One of HJ’s very first blog posts was Spooky Nights at the Shiloh Inn. The haunting experiences I had while staying there have turned out to be among the first jaunts I ever took.
Except, I hadn’t set out to have a haunted jaunt. This was before I started traveling in search of ghosts. I’d been sent to Salt Lake on business. It just so happened my law firm booked me in a hotel with a macabre history, a history which very well may have left ghosts behind.
I wasn’t aware of either the hotel’s dark past or it’s possible ghosts at the time, though.
THE PHOTO ALBUM
The thing is, when I first wrote about my experiences at the Shiloh Inn, I wasn’t even sure it was the Shiloh Inn I stayed at. I thought there was a high likelihood it was, but I couldn’t remember for sure.
The other day I was going through photo albums and stumbled across one with pictures I’d taken on that trip to Salt Lake City in 1998. (That was another thing I wasn’t certain of, the date. Was it 1997 or 1998? I thought it was probably 1998, but, again, my memory wasn’t clear.)
Now, however, I know for sure. My notes tag the pictures from August 1998.
But what surprised me most was that I had taken a picture I’d forgotten about of one of my rooms at the Shiloh Inn. (I stayed in two different rooms.) I’d labeled it: “My accommodations at the Shiloh Inn courtesy of S&W.
Great, one mystery solved. But there was still two more I wasn’t quite sure about…
WHICH HOTEL DID THE WOMAN MURDER HER CHILDREN AT, AND DID SUCH A THING EVEN REALLY HAPPEN?
I got chills when I returned to my home office in Phoenix after being sent to Salt Lake City, told a co-worker (who’d grown up there) about my weird experiences, and she told me about the woman who’d thrown her children out a window from a downtown hotel’s roof. She believed it was the Shiloh Inn, but she wasn’t certain.
I always wondered if such a horrendous crime had ever happened. If it had, was it at that hotel? If so, that might explain the sensation of children giggling in the drawers I experienced, as well as the black mass that’d flown at my head in the middle of the night as I’d made my way to the bathroom.
A month ago a reader shared a story about the hotel. How they’d been staying there the day the mother killed her children. Scary.
Then, a few days ago, another reader shared a link to a news story about the incident in the comments. The first two paragraphs absolutely stunned me.
On August morning in 1978, Rachel David marched her seven children to an 11th-floor balcony of a Salt Lake City hotel. One by one, she threw or coaxed them over the railing. Then she jumped.
Three days earlier, her husband, Immanuel David, who believed he was God, killed himself because the FBI was investigating his cult.
So…it was a true story after all.
But there was a twist in the story that freaked me out most. One I have yet to stop thinking about.
THE SURVIVOR AND THE ANNIVERSARY
The picture accompanying the article showed a handicapped woman in a wheelchair behind a man with a long gray beard. The caption underneath read:
Rachel David is the lone survivor of an 11-story plunge that claimed the lives of her six siblings and her mother in Salt Lake City in 1978. Today she lives in Arora, Colorado with ther uncle, Jacob David, who still believes her late father is God.
One of the children survived? I can’t tell you the reaction my heart and skin had to that revelation. I had no idea there were any survivors. Tragic.
But this article also shocked me for two other reasons:
I had no idea what floor it had all happened on. I’m not going to make things up and say I stayed on the 11th floor. I know I was high up, but was it the 9th floor? 12th? 10th Sure, it could’ve been the 11th. Who knows? It would be horribly freaky if it was.
But not as freaky as the fact it happened in August 1978. I was there in August 1998. Twenty years later, same month. Is that why I experienced what I did? The ghosts were being active on the anniversary of their deaths? That really made me stop and think, not to mention shiver, let me tell you.