Segment 11: Historical Record part 2 (2015)

written, edited, and produced by Viktor Devonne for 2 Night Stay
performed by Dick Move, Iris Explosion, Seedy Edie, Johnny Caligula, Viktor Devonne, Sarah Tops, and Noctua, with Jack Barrow
engineered and recorded by Dick Move



gilman-logo-new-transparentNARRATOR: The Gilman Hotel is host to a number of unusual situations, both readily available on record and some left to rumor and imagination.

LESLIE DAVENPORT, investigative reporter: I think the first weird happening that was acknowledged by the hotel was how they handled Maitland.

NARRATOR: Calvin Maitland was a businessman from Denton, Ohio who came to the town as per to Tobias Gilman’s request in 1902.

CHARLY VILLAQUEZ, magazine editor: By now, Lionel’s dead.  His brother Tobias is running things but you have to remember, the hotel wasn’t the only thing going on for the Gilman family—they have a whole corporation and while Lionel left the major decision making to his brother so he could focus on this new hotel land he’s excited about, he suddenly dies.  So now Tobias has to deal with it.  And he’s not even living in the state.

LAURA GRIFFITH-KELLY, Gilman Legacy Foundation president: Tobias Gilman shuttled back and forth for the hotel and the headquarters of the masonry business, and their philanthropic work.  But when he realized he could not dedicate the time, he found Mr. Calvin Maitland.

NARRATOR: Maitland knew the hotel business, so he was an obvious choice.  He previously worked with both Gilman brothers during the construction of his previous properties.  Maitland, however, would not live up to the task.

FELIX SCOTT, contributing reporter: In theory, Maitland owned the Gilman starting in 1902, but if you actually look at the property records, he spent almost no money on it.  All of the funding still directly came from the Gilman foundation, which at this time is Tobias,  and his underlings.

GRIFFITH-KELLY: Calvin Maitland owned the property. There are bank records that show that.

SCOTT: If anyone says there are bank records, they’re lying.  The banks on those deeds were not legitimate holding companies.  They were essentially DBAs for the Gilman company.

DAVENPORT: Yes, there is the belief that Tobias Gilman sold the hotel to Calvin Maitland but that Maitland used money that was provided to him from the Gilman.

VILLAQUEZ: The point is that Maitland wouldn’t have had that kind of money.  by now, the hotel was in massive reconstruction mode, and while the gilman company could expedite that process because they were providing their own workers, their own equipment, and their own materials, they would have had needed to have all that in motion by the time Calvin Maitland ever stepped in.   Maitland was just there to make sure the town had someone to check in on.

DAVID HANDLER, author: He was definitely in over his head.  he couldn’t have known that he was signing on to own, run, and manage this place and then get sick.  he had to leave the building several times to visit doctors because of a severe medical condition.

SCOTT: When Maitland bought the business, he had been evaluated two weeks before he moved to the Gilman to live on-site.  there was no record of any mental illness, any psycho  logical problems, or any family history of any such thing.

GRIFFITH-KELLY: It is my understanding Mr. Maitland had a degenerative disorder that prevented him from handling the affairs of the hotel.  that happens all the time. 

NARRATOR: Calvin Maitland left the hotel within 8 months of his arrival.  significant work had been done, and he believed he may have inhaled something toxic from the re-construction.  the Gilman company at that time jumped at the chance to keep that allegation quiet.

GRIFFITH-KELLY: The hotel was in perfectly fine working order when Mr. Maitland left.  there was a competent staff that handled the business while he was away.

NARRATOR: He was “away” getting major medical testing.  Maitland land complained of hallucinations, chronic pain, and vision instability as early at 6 months of his time as Gilman’s owner.

Reviewing his case, analyst Dr. Rebecca Mortinelli comments on his state of distress.

DR. REBECCA MORTINELLI, PSYCHOANALYST: Calvin Maitland was diagnosed in 1903 with dementia praecox, which made a lot of sense at the time, but what we now understand was an early term what we would call schizophrenia.  However, there are all kinds of mood disorders that Mr. Maitland may have in fact had.  Unfortunately, the psychology provided to him not only wasn’t very progressive in terms of the era, but also the facility he visited was very comfortable deciding that he was simply, in a word, crazy.

NARRATOR: Maitland’s agitation was noted by the hotel staff, who contacted Tobias Gilman with concerns.  Tobias provided Maitland with a facility that was eventually denounced for unethical practices in 1954. 

DR. REBECCA MORTINELLI, PSYCHOANALYST: Mr. Maitland would have been given a number of opiate-related treatments and was instructed to have baths on the grounds, where he would be restrained for hours at a time.

