Drawing Ghosts
The Singing Girl of Historic Holly Hotel
Mixed Media
8" x 10"
Private Collection

The Historic Holly Hotel, located in Oakland, Michigan, is believed to be one of the most haunted buildings in the United States. Some claim that the century-old hotel serves as the home of a number of spirits; the most tragic of these, however, is the ghost of a young girl, who can be heard singing and playing in the rooms where she may have lived, long ago.

Ghosts aside, even the hotel's established history seems eerie; the structure has twice been destroyed by fire, with the second fire occurring exactly sixty-five years -- to the day and the hour -- after the first. During renovations, a number of strange events were witnessed, and photographs taken of the construction frequently revealed vague, flimsy white forms. Today, the inn has been completely restored, and serves as a restaurant; it is also a frequent location for both seances and ghost hunters, who are rarely disappointed by what they find.

Of the many ghosts said to reside at Holly Hotel, the little red-haired girl is the best-known and the most active. She is often seen or heard playing with kitchen tools, demonstrating an alarming fondness for the meat cleaver. She can also be heard running up and down the stairs, laughing to herself. In a 2006 article from the local newspaper, The Oakland Press, the current owner described his other encounters with the little girl. In one incident, the owner explained that he had been working alone one evening when he heard the sounds of a child's birthday party, complete with singing and piano music. He followed the sounds to the second floor; when he climbed the stairs to investigate, however, all was silent. No one was there.

Curious, the owner asked a local historian about the hotel's past, and was told that a family with two daughters had previously occupied the second floor. They had been well-known for throwing elaborate parties for all of the neighborhood girls, and had been well-liked; however, tragedy struck when one of the daughters was kidnapped. Although the events that followed are unclear, the historian explained that she was subsequently killed by her father. After her death, the grieving mother and her last remaining child stayed in the home alone.

Others believe the ghost to be the daughter of one of the hotel's original owners, who died before her 13th birthday; still another version describes the child as a young neighbor who was trampled to death in the stables that used to stand next to the hotel. Still, regardless of which tragedy ended her life, those who believe maintain that the little red-headed girl's ghost makes numerous appearances at seances, and that she can still be heard traveling the halls of the Holly Hotel, playing and singing alone.
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