The 13th Floor

Expert Claims to Solve the Mystery of the “Screaming Hotel Ghost”

Haunted hotels seem to be all over the news lately, and we’re seeing new reports and updates to existing stories happening almost every week. But for this article we want to follow up on one particular hotel, previously featured in our list of Six Scary Paranormal Activity Videos from the Web: the site of the so-called “Screaming Ghost of Room 209.”

According to the video — first uploaded in 2012, but dated onscreen as September 14, 2003 — security staff at an unspecified Wingate Hotel in Illinois received a report of a woman’s blood-curdling screams in that particular room. En route to the second floor, staff are informed by the dispatcher that no one is currently staying in 209. A guard can be seen approaching the room, and at this point on the video we can hear the screams from inside. Despite being told to wait for the police, the guard unlocks the door and enters… watch the footage and see what happens next:

This video has been debated, analyzed, studied and shared for years, but so far it hasn’t been officially debunked — nor has anyone come forward to confess to perpetrating a hoax. But author, blogger and professional skeptic Kenny Biddle, who subjects reports of paranormal phenomena to rigorous scientific analysis, has offered an intriguing theory about the video’s origins, which he breaks down in extreme detail on his Facebook page.

Biddle compared the ghost clip to another YouTube clip posted by the same user, claiming to depict a ghostly figure caught on video in someone’s basement. He notes that the ghost image bears a strong resemblance to the similar anomaly on the hotel video. Here’s the basement clip:

Further research uncovered the uploader’s identity as Turner Clay, an independent writer-director-editor with several horror films to his credit — including the zombie features DISASTER L.A. and STATE OF EMERGENCY. Biddle suspects that the YouTube clips may simply be unused footage from one of his projects, or possibly a clever way of promoting his effects work.

To date, Clay has not confirmed or denied Biddle’s theories (which he first posted in 2013), but as the video continues to circulate, the debate goes on…