Mustafa Gatollari is the paranormal historian and site analyst on the Ghost Hunters reboot, and he will be blogging about the show's paranormal investigations each week exclusively for Distractify! Follow Mustafa on Instagram at @mgatollari.
I just need to say that all of the thoughts, opinions, musings, gripes, etc. are solely my own and do not reflect the other members of the Ghost Hunters team, Pilgrim Studios, or A&E.
The Original Springs Hotel is called "The Suicide Hotel" for a reason: two of the former owners took their own lives, and there's some evidence to suggest that a third did so as well.
So when you think about the location's history, that could make you believe any experiences here are rooted in the paranormal.
And the claims at the Original Springs Hotel would make one certainly think something spooky was going down: a female apparition spotted on-site that reportedly manifested itself after Mary, the current owner, bought the hotel. Noises coming from the apartment where Tom Rogers, the fourth owner, allegedly committed suicide.
Employees also reported having heard their names being whispered, random footsteps, doors opening and closing on their own, along with the overall feeling that someone's always watching you.
Those feelings of uneasiness can often heighten or influence other phenomena at a location, so we wanted to try and get to the bottom of that and investigate as much of the building as we can and see if there were any natural explanations for the "nasty vibes" people were getting at the Original Springs.
So, is the "suicide hotel" really haunted?
What was really interesting about this case is that Mary wasn't that concerned with the reported paranormal activity going on at the location —her family was.
In fact, her son reached out to us to let us know of the reports, and it was very apparent that there was a need here — they were afraid that history may have repeated itself and that the building itself might have a negative effect on the psyches of the people who ran the hotel.
The more that I looked into the history of the hotel and its owners the more I dug up some truly fascinating historical facts.
The Springs' OG owner, Anna Schierbaum, founded the hotel with her husband because the mineral spring waters on which the location was built purportedly cured her of her rheumatoid arthritis. Her and her husband, J.F. Schierbaum, were deeply religious people (he was a reverend) and they wanted to share the miraculous gift of the water with people all over the area.
What impressed me most about Anna is that she seemed to have a similar work ethic to Mary.
When J.F. passed away, Anna took up the reins and managed the hotel successfully. It was a major attraction in the area and people gathered from all over to hang out at the Original Springs Hotel for some rest and relaxation. It's important to note that this was in the early 1900s, not exactly the best time for equal rights between men and women.
So the thought was that the reports of a figure or a woman was Anna, who was following Mary all over the hotel while she concerned herself with just running her business.
The Ghost Hunters team was able to debunk most claims.
What we found, however, is that there was an overwhelming amount of natural explanations for what people saw and felt at the Original Springs. When we questioned employees further about the building, we discovered that the main visual claim was the apparition of someone in a mirror at the end of the dining hall across from the bar.
But the mirror itself came off as looking distorted or warped from a distance, which may have created a strange effect on people's vision. So it was difficult to give credence to that claim.
What's also interesting is that the building itself was built on a spring, and running water could either ramp up paranormal activity or, if it's full of minerals, could prove a conduit for electricity, which would increase EMF levels. Prolonged exposure to high levels of EMF could have an affect on someone's brain, especially temporal lobe activity, and even cause hallucinations, or a sense of uneasiness, sickness, or dread.
Well, there was a lot of EMF in the building, like, tons of it. Since it's an older establishment, insulating against that is very difficult and costly. In addition to the high levels of EMF, there were several locations in the Original Springs that also sported high levels of infrasound (ultra low high frequencies). Even though these frequencies aren't perceptible to the human ear, you still pick up on it and it'll make you feel on edge after a while.
So the infrasound, coupled with the water tests we performed that proved it was highly conductive and the infrasound readings were performed all prove that there are natural phenomena occurring in the Original Springs hotel that could lead to an oppressive vibe in the location.
The warmth generated from the pool in the center of the building, with minimal ventilation above, didn't help either. A muggy pool room that smells a bit like chlorine in a hot, wooden structure isn't exactly a pleasant experience.
But that doesn't mean that Anna's ghost isn't still at the hotel.
It's also interesting to note, however, that the only readings Brandon and I received on our data logger were in an area of the hallway where footsteps were heard and an apparition of a woman was seen. This area also didn't have high levels of EMF or had fluctuating environmental changes, and the only activity that registered on our data logger seemed to confirm that Anna was there and she thinks Mary is working too hard.
It's also worth mentioning that while our production crew was filming b-roll footage of the location and we were sifting through hours upon hours of evidence review, they were discussing a recreation shot that would've enacted out the suicide of Anna Schierbaum's son, Ben, who took his own life after his wife left him. They started experiencing hearing footsteps at the end of the hallway, snapped some photos, and captured what appeared to be the apparition of a man running towards them. Check it out below:
So it could be that there's paranormal activity going on at The Original Springs Hotel, but for the most part, I'd say that a lot of the claims on the location are deeply associated with the naturally explained phenomenon we looked to and the environmental factors in the building.
Watch Ghost Hunters Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST on A&E.