So it’s almost Halloween, and I wanted to do something Halloween-y. No kids ever come to my house for trick or treating, so that’s out. I hate stupid haunted houses, we’ve discussed that, and I’m pretty sure one of these years I’m going to be arrested for punching the entertainers for jumping out at me. I don’t do Halloween parties (yes, yes, I skipped the Lady Gaga-themed Halloween party, sorry to the people who were so encouraging about me going, I just did not have the courage to attend, and listen, I’ve seen some pictures, that place was PACKED with people, I would have had to hyperventilate into a paper BAG, it would NOT have been a good time, it is a good idea I stayed home.) So what to do to stay in the spirit, other than eat my weight in Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins and watch horror movies?
HAUNTED CAPITOL TOUR.
OK, I live in the Capitol District of New York. I have for almost ten years now, but have never entered the Capitol Building itself, despite going by it a number of times. And listen, I LOVE HISTORY. It is INSANE how jazzed I get by cool historical things. I’m pretty sure I missed my calling and should have been an archaeologist because that would have been the coolest thing EVER, right? But not dinosaur bones. I mean, I don’t HATE dinosaur bones. The dinosaurs are cool with me. But I like old human things. Like old pottery and old buildings and old artifacts and talking to old people about old memories and old photos and old documents and researching old things. I loved that show Who Do You Think You Are even though it was kind of the cheesiest because those people got to go into old libraries and TOUCH OLD DOCUMENTS OMGWTFBBQ WANT WANT WANT. I also love old cemeteries and touching super-old gravestones and making up stories about the dead people. This makes my mother kind of insane and she thinks it’s sacrilegious but I think it’s totally respectful because otherwise those people would be FORGOTTEN. I think they LIKE that I’m making up stories about them. It makes them RELEVANT again. (I’m pretty sure the part my mother objected to was that I was accusing one dead person of having murdered another dead person so he could hump his dead wife but that’s really beside the point THE DEAD PEOPLE PROBABLY THOUGHT IT WAS ENJOYABLE.) Also old gravestones are the coolest, all worn and secretive.
ANYWAY. That was totally a tangent to rival all others. So this time of year, the Office of General Services does a series of tours of the Capitol Building where they show you the places where people are reported to have seen ghosts. GHOSTS! And OLD ARCHITECTURE! I’ve been meaning to do this for a couple of years but for one reason or another every year something has come up. NOT THIS YEAR BABY!
Well, something did come up but I totally overcame it. Hello, FIRST FRIGGING SNOWFALL OF THE SEASON. In OCTOBER. We got a little over an inch, probably, I don’t know, it’s not like I researched it. This weather caused accidents and everyone to forget how to drive. The roads aren’t even frozen yet. It’s just white rain at this point. DRIVE NORMAL YOU WEIRDOS. SNOW IS NOT KEEPING ME FROM SEEING ARCHITECTURE AND GHOSTS.
Here’s a little about our awesome state capitol because I love shit like this. Sorry. Skip ahead to the ghosts if you must. It was completed in 1899. It’s built to mimic Romanesque and neo-Renaissance architecture and also so it looks like a castle. A CASTLE OMG HOW MUCH DO I LOVE CASTLES. It cost a lot of money. Probably because it’s awesome. It’s also really a working building. I mean, you probably all knew that, but I don’t know, I don’t realize things sometimes. This is where the state assembly meets. And state senators’ offices are in there. It’s all very impressive and my head almost exploded 47 times. But I am jumping ahead of myself.
So I showed up and I brought my camera in case they let us take photos because I didn’t know what the protocol was. Was it all state secrets and they might think I was a bomber, or were they cool with it? And then our tour guide showed up and he was just adorable, you guys. He was all into it! In a little old-timey costume! With a coat with tails and little old-fashioned glasses and a watch with a chain and an ascot! Aw! He looked like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland if he somehow became human.
Our tour group was largely unremarkable and very nice. There was a toddler who was into everything and I was pretty sure she was going to fall down a number of flights of stairs but her father stopped her so all was well.
The White Rabbit (I have no idea what his name was. He didn’t tell us. Or he might have. I don’t pay close attention to things) told us to take a LOT of photos. Well! I WILL THANK YOU.
First, we had the spooky “going through the metal detectors” step of our tour. I always feel like I’m a terrorist when I’m doing this. I mean, I’m not, or anything, and I even left most of my things in the car so I didn’t have to carry them around the tour, but I always feel like the people manning the metal detector know something about me I don’t even know about myself. I went through and the man behind the detector stopped me on the other side.
“For future reference, we DON’T keep our hands in our pockets in a METAL DETECTOR,” he said.
Um. We don’t? I didn’t…shouldn’t that be spelled out if it’s a totally serious rule? Also, if I’m hiding something metal in my hand in my pocket wouldn’t the metal detector pick that up even through my pocket AND my hand?
Also, I hate when people say “we” like that. It’s condescending. My grandmother and mother’s response, when someone says that, is to reply “We? Do you have a mouse in your pocket?” That is nonsensical and my favorite response. However, I didn’t think it would go over well with Officer Crankypants.
VERY SPOOKY START TO THE TOUR.
The White Rabbit led us up an escalator (That kid! Is on the escalator again! Sorry, sometimes Mallrats slips in) and then we started our tour.
I AM IN LOVE WITH THE STATE CAPITOL.
