Segment 13: Historical Record part 4 (2015)

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



gilman-logo-new-transparentNARRATORAs the 80s came to a close, the Gilman managed a lower profile until a change at the Gilman Legacy Foundation’s headquarters initiated the hotel’s more friendly image as a tourist attraction for some of the seedier happenings.

LESLIE DAVENPORT, investigative reporter: They saw an opportunity and when cable documentaries about haunted locations started popping up, they decided to take all the calls.

NARRATORCredit for that decision appears to go to Howard Campbell, who left foundation in 2012.  Campbell decided to monetize the salacious nature of the hotel and find a way for visitors from all over learn about its sordid past.

In fall of 2011, Campbell brought on spiritualist Brad “Hesperwolf” Maguire for a special publicity tour in time for Halloween, where guests could tour the still active hotel and see some of the sights, including an All Hallow’s eve rave in the Persephone Ballroom, restored to resemble its original appearance.

HESPERWOLF, spiritualist: I understand it is typical of the human mind to hide from the spiritual, from the glister, as I call it.  When you walk into the room, and there’s a light that you see that you just cannot place, that is what i know as the glister.  Sometimes it disappears just as soon as it appears.  But you must always keep watch for it, for if it appears, it wants to be seen.  It wants you to see it.

NARRATORControversial talk show mainstay and best selling author Hesperwolf was contacted by the Gilman Legacy Foundation privately first.

HESPERWOLF, spiritualist: I first had a dream in 2006 that i would receive a call from mr. campbell and walk with him in the hallways of this hotel.  We were surrounded by energy, a rush of power and sadness and beauty and a singular need, a desperate need to be heard.  I knew when the phone rang who he was.  I knew why he was calling.  I was brought in to connect with the spirits of the hotel.

NARRATORHesperwolf maintains he never read any material on the Gilman before he entered, but instead “downloaded” it mentally upon his arrival.

HESPERWOLF, spiritualist: When you have a connection with the glister, or with whatever force draws you in, you need to have more than an open mind.  You need to have forgiveness in yourself.  If you walk into any space already feeling that you have made mistakes, or are struggling to do the right thing, the wrong forces can feel that, can see that, hear that in you.  You’re blaring insecurity as you walk by these doors.  You have to know you are human, you make mistakes, you amend, you promise to do better.  And with an open heart and mind, you can see what is beyond you.

NARRATORHesperwolf, due to contract obligations with the Gilman Legacy Foundation, cannot go into specifics with what he sees, beyond what is already readily available via the historical society.  He, and the Foundation, went through multiple discussions for what to make public, for as he says, the ghosts of the past never gave the living permission to pry.

Intending to continue tours, and eventually write a book or collaborate on a series, Hesperwolf was stonewalled by policies, and a shift in priorities when Gilman Legacy Foundation appointed a new president, Laura Griffith-Kelly, who put the kabosh on any such publicity.

LAURA GRIFFITH-KELLY, Gilman Legacy Foundation president: The choices that were made by my predecessor were of course governed with the respect that the Gilman legacy foundation has always hoped to employ.  However, since I have taken over, I am of the opinion that our culture is ready again to experience the true beauty of the Gilman for what it is, and will be.  And I think it’s time to restore some of the initial dignity that implies.  We aren’t looking to erase history, or forget what has come.  But it’s important to remember what Lionel and Tobias Gilman always wanted: to provide a home for those away from home. 

NARRATORAnd indeed, that will continue to be the legacy of the Gilman… in addition to all that other stuff.

HESPERWOLF, spiritualist: While Ms. Griffith-Kelly and I do not see eye to eye, and I am bound by the earthly contract of signatures, the truth of the glister cannot be bound by human law.  I am still visited by the beings in that hotel, I still know their names, and I urge her, and the foundation to let their stories be heard.  I know for a fact that it is haunted.  And haunted in such a way that calls out it needs to be free.

NARRATOROne saving grace Hesperwolf may find in all of this, is it’s too late to turn back for the Foundation on its initial admission of the activities on the grounds, or what it agreed to state as fact when it was granted Historical Haunted Landmark status, which provides grants and funding for, as yet, limited seasonal events and recognition from Griffith-Kelly in time for the trick-or-treaters and ghost storytellers.  The Gilman All Hallow’s Eve ball is an annual event that features ghouls, goblins, and tasteful recollections of some of the more devastating occurrences. 

CHARLY VILLAQUEZ, magazine editor: Serial killers.  Rock star overdoses.  Arsonists.  A republican fundraiser.  The Gilman saw it all.  And it sees it all.


Segment 5: The Jefferson Account (1998)

written and produced by Viktor Devonne for 2 Night Stay
recorded and performed by Essence Revealed




gilman-logo-new-transparentIt was unreasonably warm in the room.  She could not tell the last time the bed had been turned down, but the musk in the air would have given the impression of someone having done aerobics while smoking cigars and then bathing a cat.

The windows looked bolted shut but with minimal amount of fuss, she was able to shake one open.  Her view of the courtyard and laxly cultivated garden was idyllic in comparisons to the rest of her surroundings.

The hotel had fallen into neglect, but certainly not recently.  She chose to stay there for the rate, and the proximity to the convention.

She had long been the only mind of money matters at her firm.  She knew where the clients liked to throw their dollar bills, and where the administrators vacationed on the company card.  Years ago, she’d proven her worth to several partners when she 1099’d the mistresses as something more palatable for the IRS.

