkus.
Isn’t that great?!?
A fellow haunted house worker.
She goes from this…..
Sydney on the far left.
I know she will remember this for a loooong time.
Really glad someone posted a pic.
Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween!
I know I did……..because this cookie was involved. I think I’m still on a sugar high.
Must be why I decided to do this…….
I plan on participating in NaBloPoMo: National Blog Posting Month. I thought it would be a good way of completing my 2011 blogging year. And? It’s much better than writing a 50,000 word novel on NaNoWriMo (I will tackle that someday!).
Happy November 1st! Christmas will be here before you know it!!