Now listen! I am pretty well schooled in the ways of ghost hunting? Because you KNOW how close Zak Bagans and I am. I mean, I am the GO-TO person when someone is searching for Zak Bagans online, according to my search results. So I know about EVP and orbs and (heh) Melmeters.
The White Rabbit brought us to three spots where ghosts have been seen, then a few spots where there were cool things to see, and encouraged us, if we were interested in further history of the building, to come back for the actual Capitol tour, which I didn’t know was a thing but now I am OBSESSED with doing because you guys, YOU GUYS, the Capitol is the MOST AWESOME THING EVER.
Also I totally think I captured a shot of a ghost on my camera. Like, I have more evidence of a ghost than Zak has in all his years of dude-ing and bro-ing.
WAIT TIL YOU SEE.
Here are some things we saw on our tour:
The Million Dollar Steps! Sorry, it was kind of dark on them because it was almost nighttime and my flash doesn’t permeate the gloom like I’d like it to. They are all made of carved sandstone and are awesome. There are a ton of things carved into them and things to look at everywhere you look. It is the coolest. HOWEVER! This was the scariest part of the tour? I HAD TO WALK DOWN THEM. And listen, I am totally clumsy when it comes to steps. And these steps were a., very smooth and slippy, b., all the same color so very hard to see where the next one started, and c., didn’t have any handrails because I guess back in the day they wanted people to die. And there were a million things to look at. So for three flights, I pretty much risked my neck almost dying and was the last one to come down the stairs because I was going really slow like I had a broken hip and children on our tour were flitting up and down them and that was distressing because DEATH, kids, DEATH if you fall down these stairs and then YOU will be one of the ghosts on the tour.
Here are some things we saw on the steps:
Also I saw a super-awesome snake but the White Rabbit was all “gather ’round people!” at that point so I couldn’t take a photo of it.
Also…how about seeing WHERE GOVERNMENT HAPPENS DUN DUN DUNNNN?
Now I know what you’re thinking. “Um, but I thought this was the ghost tour? I’m not seeing much in the way of ghosts, here.”
YOU ARE TOTALLY RIGHT AND PLUS ONE TO YOU.
There weren’t many ghosts. I mean, he told us about places where ghosts were seen. The three biggest places were right in the Assembly Chamber above, where the ghost of the artist who painted the murals for the chamber (which have been since lost when the new ceiling was put in, and how sad is that? They’re above the new ceiling, slowly deteriorating with water damage. If I was a ghost I’d haunt the place, too) is supposed to be; on the stairs, where a despondent fruit vendor committed suicide (OR SLIPPED, those stairs were totally treacherous, how about some effing HANDRAILS for the love of Pete!); and in the HALLWAY OF DOOM.
I made that name up. I have no idea what it was really called.
In the HALLWAY OF DOOM (which totally just looked like a hallway in the state college I attended, it was very nondescript) a night watchman died in the great Capitol fire of 1911. His ghost is said to haunt the hallway TO THIS DAY. Well, that’s totally interesting, but the minute I entered the hallway, I almost DIED because every door in it said “DO NOT ENTER SENATOR’S OFFICE” and that was SO EXCITING I COULDN’T EVEN. Those doors belonged to the offices of OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS. I honestly was just about having a fit of excitement and it had nothing to do with poor burned to a crisp Samuel Abbott. I LOVE DEMOCRACY AND HISTORY.
So while the White Rabbit was talking about Samuel Abbott I pretended I was taking a photo of the historic site of his death but really I wanted a photo of what the hallway looked like because I wanted to remember what it was like to be in a hallway where THE SENATORS I VOTED FOR WORKED. (Yes, yes, I realize that this makes me sound like a country mouse who doesn’t understand that democracy is kind of a sham. I DON’T CARE I THINK DEMOCRACY IS THE MOST AWESOME AND I LOVE VOTING SO LET ME HAVE MY HAPPY.)
Well, joke was on me. Samuel Abbott was PISSED I wasn’t paying attention to his story, apparently.
This is the hallway and it’s not even easy to see the doorway but in my head it was more awesome than it ended up, photographically. But savvy ghost-hunter types, do you see the GHOST?
Here. I enhanced it for you like Zak does.
So orbs are either the flash reflecting off dust (unlikely, in this case, as I was completely far down the hallway and zoomed up close to get this shot so how could the flash have reflected off something that far down the hall?) or flaws on the camera or lens (nope, again, none of my other shots have the same flaw) or A GHOST MANIFESTING ITSELF. Well! I think we all know what it was. A GHOST, BABY.
Yep, so I’m pretty sure that on top of my next career as a wedding advice giver and an archaeologist and a very famous blogger I’m going to be the best ghost hunter ever. LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT ORB. I mean, seriously, Zak has never had an orb that awesome, EVER. He WISHES he had an orb like that.
Finally, the White Rabbit brought us to the Capitol Demon, which is a little carving that some people think is cursed. Here:
I liked the Capitol Demon and did not think it was cursed mostly because I feel like I was being protected by my ORB OF RIGHTEOUSNESS and also I had survived THE MILLION DOLLAR STEPS OF CERTAIN DOOM so I was feeling pretty invincible at that moment.
In summation: I live in the best state ever with the best Capitol ever; I am the best ghost hunter ever; I did not fall to my death and die on the steps of death; and HISTORY ROCKS MY FACE OFF.
I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.