The Ryde Hotel is a family favorite. We spent many summers when we were single, wandering the delta bars and beaches. Later gathering our growing family for long holidays in Snug Harbor. Every nook and cranny of the Delta had been explored. My rock-star hair husband spent time at the Ryde on a photo shoot in the 80’s. I had Sunday brunches at The Ryde with girlfriends. Lazy Spring afternoons spent in a champagne haze, lamenting men, children and life. The Ryde Hotel is a familiar place. Showing her age, like all of us girls. Straddling the original Art Deco Luxury of it’s glory days with an 80’s update that now appears garish in the bright light of day. But we love her. We understand each other.
We came upon a ghost hunt evening with a paranormal group out of Napa. We don’t normally join groups for spirit communication. Anyone who speaks with the dead knows it’s already like a crowded room, and that’s before you add the living. Concentration in groups is difficult. You can’t isolate sounds easily. But we wanted to meet other people with interests like ours.
You can see how following a bunch of kids hopped up on energy drinks, running up and down the halls in a haunted hotel may not appeal to our peaceful nature. But, I had watched this group from Napa for some time. They approached every tour as both a history lesson and a learning experience. The hotel had been reserved exclusively for the Paranormal guests. Which helps isolate recordings and ensures you won’t scare other people. Everything was explained and organized. Equipment was even loaned. And every group had it’s own host to guide guests through each paranormal hot spot. They forbid provoking. And encouraged guests to be respectful of both the living and the dead. Knowledge and advice was given freely without judgement. Check out our hosts at Napa City Ghosts & Legends, they run a fantastic weekend!
The decision was made to go down just for an evening. We wanted to take our 12-year old with us. She needed to feel protected and safe before we committed to a longer weekend. We become drained physically and emotionally by spirit communication. Something we call the “psychic hangover”. So a room was carefully selected. The least haunted was requested. We unknowingly were booked in the most haunted. You’ll see from our Portal session, we asked them to let us sleep in peace, and indeed they did.
We arrived Saturday afternoon and were directed to the lower level ballroom. Formerly the speakeasy. I was a little too ‘open’ in my excitement and became ill immediately. You know that feeling when you’re eyeing an exit, wondering if you can make it? I figured the evening was ruined as I quickly ran for the back door. One of the hosts came right over, and in the fading sunlight of the afternoon, laid hands on me for a quick cleansing. Head clear and shoulders lightened, I returned to the lecture.
I had a long conversation with a female spirit the moment we walked on the grounds. Coming into contact with a ghost is like remembering an old friend. You can ‘see’, hear and even smell everything in your mind. My new friend had short, dusty-blond colored hair. Neatly pinned into curls tightly on her head. Then combed ever so gently and sprayed heavily with hairspray. She was petite, had fine features and fair skin. She was perfectly groomed and perfumed for the evening. She fussed with her hair and rolled her lips as if to spread newly applied lipstick. She wore a long silver slip dress and real silk stockings. She began speaking to me as soon as we entered our room. I opened a tattered armoire that seemed not to fit the decor. And she began telling me of the hotel in it’s glory days. With obvious distaste, she said none of these items were here. They had ‘fine furniture’, lush draperies and real crystal. And this horrible rug wasn’t here, she continued. Pointing to the aging carpet with her perfectly polished fingernails. She said they had beautiful wood floors and thick rugs. When I commented that the room was cool when we returned, she told me with pride, that they had proper ‘negro’s (her words, definitely NOT mine), to light the radiators and turn down the beds for the evening. I asked our host about this later, and he confirmed that the hotel proudly boasted about it’s ‘African-American’ staff back in the 1920’s
She continued to point out the differences between the past and present at length, following me everywhere. Her voice both sad at it’s current state and proud of what it had been. Pointing out walls that had been closed and paintings that were missing. Explaining what she had done at the hotel became a bit more delicate. From what I gathered, she was a ‘girlfriend experience’ type lady for one of the bosses. Reserved for his company for the weekend. A bit snotty, she followed me clear up until we went to cross the bridge to go back into Locke for a quick sunset tour. Asking me, why I would want to go to where the dirty Chinese workers live? And off she went. I was obviously ‘slumming’ and she had nothing else to do with me. I did smell her perfume here and there, but she didn’t speak to me again. We did pick her up on the Portal Spirit Box Session from the room. After Googling her name, I believe her to be the actress Alice White. I have no definitive proof. Maybe one of Ms. White’s relative can come forward to confirm her personality and whereabouts in the 1920’s-1930’s. You can view our room session here: The Portal Spirit Box Sessions – Lon Chaney Jr.
As we rotated through each section of the hotel, certain areas were highly active. Others had nothing. We had brought a photograph of Lon Chaney Jr. to use as a trigger object. We also brought a fine cigar and poured him a drink, thanking him for hosting us. Chaney was said to have owned the hotel in the roaring 20’s. Bringing his bootleg liquor and Hollywood friends to this little corner of paradise.
We also brought The Portal. A hacked am/fm radio (SB7 Spirit box), run through two noise distortion and filtering pedals and amplified with a Lunchbox Jr. guitar amp. It looks like that crazy device they carried to capture spirits in Ghostbusters. But it performs well and was definitely a crowd-pleaser. You can find both the room session and the hall session on our You Tube Channel. The most riveting part of the evening? Most of what we caught was pure EVP. Spoken as if they were sitting right next to me, never coming from the Portal at all. Chilling and exciting at the same time. You can see our recording from the 2nd floor hallway on our YouTube Channel here: The Portal Spirit Box Sessions – The Ryde Hotel.
Greg, Casey and Calla Saumure, investigate paranormal events in and around Northern California. We love to photograph, film, fly over (with our drone), and write about our experiences in ghost travel. We focus on the history and restoration efforts of haunted locations. We always open and close with prayer, ask for spirit permission and we never provoke. Greg is the healer. Casey is the clairvoyant. Calla is the medium and artist. Calla also draws the dead that she speaks with. “We do this as a family, and we do it in light.” You can reach Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org.