SCOTT: Calvin was viewed as a nuisance.  Since Tobias knew he was just there to keep an eye on things and then failed, the company had to somehow get rid of him.  They had already made up the idea that this guy owned the hotel, so how can they get it back if he’s still healthy but seeing things he shouldn’t be?  Easy- make him crazy.  Then suddenly he can’t run the place and you can swoop right in.

NARRATOR: A war between families begins.

HANDLER: What the Gilman company did not plan for was that while Calvin Maitland was relatively passive in his business practices, his family was not. They saw this as opportunity  to take over their son’s assets and one of those assets was the hotel.

NARRATOR: Legal arguments would persist, although quietly, for nearly a decade.

DAVENPORT: All the while, the hotel construction is back and forth—things stop, then a lot gets done, and then they have to stop again.  The hotel is beginning to lose business because the reputation is starting to depreciate.  This promised affordable luxury hotel is delayed.

NARRATOR: However, the hotel begins to become known as a spot for servicemen during World War I, and manages to keep the Gilman afloat.

SCOTT: The question then becomes where is the money going?  Why isn’t the Maitland family collecting if they’re the owners?  Why is the Gilman company, which y’know, doesn’t own it anymore at all able to claim that it is?

GRIFFITH-KELLY: I’m afraid i’m not able to provider an answer  to that.  Some documents from the foundation have been deemed eyes-only for the board members.

NARRATOR: With the hotel fully refurnished by 1916, Tobias Gilman settles with the Maitland family privately and once again acquires the hotel.  to prevent it from leaving the Gilman family in the instance of his death, the unmarried Tobias Gilman sets up the Gilman legacy foundation.

DAVENPORT: Tobias wanted to make sure the hotel was protected.  he’s getting on in years, and after the issues with the Maitland family, he figures the safest way to handle the Gilman properties, which you have to remember, are several – it’s not just the hotel – is to create this foundation which is really all about the legacy of his brother’s acquisitions.

NARRATOR: Tobias Gilman passes in 1923 at the age of 85, and all legal responsibilities for the business are shifted to the Gilman legacy foundation, which seeks out another property manager.

In 1924, a ballroom is renovated to become a local hotspot.  It is used for social occasions, including debutante balls, formal dinners, and tea dances.  However, two floors beneath it, the hotel is home to a manufacturing plant for illegal liquor, sold to the next door speakeasy. 

Clarence “Busby” Merklinley was liaison for the gangland activities that financed the alcohol, which was funneled secretly to Hester’s hat rack.  While charming with modern day perceptions, at the time, it was an incredibly dangerous association for the hotel to have.

VILLAQUEZ: The foundation maintains that the crime associations it has with that era are overplayed but there are definitely people who knew that the Gilman was playing house to this underground operation, and that definitely affected the type of clientele suddenly showing up.

NARRATOR: In 1933, the Maitland family attempted a lawsuit against the Gilman legacy foundation one more time, stating the foundation, and the deceased Tobias Gilman, were directly responsible for the poor health of Calvin, who died that year in seclusion.

DAVENPORT: The Maitlands come forward with documentation that explicitly states that Tobias thought something was wrong with the hotel.  there is speculation that either mold, or asbestos, or something highly toxic was used in the building materials that made Calvin Maitland sick.  The hotel of course, while it has the initial structure on the first two floors, has been completely gutted and added to for the final setup.  Tests are done, and they can’t find anything in the walls, the water, the floors.  The Maitlands contend that the materials that the Gilman foundation used were covered up or destroyed during that reconstruction.

SCOTT: The Maitlands lose their case.  and disappear.  Like legit, disappear.  They close up shop, families go missing, they’re just gone.  Notorious crime leader busby Merkinley’s still a friend of the hotel though.  Just saying.

NARRATOR: Shortly after the lawsuit is dismissed, the Gilman legacy foundation put john D. Cleveland in charge.  due to his political affiliations, Cleveland sets up a series of political fundraisers, which the Persephone ballroom becomes known for.

VILLAQUEZ: Cleveland lasts five years.  on the record, it’s bad investments.  He dies in ’39 when he shoots himself in the hotel.  Upon inspection, he has no money, no prospects, and basically was living off the hotel’s kitchen.  There’s no explanation.  It takes five years for anyone to even find out he shot himself in the hotel.

GRIFFITH-KELLY: Oh, I don’t know if all that’s necessary to get into.

SCOTT: Why are all these single men buying a stake in this place only to die and have no one in their family be able to follow up?

