et me start by saying I’ve seen Paranormal Activity.
No, that doesn’t mean I’m any kind of expert, but that movie definitely left a mark on me. It was the first thing that really got me thinking … I dunno, maaaybe ghosts are a thing?
I’m not gonna sit here and say, “Yo, ghosts are real!!” Then everybody is going to be like, Hey, there goes Timmy, the ghost guy!
But at the same time I’m not going to say outright that ghosts aren’t real either. Because, honestly, that sounds like I’m trying to challenge or call out the spirit worlds or something. Like if you were a ghost, wouldn’t you go out of your way to haunt the people who don’t even think you exist? I mean, that’s basically what happened to the people in Paranormal Activity. And I’m not trying to bring that energy on myself! No sir.
There’s this one hotel.
It’s this place called the Skirvin Hilton, a hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.
Straight up? The Skirvin is haunted, y’all.
I’m not playing. And if you don’t believe me, I understand why … because at first I was the same way. Complete skeptic.
Until I had, well, I guess you could call it … an experience.
But I’ll say more about that in a bit.
The first time I heard about this hotel was back in 2014, when I was a rookie with the Knicks. I was with Metta, Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, Carmelo and a few other guys. We were about to fly out to OKC and a few guys were talking this mess about the hotel we were going to be staying at. They were all going around sharing stories about these weird experiences they’d had. I couldn’t tell if they were serious or not. They were talking about the walls making noises, hearing what sounded like people laughing and crying, or hearing the faint whispers. One guy said items had moved to different spots in his room while he was at dinner.
Just about everyone had something to share, but the person with the craziest story by far was Metta (obviously). Metta said that a ghost actually touched him. Like, touched him. Everywhere. I mean, everywhere. And he was absolutely serious when he told the story. He wasn’t even saying it like he was spooked either.
And I was sitting there all smug listening to all these stories thinking, Man, there’s no way in helllllll. These guys are crazy.
Yup, that’s exactly what I thought.I was sitting there all smug listening to all these stories thinking, Man, there's no way in helllllll. These guys are crazy.
I’d heard about the Skirvin being haunted a few years back, but never thought much about it. Apparently it had something to do with a maid, but I didn’t look up the official history until recently (and by official I mean what’s on Wikipedia). So supposedly here’s the deal.
That’s messed up, right? But it does provide a little more context for what I’m talking about. There’s definitely something up with this place.
I can say off the top, upon walking into the Skirvin, there’s definitely a creepy vibe. I’ve stayed at quite a few hotels just because of my job, and what you realize eventually is that no matter how nice a hotel is, it’s still not home. But even by that standard, the Skirvin feels a little different from just about any other hotel I’ve ever stayed at. I mean, legit, it straight-up looks spooky. It seems like there are a bunch of hallways and secret passageways to get everywhere. Like one of those things where it feels like the eyes on the paintings follow you around like on Scooby-Doo, you know? But it also just has that kind of vibe where you walk in and feel this kind of shiver come over you like,Yeah, some bad shit probably happened here.
When I got to my room, I turned my TV on immediately and left it on. My theory was that if the room was haunted, the TV would be turned off at some point during the night. (I don’t know what was behind my logic. It’s just what I decided to do. Don’t question my methods.)
So I lay there in bed, probably watching HBO 2 or whatever they have in hotels, until I slowly fell asleep. I woke up the next morning and … the TV was still on.
Nothing had happened. Everything was fine.
But then when I walked down to the breakfast room, everyone was buzzing. All the guys were talking about hearing screaming sounds and stuff like that, asking the people around them if they heard anything.
I was sitting there eating my Fruit Loops, just kind of smirking and being like, “Yeaaaaaah, right! Get outta here!”
Just playing it real tough. Of course, none of them knew I slept with the TV on all night to keep me company — seemed like a detail that wasn’t worth sharing — but still, I thought they were full of it.
We had a noon tip that day and we were off all game. Lost by 12.
We flew out to another city. I left thinking the Skirvin was all hype….
Then I stayed there for the second time.
When I check into hotels, I have a routine: I get my key, head to the room, unpack everything I need to, then head out to grab food or go to the arena.
So this time around, I got into the room and I put all my stuff away and left. I came back maybe 30 minutes later. As I walked toward the bed, I glanced to the bathroom and stopped dead in my tracks. My toothbrush had moved from one side of the sink to the other.
Like I was certain I had placed it on one side of the sink next to all my other stuff, and now it was on the other side of the sink. My first thought was that the housekeeper had done it, but we’d just checked in and none of the other stuff in the room had moved.
So I went to my go-to plan and I just pretended it didn’t happen.
This was fine.
Everything was fine.
Later that night, I was in my room lying in bed with the TV off (first mistake). Just as I started getting comfortable and was almost asleep, I heard something outside my room. It was the sound of footsteps.
At first, I tried to ignore it. I mean, hey, it’s a hotel, other people are here, that’s normal. But then I also started hearing this loud screeching coming from the walls and these little voices. I couldn’t make out any words, just quick little whispers.
And that’s when I started to get pretty freaked out.
I jumped out of bed.
The first thing I did was close the blinds. Once again, I don’t know why — don’t question my methods.
At that point the footsteps started sounding almost like running.
I raced over the bathroom and turned all the lights on to make sure no one was in there.
Then, as the footsteps picked up even louder, I swear I actually felt a chill go down my spine. It sounded like someone was right outside my door.
I took a deep breath, then put my hand on the doorknob. I yanked the door open and saw … a completely empty hallway.
There was nobody out there.
David Zalubowski/AP ImagesLike, I’m not making this up. I have no reason to. I experienced something that night and to this day I have no idea what happened.
I heard those footsteps!
I didn’t play well at all during our game the next day, and we lost by 27. Thinking back on it, outside of maybe one exception, I don’t think any team I’ve been on that stayed at the Skirvin has won. It’s probably because the guys are tired, sluggish and maybe not all that focused because some spirit was messing around in their room.
You still might think I’m making stuff up, but after hearing enough stories on team planes and locker rooms from other guys saying they experienced the same exact thing I did, it’s hard not to believe something might be up.
Now most teams stay at a different hotel in OKC, and when teams do book the team at the Skirvin, a lot of players will pay for their own room at another hotel. If my team still stayed there, I’d do the same.
But if the idea of experiencing some real-life Paranormal Activity s*** interests you, well, you’re welcome.