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Travis Black

Copyright © 2001
All Rights Reserved

DO YOU BELIEVE that a place can be evil? I do. I believe that certain buildings possess an inherent malevolence from the time they are built. Evil permeates them like a fog, silent and cold, waiting for the right moment to spring upon an unsuspecting victim. A godforsaken spirit that seeps through every flaw and crack. A place where the sights, sounds, and smells of the past are impregnated in the walls. The Hotel Lyceum in south central St. Louis is such a place.

I also believe in family curses. First my father and then my older brother died in the Lyceum. My father was a parapsychologist who went to the hotel to investigate rumors of strange happenings and tales of ghostly sightings. He stayed overnight in Room 6 and was found dead the next morning.

My brother was a psychic, and years later he arranged a seance in the hotel to make contact with our father. The seance was unproductive, and my brother decided to stay the night in Room 6. He too was found dead the next morning.

Neither death was solved. There were no clues or suspects. An enterprising young reporter for the St. Louis Post Dispatch discovered that both men were related, and theorized both were frightened to death by the ghosts. His article added to the rumors about the hotel. So much for objective reporting.

That reporter was almost right. However, it wasn't a ghost that killed my brother and father. It was the diabolical hotel itself. How do I know? I catch ghosts for a living. I'm a ghost hunter. My name is Patrick Kelly and I intend to destroy the Hotel Lyceum.


The Hotel Lyceum's owners' traded on its haunted allure by staging mystery dinners in the creepy ambiance of its dining room. From a tour, I discovered that the owners' restoration efforts covered just the first floor at this time, and not the upstairs guest rooms.

It was Saturday night, and I snuck in around ten-thirty when the attention of the audience and actors was diverted by participating in the mystery. I hid in one of the upstairs rooms and waited until everyone left.

Around one-thirty the dinner and cleanup were over, and I heard the bartender lockup and leave. I emerged from my hiding place and began to explore. Room 6 was the last room on the second floor near the backstairs exit. It was the only locked room, so I had to break open its old wooden door. Using my pen light, I peered inside. The sparsely furnished room contained a dusty old bedspring, a stained mattress, a small dresser with a cracked mirror, and blank walls with pealing wallpaper. The room was narrow, with a high ceiling from which a naked bulb hung. It had a bare wooden floor. An eerie glow illuminated the room from the solitary street light outside.

The room smelled musty, and disturbed dust swirled in the beam of my light. Its atmosphere was made more sinister by cobwebs draped like bunting in the corners with gray, dusty strands stretching to the thin curtains. Longer, tangled, dingy webs were between the dresser and the mirror. As I walked around, I felt a dark presence. This had been a room that strangled sobs, smothered hopes, and embraced death. This was a place where past events hung in the air and replayed themselves over and over.

I had the sensation of being watched. The skin on the back of my neck tightened and goose bumps raised on my arms. There was indescribable negative energy filling the room. I'd only experienced this feeling once before. That was when I was taking a tour of a New Orleans haunted house where slaves were tortured by their insane mistress.

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