I recently spent a couple days in Milwaukee for work. Since I booked my hotel a little late, the only place I could find within walking distance of my meetings was The Astor. It’s an old hotel (built in the 1920s), and, while parts of it seemed a little rundown, it was a pretty cool old hotel. It was about 6 blocks from my meetings, and it was less than $100 a night. Yes, the company was paying for my room, but, being an accountant, I try to be a conscientious spender.
The drive from Kentucky to Milwaukee is roughly 7 hours. Since I’m a big fan of the Green Bay Packers, I drove up to Green Bay first, spent a couple hours, then drove back to Milwaukee to check into my room.
I got in around 10 pm and the lobby was empty. I got my room key and headed to the elevator to go to my room on the third floor. As I entered the elevator, two college girls stepped in. They got off at the same floor; I went left, they went right.
I was tired but I had some work to do, so I set up my laptop and started working. I usually wear headphones while working, but I was pretty tired and didn’t feel like going through the trouble. So I sat there in silence, working on some spreadsheets that I may have found entirely too interesting.
At 11:30, I heard terrible screams and thumping sounds coming from down the hall. It sounded like a couple girls were being savagely beaten to death. My thoughts immediately went to the two girls I had shared an elevator with.
I didn’t have a plan of action, but I couldn’t just sit in my room while this happened. So, equipped with nothing but my old-man fists, I opened my door and stepped out of my room.
I opened the door to a completely silent hallway. The sounds I had heard just seconds before had abruptly stopped, with no reverberations hanging in the air. I looked down both sides of the hall. I was completely alone in the hallway, leading me to believe that no one else heard those terrible sounds. As I went back into my room and closed my door, I was a little shaken, but I immediately began to rationalize it. “It was probably just someone’s TV turned up too loud,” was the answer I ended up settling on. I knew I was lying to myself, but I didn’t mind.
I went through the next day of meetings and was able to push these events to the back of my mind. That night, a group of us went to a Brewers game (they lost to the Cardinals), and I ended up getting back to my room a little before 11.
At 11:30, as I sat there working on my laptop once again, I heard the exact same sounds. At least two distinct screams and a loud, savage thumping.
I was quicker to react this time. I bolted out of my chair and opened my door. Once again, the sounds abruptly stopped.
I have tried to do research on The Astor and can find no record of similar stories taking place there. Still, I know what I heard and I know what I experienced. I never felt threatened, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t uncomfortable.