The Haunted: Skirvin Hotel

         This month’s haunting post is our very first haunted hotel! The Skirvin Hotel has built up a reputation for being the most haunted hotel in Oklahoma City, OK. It also has quite the reputation for scaring off professional basketball players. Excited? Let’s explore.

History

          Before we get into the spooky stuff, let’s go over the basic history of the Skirvin Hotel. The Skirvin opened in 1910, named after its founder. The structure originally consisted of two towers. Each tower had ten floors and a combined total of over 200 rooms. The Skirvin expanded in 1926, adding a third tower that had 13 floors. Eventually, all three towers had floors added so they all were matched at 14 floors. Throughout its heyday, the Skirvin saw many influential people pass through its halls, from politicians to musicians to mobsters. The Skirvin was remodeled and rechristened as the Skirvin Hilton in 2005, though its history and its prestige have led to it being referred to as the Skirvin Hotel despite this name change.

(The facade of the Skirvin Hotel.
via the
Official Skirvin Website)

The Ghosts

          The paranormal activity covers a wide gamut at the Skirvin Hotel. A lot of the reported phenomena is easy to write off or explain away as it is fairly low level. Guests report hearing footsteps or voices with no apparent source, dips in temperature, and doors slamming. That’s the kind of low-level activity that skeptics love to brush off as squeaky floorboards, drafts, and the fact that there are other people in the hotel that might be making unexpected noises.
          The thing about the Skirvin Hotel haunting is that there is one specific spirit that is very…prolific. And brazen. According to legend. The hotel’s namesake, William Skirivin, had an affair with a maid at the hotel in its early days. The maid became pregnant. Fearing the downfall of his marriage, reputation, and financial state, William Skirvin locked the maid in a tenth floor room at the hotel to keep the pregnancy a secret. When she had the baby, she thought she would be freed…but she remained imprisoned. Eventually, distraught and seeing no other way out of the situation, the maid took her baby and completed suicide by jumping from the window. Her death was kept from the papers due to William Skirvin’s influence. Of course, there is no real evidence to be found to confirm or deny this story’s veracity, so it’s firmly in urban legend territory. Those that have encountered the spirit have christened her Effie.
           Effie’s behavior in the afterlife includes the low-level phenomena described above, but she also seems to be more bold. She talks directly to people and has been known to respond intelligently. She’s physically touched at least one guest of the Skirvin Hotel. Some rumors say that she propositions young men who stay at the hotel, but those instances are always mentioned very vaguely and seem to stem from the idea that she was a woman of “loose morals,” based on the legend of her death. (But no consequences for the man here? Huh! Shocker!) All in all, it seems like the spirit of Effie is lonely and looking for some connection. Regardless of how she met her end, regardless of whether the legend is true, it seems like her spirit needs guidance or empathy. So if you ever find yourself at the Skirvin Hotel, maybe just say a quick hello to their resident lonely ghost.

(The interior of the Skirvin.
via ESPN)

Professional Athlete Experiences

          One of the most interesting things about the Skirvin Hotel is the frequency of experiences with the paranormal. And, to break that down further, who those experiences happen to. The majority of reported experiences at the Skirvin come from professional athletes. This led to research being a very surreal experience – reading about hauntings on ESPN and the official NBA site is a strange feeling. Let’s go over the broad strokes of the hauntings before we get into a few specific experiences. Let’s discuss three instances of professional athletes experiencing things at the Skirvin.
          In 2010, the New York Kicks stayed at the Skirvin Hotel before a monumental game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. They lost sleep, blaming their eventual loss on their exhaustion. Players came forward with reports of unexplained creaks and groans, doors opening and closing of their own accord, and just the general vibe of the place being off. In subsequent interviews, at least one Knicks player admitted to sleeping in another player’s room out of fear. Apparently, the Skirvin Hotel and Effie in particular have quite the reputation in the NBA league.
          But NBA players are not the only targets for the spiritual phenomena of the Skirvin Hotel. In 2013 the Baylor Lady Bears basketball team were visiting Oklahoma City to defend their NCAA Division I Championship. They unexpectedly lost in the semi-finals. They were staying at the Skirvin Hotel. While the players did not outright mention supernatural phenomena as a factor in their loss, it has led to much speculation that the Skirvin is bad luck, or that the players were psychologically impacted by the idea that the hotel might be haunted.
        Our final incident took place in 2016, when the Los Angeles Lakers were visiting the Oklahoma City Thunder and some players were put up at the Skirvin Hotel. Some players from the Lakers paid their own way at other hotels in order to avoid staying at the Skirvin. Its haunted reputation had preceded it. One Laker that ended up in a room at the Skirvin was Metta World Peace. He was in his room, relaxing and watching a movie when he began to feel something touching him. MWP said he resigned himself to the fact that he was being touched by ghosts, having heard the rumors of the Skirvin and being exhausted after a long travel process. But the ghosts got inappropriate. MWP explained it best: “They touched me all over the place. I’m taking one of the ghosts to court for touching me in the wrong places.” Yikes.


          So, what do you all think? Would you spend a night on the 10th floor of the Skirvin Hotel to pay Effie a visit? I think I would.

Sources

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