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Respect the Dead

Several years ago while giving a tour, an angry gurgle rumbled under the observable surface of the 3rd floor penthouse. It was a feeling I noticed not only energetically, but soon manifested into subtle movements of surrounding physical objects.

It was a weekend, and I was giving my 10pm 2.0 Tour. Some patrons on my tour were heavily intoxicated, but it wasn't bothersome until we were nearing the very end. We had finally reached the portion of the tour where tour-goers get to use divination rods to attempt to communicate with present spirits. My group was very excited to use the rods and, despite their inebriation, were asking really good and provoking questions. The conversations taking place between the living and non-living was, at first, thrilling yet ultimately innocent - until one tour-goer began provoking the spirits the wrong way.

Now, before I continue, it's important to keep in mind that, while in these spaces once inhabited by certain residents and now occupied by their residual spirits, you are entering a sensitive place that is not your own. That being said, resident spirits must be treated with respect. You're the one coming to visit their space, after all! If you don't, you run the risk of upsetting someone (or something) that you may regret upsetting.

The occupants in the upstairs brothel were sex-workers of the 1920s and 30s. To respect them in their space, we are sure not to condemn them for their occupation, use slurs to describe them, or impose our own moral opinions onto them. We expect our patrons to do the same.

Once this particular patron took hold of the rods and began talking, the vibe of the room significantly shifted. She had decided to address Molly Brennan directly (Molly being our resident spirit "A-Girl" on the 3rd floor). Almost off the bat, this woman started shaming Molly for her position as an "A-Girl." Rather than using our preferred vocabulary for describing her title - brothel worker or something of the like - this woman took it upon herself to use disrespectful language, using words like "hooker" and eventually graduating to "whore."

The comfortable and welcoming energy that I often times experience on our 3rd floor seemed to dissipate and was replaced with a feeling of hostility. Before I had the change to intervene on the woman's choice of language - I noticed something happening that confirmed my sense that Molly was upset.

Every time the word "whore" was spoken into the air, I noticed something in the room shake or sway, as if from anger. At first I thought I was attributing my assumptions onto things that were perhaps not even moving at all. But with each nasty word off her tongue, another shake was seen. First, the string hanging from the ceiling fan. Then, a tassel hanging from the lamp. The feathers in a decorative vase. The leaves on the plant. The necklace hanging from the mirror. Finally, the woman exclaimed that the divination rods felt like they were vibrating in her hands.

I snapped out of my trance and swiftly told the woman that she needed to drastically change her verbiage if she wanted to continue with the rods. The woman seemed offended by this request, but after explaining to her why this was important she decided to forego the rest of her turn and passed them off to the next tour-goer.

Things leveled-out as the tour went on. A more cheerful and contentive energy returned to Molly, the room, and the tour as other customers continued having good (respectful) fun. To this day, this instance still sticks out to me. It's the first and only time that I have personally felt Molly negatively shift the energy of the room so quickly and apparently.

- Marley Decker Former Tour Guide/Manager


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