The haunted hotel | Translation

The haunted hotel | Translation


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Translated by MC Editorial

[Daniel Alarcón]: This is Radio Ambulante from NPR. I’m Daniel Alarcón. 

[Joanna Hausmann]: I think that as a comedienne I view the world in a way that doesn’t require explanations of the afterlife, because I can understand it through critical thinking.

[Daniel]: This is Joanna Hausmann. Comedienne. She has lived in the United States for almost 30 years, but she has always been closely linked to Venezuela, where her parents are from. Since 2014 she began to make videos where she talks with humor about, among other things, xenophobia, racism, anxiety, what happens in Venezuela, the peculiarities of the Spanish language . . . 


[Joanna]: Hi, everyone. I’m Joanna and I’m your Spanish teacher today. Welcome.

Sobremesa, literally, it means over the table. It’s like those moments where you hog the table and the waiter looks at you like, Get out, please.

Empalagar is the feeling you get when you’ve had like way too many sweets. 

[Daniel]: OK, but today’s episode is not about comedy. It is scary. It is fitting for this time, which is fun for some, irrelevant for others, terrifying for many. It’s the time for scary things, ghosts, witches, beliefs, superstitions . . . Exactly: Halloween. 

And today’s story is about how Johanna’s rational mind was put to the test.

 [Joanna]: I was pretty proud of myself for not believing all those things. It was part of my personality.

[Daniel]: But that pride lasted until one day . . . well, one night when she could find no explanation for what was happening to her. 

I must say, in case it isn’t clear, that what you’re going to hear after this brief pause is a true story. 

We’ll be right back.

[Ad break 1]

[Daniel]: We’re back at Radio Ambulante.

Our producer David Trujillo tells us the story. 

[David Trujillo]: It was 2016, and Joanna was working for a TV channel. Around October of that year, she was called in for a proposal.  

[Joanna]: They tell me, “We have a job for you in Miami. You’re going to film a commercial.”

[David]: She has had a close bond with Miami for a long time. She has family and friends there, and she has always seen it as a destination to have a good time, relax . . .  vacations. The job proposal sounded great.

[Joanna]: “You have to spend two nights there and don’t worry, we’re going to treat you to the best hotel in Miami; it will be totally relaxing until it’s time to work. You’ll like it.” I said, “OK, let’s go.” 

[David]: She left a few days later. She arrived in Miami in the afternoon and a driver picked her up at the airport. The plan was to take her to her hotel to get some rest, and the next day, very early, he would pick her up there again and take her to the recording studio.

[Joanna]: And I remember that we arrived at, like the hotel entrance, and this building did not look like any building I had ever seen in Miami. 

[David]: For her, Miami was a new city, full of modern buildings. But this hotel was the opposite.

[Joanna]: It was an older building, perhaps more classic. I felt that I was in another era because it seemed like a hotel from another era. And I was like wow, I was impressed. 

[David]: It was wide, with a lot of windows and balconies. The roofs had clay tile, and the walls were painted a creamy yellow and white. In the middle was a tall tower that ended in a point. You could tell it was an old construction and clearly, they wanted to keep that style.

[Joanna]: I get my bags and go into the lobby. I remember it was like a lobby with a lot of plants, an older architectural style, very classic, very pretty, beautiful, beautiful, it was a gorgeous lobby. And I don’t really know how to explain it to you, but it didn’t feel right. I felt that I was in the past.

[David]: But the people at the reception quickly welcomed her and were very friendly. That made her feel more comfortable. She clearly was in one of the best hotels in Miami—that was evident. The building might be old, but everything was very well restored and decorated. That first impression of discomfort she experienced did not make any sense. 

[Joanna]: And I was kind of like, Joanna, calm down. I mean, maybe you were expecting a newer hotel, but this—what you’re feeling is that this . . . this . . . is an older building, that’s all. And I thought, OK, go ahead, calm down. Don’t be ridiculous.

