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Mischievious Hotel Ghost

February 2002

I'm not sure if my story constitutes a real ghost story or not, but here it is.

A few years ago, when I was in my mid-twenties, I was sent to Athens to produce a corporate video shoot. I went with two other Americans, and we were each given our own room in the Ledra Marriott Hotel, which is within visible distance of the Parthenon.

Every day when I came inside from a long day of pre-production, I could see from my 12th-floor window the Parthenon lit up on its hill.

What better place for there to be ghosts, right? Athens is an ancient city, and probably has a ton of other ancient cities buried beneath it. The one thing I wouldn't expect, though, is for the ghosts to be hanging out in my hotel room. But depending on what you believe, that seems to be what happened.

One day, I came home mid-afternoon, exhausted. My plan was to look out my window at the Parthenon and maybe read a book for an hour or two before dinner. I had no sooner entered the room than the television switched on by itself, flipping through the channels and coming to rest on Indian MTV (as in, MTV as broadcast in India).

Indian MTV is fun to watch for a half hour or so, but seeing as I don't speak Farsi or Tamil, it was lost on me. I took the remote and changed the channel to something else. Then I got up and went into the bathroom to wash my face.

When I exited and sat back down on the bed, lo and behold - Indian MTV.

Irritated and befuddled, I changed the channel again. This time it seemed to stick to local news. I got up to look out at the Parthenon. A moment later, what did I hear? The sound of the TV switching channels by itself, coming to rest on... Indian MTV.

This was playful and kind of odd, and though I found it weird, I wasn't the least bit freaked out by it. I had so much going on that I didn't give it much thought. Until later that night.

It took me a while to fall asleep that night, in part because the sliding mirrored door that closed over my closet and kitchenette kept sliding open. It wasn't something I saw happen; rather, I'd shut the door, wake up from a restless sleep, and find the door slid back open again, the kitchenette light on. I wanted to chalk this up to an unlevel floor or a loose catch, but I couldn't find a technical problem; the door had a mind of its own.

Anyway, my sleep was not deep in part because of the door, which, in combined with the TV's behavior, seemed a little weird. I tend to get freaked out easily, especially when it comes to safeguarding my sleep.

I finally gave up on the door and conked out for the night. I was enjoying a deep slumber when I was slowly awakened by the most distracting sound: the neighbors engaging in increasingly louder and louder sex. As I woke up, I thought, "God, I'm surprised the walls are so thin... and WHY are they getting louder and louder like they're on a volume control?"

When I opened my eyes, I realized why - it wasn't the neighbors at all. Instead, the TV had turned itself on in the middle of the night, coming to rest on hard core porn. (No joke! I do not sleepwalk. This was not my doing.) I was stunned. I turned the TV off and lay in bed for a good hour before exhaustion took the better of me.

The next day, I told my co-workers what had happened. It made for a good story, and they laughed. One of them suggested that it could have been an electrical interference caused by the fact that our hotel lay directly under a flight path. I could understand this - the TV turning on and off due to surges - but the channels changing? And the volume becoming increasingly louder on its own, until I stopped it with the remote?

Later that day, I flipped through the TV channels out of curiosity. When I got to the channel for the porn station, a blue screen informed me that the adult channels had child blocks on them, and the only way to view this programming was to go downstairs to the concierge desk to pay for viewing with a photo i.d.

Simply put - there was no way I could have sleepwalked all the way down to the front desk. Nor did I see how a 747 flying overhead could somehow scramble the system enough to get me such highly guarded programming. Never mind that volume thing.

My ultimate conclusion was that there was somebody hanging out in that room with me, and that somebody had a darned good sense of humor.

I checked out two days later and went home.

Not a very chilling story, but it's the closest I've come to paranormal activity. Decide for yourself, I guess.

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