Approaching sun down, we anxiously drive an hour off I-5 down a long deserted dirt road towards The Groveland Hotel. As we continue winding up a steep incline, we notice our cellphone reception starts to get spotty. Isn’t this how every horror movie starts? Our minds start to race assessing possible outcomes of our stay at The Groveland. Our experience started long before we even reached Room 15 believed to be occupied by a departed gold miner, Lyle.
Since 1849, The Groveland was a fixture outside Yosemite National Park although it took on many different uses before becoming a hotel. By the 1920s, The Groveland was serving as a hotel for many of the gold miners in the area eager to make their fortune. Lyle is said to be one of those gold miners who took up residence in Room 15 of the hotel and never left. An eccentric individual, Lyle is believed to have slept with dynamite under his bed, He was believed to be neurotic about his hygiene and had a preference for a clean dresser and dim lights. After he was found dead in Room 15, eerie experiences began happening that were reminiscent of Lyle’s influence. Guest of Room 15 have reported items being moved, particularly make-up moving off the dresser, keys no longer working, doors closing on their own, lights dimming, candy being eaten, the faucet turning on and off, and furniture moving on its own. As we nervously read the pamphlet in the lobby outlining individuals’ encounters with Lyle, we mentally prepared ourselves for our stay in Room 15.
Although I was nervous from anticipation and possibility of meeting Lyle, as a skeptic I wasn’t truly expecting to have any ghostly encounters with the undead. I have never had a paranormal experience before and when unexpected coincidences have happened I am quick to try to explain them away with science. However, weird things did happen during our stay at The Groveland and it was unnerving. Before we left the room for dinner, I set my makeup on the dresser and took a photo of it so I would be able to tell if it was moved. When we returned from dinner, nothing was moved and I felt stupid for thinking something would happen. I put my make-up away in frustration but then decided to set it out again just to see what would happen. However, this time I did not take a photo. The next morning, I believe the make-up was moved. Some of the items were stacked on top of one another when I distinctly remember leaving all of them flat on the dresser. Since I didn’t take a photo, I could have remembered wrong or it could have been moved by a ghost. Also, the sink kept turning on and off without anyone turning the handle. Maybe it was old pipes or programmed to turn on and off. Or maybe it was Lyle messing with us. I kept waking up in the middle of the night and felt restless. In a daze, I got up and I remember turning the light off and shutting off the TV. When I awoke to the TV being on, I thought “well maybe my friend turned it back on last night” and went back to sleep. The next morning, when she said she hadn’t turned it on, I started second guessing myself. In the middle of the night, she awoke to hearing rustling next to the sink. There was nothing over there that could account for rustling noises. It was suspicious because when Lyle was alive he was rumored to be particular about his hygiene. It could have been an animal coincidentally next to the sink. All of these eerie experiences can be explained by rigged technology, poor memory, auditory hallucinations, bias, or other cognitive processes anticipating a spooky experience. But there were so many of them. Were they all coincidence or is there a resident spirit in Room 15.
Whatever your beliefs are about the paranormal, a night in Room 15 is a fun and exciting experience that is nothing if not memorable. Even if you do not have anything unusual occur during your stay, the anticipation of having a supernatural encounter creates an exciting experience. The Groveland Hotel is also so rich in history it is a great place to get curious about California history while enjoying comfortable updated lodgings. Reservations can be made at https://www.groveland.com/.