On one of my travels in the ’60’s, I had occasion to spend a night at a motel in Montego Bay. It was a well appointed room although rather like any Holiday Inn anywhere in North America. Instead of glass window panes, they had wooden louvres. There were two beds, separated by a night table – a bathroom and clothes closet. I chose the bed by the window. Having driven for hours over Mount Diablo, I was exhausted and fell into a deep sleep.
I’m guessing it was around 3 AM, when low murmurings awoke me. You know the kind – like when a group of people are gathered and are speaking quietly to each other. (That type of murmur used to put me to sleep when I was a child.) As I was lying on my right side facing the louvres, I saw the grey night sky peering through the openings between the wooden slats. The murmuring continued. I rolled on my back and half sat up.
I saw four men standing in a circle, talking, smiling and softly chuckling, much like you’d see at a cocktail party. They were illuminated as if the overhead light by the door were on. One of the men was blond, one was Spanish looking, one was brown-skinned and one was quite tall and thin and of very dark complexion. The Spanish looking gent turned his eyes to me, smiled and said, “Look, she’s awake”. The others turned and looked my way. I got out of bed and walked towards them, in my mind ready to tell them to get the hell out, when that same man asked, “Tell me, Miss Ornig, do you believe in ghosts?”
“Of course not. Idiot”, I thought to myself – and then I looked at each of them, one by one, as they smiled back at me. It occurred to me, “What if they are? Could it be?”. Utter terror suddenly washed over me. An icy chill ran through me. I felt a sudden cramp in my gut so sharp, I let out a groan. I doubled over and, as I was about to collapse on the floor, the thin man grabbed my right upper arm to keep me from keeling over.
I was awkened by the sound of low murmurings and as I opened my eyes slightly, I saw the gray night sky peering between the slats of the louvres. I decided not to roll on my back. I closed my eyes again.
I woke a third time. I saw the gray night sky peering between the slats of the louvres. This time it was quiet. No murmurs. I rolled on my back and the room was dark and empty. I fell back asleep.
The next day I lunched on lobster salad at a nearby hotel and relayed my experience to another lunch guest, a local gent. I described each man as I had remembered him from the night before. The gentleman smiled sadly and said he knew them. The blond one had been his friend.
The four had been liquor salesmen working for J. Wray and Nephew. Whenever they called on the hotels in Montego Bay, they stayed at that motel. One night, two years prior, they were hacked to death by a crazed mob of Rastafarians. They had set the gas station across the street on fire and, when the men came out of their rooms to see what the commotion was about, they attacked them with machetes and killed them all.
He was glad to hear that, in my vision, they appeared happy.
The palm trees swayed to a gentle noon-day breeze. My blood ran cold. I feared the night.