[David]: She grabbed the key to her room and stepped into the elevator. When she reached her floor, she doesn’t recall which floor it was, except that it was high up, she got out with her suitcase and started walking down the hall. It was not decorated, except for a small thing on the walls that caught Joanna’s attention.

[Joanna]: The only thing I saw were black and white photos of what seemed to be the hotel’s past, and I said to myself, I don’t see the point of hanging all these photos of people who are surely dead now.

[David]: They were photos of golf games or people on the beach . . . People looked happy, wearing summer clothes from earlier times. It was inevitable that Joanna would think of a movie.

[Joanna]: It felt a bit like The Shining.

[David]: The Shining—that classic horror movie that takes place in a hotel. 

[Joanna]: I open the door to my room. It’s a spectacular room. I mean, a beautiful room: I have like a . . . a small living room for me, I have a room that is somewhat separate. There’s a spectacular view, some beautiful palm trees, all green. Things don’t feel old, they don’t feel used; they feel new, but from another era. 

[David]: Suddenly she felt pressure on her chest. A strange, sudden pressure . . .  Her first intuition she had was that it was something . . . supernatural.  But she rejected that idea right away. There had to be a logical explanation; there always is. She’d learned that from her dad. 

[Joanna]: My dad studied physics. Logic was the most important thing in my house. Ah, a door closed. Logically what happened is that, well, there was an open window in one room, another open window in another and something happened and that’s it. I mean, physics, physics shut the door.

[David]: Her mom is the one with the, let’s say, less rational explanations. If a door was closed . . .

[Joanna]: It was, oh, something came in. Maybe a spirit. Well, not really, and what about physics, dude?

[David]: She considers her mother more spiritual, if she can be pigeonholed that way. Maybe it has to do with her Cuban side of the family and, although the mother is not Catholic, she does have a spiritual tradition that doesn’t necessarily have to do with religion.

[Joanna]: My grandmother and my great-aunts and some of my uncles, they all had their little statues of the Virgin, of course. So, there were all kinds of absurd rituals and beliefs: If you lose something, you pray to the saint who was crucified next to Jesus and he comes and gives it back to you because he was the one who stole it from you. 

[David]: You don’t have to be religious to ask for such favors. More than religion, it’s a question of quaint old traditions. There are saints for all kind of miracles, and I know that very well: Every time lightning strikes, my mother says, ”Oh, blessed Saint Barbara,” because she is supposed to be the one who can end a thunderstorm. If you’re looking for a partner, it’s best to put a figure of Saint Anthony upside down and pray to him. Saint Lucia helps with eye problems, and Saint Fiacre cures hemorrhoids. Now, if what you ask is too far-fetched, if it goes beyond any logic, if it goes far beyond any human effort, don’t worry; there’s always Saint Jude Thaddeus, the go-to for impossible causes. Exactly, impossible. When I say that there are saints for absolutely everything, I think I’m not exaggerating.

And it’s not just the saints. There are also all kinds of rituals for different things. If the situation is simple, there are simple superstitions. For example, my mom once told me that putting a broom behind the door makes an unwanted guest leave soon. For more complex things, like avoiding bad luck for life, there are complex solutions. 

[Joanna]: For example, when we’re all having dinner and someone drops the salt, immediately: “Oh, throw it behind your back because—oh, the evil eye.” “Oh, what’s going to happen to us.” And dude, we don’t even believe in anything and we’re doing all these things in the event of bad luck. It doesn’t make any sense.

[David]: But sure enough, even though she is an atheist and a skeptic, she does admit that she does those things from time to time. Nothing very elaborate, just little things like knocking on wood to ward off evil. Although she finds it ridiculous, in the end she doesn’t lose anything by doing it. I think that sometimes I do it too, without really believing in it, because . . .  well . . .  you never know. It’s better to be safe. 