NARRATOR: Officially, Cleveland is pronounced dead at the hospital, but the foundation denies initially that he shot himself, or that he died at the hotel.

GRIFFITH-KELLY: Officially, as I understand it, and you have to understand, this was almost 100 years ago, Mr. Cleveland did in fact decide to end his life while living at the Gilman.  He was declared by the foundation as am embezzler.  He spent all of his own money on womanizing, gambling, and other behavior that they denounced. 

NARRATOR: The foundation managed to keep Cleveland’s death out of the papers for nearly a week and then, when reported, the media and the public were told that Cleveland’s death was not on-site, and was due to his own bad habits.

DAVENPORT: By the time anyone even admitted he died at the hotel, who cared, we are in the middle of World War II.  Whoever needed to get paid off, kept their word.  I think the only reason they admitted it is because someone decided to investigate on their own.  no one in the police was checking up.

NARRATOR: So began the first findings of an anti-Gilman sentiment that would very quietly grow over the years.

GRIFFITH-KELLY: People are afraid of successful people.

NARRATOR: What is now known as the #gilmantruth movement, which maintains that the foundation has engaged in immoral behavior, it was through the investigation of Margaret Henniford that Cleveland’s on-site death was confirmed, if overlooked by the general public.

VILLAQUEZ: The hotel’s in full swing, and in 1943, the Abrams brothers take it on.  they actually buy the hotel.

NARRATOR: Members of the Gilman Legacy Foundation, Ethan and Joshua Abrams purchase a stake in the hotel with permission to make improvements, and potentially find another outside seller.

SCOTT: Once again… Two brothers.  No kids, no wives.  No other kin but each other.  So if they end up chopped up in the basement, no one’s missing them.

NARRATOR: The brothers indeed ended their time with the hotel due to tragedy in 1954, but not their own.  Coming up on Historical Record: Secrets and Skeletons…

DAVENPORT: People are bloody, scrambling down the stairs screaming, running out on the streets, expecting to the see the end of the world–

NARRATOR: And later,

HESPERWOLF, spiritualist: I was brought in to connect with the spirits of the hotel. 

HANDLER: I wouldn’t exactly call her famous.

VILLAQUEZ: They sold their soul.  They were a vampire. 

SCOTT: Another one gone.  No one investigates the hotel.

NARRATOR: … on Historical Record: Secrets and Skeletons.


Blood (1928)

written, edited, and produced by Viktor Devonne for 2 Night Stay
performed by Sarah Storm
engineered and recorded by Matt Storm




Yet again, the master had cut himself shaving.  Streaks of his blood needed to be mopped away from the counter.  Marla was careful to not use the hotel towels, as she had her own.  She didn’t need the fussy staff to ask questions they needn’t answers for.

At this rate, Marla had given up on the so-called safety razors of today.  Clearly they weren’t foolproof as her own employer managed to nearly behead himself twice a week.  She looked patronizingly at the set of razors, far from the familiarity of those long handled straight razors she recalled in her childhood household.

Twenty years his attendee, Marla had kept the nature of his condition private for the last seven.  She was the sixth person told, but thanks to swinging doors in his home in Hartford, she was the second person to know.  It had a German name; his illness coupled with his bullish attitude, he had been given fewer than ten years to live, and much of the last several were to dedicate finalizing his affairs.

This scene, not unlike some sordid alley during the Eastern Rising, was as usual as tea served at 2.

She picked up her skirts, and ducked down, peering under the countertop and basin, and found the remaining ruddy droplets.  Folding the now gruesome linen, to be washed upon their return, Marla came back to the main room, and tucked them into her accumulating laundry.

While she rummaged, she spoke to the shadow of a figure in the bed behind her,”Mister Grantson, are you interested in going out this afternoon?”

A slight wheeze followed, with a long enough pause to send for a doctor, but then a cough and a murmur, “Eloise?”

“Mister Grantson, it’s Marla Macwell,” she said, now facing him, a wearied but concerned look on her face, and an accusatory hand on her hip. “You know it’s me, don’t let’s make pretending that you’ve lost your marbles.”

“You know, Marla, I would’ve married you after Eloise died if you hadn’t been such a mule.”  Mr Grantson shifted in his bed, gently lifting what he could of his body with the strength of one shoulder.

“I know, Mr. Grantson,” Marla smiled, getting closer to fluff his pillow, “but I couldn’t have afforded the reduction in pay.”  Now next to him, she could smell a waft of antiseptic, a post-bath face routine for her employer.

“The doctor?” Mr. Grantson trailed off.

“Dr. Sparrman will be at 3,” Marla said, sitting in the chair by the bed.  “He will give your examination and let us know if you’re well enough to travel tomorrow morning.”

Mr. Grantson snorted.  He had long favored his previous doctor, but he was dismayed to have outlived yet another.  In seventy-eight years, he had seen them all go.

“Now, Mr Grantson, would you be liking your tea now?”

“Is it as weak as yesterday’s?” Mr. Grantson muttered.

Marla was undeterred.  “Mr. Grantson, you know you cannot be taking your tea with as much sugar as you once did.  You’re not a young man any more.  We have to save your caloric intake.”

“What’s worth saving?  Give me the damn tea.”

Marla sighed.  The ox was stubborn as usual, but it was superior to the weeks of delusion and fits of unrest he suffered during his last treatment.

Marla fixed the tea as Mr. Grantson desired, and served it to his hand, steadying it by holding his wrist, and tucking a tray beneath it.  She set the kettle aside, prepared for a second cup should he desire it, or if she had the opportunity to nip some while he rested.

“There was the noise again,” Mr. Grantson said between sickly sips.

“The noise,” muttered Marla, “Sir, it’s a busy street, we’re going to have noise.  You want the racket of chickens like at home?”

“Not chickens… banging.  Banging on the wall.”

“That was me, ” smiled Marla, “I was trying to make sure you didn’t have too good a night sleep so you’d nap early this evening.”

Mr. Grantson stared ahead.  Marla checked her tone, as it was a familiar one but was concerned it was too sarcastic for the circumstances.  She and Mr. Grantson had enjoyed several years of playful back and forth in their conversation; indeed, something of a teasing daughter of only eight or nine to her youthful, funny father.

“Mr. Grantson, perhaps we should tell the doctor what you’ve been hearing?  Perhaps your body giving yourself a knocking and you’re mistaking it for out of doors.”

“I’m not giving myself a knocking,” Mr. Grantson said more loudly than he had been in days.  “There’s something here.  There’s always something here.”

“I have told the staff and they assure us there aren’t rats.”

“Every hotel has rats,” Mr. Grantson sighed.  “But that’s not what I’m hearing.  You’d hear it too if you ever stopped talking long enough.”

Marla steadied her tongue and the room was momentarily silent.  She reached for the cloth around Mr. Grantson’s neck.  He shuddered, but relented.

“I’m sorry, Marla.” He said quietly.

“Oh, Mr. Grantson, you haven’t said the worst I could take in these twenty years.”  Marla studied the bloodstains on the cloth.  It seemed to be taking longer to stop every time.  She went to tuck the fabric into her laundry items.

“The noise has been going for the full week we’ve been here.” Mr. Grantson, not to be ignored, continued.  “I hear it at night.  I hear the quiet of the out doors when you leave the window open, and I hear the bustle of morning when the staff turns down the rooms.  I hear the guests leave their rooms for dinner.  And I know what I hear at night is different.  I hear a banging in this hotel, the ghosts of who’ve gone, saying it’s time for me.”

“Oh, Mr. Grantson,” Marla sighed.

“Doctor Sparrman… he says I’m dying.”  Mr. Grantson said directly.

“Doctor Whalen was your last physician, Mr. Grantson.  You haven’t met Doctor Sparrman yet, and he hasn’t told you any such thing.”  Marla began folding his handkerchiefs, as she had always done for her parents when she was little.

“He says I’m dying,” Mr. Grantson continued, “and he’ll say it today.  Dr. Whalen knew me better than to leave me off with some thumper who won’t tell me what I need to know.”

Marla, for once in a long while, attempted to keep her mouth shut.  Her willpower lasted nearly whole seconds.

“Mr. Grantson, the doctor will tell you what he will tell you and we will prepare for it as always.”  She allowed herself a softer tone than even was necessary.

“Is Stephen coming?” Mr. Grantson coughed.

“Your son is at the house, Mr. Grantson.  He is meeting us there when you’re well enough to return.”

Marla closed her eyes, begging her god for no follow-up questions.  Stephen had long not been her favorite of Mr. Grantson’s sons.  His piggish behavior had increased once his father’s illness was made public.  She half expected to see him with a measuring tape in each room, determining what the ad would say upon the estate sale date of Mr. Grantson’s death.

“Damn,” muttered Mr. Grantson, and Marla peered over her shoulder to see he had spilled the rest of his tea cup over his chest.  Immediately registering the steps to improve the situation, Marla had a new shirt in her hand to redress him.  She assured him there were no burns, and that the tea was in fact quite cold after all.

