Years ago, we road-tripped to Colorado to check out an old VW Bus for sale.  After two nights sleeping at rest areas in our Jeep, we were dying to tuck into a real bed, but even the dicey-looking mom-and-pop motels on the outskirts of town cost a hundred dollars a night.  A local told us to try the older casino hotels in Cripple Creek; they offered low rates in the hope that their guests would spend the difference, and then some, at their convenient slot machines, roulette wheels, and card tables.

We settled on the Imperial Hotel.  The décor was outdated, it lacked elevators, and the bathrooms were shared, but it offered two things the other hotels did not:  rooms for $39 a night and a resident ghost named George who lived in room 64.  When we expressed an interest in the haunted room, the clerk insisted we meet George first, because “some people get along with him and others don’t.”  I sort of believed in the supernatural, for instance, I believed that God answered prayers and I believed my old Volkswagen was possessed by a FahrverGremlin, but
I admit, I was dubious about George.  Until I made his acquaintance:


We checked into an old hotel,
drawn in by its intriguing lore
A ghost named George was said to dwell
within its walls: room sixty-four

Enchanted by the legend’s spell,
we followed to the second floor
a clerk, who warned of what befell
unwelcome guests in sixty-four

Blood-red carpet deftly quelled
our footfalls through the corridor
She turned the key and all was well,
dead silence in room sixty-four

The hinges creaked; a fusty smell
escaped as she threw wide the door
I felt his headstrong aura swell
and hold its ground, room sixty-four

As I pushed past it, George rebelled
and unleashed from his psychic store
a migraine like a live bombshell,
screaming from room sixty-four

It struck and ricocheted pell-mell
inside my skull; it raged and roared.
I stood there, dumbstruck and unwell,
on the threshold of room sixty-four.

Then, aching, shaking, and dispelled
of every doubt I’d had before,
I found my legs and ran like hell;
Old George could have room sixty-four

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    • Just Joan October 29, 2017 / 10:23 am

      No, PB, we seemed to butt heads a little. Crossing the threshold felt like pushing the wrong ends of magnets toward each other. I guess it was just not meant to be. It made a good poem, though. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan October 29, 2017 / 10:26 am

      Thanks, Chev. I wanted to be able to say I slept with a ghost; instead, I slept off a migraine. But the experience lent some weight to the existence of the supernatural. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Joyce Robinson October 29, 2017 / 8:52 am

    I really liked this one Joan👻🎃

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan October 29, 2017 / 10:26 am

      Thanks, Joyce. A good ghost story, just in time for Halloween. 🙂


  2. Tippy Gnu October 29, 2017 / 9:21 am

    Maybe George didn’t do so well in the casinos, and he’s still mad about it. Happy Halloween, Joan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan October 29, 2017 / 10:32 am

      Could be, Tippy. I wouldn’t blame him; we dropped a wad there, too. I didn’t really consider the implications of a shared bathroom until I “met” George… he could waltz right in, even if I locked the door, which kind of freaked me out. Happy Halloween to you and yours. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan October 29, 2017 / 6:02 pm

      Hey, Marissa! The clerk said George had “played tricks” on other hotel guests, so what happened to me might not be as odd as you’d think. I suppose the migraine could have been a coincidence, but what are the chances? It seemed prudent to relocate. 🙂


  3. L. T. Garvin, Author October 29, 2017 / 10:56 pm

    I loved this one, Joan! You know how I just love a good ghost tale. I admire you for venturing forth to try out Room 64, although I love to read, write and watch ghost stories, I would have never had the courage to knowingly spend the night in a haunted room, lol. Great, timely poem! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan October 30, 2017 / 1:08 pm

      Thanks, Lana. I bet you loved listening to, or telling, ghost stories around a campfire when you were a kid. My sisters and I loved making haunted houses in our bedroom, using wig stands for severed heads and red magic marker or fingernail polish for blood. I’m on the fence about the spirit world, though George definitely gave me a push in the direction of believing. I don’t know if I would have stayed in room 64 all night, even if nothing had happened. I probably wouldn’t have slept at all, certain I’d seen the curtains move, or a shadow in the mirror, or something out the corner of my eye. We wound up moving to a whole different floor; I didn’t want George sharing my bathroom either. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • L. T. Garvin, Author October 30, 2017 / 7:24 pm

        Exactly Joan, I mean, those bathrooms are kinda small, LOL! I used to be on the fence about the spirit world until I went to see Maureen Hancock in action. She said some things to my husband that nobody could have possibly known. There was also something about her face as she was talking. I’ve never seen anything like it. Way different from the fortune teller at the Renaissance Festival, lol. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan October 30, 2017 / 8:30 pm

        The bathroom had a cast iron tub on legs, perfect for soaking. Who wants to worry about a haint stealing all your bubbles? Or your towel? I’ll have to look up Maureen Hancock… I’ve had my cards read a couple times. Some readers were better than others. They always make vague statements and zero in if you respond (shake your head yes or lean in and look interested). The ones at the Renaissance Fair probably get kickbacks for saying things like “I see you in a noisy village pub, drinking beer from a handcrafted stein and gnawing on a whole turkey leg.” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • L. T. Garvin, Author October 31, 2017 / 7:26 pm

        That’s exactly what they said, LOL! Also, they add, “The turkey legs are never dry and chewy.” I can’t handle the thought of haint stealing my towel or bubbles, so I totally agree 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan October 30, 2017 / 1:18 pm

      Thanks, Scott! This poem suggested its own form, with dozens of possible rhymes and “room sixty-four” as the refrain. I used the search box on your site to see if you’d posted a Kyrielle, but I didn’t find any. If you’ve done one, send a link so I can check it out. 🙂


  4. Quirky Girl November 7, 2017 / 6:52 pm

    Sorry to hear you and George didn’t hit it off. I have to say, I am curious about your Volkswagen that was possessed by a FahrverGremlin… 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 8, 2017 / 2:27 pm

      Thanks, Quirky. Ghosts always have the upper hand in a stand-off, go figure. I may dedicate an entire post to the FahrverGremlin… he lived in my 1989 VW Fox, which I bought used and kept until it was 19, with 279,000 miles. Fahrvergnügen, according to VW, is “driving enjoyment.” A FahrverGremlin is a “driving annoyance” that changes the radio station when you go over a bump, makes the horn keep honking long after you let go of it, etc. 🙂


  5. Nancy November 9, 2017 / 7:01 pm

    Amazing prose and poem. Loved the imagery and the humor. Excellently penned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 9, 2017 / 8:06 pm

      Thanks, Nancy. Meeting George was one of the most memorable parts of that trip. Another was making grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup on a camp stove at a rest area after dark and seeing thousands of migrating monarch butterflies asleep in a tree. Life is full of cool surprises if you keep your eyes open. 🙂


  6. circumstance227 November 28, 2017 / 4:09 pm

    Thank goodness you took your FahrverGremlin seriously! Hate to think what would have happened had you dissed him too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan November 28, 2017 / 8:58 pm

      The FahrverGremlin isn’t dangerous, per se, he just liked to do annoying things like make the radio jump from one station to another when you hit a bump, or make the horn get stuck when you lay on it. George was something else, my first real experience with a ghost. 🙂


  7. kamunde March 25, 2018 / 11:20 am

    I love the narrative quality and the melody evoked by repeating “Room sixty-four” at the end of every stanza. Lovely. A lot to learn from you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan March 25, 2018 / 3:24 pm

      Thanks, AK. The form is called a Kyrielle, and the repeating refrain (“Room 64”) is part of it. I love this poem because it tells a true story about an encounter with the supernatural. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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