She herself was three years married.  Margaret Mumford-Sachs.  Margie, please, but it was her decision to hyphenate.  She was tough in the board room, but without those hushed “what a bitch” whispers that her feminine colleagues seemed to always get.  She knew her job, frankly better than anyone else, but knew to file away, mentally, where the bodies were buried rather than act on it now.

Four years with Hopkins Vernon Skipp, the trials she was deposed for, the schmoozing cocktail parties, and the creative tax deductions did not prepare her for marriage to a would-be perfect man.

He was insistently perfect.  Underfoot.  Inquisitive.  Dying to please.  She has decided at six years old that she was not a dog person.  She still wasn’t.

It was almost 4pm.  The room was already airing out and her rose-scented body splash managed to overpower whatever Dutch Master  failed to die in there weeks ago.

Margie took off her lanyard and hung it on the lamp.  Glancing at the mirror, she was relieved her hair had stayed mostly intact from the morning’s styling.  Her manicured nails—violet—traced her neck to clavicle, over her jacket buttons.  The suit was a good choice.  She looked amazing in navy.  She stripped off the blazer somewhat reluctantly, exposing her white blouse.  Both were soon draped over the only chair in the room.

It was a matter-of-fact undressing for a woman who failed to find herself erotic for these many years.  Within moments, she was already in the shower, letting the heat provide much-needed permission for her mind to drift to the hours ahead.

She was an efficient shower-taker at home, but here, she allowed herself to linger.  It was time to switch gears and prepare herself to be something for someone else. Those unchecked emails would wait for Tuesday.  The steam filled her mind, as she caressed her unloved body.

She shuddered at that thought.  Jesus Christ, yes, she was loved.  She had a family she grew up with and supported her.  The collie of a convenience at home in the shape of a college sweetheart.  The single mothers who knew she had their back, and almost foreclosed that got the extra week to pay.  People are complicated, she thought.  It was as good an excuse as any to allow herself to sink into a momentary feeling of abandonment.

The flip phone in the other room made its familiar midi chime.  She caught herself postponing again, even when it served her.  Especially when it served her.

The towels were surprisingly luxurious all things considered; large enough to wrap herself once and a half, and to effectively soak up her skin.  No bathmat; her foot prints betrayed the otherwise naked floor.

Patting her chest and thighs, Margie stumbled into the now dim bedroom area, and to her second carry-on bag.  Her Chicago address tag came loose off the handle and dropped to the floor, as she slipped her hand to the bottom of the bag, past the nasal spray and tissues.  Removing the silk camisole and panty set, she dropped the towel and immediately slid the loose fabric over her still moistened skin.

She wondered if it was still too conservative for the weekend.  She thought black lace would be severe, and hard to explain at home, so she opted for the light silver.  She was afraid of looking like a mom on the Friday night lineup, so she had left her usual nightwear at home.

The phone—there’s a phone?—quietly rang, predictably distorted, on the end table, predictably stained with glass marks.

“Ms., uh, Williams?” the voice said, clearly suspicious of the last name.  They had seen her credit card after all.  “Your guest is here.  I’m sending them up as you requested.”

She nodded sheepishly, and it was quiet for just a few seconds too long; “Ms. Williams?”

“Oh!” she stuttered, “Yes, thank you.”  What the hell was this, 8th grade formal?  Wake up, Margie.  She put the down the receiver, and went to sit on the bed.  She should’ve checked the sheets when she came in.  Relieved to see that while the hideous Anne Geddes reject comforter looked crunchy, the sheets and pillows were bleach white, and seemed at least somewhat new.

Margie sat down on the open bed, and attempted a few poses.  No, “I don’t have to do all that,” she reminded herself.

The quiet of the room, and the distance from the lobby to the elevator to the fifth floor, made her nervous.  She flipped on the TV to yet another news analyst discussing that fucking blue dress.  Switching to Weather, unlicensed muzak put her in the mood of a court lobby, and was oddly soothing.

The door’s lock deactivated from the outside, and Margie saw her new guest for the first time.  “It’s okay to use the key, right?  The desk said—”

Margie smiled, “Yes.  Hi.”

Her guest put the keycard down on the small table  by the door.  “I’m Erica.”

“Hi.  I—” Margie thought for a second.  Fuck it.   “I’m Margie.”

“Hi Margie,” Erica smiled warmly.  She walked toward her slowly, her faux leather jack catching the dim light from the lamp.  “We can do whatever you’d like tonight.  I’m here til about 8.  Is that alright?”

Margie exhaled.  “Yes, that’s totally fine.”

Erica put down her knock-off bag, which hit the carpet with a minor thump.  “Good,” said Erica.  She was soft, but comforting, as she tussled her messy-style bob and pursed her bubblegum pink lips in a knowing “so what you wanna do” stance.  She put her hands on her waist, her jacket rising and the bottom revealing a dress about four inches shorter than Margie would ever feel comfortable wearing at the office.

“You look nice, Margie,” Erica said, not moving.  She smelled like vanilla sugar.  “Really sexy.”

Margie’s eyes stung for half a second, as she lay back.  “Lie down with me?”

Erica pulled off her jacket and kicked off the clunky boots.  “Do you want me to leave this on?”  Erica pointed to her satin minidress.  She looked amazing in navy.

Margie smiled, “I’ll do it.”

Erica would end up leaving promptly at 8:05.  Margie was a little sad to see her go, although she knew she would fall asleep by 8:30 at this rate.  She plugged Erica’s number into her phone, as “Jefferson Account,” and kissed her goodbye at the door, without touching her own stomach to hide it with her hand, or reaching for a robe.

The door closed, and Margie stood there naked for a few moments, before returning her wallet to her purse, and seeking a return to the comfort of the now slightly damp, tumbled sheets.