But I can only say that that week at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio was one of the best of my life, as well as one of the most eventful. And I never told all you fellow Castaways about it. Shame on me.
The Menger is the oldest continuously-operated hotel in the country. It was where Teddy Roosevelt used to sit at the end of the bar and recruit his Rough Riders for the Spanish-American War. Carrie Nation burst through the door with a hatchet in another era and hacked a large chunk from the same bar (I sat at that same spot). The Menger is also one of the most haunted places in the US. It's literally a stone's throw from the Alamo, where 300 Texans held off Santa Ana's Army to the last man. It is said that night watchmen at the Alamo have seen shadowy figures dressed in buckskins and frock coats kneeling in a circle, as if in silent prayer, disappearing in a cloudy puff when approached.
Some of you don't believe ghosts exist, or that our understanding of them is so far off that we can't even define what they are. That's okay. I know what I've experienced throughout my life. I'm not bothered when someone wants to explain away what they have never experienced. I just know that ever since I was old enough to remember anything, I've had odd encounters with vague entities that behave with varying degrees of apparent intelligence. I don't bother trying to explain them anymore. I just know when they're around. And at the Menger, they're around.
Now, this is where the important part comes in. Every time I walked around this corner, in either direction, I felt strangled, just briefly, in a not-quite-physical way. So I took a couple of shots here. As soon as I snapped the second one, a wall of energy hit me, like a sudden swell of static. In fact, I couldn't stay there anymore.
I found some of the other authors and editors attending the con, down in the courtyard. I shared what happened, and one of them, Doctor Ellen Spain, came back to the spot with me. I wasn't specific about what I felt when I told her what happened. I wanted to see how she reacted coming around the corner.
And sure enough, she stopped ten feet before she even got to the corner, looked at me, and said, "He doesn't like you." No s**t, Sherlock. Okay, I didn't say that to her then. But she took some shots herself of the area, and one of them was this one: