BEAUMONT, Kan. – They fly in to Beaumont, Kansas (near Wichita) from around the country. Pilots land right by the Beaumont Hotel and taxi their planes up Main Street.
Many other guests are motorcyclists or history buffs.
“It was a Frisco railroad town. We had four sets of train lines that came in,” said Jeanne Squier, the hotel’s general manager.
Beaumont used to be a shipping hub for large stockyards, and the hotel was built in 1879.
“The cowboys from miles around would bring from their ranch cattle up here to load ’em up to take them either to Joplin and Wichita,” said Squier.
She says her grandfather put in a grass landing strip by the hotel to allow cattle barons to fly in for the day.
A wooden water tower that filled the steam locomotives is also still in use and on the National Register of Historic Places.
There’s more history to the hotel at night. That’s when Squier says some of the cowboys come back!
“We have an issue with this room,” said Squier, in room 204. “The remote comes flying off the TV all the time.”
She believes 13 different spirits haunt her rooms.
“This is Zeke’s old room,” said Squier, opening the door to room 201.
Zeke was a young cowboy who was gunned down for having an affair with the hotel owner’s wife.
“Periodically, you can hear spurs coming down the hall or hear her sobbing,” said Squier.
Pictures on the wall are knocked off-kilter, and an imprint on the bedspread looks like someone is there.
Room 208 is another hot spot.
“This is a room they get a lot of hits when they do their paranormal stuff,” said Squier.
Ghost hunters, like “Old School Paranormal” out of Hays, Kansas, have camped out overnight and claim they recorded voices in the empty hotel, even made contact with spirits.
“Are you JC Squiers?” asks one of the men, in a videotaped segment.
Immediately, a machine measuring paranormal activity lights up.
Another machine detected someone or something near another paranormal investigator.
The tiny figure could not be seen by human eyes, but the special projector picked up an image that seemed to be reaching out to the man.
The team wonders if it could be the spirit of a boy heard singing in the hotel from time to time.
The Beaumont Hotel attracts other thrill seekers, too.
“We had a couple ladies from Tulsa come, and they had their little radios out,” said Squier, laughing. “They were up all night, and slept all day, saying ‘We didn’t see anything.”
The ghost stories are good for business perhaps, but not her nerves.
The hotel manager says she has to carry keys with her all the time because the ghosts like to lock her out of rooms and move her papers.
She has no doubt her guests are both living and dead. The only question is whether they’re welcome!