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
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NARRATOR: As 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.
NARRATOR: Credit 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.
NARRATOR: Controversial 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.
NARRATOR: Hesperwolf 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.
NARRATOR: Hesperwolf, 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.
NARRATOR: And 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.
NARRATOR: One 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.