Weird News, Ghosts and the Paranormal.

The Haunted Hotel (Skirvin Hilton Hotel)

skirvin hotel okc haunted scary front

Sometimes we are lucky enough to have two of our favorite things bump into each other. So it was delightful to find that yet another National Basketball Association player, forward Wesley Johnson of the Phoenix Suns, had a possible paranormal experience at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

NBA players from teams such as the Miami Heat and my beloved Chicago Bulls have claimed that the hotel is haunted and it is not a surprise. The one hundred and two year old hotel has a classic haunted history filled with big names, immoral behavior and tragedy.

The Hotel:

Construction on the hotelconcluded in 1911 and additions would be made on the structure until 1930, when the last brick was laid the three winged towers were fourteen floors high and contained five hundred and twenty five rooms.

The Skirvin Hotel was named after it’s owner, William Balser Skirvin.

William Skirvin

William Skirvin

William Skirvin was part of The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889, and before owning the hotel had been part of numerous land purchases in both Oklahoma and Texas. When the hotel was completed, Skirvin and his family moved into a suite on the ninth floor.

It was Skirvin’s possible actions and behavior in the hotel that might have lead to a ghostly spirit wandering the halls of the building till the present day.

The hotel was closed down in 1988 but was remodeled and reopened in 2007 as a Hilton Hotel.

The Ghost And The Legends:

Throughout the years that have passed since the hotel initial glory days in the early twentieth century, many strange occurrences have been reported in the hotel.

Male guests have heard a female voice “propositioning” them in tier rooms or have seen a naked female figure with them in the showers. Objects move on their own accord and one visitor has even claimed to have been sexually assaulted by some sort of presence.

Another repeated tale is of witnesses hearing the cries of a wailing baby somewhere in the hotel or in their rooms.

Most of these paranormal occurrences have been linked to one of the two main legend concerning the origins of the Skirvin Hotel’s ghostly boarders.

The first explanation goes back to William Skivrin himself who was said to have been a womanizer. The story goes that Skirvin got a maid named ‘Effie’ pregnant after having an affair with the woman. In the classic tradition of many a sordid tale, Skirvin is said to have locked the maid up in a room on the tenth floor of the hotel.

1930 baby skiirvin ghost crying vintage scary effie okc haunted hilton hotel

According to legend Effie was kept locked up in the room even after she had had her child. Effie jumped through a window in her room, along with the baby and both died in the fall.

One important thing to note is that as far as I have seen, there are no newspaper accounts of such a tragedy occurring on the premises. Never the less, Skirvin was a man of wealth and power in an era that was much different then out own. It is possible that such an event could be hushed up for a price, especially during the Great Depression, when money was scarce and people were desperate.

The second legend says that while Skirvin was indeed a man of loose morals and a unquenchable sexual appetite, the tenth floor was not the prison of a woman from a forbidden love affair but rather a den of gambling, crime and prostitution.

skirvin hotel 1930s ghost hilton okc haunted effie

Skirvin Hotel in 1930’s


Seemingly this would make sense of many of the claims by male guests at the hotel, including the alleged sexual assault. Again, the era these events are said to occur in were indeed ripe with such crime in the era of the Depression as well as prohibition.

Is it the sad figure of a tormented soul locked away with her love child or a former woman of the night still looking for one last customer that roams the halls at The Skirvin Hilton Hotel.

Slam Dunk Witnesses:

At the start of this article I wrote about how many NBA players have claimed that the hotel is haunted when they are staying there for games against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The most recent reporting of strange occurrences comes from Wesley Johnson, who earlier in January of this year stated that while he was visiting the hotel for a road game, his bathroom door had closed itself during the night and his bathtub had filled with water:

“I went to sleep and woke up the next morning. I remembered that I left my bathroom door open,…But I got up and it was closed.

I was thinking that I was still groggy from the morning and then I had a tub full of water. That’s a lot of water for the pipes to be old and filled up like that. Then everybody else was telling me their stories.”

Johnson also said that one of the coaches on the Suns had their faucet turned on full blast while the coach was using the shower.

Bill Simmons ESPN

Bill Simmons ESPN

Of course this is not the first NBA player or sports related figure to notice something odd when coming into town and staying at the Skirvin. ESPN Sports writer Bill Simmons wrote a sidebar to one of his columns that claimed that he had had his own encounter with the paranormal there:

“When we were checking in, I jokingly asked the clerk to put me on one of the haunted floors. She claimed that she did. We laughed and that was the end of it. That night, I was so tired that the ghost stories never entered my mind.

So you know: I am a heavy sleeper. Once I’m out, I’m out.

That’s what made it so strange when I woke up at 4:30 with my heart pounding.

