I worked at the Belleview Biltmore from late 2001 until the summer of 2004, initially as a waiter/bartender and later in the sales department. I had three separate unexplainable incidents in the hotel, which I’m not entirely convinced were paranormal but were certainly unnerving at the time.

The first time would have been sometime in 2002 and was in the closed-off area on the 5th floor. In the hotel’s heyday, the 5th floor is where the staff lived during season, and by 2002 was in a shabby state of disrepair. There was no electricity at all on the floor, as confirmed at the time by one of the maintenance staff who was a part of the group of coworkers that I was with at the time. And there was still furniture in many of the rooms and wallpaper peeling from the walls. I recall one room even containing an antique crib, which was a spooky sight to see. I remember seeing Nick Hogan talking about this area on an episode of Celebrity Ghost Stories, and he describes it exactly as it was when I went exploring up there.

I was with a group of about 5 people after our evening shift in the restaurant (it was called the ‘Terrace Cafe’ at the time. We had to pick a lock to get access to the 5th floor, which was completely dark. I think we had one flashlight with us and a couple of cigarette lighters. I’d have never stepped foot up there at night by myself, but with a crowd of us we all felt pretty brave. We looked around for a few minutes and as we were walking past one of the open rooms there was sort of a spark of light that lit up the room for an instant. It even made a “whoosh” noise as it happened, and then made a sort of crackling noise as it vanished. It felt as if there was a charge to the air, like static electricity. Every one of us saw it too. A natural explanation could have been that one of us brushed against a bare wire that created a spark, but as I mentioned before the maintenance worker who was with us said there was no electricity at all running to the fifth floor. We left and went back downstairs as soon as that happened.

There were two other things that happened to me when I was alone. Once I was in a bathroom off of the main hallway. This bathroom was completely finished with marble; floor and walls. Any sound echoed in there and there would be no mistaking if there was someone else in there with you. I was in one of the stalls when I felt like I say a shadow pass in front of me on the other side of the stall door, then a moment later is was as if someone pulled on the door from the other side. There was definitely no one there. I finished my business as quickly as I could, considering the circumstances. Pretty sure I never went in that bathroom again, unless it was for a #1. ; )

When I was a part of the sales staff, part of my normal duties was to give tours to prospective clients. I was preparing for a tour by first checking the guest room in advance that I’d be later showing. It was a room on the second floor at the far end of the hall that was looking out at the tennis courts (facing the gulf). I remember something being wrong with the room. I think there was actually a burn mark in the carpet that looked like someone had sat a hot iron on the floor. I sat down on the couch to call the front desk to ask if I could switch this room with another when the TV turned on by itself. Thinking that I had just sat on the remote control, I stood up to look in the couch cushions for it, when the TV turned off again. After I hung up with the front desk I walked to the door and stood for just a moment before leaving, and sure enough, the TV came on again by itself. I listened in the the rooms nearby, thinking maybe someone was in there and their remote was affecting the TV in this room, but it seemed like those rooms were also empty. I went back to the sales office and told everyone what I’d just experienced, and my manager Mary wen to check it out for herself. She said when she got to the room the TV was on and the volume was turned up at full blast and she could hear it as she was walking down the hall. When I’d left the volume was at zero.

That was a fun place to work. It definitely had a unique energy about it, and a good number of my coworkers had experiences of their own. I went back recently (2020) to check out the new renovations. It’s very well done and they did a beautiful job, but it just didn’t seem to have that same character that it once did.