On a recent visit to Fort Bragg, our son Harrison and his girlfriend Kasi recounted a television show called “The Haunting Of” which once featured the Grey Whale Inn. According to them, a psychic entered the inn and said she sensed that it had once been a hospital.
For a true encounter with the demonic, I invite the psychic to visit our house and meet our cat Little Mister.
Harrison, Kasi and I dropped by the inn to see what vibes we might pick up.
The cat’s name is Sweet Pea. As her name suggests, she is very sweet. Guests find her so appealing that many take home a ceramic magnet to commemorate the time spent with her.
I had toured the inn before, but delighted in seeing it again. It has four stories (counting the basement and the Sunset Room set on top like a penthouse suite). Each room is decorated in an eclectic-country style. Though nicely appointed, the basement feels kind of spooky (but I’ve always been spooked by basements).
After we’d combed the place top to bottom, we ran into Mike, the proprietor.
Mike has owned the Inn since 2000. During that time, he’s renovated the grounds by replacing the lawn with drought-resistant plants. A vegetable garden is harvested for use in the breakfasts he prepares for guests. He gave us a brief history of the hospital—how it was founded in 1915 by Dr. F. McLean Campbell, purchased by Dr. Paul J. Bowman in 1923, and sold to Dr. Mervyn Hamlin, another local physician, in 1966.
During the early 2000’s, I took my dogs Wilson and Tucker for runs in the nearby cemetery. We often encountered the retired Dr. Hamlin in the late afternoons. He always had a biscuit for the dogs and walked with us until he veered off to visit the graves of his wife and son.
He told stories of attending Stanford during the Depression. His tuition was $100 a quarter and he struggled to come up with it. Work in the food service department on campus helped support him. He made his way through medical school and to Fort Bragg where he practiced for many years.
The dogs and I missed him after he had a stroke and could no longer take walks. An online reaction to his death in 2009 states: “Medical practice in Fort Bragg has never been the same since this great man retired. One of my favorite memories of him was as he passed our house on McPherson St., he commented that we should not have our underclothing hanging out on our line to dry.”
Mike shrugged off the ghostly findings of “The Haunting Of.” He hasn’t had a supernatural encounter in the 14 years that he’s owned the place.
To hear what others might have to say about spirits rattling about the inn, I went to TripAdvisor.com. I discovered a review written on July 24, 2013 by a teenager named Carl S. from Toronto, Canada titled, “An Odd Experience.” By way of introduction, he states: “I like to think that my family and I are very rational people and we haven’t been able to explain these situations in any natural way.”
Carl describes a distressing night of television malfunction, midnight organ music, and a mysterious caress of his brother’s butt while going to the bathroom. (Click here to read the entire review.)