Being a former Massachusetts resident, I always thought respectable ghosts and evil spirits only resided in old Tudor homes and dilapidated Victorian mansions. I never dreamed I would find them in my Spanish-style, Las Vegas luxury apartment building.
But my mind was irrevocably changed one New Year's Eve in Vegas, when a series of frantic calls to the on-site residential manager at Catalina Shores and the local police department ensued. Apparently the Earth had shifted beneath one of my apartment units and opened a crevice that released tormented spirits - lost souls caught between Heaven and that other place.
The unsuspecting residents - an upscale, college-educated, professionally employed couple - said the cool draft they felt around their patio sliding glass doors and windows proved the door between life and death had been left open. In the mirrors of their apartment, they saw the faces of anguished souls. Then, after the ghosts sat on their nice couch for a smoke (the residents were non-smokers), they flew around the apartment and congregated on the carpet.
Until these restless spirits showed up, wandering unsatisfied through the apartment on New Year's Eve, the stucco-building community had been quiet. No one could have predicted the three weeks of haunting that followed.
The residential manager came to the rescue first, finding the residents hysterically crying out for help. They had not slept since midnight. The manager, who had successfully passed the ghosts and goblins section on her ARM 101 test, was unable to calm them. The couple's daughter was so bewildered by the whole thing that the manager arranged for her to spend the rest of the night with a downstairs neighbor.
Two police officers soon arrived. The manager explained the Earth shift that had occurred at midnight had unleashed forces and powers unknown. Only one officer was brave enough to enter the apartment with the residents and the manager (apparently, not all officers are trained in the apprehension of derelict ghosts and spirits). Slowly, carefully, they proceeded into the apartment, first entering a short hallway and then a living room.
"Look, you can see them!" yelled the wife with a blood-curdling scream as she pointed to the carpeted floor. The officer immediately raised his foot, stomped on "them," and crushed them into the carpet.
"Did I get 'em?" he asked the residents. They explained that stomping and crushing ghosts simply does not work, and pointed out that the spirits had just moved to another spot in living room, by the sliding glass door. We ran to the back door.
"There! Can you feel that, their coolness?" the wife asked. No one mentioned it was 3:30 a.m. in the dead of winter.
After a thorough search of the apartment, the officer recorded all of his findings and told the residents that nothing more could be done at this time. He recommended that the couple and their child spend the night at the wife's mother's house.
"Perhaps the Earth will shift again by sunrise and these tormented souls will return to their world."
Unfortunately for the manager and the Catalina staff, this did not happen. For the next three weeks, endless revisitations occurred, followed by a spate of phone calls. We brainstormed each day, attempting to discover some maintenance procedure that would return the building back to normal and seal the "crevice. …