Who is Chuck and why does he like to travel?

I was born to be a writer and when I wrote my novel Wild Point Island, Chuck, my orange and white recently rescued feral tabby, got it in his head that he wanted to travel to the island and see the place for himself. Well, of course, Wild Point Island, can only be seen by revenants (you'll have to read the book to find out who they are) and Chuck is no revenant so instead, I concocted a plan to take Chuck with me when I travel around the world, which I do frequently. Not an easy task. First, I have to deflate the poor kid of all air, stuff him in my carry-on bag, remember to bring my portable pump, and when I arrive, I pump him back up. Ouch. But he's used to it by now and given the choice to either stay home in his comfy cat bed or get deflated, he pulls out his passport, ready to travel, every time.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chuck is Spooked at Historic Bethlehem Hotel

So, yeah, we may as well admit it - Chuck, the rascal cat, is and always has been a big baby when it comes to haunted houses and rumors that houses may be haunted.  And that may have been the problem in retrospect.

Historic Bethlehem Hotel from across the street

Bob and I had a lovely weekend planned.  We were going to Bethlehem, PA and staying at the Historic Bethlehem Hotel, a beautiful historic hotel -- just the two of us -- when Chuck chimed in and said he wanted to go, too.

I had no problem with that.  Chuck is generally well-behaved and can be quite entertaining when he wants to be. This hotel, also, as it turned out was very pet friendly, and it did my heart good to see customers walking around with their dogs.

The only thing we didn't discuss--because I didn't think it would be an issue--was the fact that the hotel had the reputation for being haunted.  Now, I wasn't concerned about it because there had never been any reported incidents of foul play.  

Was the hotel haunted? Yes. But the ghosts were friendly.  So we arrived, and everything was absolutely purrfect.  For awhile. 

In the beginning I was less concerned about ghosts and more interested in the history of the hotel.  There was a Hall of History which tried to capture how the hotel had changed over the years and a local hotel historian in the lobby to answer any questions.

Just one of the many display cabinets with old photos, antique memorabilia etc.

I also noticed that tons of photos were hung in the bar area of all the famous people who'd stayed in the hotel.  

Famous musicians, politicians, actors, comedians stayed here

There were also photos of Bob Dylan and Ray Charles in the elevators--two more famous people--so I was feeling very special.

Bob Dylan - I was impressed!

Ray Charles - I was impressed!
It was true that when we first arrived, we were distracted. Not just by the history and the photos, but we'd arrived smack in the middle of Music Fest.  People were everywhere.  The main street outside the hotel was literally reduced to one lane in one direction.  We needed special directions from the concierge to get in and out of the hotel.  Thousands of people milled in the street at night.  

This was the scene outside my hotel window at 11:00 at night.

When we went down to the bar, hoping to get a drink, too many people were waiting in line, their hands clutching a gigantic over-sized souvenir mug that they could get filled for $5 as part of Music Fest.  

But nothing really happened until the next morning.  Because everyone partied so hard the night before, the next morning--early the next morning was quiet. Chuck wanted to walk around a little, and I figured what harm could it do.  He was fine and happy as we sauntered up and down the halls. 

We even snuck down to the lobby and all was peaceful.

We hopped on the elevator, and that's when I made the big mistake. I hit the button to our floor, or so I thought.  The elevator started to move.  When we stopped, I just assumed we were on the correct floor and without looking--I was more concerned about Chuck--we turned right and started walking.

Chuck took about ten steps and froze.  His ears went back as if he could hear something.  He looked forward, mesmerized as if he were watching a scene for his eyes only.  He started a soft meowing, and then he turned and bolted back to the elevator.  He jumped up and started pawing at the door.  

The poor kid looked frightened to death, and I wondered what it could be. 

I hit the elevator button, and the door opened immediately.

Chuck ran in, and I followed.  I'd wanted the eighth floor but we'd somehow landed on the ninth floor by mistake. Now it was all beginning to make sense. I'd read the literature on the hotel. I knew what they said about the ninth floor.

Had Chuck had an encounter with one of their ghosts? http://www.hotelbethlehem.com/hanuted.php

Chuck didn't say.  He only seemed very happy to get back to our floor and our room.  And when we were leaving and taking our last look at this beautiful place, Chuck didn't even turn around.  Instead he snuggled down for a nap.  

Truthfully, the kid looked worn out.  I guess it isn't everyday you go for a walk and have a close encounter with . . . well, you fill in the blanks.  

The Historic Bethlehem Hotel



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