Something to prove

After enjoying a sly hug from the “Pink Lady,” Bob Farrar went from strong skeptic, he says, to stunned believer.

“I was married 22 years to a woman who said she grew up in a haunted house,” the attorney relates. “I’d come up with logical explanations. I said [to her], ‘You’re absolutely crazy.'”

After his encounter, “I was cross-examining myself,” he remembers. “It baffled me all day long.”

But he emerged from his musings a changed man.

“I tell you, I’m a believer now.”

Mystified — and determined to find out more about ghosts — Farrar went to the inaugural Joshua P. Warren Paranormal Conference, held last January in Asheville at the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, where the Pink Lady spirit allegedly lives.

The second conference comes to the Grove Park this weekend, led again by Warren, whose book, How to Hunt Ghosts, will be released by Simon & Schuster in August. Loren Coleman, author and world-famous cryptozoologist (the study of hidden animals) is a featured speaker, along with acclaimed North Carolina psychic Angela Moore and author William R. Forstchen, whose best-selling Lost Regiment series is being developed into a movie by Tom Cruise.

Attendees can expect demonstrations of equipment that detects spiritual phenomena, as well as psychic games with cash prizes, says Warren.

Just 26 now, the paranormal investigator and lifelong Buncombe County resident founded L.E.M.U.R. Paranormal Investigations back in 1995. L.E.M.U.R. (League of Energy Materialization and Unexplained Phenomena Research) specializes in ghost research, and also investigates UFOs, unusual creatures and psychic and other unexplained phenomena.

Warren found his calling at age 15, after investigating a house in Leicester.

“The property was haunted by Cherokee spirits,” he reveals. “I heard ghostly drumbeats there, and was amazed by some of the photographic anomalies I captured.

“There are lots of ghosts in Asheville,” Warren continues. “According to geologists, these are perhaps the oldest mountains in the world.

“The idea of ghostly phenomena borders on a kind of time travel — the prospect of something from the past still living and interacting with the present environment.”

“I haven’t had a drink in 17 years”

Farrar’s mysterious encounter happened on Nov. 27, 2001 — his first visit to the Grove Park Inn.

“The Pink Lady gave me a hug,” insists the 51-year-old Georgian, a self-described inquisitive skeptic. But after finding out about the Pink Lady from the concierge, he concluded she exists — and he knows she was trying to reach him.

The Pink Lady has been periodically spotted at the Inn since a woman died mysteriously there around 1920, in what was deemed a suicide. Found on the floor of Palm Court, her dead body was “crumpled,” Warren explains, “as if she had fallen from her room above.”

The spirit, thought to still haunt her old room (number 545) and other points in the Grove Park, has been described as a pink mist — and even as an actual, solid person. According to Warren, she’s young, attractive, blonde and dressed in a long, pink evening gown. She’s been called melancholy but peaceful, a “benevolent, albeit mischievous, specter.”

“[Guests have] had their feet tickled in the middle of the night by an unseen presence, or even been warmly embraced by her invisible arms,” Warren relates. “She enjoys turning room lights on and off, opening windows and calling elevators to vacant floors.” Guest-room bathrooms can only be locked from within — yet maintenance workers have found doors locked with no one inside.

Farrar was enjoying the inn’s then-new spa facilities — a session of polarity-massage therapy, in fact — when the Pink Lady singled him out.

“I felt a very strong sense that someone gave me a gentle hug on my right shoulder, and I felt them put their arms around my neck and [gently] squeeze,” he confides. “It was so real that it startled me from my serene state. I opened my eyes to discover that Katie [the therapist] was still working on my feet — so it couldn’t have been her.

“I didn’t see [the Pink Lady],” he continues. “But I felt her presence. I would swear under oath what I experienced.”

Farrar admits he was in a meditation-like trance in which he had “drifted into near unconsciousness.” But the sensation of being embraced, he says, “nudged me out of my relaxed state. Once I snapped out of it, the [hug] went on for at least five minutes. I was totally conscious.”

He remembers the presence as a distinctly physical sensation. It seemed to him a female touch — gentle, warm and comforting. Farrar, who was between relationships at the time of his encounter, points out that he was receiving treatment in the couples-massage room — and hints that the Pink Lady felt bad about his lack of a lady friend.

“I haven’t had a drink in 17 years,” the attorney swears. “I never took an illegal drug in my life. I’m straight as they come.”

But his experience has obviously changed him.