Although believing in saints, ghosts, apparitions, specters, evil energies—that definitely did not fit in Joanna’s head. Finding rational explanations is her way of fending off fear: What does not make sense, does not exist. Period. 

So when she was in the hotel room and felt that strange pressure on her chest, she already had an explanation at hand. The most obvious: asthma, which she has had all her life. Maybe there was a trigger. It could be the weather, the air conditioning, or some dust. Joanna grabbed her inhaler, pressed it a few times, took a breath, and opened the windows. There was nothing unusual. It occurred to her, then, that it might be a good idea to go to the gym for a while.

It was more or less 8 p.m. The gym was in the basement. To get there, Joanna had to go down a large flight of stairs, full of ostentatious decorations, but the gym itself did not seem as beautiful as the rest of the hotel. It was more like a basement where they put a bunch of exercise machines. 

There were more guests there. For the first time, Joanna, who is very outgoing and likes to chat, saw people other than the reception staff. 

[Joanna]: It felt good at the time, to be around people and, you know, just trying to strike up a conversation with the guy doing weights, like “Hey! Wow, good job,” you know? I was trying to have a conversation because, really, I had been alone for about two hours. And, so, I get on the treadmill, I start jogging. 

[David]: And almost immediately, something like an allergic reaction began to appear on the right side of her body.

[Joanna]: My chest, my arm and part of my face were red. But when I say red, it’s like a reaction to something. And I thought, it can’t be that I have an allergy here too; that doesn’t make any sense.

[David]: There was no itchiness, no burning . . . she had never suffered from skin allergies, but those reactions can happen at any time in life and for many reasons. So, she decided to stop exercising and ask a hotel employee for an antihistamine. Then she went up to her room. 

When she checked her arm, she noticed the redness had disappeared. Strange. But she didn’t think much of it and took the pill to prevent it from happening again. Since she had to get up very early, she decided to shower, eat something and, while she got ready for bed, she turned on the TV for a while. It was about 10 p.m. 

[Joanna]: And I wake up around midnight to the sound of a political campaign ad for Trump. What a nightmare, right? I mean, I woke up with someone saying: Trump, the next president of The United States. And I thought, ugh, what is this? And I realized the TV in front of me was on and the volume turned almost all the way up. 

[David]: She began to feel the bed with her hands, searching for the remote control. She had left it there shortly before falling asleep. She found it, turned off the TV, and put the remote on the nightstand. Sure, she freaked out, but she had probably laid on the control in her sleep, turned on the TV, and turned up the volume. It can happen. 

She tried to fall asleep again. 

[Joanna]: An hour later, I hear, “Do you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis?” And I though, “What the fuck, what’s going on here?” The television was on again, at full volume. 

[David]: Joanna tried to think of some logical explanation . . .  the logic that has always helped her against fear. But this time, it wasn’t working.

[Joanna]: You go through life and you forget that your heart is beating, but in moments of fear you’re so aware of your heart because it is present. My heart was present. So, I turned on the lights in the room because I thought . . . I don’t know. 

[David]: She unplugged the TV. Then it would be impossible for it to turn on again. Then she went to the bathroom and splashed water on her face. She tried to calm down, went back to bed, and tried to sleep. A few minutes later, she began to hear voices coming from the little living room of her suite . . . she heard two: a male and a female. They sounded like whispers. 

[Joanna]: And it was just like (whispers). Like that. And my heart bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. And I thought, Joanna, my God, I mean, you’re a non-religious person. You think we die and there’s nothing beyond. I mean, Joanna, please.

[David]: Was she hallucinating? She once heard about several houses in the United States where ghost sightings were reported, but there were actually gas leaks that caused people to see or hear things that didn’t exist. And that could be really dangerous, a justified fear. But she couldn’t smell that obvious gas smell. It could also be the delusions that antihistamines can produce . . . or something like that, because what else: there could be no one in the room, no one. If she went out, she could prove it. It was the only way to calm down. 

