Castle Hill Ballroom

Castle Hill Ballroom

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My childhood years were spent with my father at a place we lovingly referred to as ‘The Club.’ Castle Hill Ballroom had been one of the most exciting parts of my young life, and it was for the most mundane reasons. At least they seem mundane when looking back now. There was one tree out front that was perfect for climbing. A piano was tucked behind the curtain on the stage that was often a source of entertainment for my unpracticed hands. It was a race to get out from the overwhelming darkness that seemed to swallow everything up once the lights were off in the huge ballroom and bar. Leaving was always bittersweet, especially since I had a playmate for my visits—a playmate that no one else could see.

It was apparent to the employees that someone else was there more often than not, and it became most obvious when the doors were closed. As a frequent viewer of paranormal television shows, the stories of my parents’ experiences at Castle Hill sound familiar. Things being moved when no one is around, seeing shadows from the corner of your eye or a child playing with another that is unseen.

One of my dad’s favorite stories to bring up, usually after rather farfetched episodes of the previously mentioned shows, is the tale of the cook that quit. As this story goes, bowls of ingredients and dishes would be on the floor or moved to another area of the kitchen overnight. Out of the corner of their eye, they would swear they saw a small shadow moving across one doorway and then the next, but they were the only ones in the building.

This is perplexing when considering the layout of the kitchen. The island in the middle provided a simple work station with plenty of room to prepare food for the banquets and receptions ‘The Club’ hosted. The two doorways in question were to the left of the island and to the back right. According to the cook, this shadow would move with great speed from one doorway and be passing the next on the opposite wall by the time they turned.

Another story I hear involves what most people have come to call a shadow figure. My dad, my mom and another employee were sitting at the bar after closing when a shape passed by the door in a fashion similar to the shadow in the previous story. Instead of being frightened, the three employees got up to make sure the person wasn’t causing any problems. They followed this person downstairs and watched them disappear through the closed door to the back room.

What you have to understand is that my father is a very rational and stubborn man. He wouldn’t let something that could have been a trick of the light unsettle him. To this day, he will still swear that he thought he saw a real person walking around.

The final story that I hear is a little more unsettling for me.

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My dad would take me with him to Castle Hill when he had some work to do during the day. When they were turning the basement into a night club, my father helped install the new lighting, among other things. The room was huge. Two staircases fed into the room—one from outside and one from upstairs. Anyone coming into the room was instantly greeted with the sight of a couple dozen tables set and ready for seating. The dance floor was the highest point of the room in the back and accented with lattice-style walls to separate it from the seating area. The lights my dad put in covered the room with neon orbs and bright strobes. To make sure they were working, we turned the overhead lights out and let the strobes and swiveling colored lights run. I’m told that I was very young at the time, four or five, and at the stage where I was confident enough to take to the empty dance floor without a care.

I cannot personally recall what happened next, but my dad remembers vividly that he saw me sit down and start talking to the air. When he came over and asked me what I was doing, I replied with, “I’m playing with Timmy.”

Timmy would become a common fixture in my visits, and the playmate I mentioned at the beginning. Was Timmy a ghost? I can’t say for sure if he was, or if he was simply a child’s imaginary friend. Did the others see real shadow figures? Castle Hill Ballroom has since been sold, renovated, torn down and turned into a grocery store. Will anyone ever know the truth of these events? No one can say for certain, but there is always the possibility of something more interesting than the mundane.

Images provided by Lisa Setrini-Espinosa and Alessandro Paiva

To read the Paranormal Galaxy Magazine version of this article click on the title Castle Hill Ballroom

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