STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – Visitors to the Oklahoma State University campus find it most convenient to stay at the Atherton Hotel, formerly the Union Club Hotel – built as such in 1950, and tucked quietly into its home on the south end of campus.
“We feel like we’re the front porch of campus,” says Atherton General Manager, Josh Barnard.
He’s has been the General Manager for some time now, and on a few quiet, fall days is still drawn to recalling his 20-year association with the building, notably its friendly spirits.
On his daily walk around the property Josh takes us to a room on the 4th floor where the smell of women’s perfume is often present even when it’s been vacant.
“This room right here is where I smelled it,” he recalls. “It was pungent and strong. The next year I smelled it again.”
Lots of old hotels boast of similar, unexplained phenomena.
Josh shows us another room on the 2nd floor where a big door opens itself every night for one particular guest.
“Every morning he wakes up and this door is open. I haven’t had anyone else report this,” he chuckles.
Hotel staff have seen an apparition at one end of the 2nd floor as well which Josh might have dismissed if not for the new video monitors he installed after an extensive renovation in 2016.
A recording shows the hallway late at night.
He points out an unexplained change of light moving up and down the corridor.
Barnard insists, “It was just an orb. It was the weirdest thing. It flew around the hallway and went down to another room.”
Another security camera recording shows the hotel bar at about 3AM, long after last call.
On the monitor, he shows us a similar light moving across the room and behind the bar.
Josh says, “We kept getting these orbs for about six months.”
Sightings and recordings like this were common, says Barnard, in the six months after the hotel re-opened.
Video installers couldn’t explain the phenomena.
The recordings have never been released to the public.
“That one is the most obvious,” Barnard says of the bar orb, “because I’ve seen it.”
But Josh and others at the hotel have their own playful theory, that a friendly spirit was just roaming around to admire the improvements.
“It’s almost as if he was making sure we did things the right way when we came back,” he smiles.
The hotel is still a welcoming place for Homecoming, Parents Weekend, and Graduation.
It might also appeal to the occasional wandering spirit in search of a place to rest.
Great State is sponsored by WEOKIE Credit Union