So, she walked to the door of the room and peered out slowly, as if not wanting to see what might be there. Of course, there was no one. 

[Joanna]: But I see the television in my living room is on. And I didn’t even know where the control for that television was. And meanwhile . . . oh no. And as I was looking at the TV, the volume was raised. And there I panic, a superhuman fear, a fear that I had not felt before.

[David]: It felt as if she was in another world. She unplugged the second TV, turned on all the lights, and opened the curtains. By now, sleep was impossible. She was too distraught. 

As it was just a short time before dawn, and she would be picked up in a few hours, it was best to go ahead and shower. All this had to have an explanation, she didn’t know what at the time, but there had to be one. Later, after calming down, she would figure it out. 

But the bathroom didn’t help her much to calm down either: it was narrow and all the walls were a deep red . . .  

[Joanna]: I get under the shower and close my eyes, and hear (noises).

[David]: She glanced at the bathroom mirror, which was already foggy with steam from the hot water. She saw only her reflected silhouette, but she realized something . . .  

[Joanna]: That there’s a hair dryer attached to the wall, and it’s turning on and off. I turn off the shower. I grab the towel, and as I’m getting out of the bathroom, I fall. I pull my clothes on, my hair is wet . . .  I mean, and I get out of that room as fast as I can. I left everything on. 

[David]: She hurried down to the lobby, but tried to hide her fear. Who was going to believe everything that had just happened? After a while, the car that had picked her up the day before arrived. She was a little relieved when she got in. To clear her mind, she began talking to the driver. At one point, the man asked her if she had had a good night . . .

[Joanna]: And I said, “Look, honestly, I slept very, very, very badly, I slept terribly,” and I started to laugh. 

[David]: Now that she was talking about it with someone, this sounded like it could become one of her videos. Maybe she could include it in her comedy show, and she would laugh at herself and at how naive she was to have been scared by something so silly. It must have been a defect in the electrical circuit. 

Laughing, she said to the driver, “This is going to sound weird, but I felt like there was someone in my room.”

[Joanna]: And I laughed again, because I knew what this guy was going to say, something like, this girl is crazy. 

[David]: But no. The driver didn’t laugh.

[Joanna]: He answered very seriously, and he said, “Oh, that makes all the sense in the world. This is the most haunted hotel in Florida, and one of the most haunted hotels in America.”

[Daniel]: According to the driver, Joanna was staying at the most haunted hotel in Florida, and one of the most haunted in America: the Biltmore Hotel.

We’ll be back.

[Ad break 2]

[Daniel]:  We’re back with Radio Ambulante. I’m Daniel Alarcón.

Before the break, Joanna Hausmann had a very strange experience at the hotel where she was staying. Although, on second thought, maybe there was a defect in the electrical circuit in the room. The best thing was to laugh about what happened and forget about it. 

But the driver who picked her up that morning told her that her story made perfect sense because that was one of the most haunted hotels in the country.

[Joanna]: And I felt two things right then and there. One: Oh my God! And two: I’m not crazy.

[Daniel]: Joanna wanted to know more.

[Joanna]: “OK, OK. Explain that to me.” And he explains to me.

[Daniel]: David Trujillo continues the story . . .  

[David]: The driver knew the history of the Biltmore Hotel well. It is one of the most iconic buildings in Miami, and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1996. 

It was built in the Coral Gables area in the mid-1920s, when Florida was having a big real estate boom. Its 96-meter main tower is inspired by the Giralda, the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville, in Spain. 

The driver told her that from the very beginning it was a luxury hotel where dances, parties, water shows and golf tournaments were very common—those roaring 20s you hear so much about. Celebrities, politicians and billionaires from around the world stayed there. But aside from the luxury and fun, there were also dark moments. In 1929 a mobster was murdered in the middle of a card game with illegal consumption of alcohol. The famous gangster Al Capone is said to have stayed there when he visited the city. 

