Pandora's Jar Paranormal
Ghost Hunting in the Internet Age
By Erin Monroe
Instant gratification and validation!
Recently, my family and I went to Pittsburgh and stayed at one of the oldest hotels in the city- The Omni William Penn. On Saturday night, my family went to the hotel restaurant for dessert, while I planned some peace and quiet. I settled in bed to do some reading and first noticed some phantom smells. Not a constant odor, as you’d expect- rather it was intermittent. I would expect a plumbing problem or a physical presence (food or animal rotting) would result in constant odor that you could locate. After I’d ruled out all logical explanation, I put my medium “feelers” out. My lamp started spontaneously dimming! I was able to hear a few words and an image, of a man with a gun. He was sort of cowering or hiding in the corner near the bed. I heard “jack” and “derringer”. The man was wearing a suit and hat, of indeterminate fashion era. I then asked what decade this was from and I got a hit on 1970s-1980s, but this is less certain.
Once I was home, my first step was to search for stories about deaths that occurred in the hotel. Fortunately since it is a historic building I was able to search with keywords William Penn Hotel Pittsburgh Death.
This resulted in a couple hits, from tourism websites. I then was able to narrow down dates and some names.
I focused again on my sensations during my experience. I felt anxiety, terrible fear, and dread. I felt a sensation that someone would hunt me down, and the gun in my hands was my answer. I smelled strange smells, they were bad, but I couldn’t identify what specifically it was. I can only assume it’s something I’ve not yet experienced in my own life. There were two deaths that are associated with this hotel. One was a man who committed suicide in 1922. The other was an employee who shot another employee who was a friend in the 1970s.
I felt strongly that the suicide in 1922 was the event I’d experienced. I didn’t see the actual suicide- I felt the emotions that lead up to the man shooting himself. I had assumed it was a murder, because the gun was the “answer”.
I then found newspaper articles recounting the suicide and again felt certain that this was the man I’d seen. I wish there was a photograph in the paper, but there wasn’t.
I also did a search on “jack derringer” and found that a derringer is a type of handgun. I was unable to confirm what model of gun the man used. Reading Wikipedia on derringers, I found that two models (Remington and colt) were manufactured during this time period and in common use! Also, people used the word “derringer” as vernacular for small pistols.
Interestingly, when I had probed for dates during the experience, I had gotten a hit on 1970s. Perhaps this was the other ghost of the murdered hotel dishwasher joining in. If so, he was not the main entity communicating.
I’m sure my family will visit this hotel again in the future. When we do, I will devote more time to spooky stuff! There’s a LOT in Pittsburgh. -Erin