One night in Rob Portman's haunted hotel

I'm on the top floor of the hotel, but it sounds like someone is stomping around directly above me through the ceiling.

Then, it stops again, and I wait for it to pick up again. But it's over.

The only sound I hear now is the steady hum of an air conditioner and the soft ticking of my watch. I turn on my voice recorder.

Taking a cue from the ghost hunting shows on TV, I try to build up the courage to verbally invite one of the ghosts to talk to me.

"Are you there, ghost?" I clumsily mutter into the darkness.

Several moments pass. Nothing.

Earlier, I had watched YouTube videos of paranormal enthusiasts in the exact same spot I am now, saying much of the exact same things. They claimed that the spirits responded, but I don't hear anything now.

"What's your name?" I say. "Would you like to talk?"

The mere sound of my own voice startles me enough to regret saying a word. I start to feel ridiculous and after more than an hour of sitting quietly, I give up. Feeling both disappointed and relieved that the ghosts left me alone, I head to bed.

The next day, I catch up with Portman to ask him about his own experience with the supernatural at his family's hotel. I tell him about the thumping above the fourth floor. Does he believe?

"I have not seen the ghosts," he tells me. "But my mom used to tell stories about hearing the chains at night of the ghosts walking down the hall."

With a twinkle in his eye, he smiled and added: "You never know."

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