The excesses and the clients’ choice to stay near the beach caused the hotel’s finances to decline. Little by little, it became unsustainable, and in the 1940s, in the middle of World War II, the United States government converted it into a military hospital. 

Joanna was intrigued, and the driver continued with the story. He told her. . .

[Joanna]: But look, mind you, the gym was the morgue. 

[David]: At no time had Joanna mentioned her experience in the gym and the allergy that appeared on her.

[Joanna]: But then the hairs on my skin started to stand up. If 24 hours before, someone had told me that story, I would have laughed. I mean, how ridiculous this person is!

[David]: By then, the driver had her undivided attention. If there was one thing Joanna couldn’t deny, it was the charged story behind the Biltmore. After the war, it became the headquarters of the University of Miami medical school and continued to function as a hospital until 1968, when the decision was made to close it. For years it remained abandoned, and rumors spread, that strange things were happening there. Kids from the area used to come in to see if it was really haunted. 

In the early 1980s, the local government, which had taken over the property a few years earlier, began to restore it. In 1986, a local news outlet published a chronicle about the strange experiences that the building’s guards had had. Through the security cameras they saw wheelchair marks appear on the floor, which were later erased. They also heard terrifying screams at night coming from the top floors. At the end, the reporter says, “It’s too bad the Biltmore Hotel hasn’t reopened yet. It would be a great place to spend Halloween night.”

That happened a year later. The Biltmore was reopened as a luxury resort, but its mystique remained. It was as if the new managers had made no effort to dispel its reputation as one of the most haunted places in the country. On the contrary, articles and videos about its history continued to appear, and even events were held at the hotel in which ghost stories were told. 

The driver ended with this:

[Joanna]: I have picked up several people at this hotel. You’re not the first person I pick up who tells me that she couldn’t sleep that night and that she felt there was someone in her room. I’m not in the least bit surprised by what you’re telling me. 

[David]: When Joanna told me that, we wanted to check what the driver had told her—that there were other people with similar stories. 

[Man]: An incredible energy. How should I say it? It is an exotic place for me. 

[David]: We found this person who has been involved with the hotel for a while. He preferred that we not mention his name. This is how he describes the Biltmore.

[Man]: When you enter that place, it seems that you’re in another part of the universe, you’re not where you think you can be.

[David]: He said the hotel is full of terrifying stories and he has heard them for years. Like the one about a worker who, while delivering newspapers during one night, saw on one of the floors a woman dressed in white, barefoot and with gray hair down to her waist.

[Man]: And she greeted him, you know, more or less from a distance, and then he would grab the elevator and find her on the next floor. And he thought, how did this lady come down so fast and here she is again? On one of those trips, he came down to the lobby, and he suddenly finds himself in the hallway again with the lady and says that when he looked again, he lost sight of her. He never saw her again. 

[David]: Or the one about a guest who came down to the lobby naked one night.

[Man]: Saying he wanted to leave, he wanted to leave, that he didn’t want to be there anymore, he felt his bed was being moved, and who knows what. That was the story.

[David]: Even the story of his wife, who stayed a night years ago, and had to leave at dawn because she felt strange noises and vibrations in her room. 

There is also this woman who has stayed at the Biltmore, Christy Woods. She says she felt a strange presence. 

[Christy Woods]: It just feels like someone is always looking at you or over your shoulder. It feels mainly within the room or the bathroom . . .  I constantly turned left or right anticipating that I’m going to see someone. 

[David]: She says: It’s like someone is watching you all the time. The feeling comes mainly in the room or in the bathroom. She looked left and right constantly, thinking she was going to see someone. 

[Christy Woods]: Oftentimes I feel like I see something move across my field of vision; whether it be peripheral or if I’m looking into the mirror, I feel like I see a shadow. But I can’t for sure say. The only thing I know is that there is just a very eerie feeling. 

