Home Archives The Phantom Maid of Melville

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Witness: V. Smith
Location: Melville Hotel, Saskatchewan, Canada
Date of Encounter: Fall, 1985

As a touring bar musician in the 80's and 90's, I had many an occasion to stay in different hotel rooms. Thankfully, strange events were extremely rare — but the only one I ever had guaranteed I would never forget it.

On a Sunday afternoon, our band's school bus pulled into Melville, a small town in Saskatchewan, located the Melville Hotel (I believe that was the name), and preceded to load in our equipment. After we had set everything up, I located my room on the third floor at the end of the long hallway and found it odd that it had two entrances — one to the bedroom which was located at the end of a small hallway, and the other located at the main hallway, which opened into a small sitting room, which then lead into the bathroom and then the bedroom. While washing up, I heard some strange noises emanating from the bedroom, but I attributed them to the old steam heaters. I locked up both doors and went for dinner with the rest of the band at a local restaurant.

During dinner I tried unsuccessfully to convince the other band members to come to the movie theater down the street. Most towns we played were too small for a theater and it was a treat to see a movie. In this case, St. Elmo's Fire was playing, and while definitely not my first choice, it was better than watching the CBC in black and white on the TV in my room.

Returning to the hotel, I walked up the three flights and turned the corner toward the long hallway where my room was located (at the end). As the hotel was quite old, the hallways were extremely wide — not like hotel hallways these days. I distinctly saw a woman — most likely a housekeeper — walk into the hallway toward the entrance to my bedroom. When I turned down that hallway, I noticed my bedroom door was open — although I had locked it before I left — so she must have went into my room. There was no one in my bedroom but there was also another room located just before mine down that small hallway (to the bedroom entrance) so I assumed she was in there — as that door was ajar too. I knocked on there, and hearing no one, I peered inside to look for her as I needed more towels. The room was very small and no one was in there. There was no bathroom in this particular room. Thinking the woman must be in my sitting room, I unlocked the door to discover she wasn't there either. As mentioned, this was an old hotel and when someone walked along the floor near you, you could hear it. Still thinking I had somehow missed her, I washed my hands and prepared to go to the movie. Then I heard the strange noises again coming from the bedroom. I walked into the bedroom and as I listened to the steam heaters, the noises which were a low mumbling sound changed direction and emanated from the sitting room. That's when it hit me that it was really strange that I didn't see the woman anywhere… So being a natural hero, I got the hell out of there as fast as I could and went to the movie — which bored the crap out of me.

When I returned, the band was also returning from a long night of sitting at dinner. My brother complained that his door was left open even though he had locked it before, and sure enough, my bedroom was unlocked even though I had locked it when I left to go to the movie — albeit in a big hurry.

We were going to rehearse a little bit in my sitting room and so I began setting up a some of our equipment for a bare bones practice session. As I prepared the equipment, the lead singer and his wife came in to the room to help me. After a couple of minutes, lost in the preparation, I realized that they were no longer in the room, but standing outside in the hallway. I asked them what they were doing. The lead singer (all 6'4" 220 pounds of him) answered "I can't stay in your room. It's got a bad vibe in there. I don't like it. There's something really wrong in your room." Both he and his wife absolutely refused to come back in to my room. Practice was cancelled (as I had the only extra little room) and everyone decided to go to bed. Except me, of course. I was entirely too freaked out. 

The next day, when I returned to my room after lunch, my bed was made and towels were left on my bed. I didn't think anything of that — although usually the maids didn't touch the band rooms until the end of the week — because we're notorious slobs. I thanked the lady at the front desk (the co-owner of the hotel) for sending someone to clean my room but mentioned that it wasn't necessary. She just looked at me and asked me what I was talking about. She literally had no idea. I told her about my clean room and the towels (although I had asked no one for them). She said that her daughter cleans the rooms on Sunday mornings and doesn't return until the following Sunday. I told her about seeing the woman go into my hallway and she had no explanation for that or my clean room. She laughed and said the guys in the band were playing a trick on me. I tried to explain that first off, the guys in the band knew I was terrified to be in the room in the first place, and the last prank they'd pull was cleaning my room and bringing towels to scare me (they would have been much more cruel than that to my delicate psyche) and secondly, they wouldn't be awake for another few hours.

She just shrugged and didn't offering anything else. My room was made three times that week (not every day) and no one else's was.

After I realized that whatever it was, wasn't out to harm me — but rather make me pretty darn comfortable — I had some of the best rest ever in that place. And yes, the lead singer and his wife never did come into my room again.

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