His energy had all but given out upon her cleanup; then he settled his head against the pillow and headboard, and nodded in a quiet succumbence of rest.

As the clock ticks grew further and further away in sound, Mr. Grantson was asleep, as Marla stood there, bringing the soiled shirt to the basin.

The room was quiet as she stood there, barring that of the cool water pouring from the faucet.  As it approached a warmer touch, Marla ran her weathered fingers under the tap.  She had seen her own father go, years earlier, and was doing all she could to not allow the memories to subject her to foregone conclusions of her employer.

The steam rose from the basin, and Marla dunked the shirt under.  Her eyes trailed away, awash with concern and predisposed loss for Thomas James Grantson.  As she looked on, a spot came in focus.  The resulting splatter of Mr. Grantson’s emboldened attempts to shave himself in the morning, continued to carry into the afternoon, it seemed.

Leaving the shirt immersed in the water, Marla stared down at the spot.  The color suggested it was older but it looked otherwise fresh.  The spot, marring the otherwise lovely daffodil-colored tiles, just to the left of the dish of bar soap dimmed in the light.  Marla shook her head, somewhat dizzy, and looked again.  Seeing nothing but the subtle wash of yellow color on the wall, she stepped back uneasily, confused.  She glanced at the sink and let out a yelp.  Her master’s white collared shirt was now drenched in a deep, thick scarlet bath.   She puffed and stumbled back towards the wall of the bathroom, nearly falling into the tub, causing her view to catch the floor to steady herself.

She looked back at the sink.  The shirt bobbed slightly in the clear water.  She gasped but did not want to wake her employer up, so she stifled her sound with her fingers, nearly biting into them with fear.  A drubbing  against the wall shook her into place, as she stood, far enough from the sound to ensure she had not been the one to make it.

The yellow wall tile shone in the light of the room, gently reflecting just the closest of objects.  Marla studied the tile, seeing how each was separated by a thin strip of hardened white goo.  She let her gaze follow several pieces until she stopped dead.

Marla slowly moved closer to the splotch of crimson that marred the otherwise cheerful hue.  This mark was larger, unmistakable, and slowly, purposefully dripped in thin lines to the floor.

“No…”  Marla held her head.  She rushed her palm to the mark, praying it would vanish upon contact, but instead leaving an ugly smear.  She gagged at the sight.

Her eyes filling with wells of tears, she sank her hand into the still water of the basin, the water immediately a deepening, wretched pink.  With her other hand, she turned the faucet, cupping handfuls of water and bringing them to her face.

Convinced she was suddenly going mad, she squeezed her eyes tight and commanded her senses to return.  When she opened them, a wash of blood across the basin, counter, and floor pushed her deeper into a state of shock and fear.  Her shoes, as she pulled them backwards, left a sickening residue on the floor.  Her head pounded, and she slammed her fists on the sink, cracking it.  The faucet continued to pour clean water on to the fresh stains of blood, and trickled through the crack and onto the floor.  She let out a hearty bellow, her mind flooding with as many terrible visions as she could scarcely breathe during.

Crashing her fists against the walls, she screamed as each blow left a splattered bloodstain not her own.  “Stop it!  Stop it!” she howled, “I’ll never get it clean.  I’ll never… ” she slumped on the floor, feeling the ooze beneath her knees and thighs.  “I’ll never…”

She continued to dwindle; her body further slinking into the horrific slush, never ending and smelling of wounded, severed flesh, and revolting rusted metal.  Her strength at a near end, she pounded against the sticky floor, banging and sobbing.

“Marla?” a cough came from the other room.

For entire minutes, it felt like all the air went out, the silence of a ear gone numb, the sting of nonvolume, a near hum of agony.  She opened her eyes again.


Yet again, the master had cut himself shaving.  Streaks of his blood needed to be mopped away from the counter.  Emma was careful to not use the hotel towels, as she had her own.  She didn’t need the fussy staff to ask questions they needn’t answers for.

The scene, not unlike some sordid alley in Herzegovina she heard of growing up, was as usual as tea served at 2.

Emma returned to the main room, and tucked them into her accumulating laundry.

While she rummaged, she spoke to the shadow of a figure in the bed behind her,”Mister Grantson, will you be going out this afternoon?”

They sat in the dim light; “Marla?”

“Mister Grantson,” she said firmly but warmly, “It’s Emma Kovacs.  You know it’s me, don’t let’s make pretending that you’ve lost your marbles.”