[David]: Many times, I feel like I see something moving, either with my peripheral vision or, if I’m looking in the mirror, I feel like I’m seeing a shadow. But I can’t be sure. All I know is that there is a very eerie feeling. 

The driver’s story terrified Joanna. She was already thinking of changing hotels because she still had one night left in Miami. But at that moment she had to calm down: She was going to a work appointment for which she had to prepare, put on makeup, act, look relaxed.  So, she called her husband and told him all about it. His reaction was to laugh. Joanna was already expecting that. In any other circumstances, she would have laughed too, but this time she really felt that what she had experienced was different. 

[Joanna]: I didn’t know the history of the hotel until two seconds ago. What are the chances that I feel all this in what used to be the morgue, in a room that was a . . . hospital room?

[David]: She decided to call her father, the one who studied physics, the economist, the politician who was the Minister of Planning of Venezuela in the early 90s, the one who always has a logical explanation for everything. She wanted to vent, and for him to help her calm down . . .  

This is her father, Ricardo Hausmann:

[Ricardo Hausmann]: And she was very distressed and my simplest explanation is that maybe there was someone with a similar TV control in a nearby room who was trying to control his TV and was controlling hers.  

[David]: Ricardo wanted to reassure her, show her a scenario that would make her feel more secure. 

[Ricardo]: The fact that the TV turned on and off was not a reason for her to be so scared, so distressed, suffer so much or want to change hotels.

[David]: But hey, if staying somewhere else made her feel better, he encouraged her to do it. It was a practical solution to a real problem: fear. 

[Ricardo]: I have no doubt that she felt very afraid and was extremely scared, but that’s not enough to think there is a real paranormal world, and so on. I’m not saying that we understand everything that happens in the world, but the fact that we do not understand something does not mean that there are strange spirits causing it.

[David]: It isn’t that Ricardo is closed to other explanations. The thing is that he understands the world from a scientific point of view, and that means he doesn’t believe the initial version of things. On the contrary, he doubts everything. In fact, it’s much easier to disprove a hypothesis than to prove it. And so far, he has always found the logical way to explain paranormal phenomena.

That’s how is he. He believes he needs evidence . . . and also to weigh things. Joanna’s husband is just as skeptical. 

[Joanna]: And up to this day, my dad and my husband don’t believe me. But since they were not there, they don’t understand what does not make sense: the feeling, the fear, everything that cannot be explained in words.

[David]: Then she realized she did not need explanations of what she went through, she needed something else—so she looked elsewhere. 

[Ana Julia Jatar]: She called me on the phone. She says, “Ma, I can’t believe what happened to me.”

[David]: This is her mother, Ana Julia Jatar. She is an economist, journalist, writer.  

[Ana Julia]: The poor thing was very nervous, and genuinely scared. I mean, she was totally convinced that her experience had been real, with something supernatural. “I’m sure there are spirits in this hotel, I’m leaving this place.”

[Joanna]: And the only person in my family who believed me was my mom. Years ago, she stayed at a hotel in Venezuela and she always told me this story. 

[David]: This is the story: Ana Julia was always very close to her grandfather, a dealer in eyewear who had clients in different parts of Venezuela. When he died, she, who was about 26 years old, decided to keep the business, and began to travel to these places.

[Ana Julia]: And I remember one night I stayed in one of those small hotels in the small towns where my grandfather had done business. And I was sleeping and I felt his presence. I turned around like this and saw a . . . a vibration, as if it were a being made of electricity. At first, I was scared. Then I calmed down because I felt it was him thanking me.

[Joanna]: And I remembered all those times my mom told me that story about the hotel and I didn’t believe her. And I always said, “Oh, that Latin American magical realism, my mother was probably half asleep and she saw something.” And every time she told me that story, I never believed her. 

[David]: Joanna is not the only one who has not believed her, of course. 

[Ana Julia]: There are friends who . . . Oh, here comes Ana Julia with her stories . . . you know. 

