Today we give a warm Mysterista welcome to friend and alumna Cynthia Kuhn. Cynthia is celebrating the release of her third Lila MacLean Academic Mystery, The Spirit in Question. And she swears all of the below is not a figment of her imagination.
As I was drafting the third Lila Maclean Academic Mystery, The Spirit in Question, one of the characters casually mentioned that they had just come from the Stanley Hotel.
Pausing here to acknowledge that yes, sometimes the characters say things I don’t plan. When you’re deep in the zone, things can happen as you type and genuinely surprise you. #notcrazyjustawriter
Anyway, the Stanley Hotel is a beloved Colorado landmark famous for its paranormal activity—and known as the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining.
When the character shared that piece of information, I immediately knew it was time to drive my family up to Estes Park in order to take the official “Spirit Tour” at the Stanley. In the name of research.
You aren’t going to believe me when I tell you what happened. But every word is true.
The tour wound through the property—it’s a gorgeous place—and the guide shared many fascinating stories about the history and the hauntings.
But the most interesting part when was they instructed us to do the following:
(1) hold two pencils end-to-end (erasers in the middle) facing another person, or
(2) hold a lollipop upside down, centered on your palm.
Supposedly, in both cases, if you asked a question aloud and a spirit wanted to communicate with you, it would move the items.
But guess what? Things did move. The pencils swung horizontally outward (which we were told meant “no”) and inward (to indicate “yes”). If you were the one holding the pencils, it felt as if a very strong magnet was pulling them together or pushing them apart. And if you asked multiple questions, it genuinely seemed like you were having a whole conversation with…someone.
The lollipop rotated so the stick part slid downward toward your hand and, sometimes, back up again. Which wasn’t so much conversing as it was letting you know they were there—or as the guide put it, “playing.”
Let me say that again: objects were moving. And we were not moving them.
It absolutely feels like you are interacting with ghosts.
I have no explanation for you. I could hardly believe it, either.
And now we can’t wait to go back.
Cynthia Kuhn writes the award-winning Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series. She is professor of English at Metropolitan State University of Denver and president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado. For more information, please visit cynthiakuhn.net.
The Spirit in Question is now available at booksellers and online: