The lobby retains the original white marble steps leading to the large mezzanine, up which Mexican bandit-turned-revolutionary Pancho Villa once reportedly rode his horse.
Visitors ride one of the oldest manual elevators west of the Mississippi to their rooms, many fitted out with original furnishings, ageing drapes and pictures that recall the hotel’s bustling heyday.
|Haunted room 333|
Many of the alleged supernatural encounters have been recorded by guests themselves and are kept in two binders behind the front desk. Accounts include television sets turning on and off in Room 333, supposedly the most haunted, and mysterious knocks coming from radiators.“My heart almost came out of my chest,” one guest wrote of her experience.
In another testimonial, a guest reported hearing a key turning in a lock, then two figures walking into the room “as if they just finished a day of shopping.” Then they were gone, just like that.
One woman visitor wrote of something pulling on her hair during the night, while another said she felt someone “sit on the edge of the bed, then ... felt pressure as the person laid down next to me.”
Deputy manager Brenda Maley, who said a ghost once pinned her to a bed in room 114, said she apologised and offered up a new room. But the woman happily declined.
Television paranormal sleuths and amateur ghost hunters have probed the Gadsden, some toting thermal image cameras. Enthusiasts have also sent in photographs of purported paranormal phenomena, including an eerie snap of a shadowy translucent cowboy sitting on a couch in the lobby.
But not all guests are believers: “The only thing haunted about Room 333 is the toilet, which won’t stop running,” wrote one skeptic.
Some newer staff are a little uncomfortable. Ana Yanez, a server in the Cattleman’s Coffee Shop, said she hears coffee spoons tinkling sometimes, and shudders at the thought of working the front desk ‘graveyard shift’ at night.
But for Maley, who has worked at the hotel for 36 years, the ghosts provide company in an isolated town.
“You get used to it,” she said. “You would be lonely without them.” Sometimes, even a ghostly presence is welcome...