In 1910, William Balser Skirvin, a millionaire and real estate developer built a hotel in America's heartland. In its 100-plus history it has seen many pass through its doors, so it's not so strange that it's developed a reputation for being haunted.
In the spring of 1910, construction started on the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City. Tragedy struck when two bricklayers were injured in a scaffold accident. One of them eventually died after the scaffold landed on his head. They were two of a total of five workmen killed during the construction of the hotel.
Within a month, the worker's widow won a $12,000 lawsuit, and the work continued.
A few months later, the doors opened and the ten-story building attracted upscale clients. But within 18-months another death occurred at the Skirvin Hotel. This one was not so inconsequential.
Frederick W. Scherubel, 37, managing director of the hotel shot himself in the head. He had just been complimented by the stockholders for his good management style, however the reason given for the rash act, was an excruciating headache due to his adenoids. No suicide note was found.
He shot himself while his wife entertained a group of friends at a social function in the parlor of the hotel, and a few minutes before he had been circulating among the guests.
He was a member of the Masonic and Elks lodges. The Oklahoma City Commandery Knights Templars, in full uniform, members of the Blue Lodge and friends and relatives accompanied the line of procession, which was headed by the Masonic band of twenty-one pieces where it proceeded to the First Christian Church.
No further mention was made of Mr. Scherubel's strange timing for doing away with himself, or if indeed it was an act of self-destruction.
In 1928, Mrs. Nancy Jones, 43, a former missionary to China committed suicide by taking poison while staying in one of the room in the Skirvin Hotel. She had been in Oklahoma City for five months, and had plans to find a job as a nurse. For an unknown reason she told her friends at the boarding house where she was staying that she planned to "end it all".
She was widowed and had left a postcard with her sister's name who was married to the city manger.
The police started an investigation as to what happened to $1700 that Nancy had withdrawn from the bank, but it could not be found in the hotel room, and she never mentioned it in the short note she left. Nothing more is written about why she took the money out, or where it went.
In 1930, four more floors were added to the hotel, building over the infamous 10th floor which had hosted illegal gambling and drinking, including reports of a rigged roulette wheel.
In 1933, Bob Anderson, a well known traveling salesman died suddenly in his room at the Skirvin Hotel following an attack of acute indigestion.
It's not unusual for a hotel to host celebrations, but many other events occur under its roof, and not all of them pleasant.
By the time Mr. Skirvin opened the hotel he was a widower with three children; he lived on the 9th floor with them.
The best known ghost story of the Skirvin Hotel is tied to him.
Rumors are that during Prohibition, Mr. Skirvin took up with a maid who worked at the hotel. She became pregnant, and he locked her up on the 10th floor. Someone with his reputation could not have withstood the notoriety of having impregnated one of his own employees. After she had the baby, they kept her locked up. Supposedly one day she jumped out with the baby in her arms. Problem is there is no story of anyone jumping from the Skirvin Hotel.
During those years "beer parties" and gambling took place in the hotel, making it a well visited speakeasy. No doubt the flirtatious ghost nicknamed "Effie" could have found her origins there. Perhaps a flapper, but not the unfortunate chambermaid if she ever existed, and definitely not Nancy Jones, the missionary nurse who died by ingesting poison.
Effie is said to accost men, mostly by touch, but others have claimed to see her in the nude. Sometimes she opts for clothing, in the form of a red dress. She has been experienced throughout the hotel. Effie is known for playing pranks on people by knocking on doors, whispering and opening drawers
But it's not only Effie's antics which are felt. Others report maid's cart pushed down the hall, as well as weird noises. There are also reports of hearing a baby cry, which considering it's a hotel is not an unusual thing, but then who knows.
In 2010, according to Esquire, Bulls' Taj Gibson told of an eerie experience during his stay:
At one point, at around 12:15 at night, my bathroom door just slammed completely shut. I don't know what it was, but it just completely slammed. It took me a minute to kind of figure out what [it] was."
The Esquire article described an interview with Steven Lackmeyer who wrote a book about the Skirvin Hotel. He specified that he didn't believe in ghosts but did describe the following eerie event:
But when the Skrivin closed in 1988, a couple years later, the entire power box was pulled, so there would be no danger of fire. No power, no electric going to that building for the next 15 years. I started covering the Skirvin back in the mid-'90s, and every time you went in that lobby, right where W.B. Skirvin would sit in his chair, there was one light bulb that always stayed lit. There was no power. And that light stayed lit until the destruction phase started the renovations and gutting. I saw it. I can't explain that.
In 1988, the property was closed until a developer and financing was acquired to renovate it. The hotel reopened in 2007, as the Skirvin Hilton. It didn't take long before ghostly encounters were reported by different guests.
In 2010, Ed Curry, a player with the NY Knicks went to his teammates's room for protection; in other words he fled his room.
Four years later, Reggie Miller a sports commentator, called a radio show and described that he went to bed, and left a water bottle on the night stand. When he woke up, it was moved. The culprit, according to him, was Effie.
In 2016, Metta Sandiford-Artest, Lakers forward described where he was "assaulted by an amorous ghost at the Skirvin."
The hotel's director of sales and marketing said guests described flickering lights at night, or closet doors slamming by themselves. There had also been reports of the words "Help Me" written on foggy bathroom mirrors.
The hotel historian said the Venetian Room on the 11th floor is the area with "the most ghostly activity". She described where banquets were set up, and then by the next day the place settings and tables were disorganized.
So is Effie, whoever she is, responsible for all the mischief at the Skirvin Hotel? Possibly not, it could be an employee who worked there many years, and spent his best days within its walls, or perhaps a party girl, unnamed, who had too much of a good time. Whatever the case it could be a cast of dozens who checked in, but never checked out.
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