“I agree with [philosopher] William James [that] a thin veil of spiritual realm is just on the other side,” Farrar says now. “For some reason, that veil was pulled back for me. I am a very spiritual person, in terms of church and being contacted with God. But I never had an experience like that. This was profound. It stretches my thinking.”

Farrar sought re-contact, returning twice to the spa and entering the Pink Lady’s old room (545), but laments that he didn’t experience anything during either of those later visits.

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9 thoughts on “Something to prove

  1. Laura

    I was staying at the Grove Park Inn last week on the fifth floor. My boyfriend and I had been talking about the Pink Lady and I actually called to her, invited her to come hang out in our room. A little while later we turned off the lights and the tv and settled down in bed. About 30 seconds later the tv turned itself back on. The remote was on the other side of the room, so we didn’t hit it accidentally. I slept with the covers over my head that night. One of the staff told me the next day that such things were common on the fifth floor, said she liked to pull pranks like that especially if people were talking about her.

  2. ILoveAsheville

    I stayed at the Grove Park Inn for a week-long meeting in March 1994, sharing room 544 with a professional colleague. We knew nothing about The Pink Lady or the activity in room 545. Our first two evenings were uneventful, but the third was very disturbing. I was asleep, but my friend was up reading when the chaos next door began, shortly after midnight. We thought we our “neighbors” were hurling the furniture against the wall, smashing glass, and throwing each other around. We heard a door slamming repeatedly, and loud thuds, as if a human was hitting the floor and walls. After about 15-20 minutes, we decided to call the front desk for fear that someone was being hurt. Suddenly, it all stopped and the silence was almost as deafening as the noise had been. The next morning, I left early for a meeting and reported the incident to the desk clerk. She told me nothing about the hotel’s spirited past, and said only that room 545 was unoccupied and under renovation. “At Midnight,” I asked? She smiled and apologized for the disturbance. The next evening, I visited the gift shop and spotted the book, Haunted Asheville, where I discovered the Grove Park’s haunted history. I didn’t sleep too well that night, but the “renovation” next door did not continue. Shortly before check-out time on Day 5, I took a baggage cart up to 544 to load my files and luggage. As I exited the bathroom with my last bag, the room went cold – absolutely freezing! The temperature drop was so dramatic that I literally froze in my tracks. Suddenly, the TV turned on and started clicking through the channels. The remote was lying on the nightstand between the beds. I was not even near it. You have never seen a woman with a loaded baggage cart move as fast as I did to get out of that room. Would I go back? Oh yeah – in a heartbeat!

  3. ILoveAsheville

    Correction to my last post. Went back to my calendar and my stay at the Grove Park Inn was in March, 1997. I was also in Asheville in 94, but not at this hotel. Sorry! Should’ve checked before I posted.

  4. Mind Body Shop

    When you focus on bigger things.. Bigger than you and your life, you can find peace.

  5. Mind Body Shop

    I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change.

  6. Femanol

    I visited the gift shop and spotted the book, Haunted Asheville, where I discovered the Grove Park’s haunted history. I didn’t sleep too well that night, but the “renovation” next door did not continue. Shortly before check-out time on Day 5, I took a baggage cart up to 544 to load my files and luggage. As I exited the bathroom with my last bag, the room went cold – absolutely freezing! The temperature drop was so dramatic that I literally froze in my tracks. Suddenly, the TV turned on and started clicking through the channels. The remote was lying on the nightstand between the beds. I was not even near it. You have never seen a woman with a loaded baggage cart move as fast as I did to get out of that room.

  7. Bill

    I understand that digital cameras can possibly pick up paranormal activity. I have photographed the Grove Park Inn extensively on Thanksgiving 2007 and 2008. Many photos, especially in the entry hall, appear to have what I would call “orbs” present in the snapshot. I have taken pictures of the sitting area adjacent to room 545 and one orb in particular is prevalent, partially obscured behind a hanging light fixture. Has anyone else encountered these orb images on digital cameras or have any explanation for them?

  8. MarySara

    Yes, Bill, paranormal activity can be captured in the form of orbs in digital photographs. As the “experts” will tell you, though, digital cameras can also easily produce reflections from the tiniest little speck of dust or moisture, so it’s easy to assume that you have an orb when you may not. But orbs are real, and if you were around room 545 at Grove Park, chances are that was the real thing.

  9. sara grayce

    omg things like this happen alot. People say she likes to tickle kids feet. she likes to also do childish-pRANKS. And i think the t.v. prank is common. If you happento stay in any of those rooms, you might want to keep the remote close.

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