(page 44) OCTOBER 2015
THE SCOOP BY KINSEY GUSTAFSON
HISTORY AND HAUNTINGS ABOUND ON HOTEL TOUR Savoy Schuler and Bryce Brinker are the founders and guides of the ghost tour in arguably the most haunted hotel in the Midwest - the historic Hotel Alex Johnson in downtown Rapid City. They say ghosts wanting to play, shadow people lurking around corners, and unusual occurrences aren’t exactly unusual at the Alex Johnson; they’re the norm. Many may have heard stories about the Alex Johnson, like the ghost bride who died in her wedding gown. However, not all have heard about the theories behind her death or about an unsettling barbershop that was located beneath the Alex Johnson. Those are the types of stories and insights guests and visitors will get to hear while on the ghost tour. It began when Schuler and Brinker began working at the hotel in 2013 and started hearing all of the stories that the hotel staff shared with each other. Events started happening to them, and when they realized guests wanted to hear their stories while getting checked into their rooms, the idea was born.
halls, and whispers of a girl asking them to play. Stories of the ghost of Johnson’s daughter throughout the hotel are the most common. One to 3 a.m. are the witching hours, however, Brinker and Schuler say any time in the evening is sure to give you more time with the valets, a better chance of having a ghostly story to take home, and the guarantee of a spookier feel in the air. Tours can range anywhere from 30 minutes up to two hours. It depends on how much time guests and visitors have, as well as how much time the valets have. Any length of time in the hotel will be enough to hear of at least a few ghost stories.
“All staff members have stories. You can’t work here for “Our valet staff gives the tours,” said Schuler. “It’s unof- more than a month and not have a story,” said Brinker. ficial, but if people call or show up after 5 [p.m.], we can “You couldn’t ask anyone who’s been here for more than a usually give them the tour.” month and not get a personal story from them.” Brinker chimed in, “Thursday through Saturday is our busiest time. We’ll bring 100 people through in that time and share stories with them.” One thing for sure is these guys know their Hotel Alex Johnson ghosts. Schuler doesn’t like to go into room 807 and Brinker has the same feelings about 802. However, guests are more than welcome to stay in these rooms. In fact, they’re encouraged. Guests can reserve a ghost tour package, which includes a night in a haunted room, the ghost tour, and a personal KII ghost hunter meter, among other things. Five rooms are given the official “haunted” label: 304, 305, 802, 807, and 812. Room 812 is the one with the most reported stories. Schuler pulls out a large and obviously worn notebook that he hands over, explaining that it is filled with guests’ stories in their own words. Some days have up to three stories reported in the notebook. The third floor was Alex Johnson’s personal floor for himself and his daughter, and is one of the two most haunted floors. Many of the hotel staff have reported hearing laughter, a small child running up and down the
The tour starts in the basement, goes up through the floors, and gets progressively more haunted. On the tour, the KII ghost hunter meter is with the valet and you can watch as it spikes red in certain spots, especially outside of some of the haunted rooms. It’s sure to scare even the toughest and most skeptical of people. Make sure to call ahead and let the valets know how many people will be on the tour, then they will work with you to make sure you get the best ghost tour experience. October is an especially great month for ghost tours, and on October 31 a Halloween Party will be held with a costume contest. First prize is $500 and second prize is a year membership to the Vertex Sky Bar. All of the valets have stories to share and are more than willing to let guests in on the haunted details of the Hotel Alex Johnson’s history. Be prepared to hear about some of the lesser known (but just as eerie) stories and expect that you won’t be able to help but look over your shoulder, especially on the eighth floor. For more info, visit alexjohnson.com or call (888) 729-0708.
605 Magazine October 2015 Edition