[David]: But Ana Julia is not so concerned. If people believe her and agree with her, fine, but if they don’t, it’s fine too. 

[Ana Julia]: And I don’t go through life trying to make others think like me. That seems very boring to me.

[David]: She doesn’t even try to convince her own husband. 

[Ana Julia]: My husband is very—he obviously does not believe in any of these things, but I told him calmly. “I will wait for you when we cross to the other side. Later, when we go from this dimension to another, I will remind you.” 

[David]: Little by little, they both began to understand that neither of them is going to change nor are they going to change each other. 

[Ana Julia]: He respects me a lot, and what I think, but he doesn’t believe it. And I believe that a in healthy relationship, you respect what the other person thinks.

[Ricardo]: One can relate very well to people with whom one does not share beliefs and try to understand how each one sees the world. But that does not necessarily imply that you have to change your vision of the world. 

[David]: It isn’t worth it because, in reality, this is not something that creates a conflict for them. They are united by many other things, one of the most important being that respect for a different way of seeing the world. How do you fall in love with someone so different? Well, maybe they aren’t all that different. 

The one who did change after her experience was Joanna.  

[Joanna]: Maybe not so much, because right now it’s not like I believe in those things or that I believe in ghosts, and I can’t tell you that I believe it, but I can tell you that I don’t know what I believe. And I’m open to not knowing. What’s more, I prefer not to know. 

[David]: And now if someone tells her a similar story . . .  

[Joanna]: I believe it. I have more empathy. Now I think I can put myself in someone else’s shoes when they go through something like this. 

[David]: That day in Miami, Joanna filmed the commercial feeling uncomfortable and anxious. She spoke with the people of the channel so they changed her hotel. She was not willing to stay one more night in that place. They agreed. 

When it was all over, she went back to the Biltmore. She knew she had to go up to the room to get her bags. The very idea filled her with dread. But no one else could. She took a deep breath, called her mom, and put her on speaker phone. She went up fast. 

While she put things away, her mother calmed her down over the cell phone. She packed everything, grabbed her suitcase and ran down the hall . . . She felt the prying eyes of those people in the black-and-white photos. But she just looked straight ahead and focused on the elevator. 

Finally, she reached the lobby. She went up to the reception and told the man in charge that she wanted to check out, that she was not going to stay that night. 

[Joanna]: And the guy stares at me and says, “Was everything OK?

[David]: Was everything fine?

[Joanna]: And I said, “I honestly felt a little uncomfortable in the room.” He stared at me, smiled and said, “I understand. You don’t have to say more.” And he closed my account. And I left the hotel and never went back. 

[Daniel]: From that moment on, Joanna never goes to a hotel without first looking up its history. If it’s not haunted, she stays.

David Trujillo is a producer for Radio Ambulante. He lives in Bogotá.

Thanks to Lisette Arévalo and Emilia Erbetta for their great help with this episode. We also want to especially thank Marcela Santana. 

This story was edited by Camila Segura and me. The music and sound design are by Andrés Azpiri and Rémy Lozano, with original music by Rémy. Désirée Yépez did the fact-checking.

The rest of the Radio Ambulante team includes Paola Alean, Nicolás Alonso, Aneris Casassus, Xochitl Fabián, Fernanda Guzmán, Camilo Jiménez Santofimio, Laura Rojas Aponte, Barbara Sawhill, Luis Fernando Vargas, and Elsa Liliana Ulloa. 

Carolina Guerrero is the CEO.

Radio Ambulante is a podcast by Radio Ambulante Estudios, produced and mixed on the Hindenburg PRO program. 

Radio Ambulante tells the stories of Latin America. I’m Daniel Alarcón. Thanks for listening.



David Trujillo

Daniel Alarcón  and Camila Segura

Andrés Azpiri and Rémy Lozano

Rémy Lozano

Desirée Yépez

Diana Carmenate

United States