Day Nine // Sedona & Jerome, AZ.

By Maggie -- Apr 30, 2014

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We have been eagerly taking recommendations from our friends and people we meet on our trip, trying to see things that we couldn't find in a pamphlet. One of our sweet friends Julie recommended that we drive south of the red rocks of Sedona and visit a town called Jerome. All she said was that it's nestled in a hillside and they call it the "Vertical City", and to have a glass of wine at the Hotel.

We drove there as the sun was setting and followed the winding road up to what we assumed was the hotel (it was massive and looming above everything else). Driving up the road would have been enough entertainment for us - every building looked like it had just survived 200 years of sand storms and gun fights. We stopped for a drink at The Spirit Room first because it looked like a hollywood movie set and we wanted to see what a real Jerome resident looked like (Who lives in this place? seriously?). Enter through saloon doors: The walls were painted with murals of ghost town hookers hollering at working miners, and the patrons were five boisterous girls at a table with "happy birthday Jamie" hats on and three guys at the bar with t-shirts on that read "Prescott Construction: We Stand Behind Our Erections".

We finished a drink and drove a little further up to the Jerome Grand Hotel. It's as spooky from the outside as it is on the inside. We sat at the bar and soon after ordering a drink, they told us it could be awhile before we got food, since there was a big party there that had yet to be served. So I decided to go walk around and go ghost hunting. Just kidding. I wanted take some photos of the incredible view. I wish I hadn't done this alone.

People around these parts have a thing with auras, vibrations, energies, feelings. It's all so mysterious to me but at the same time, I enjoy hearing about it, and I feel like our lives in Los Angeles are so far removed from the natural and spiritual side of life that it was sort of refreshing to be around it. Inside the lobby / gift shop of the hotel was a hairy and nerdy guy behind the counter and a woman with a white sweatshirt with the words JEROME sewn on who was standing around looking at the walls. I don't know why but I was immediately drawn to the green stairway next to the front desk. There was a guestbook there that documented patrons' accounts and experiences with ghosts during their stay at the hotel. One of them read:

"March 16 - Woke up to sounds of a metal cart rolling down the hallway that was creaking. Got up - nothing. Didn't hear the cats meowing or the wheezing and coughing though. Didn't sleep much"

I asked the guy behind the desk if he ever encountered a ghost. "Nothing really of significance, no. Just some weird little things. Like stuff being moved around at the desk when I'm turned around. Or the elevator coming down without anyone in it, and the door opening and closing by itself. One time the front door swung open on it's own, and it wasn't windy. That's it though".

That was enough for me - See ya never! I did a 180 and started walking out the door when tourist sweatshirt lady chimes in and announces "There are tons of spirits in my room right now". Damnnit. I had to stay and talk to her. I had to! "How do you know?" I asked. Then the front desk guy got a phone call. So, it was just me and tourist sweatshirt lady and ghost stories. Ryan, where are you?

"There's a boy - he died in 1933, named James. They're all over this place, there's several dimensions here you know. It's all coming together for me. It's all here, it all started here. You know there's truth and then there's deception and lies. And there's this tapestry, it's like a giant tapestry. Above the tapestry truth goes on and on forever, endlessly. But below it's a web of lies. That's what this place is."

Coooookoooooo. So I asked her why she was here. She said she had come to talk to spirits and try to find birth certificates and death certificates. She wouldn't look me in the eye, until - wait - why are YOU here? she asked. Then with piercing brown eyes she seemed to stare through my soul. "I'm on a honeymoon road trip with my husband". "Oh, isn't that nice" she said with a creepy grin. I was done. This was so done. I wished her well and she didn't respond and then I walked (ran) back to the restaurant to guzzle my drink.

I returned to the bar to find that a woman had sat down next to Ryan at the bar. We figured she was local as she was joking with the bartender. Her name was Jessica, and she's from Marin County, CA. We learned all about her - talked with her about Sedona, Jerome, Arizona and California. I was so intrigued on how a girl from the Bay could come to this town of 400 people (most of them presumably insane?) and live here. The one thing that sticks in my memory about her was her description of Sedona. She used to live in Sedona a few years ago but had to move because of the magnetic vibes that were bringing her down, making it hard for her to sleep, and making her irritable. Bad magnetic vibes. If beautiful Sedona has bad magnetic vibes, what does that mean for LA? I got scared for us.

The meal we ate was delicious. The view we saw was unparalleled. But once the sun went down, all I wanted in the universe was to be back in our tin can in my bed by the creekside. No ghosts, no tapestries, just the sounds of generators and late night campfires.