At first, I heard a baby crying and realized that was why I woke up. I thought it was one of my own kids before remembering that my kids weren’t babies anymore, then remembering that I was in Oklahoma City and not Los Angeles. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I wasn’t alone. I had an overpowering sensation that someone else was in the room. Until you’ve experienced that feeling, you can’t understand what it’s like. Your blood is swishing through your veins at 200 miles an hour, only you don’t understand why — your body reacts a few seconds before your brain does.

skirvin hotel

I decided to turn on the light. Stretching to my right for the switch, out of nowhere, I heard the sound of (what sure as hell sounded like) a baby crying urgently to my far left (right near the window). Wahhhhhhh. Wahhhhhh. Wahhhhhh. Wahhhhhhh. The urgency freaked me out just as much as the crying itself. I fumbled for the switch, couldn’t find it, fumbled, fumbled some more, then finally turned the light on. The crying sound stopped. I hopped out of bed and turned on every other light in the room. I turned on the television and jacked up the volume. Then I grabbed my BlackBerry and Googled “Skirvin crying baby.”

A slew of results came up. See for yourself.

I kept the lights on. And the television. And that’s how I spent the next three and a half hours — half-asleep, half-awake and totally spooked. The words “Man Up” did not enter the equation. Not even a little.

Just know that the next time someone tells me a ghost story, I will believe them.”

That is one hell of tale, and as Simmons says, he is not the first to hear the baby and it ties in with one of the main two legends, with the depressed maid and her unwanted child.

Members of the 2010 New York Knicks teams believed the hotel was haunted enough for a few players to lose sleep. Center Eddy Curry, who had to sleep on the infamous tenth floor could not sleep and kept think about the stories he had heard.

“They said it happened on the 10th floor and I’m the only one staying on the 10th floor,” Curry said. “I definitely believe there are ghosts in that hotel.”

Forward Shawn Marion has heard the tales about the hotel too, as we can see in this You Tube video Marion was in. Besides getting to see the hotel’s interior and seeing a funny scare prank, we also find out that Marion too has heard weird noises in the hotel, but did not investigate:

My hometown Chicago Bulls have also stayed at the Skirvin and reserve forward Taj Gibson also had his bathroom door closed for him:

“At around 12:15 at night, my bathroom door just slammed completely shut,

I don’t know what it was, but it just completely slammed. It took me a minute to kind of figure out what [it] was.”

Derrick Rose (Left) & Taj Gibson

Derrick Rose (Left) & Taj Gibson

Even former league MVP Derrick Rose admits that the stories get him a little rattled when the Bulls are in town for a night or two. “I believe in stuff like that.” Rose said.” It was scary.”

So What is Going On?

Like many other tales of ghosts and other paranormal phenomena, the haunting of The Skirvin Hilton Hotel has many different accounts of various odd activity and two somewhat plausible explanations for the origins of that activity.

It seems that no matter what the actual cause, most of the activity occurs in the bathrooms and are related to manipulating the water in those bathrooms to fill the tubs and/or sinks.


Multiple accounts of the bathroom door closing or slamming on its own and phantom women in showers make the connection to the bathrooms of the hotel hard to connect together.

Although even the best NBA player can be just as deceived as any other individual that comes in contact with a possible ghostly occurrence, the fact that they are who they are has lead to the incidents being reported more in the media and reenforcing the legend.

No matter who or what haunts the halls of the Skirvin Hotel, one thing is for sure, whoever it was that checked into the Skirvin all those years ago seems to have no in intention of checking out.

-Thomas Spychalski

9 responses

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  4. MMadd

    I stayed at the skirvin for a cheer competition In February with my mom my friend Emma and Emma’s Mom we were in room 1015 on the tenth floor and we went to go get dinner and when we came back an hour later there were 4 girls in front of our hotel door and they told us that 1015 is the room Effie jumped from. Nothing happened that evening we all took showers without any Effie problems but I ended up waking up at 4:30 am and I could have sworn I saw this black shadow sitting next to me I turned on the tv and the shadow was gone. I obviously didn’t sleep the rest of the night. None of us heard any baby’s crying though. This isn’t my first experience with these shadow though I used to see them all the time when I was little. They would walk from my bedroom door to about 2 ft away from me and then go back and this would just happen until I was asleep. I remember one of these shadows brought me “flowers” while I had the flu. So yeah just another story to add from a girls perspective

    November 8, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    • That is a very interesting story, thanks for sharing!

      November 9, 2013 at 12:43 AM

    • Rick

      Sounds like you just “saw” one of your delusions from your childhood days. You had also just awakened from sleep. You may have been in a dream state. Doesn’t sound like a legit sighting to me.

      March 25, 2014 at 2:51 PM

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  6. Chris

    I and another guy were doing a video shoot in one of the Skirvin Hotel’s smaller banquet rooms. We proceeded to set up our gear and, having heard that the hotel was supposedly haunted, I cracked a joke about the alleged “ghost”. Not five seconds later, one of our taller cases fell over. These cases are tall, but don’t fall over unless you give it a push. I apologized to whoever was in the room with us, and we had no issues the rest of our stay.

    September 2, 2016 at 12:45 PM

    • That is a great story Chris and thanks for sharing it with us!

      If you ever want to share those videos and pics we would love to see them!

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! 🙂

      September 2, 2016 at 6:49 PM

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