The burned roof caught my eye first. It was sad to see the charred wood that scarred one end of the old 1911 hotel. I parked the car and walked passed the workmen doing repairs. I was happy to see all the work restoring the place after the fire. The old Glen Tavern Inn, in Santa Paula, California, would be restored back to her former glory. The Old Glen, as locals call it, had a unique place in this community and I had spent many a day and night in the three-storied Craftsman-style structure. The hotel was not only historic, but also haunted. Several thrilling investigations were held here years back, and my wife and I experienced things most psychic researchers only dream about.
We had personally met the ghosts of the Glen more than once.
I stepped into the large lobby and was pleasantly surprised by the detail of the restoration. It looked better than it did years ago. The new owners had brought it back to the way it looked when it opened. I would later learn that the restaurant took most of the damage in the fire and the hotel was open on a limited basis. Once the repairs are made, a new restaurant would replace the one lost in the fire.
I met Susan Pardo, the front desk clerk, and asked about the ghosts of the Glen Tavern Inn. It seems that the supernatural residents were still making themselves known. Ghosts were seen recently in the lobby. I recalled the time when Debbie, my wife, heard children’s footsteps on the stairs. She was ready to reprimand them for running on the steps but as they approached, there was no one there. The invisible children laughed, and went on, leaving Debbie stunned. She wasn’t the first, nor would she be the last, to hear them over the years. Once she saw a man walking the hall off the lobby only to see him vanish away as he neared the bathroom. Susan, and her husband Charles, have both seen and heard the ghosts in the lobby. They confirmed that the supernatural activity is continuing. Once, late at night, they both saw a phantom party with dancing people, music and all, appear in the lobby only to vanish away after a few moments.
The Inn’s best know ghost, Calvin, makes his presence known in the lobby. He was a member of a silent movie company making western films in the valley in the early 1920s. Legends say he was murdered at the inn one night during an illegal card game.
Calvin, the ghost in the western coat, wanders the whole place. I recalled the time I spent the night here in the infamous Houdini Room and saw a shadowy figure cross the room late at night. The Houdini Room is still the scene of strange activities from odd sounds to people photographing "orbs" in the room. Orbs are these controversial balls of light caught in pictures taken in haunted places. Are they ghosts, moisture, or dust? No one knows for sure. I recalled the time when I was using a tape recorder while conducting experiments in the Inn. No one had access to the machine, but when I played back the tape, there was a mysterious voice making the grim statement: "you will die!" Lots of people have picked up odd voices here on tape. These are voices that should not exist.
Susan told me of her own encounters with Calvin. A visitor came to the Inn, and upon hearing the story of the murdered westerner, she expressed a desire to meet the ghost. Just then she heard a knock on her door. When she looked in the hall, there was no one there. Susan has seen and photographed mysterious orbs in the room they were using at the Inn.
Calvin is described as having long hair, a goatee, and western style clothing. It seems he is quite the lady’s man and is known to wander into the women’s bathroom on the first floor. Sometimes he is manifest as the smell of an expensive cigar. They have detected this odor in the stairway. Perhaps it’s just Calvin wandering the place. The persistent ghost of Calvin was the real reason I was called into the case years back.
I have looked and investigated the hotel for years, but I have never seen Calvin once. Still, a student of mine did take a picture of him once using infrared film. The image seemed to show him shuffling cards. Calvin isn’t alone at the place and several other ghosts are encountered at the hotel. There is a short French perfume saleswoman, a burned oil worker who seeks out the showers, a crying girl, and a set of children who inhabit the Glen Tavern Inn. After meeting with the front desk people I took a stroll through the halls. As I walked, I felt the distinct chill race up my spine. Near room 221, the hair stood up on the back of my neck. This only happens when I visit places that are haunted, very haunted. The ghosts of the Glen Tavern Inn were welcoming me back.
I plan further investigations of the old hotel in the winter and spring of 2007.
If you would like to spend a night at the Inn contact them at:
The Glen Tavern Inn
134 North Mill Street
Santa Paula, CA 93060
Tel: (805) 933-5550