Waking up in a haunted hotel every day may seem like a living nightmare, but for Blair Murphy, it is a reality.
As the owner and operator of the Grand Midway Hotel in Windber, Pennsylvania (United States), mysterious noises and inexplicable events are only part of normal life when they live in a 130 year old historic building.
Although the walls point to the heads of taxidermed animals and show the ghost portraits that haunt the hallways – it’s not the only things that make the place more frightening than an average home.
Even if it contains the formidable “Canopy Room” that most of the clients cannot bear to stay all night, there are two particular eccentricities within the structure that make the Grand Midway Hotel stand out from the rest: the grand Ouija Board and the World’s Largest Tarot Card .
“The Grand Midway Hotel was a former coal mining hotel in the late 1880s,” says Blair. “I could remember countless stories of meeting ghosts of people who stayed here overnight. It was actually a fascinating place to live. But then the paranormal hum became silent for about two years. “
The inspiration for the large board is the direct result of the two-year lull, when Blair and his girlfriend at the time, Camille Zamboni, decided to play with the game Ouija created by Hasbro in 2016 to see if they could boost morale.
After a night of playing the board and communicating with the spirits in the Edgar Allen Poe room, the two were left with the idea of creating the world’s largest board on the roof of the hotel.
“Shortly after that night, things turned upside down throughout the hotel. The energies swirled. The guests were completely panicked, ”says Blair. “It seemed to kick-start a whole new level of paranormal activity. We saw people floating and hearing voices, and even the hotel pets turned and reacted to invisible forces. Our dreams were pretty crazy. “
“And it wasn’t just us. Other longer-term hotel residents said “there’s absolutely something going on here” and have their own strange encounters in the middle of the night. ”
It took weeks to complete the final plank of 121.01 m² (1,302.54 ft²), after a lot of planning and coordination between team members Brian Cano, James Bertolasio, Mark Portante, Mark Swindler, Nova Lox, Luke Hoffman, Camille Zamboni and project manager Blair Murphy.
As a dedicated artist, Camille Zamboni directed the painting of the board, ensuring that the lettering was an exact replica of the painting as directed by Guinness World Records.
“After we finished, really strange things started to happen. Blair and I were sleeping and in the middle of the night we woke up because we both heard my son screaming. Except that he was not staying at the hotel that night. “Said Camille.
Camille also mentions it and Blair saw “angry” versions of each other while the other person was nowhere to be seen.
“I remember going to sleep and woke up screaming and yelling at the end of the bed. I was so confused because he never does that, so I asked “What’s going on?” And when I looked again, he wasn’t there. He had been in his office the whole time. Likewise, another day, Blair saw me in the attic talking and yelling something and began to respond to “me.” However, I was not at the hotel – I went shopping when that happened. “
Now located on the hotel’s third floor roof, the irony of the placement is that the inventor of the original Ouija board William Fuld died after falling from the roof of a third floor building.
Even with these frightening events and coincidences, it was not enough to stop the team at The Grand Midway from reaching other records.
As Blair himself is quite an artist and filmmaker, he decided that creating the largest tarot card of the world would be a fitting addition to all the work in progress he had done at the hotel since he acquired it in 2001.
“I always looked at it like the hotel had chosen me. I was living in Los Angeles when an ad for the historic Pennsylvania hotel appeared in my email one day like a scary witty finger from the grave, tapping my attention, saying “buy me … move here … live here. .. it will be fantastic… “It was a fantastic adventure,” said Blair.
The son of two funeral directors, Blair was used to death when he was a child; something that played a big part in his interest in the many paranormal experiences that would occur regularly in his haunted house which has 32 rooms with scary themes.
These rooms have a variety of different atmospheres, ranging from the Vampire room which contains a hidden passage to the adjoining, full of coffins quarters, up to the magician’s room, where one has to push through a secret library to enter the ‘darkness residence.
The Canopy Room, which is said to be haunted by a ghost who died decades ago – is by far the most terrifying in the building.
With a life-size doll and Victorian decor surrounding the area – many claim to have felt spirits touching them or to have seen ghosts appear in the room.
No wonder, then, with all of the eclectic and bizarre artifacts around the hotel – Blair would like to add another record object to the establishment.
After recruiting painter Terrence Kauffman in 2017, the couple worked together to form a 6.42 m (21 ft. 1 in.) Long and 4.87 m (16 ft. 0 in.) Wide tapestry that is now hanging from the ceiling of the library on the first floor.
Terrence and Blair chose The Universe card from the Thoth Deck as their symbol for recording.
Unlike some of the sinister components of the Grand Midway Hotel, this card symbolizes positivity and satisfaction – as it represents luck and reward for the one who comes out of the life for which he worked hard.
Similar to the woman who dances in the center of the image, this special card is representative of a celebration and the joy of making success a reality.
Since this particular card now has a Guinness World Records title, it seems to be quite effective.
This is the first time that artist Terrence has worked on a record – because his day job is being a tattoo artist.
He says he’s happy to be working on one of the many projects Blair has done to put Windber, Pennsylvania on the map.
And despite recent headlines from another Ouija Board claiming to have beaten its record title, Blair still holds the official Guinness World Records title as directed and has submitted evidence.
The rivalry inspired him to continue chasing more records in the future, as he now ponders the idea of creating the largest coffin in the world in the historic church he recently acquired on the rue de l hotel, which now houses the Anne Rice doll collection.
Now, many of those who have heard of extraordinary record titles have flocked to see them in person, and are impressed by the story that encompasses the historic building from 19 e century.
Longtime residents of the Grand Midway, like Synthia Berns, recognize his hard work and ambition.
“It’s really great to see what Blair has done for the community, he has just gathered so many people and it is an honor for the city to be able to have two Guinness World Records titles. I’m just impressed with the incredible work he has done. ”
Want to learn more about The Grand Midway Hotel? Check it out here .