Painter Dylan Fornoff paints a mythic gallery

Demonologist Adam Blai moves in

The Typewriter Girls get possessed

Scared Crew Investigation / award-winning documentary

SyFy’s The Haunted Collector investigates

The Three Pillars Game

The Vatican comments on show! / I get sick of it all

Tinkerbell Sarah re-invents Room #22

The “Phantom” occasionally still surfaces…


Room #22 has enjoyed (or suffered) a great deal of notoriety.  It went from the most beaten down room in the hotel from years of neglect to the most talked about room when a young painter took it over our second year of hotel ownership to now one of the most cozy and feminine rooms in the hotel.  It has been referred to as Dylan’s Art Gallery, The Abraxas Room, The Demon Room, Sarah’s New Room, the Phantom Room, and a few other  names.  It has even been the subject of an award-winning documentary.



The artist Dylan Fornoff stayed in Room #22 on the third floor for about two years where he painted giant murals of angels and demons.  One painting of an angel hung in the third floor hall for years.  Room #22 became a visual buffet.  His output was very inspiring, painting for days around the clock.  A lot of artists came to see his work which towered from floor to ceiling.  The gallery he created with the space at that time was stunning, eerie and mysterious.  It almost felt like stumbling into some ancient Greek dark candle-lit temple.  Having Dylan painting up the hall was amazing, like some Edgar Allen Poe was creating late in the building every night.   He was also a poet.

He hung chains from the ceiling to make the gallery seem even more dramatic, matching the look of the movie Hellraiser.


Once, Dylan found a random coin with an unusual design on it.  He brought it back to the hotel and painted it as a large mural.  As soon as other artists saw it they cried out in instant recognition that it was the god Abraxas.  I think it was the cameraman Baird Bryant visiting from Hollywood who first recognized it.  Suddenly Abraxas became a subject for historic discussion within the hotel, with guests bringing up different Greek, Egyptian, and Hebrew references.   There are more recent references to Abraxas by Carl Jung in his book Seven Sermons to the Dead, by Herman Hesse in his book Demian, and by Salman Rushdie in his novel Midnight’s Children.  Phat Man Dee mentioned Abraxas in one of her new songs about the hotel.   Several visiting artists requested this mural.

Collectors as far way as Los Angeles requested to buy Dylan’s crazy dark murals.  But, he didn’t paint them as a financial commodity.  So, he refused to sell them to anyone.




All of the above paintings no longer exist.  Dylan went through an intense different kind of religious season with a nearby church group.  He seemed kind of brainwashed during that season.  He said goodbye to all of his fellow artists and friends during that time period and moved out of the Midway.  The church leader, who concluded we were a cult, made a big bonfire and sadly burned all of Dylan’s murals.  I was not aware the day when all these massive paintings were being removed from the hotel or I would have attempted to preserve them.  Later, I think Dylan regretted the loss of his entire body of work.  (Note:  Only a few of Dylan’s murals still exist today.  They are still here in the hotel.  In the hotel bar one can still see his Sacred Heart mural and the Egyptian God of the Dead Anubis Weighing a Heart Against a Feather mural.)



“The Demon Room” was a term applied later to this room by fear-stricken visitors, gossiping neighbors, demonologists finding evidence, and pop culture opportunists in the name of religion.  This took place long after Dylan moved out.  Dylan never called his studio the Demon Room.   The claims of Satanic rituals and ‘terrible terrible things’ that went on in this room are simply not true.  It certainly did become big gossip though.  For the most part, the name ‘Demon Room’ stuck.

Occasionally since a local minister has been spotted standing with Bible outside the Midway reading passages at the building.  To add to local gossip, Dylan once was written up in the local newspapers as a “Satanist” carrying “Satanic literature” as he invaded a local cemetery.  The article made local front page on Easter morning.  The truth was Dylan merely had a CD label in his pocket from heavy metal music which was then exaggerated by the police to the hilt for headlines.  Local gossip went ablaze.

Often I notice people out in the back alley pointing up at this room’s window.  So, sometimes I put a dummy in the window to freak people out.



Adam Blai left the Paranormal U tv show and relocated here into the Midway.  He stayed in another room up the hall.  He photographed everywhere in the building.  Here is a model as an angel taken in room #22 by Adam.  (He didn’t like Dylan’s painting and covered them with sheets.)  The room, with all the bare wall slats was ideal for many a photographer.



A professor and his studends from Carlow College started visiting the hotel.  They used typewriters for all their work.  We collected typewriters already, and they brought more, so suddenly there were typewriters all over the hotel.  The sound of typing become a charming common background noise.  As a writing exercise, the professor encouraged his students to “find the demon” in the poem and let it flesh out further.  They were a great group soaked in great enthusiasm for poetry and typing.  We loved having them as guests.

When these same young students gratuated college and had to enter the work force it was difficult to find jobs.  One of them often came here crying, saying how she felt she was dying every time she got a new job, and thus quit them constantly.  She laughed she had the world record of quitting jobs.

Suddenly. there was this buzz in the air from these girls that the “demon” here was somehow possessing them.  There were about four woman in this frenzy.  Adam Blai stepped in to spiritually coach and said their professor’s methods were terrible.  (There was no metaphor in Adam.  He was a literalist all the way.)  So all were soothed that it was not a fear of employment problem, but more likely a possession from the Midway’s demon problem.  I thought the whole thing ridiculous.  But, even their professor asked me to temporarily lock up his beautiful antique black typewriter that was housed here.

One of the female typewriter poets actually thought her one hand and arm was possessed when she typed.  This problem returned months later when she visited the hotel again.  She produced a few alien-to-her poems typing here upstairs.

Later, when the hotel was empty, I went up to the thiord floor and placed an old typewriter in room #22 and left it there.  When I returned that day I found the keys were pressed up and jammed, absolutely not how I left it.  (See photo of typewriter below)




To be fair, the room did have a creepy character that made for good gossip, and, strange things did often happen around it.  One night in the hotel Renee Angle and I kept thinking we were hearing whispering out in the third floor hall.  We stopped talking several times to step out in the hall and see who was doing all the whispering, but no one was there.  Later that night we saw Dylan leaving his room with his suitcase packed.  He seemed a little weirded out.  “What’s the matter?” we asked him.   Having no idea of our earlier conversation, he said he was leaving for the night because he thought he kept hearing whispering in the hall.

‘The Phantom’ was also a term applied later to something that might have been visiting this room, or perhaps still dwells here.  For years after Dylan’s works were created here the room did have a spirit and feel unique to it.  Many guests would request to see this room.  Other guests avoided it like the plague.  After several paranormal investigations, evidence seemed to suggest something creepy and unique was indeed actually going on in Room #22.  Some mediums, knowing nothing about the gallery, went into detail about a floating visiting not-exactly-human spirit who occasionally drifted into this room.  People described the potential phenomenon as a ‘Visiting Phantom’.  The word ‘Phantom’ was used by several different psychics.

Later, a local Windber ghost hunting team snapped this picture of the hall just outside the room when they thought a ghost head and shoulders was peeking out at them, with long hand reaching up to move curtains (middle left, directly next to statue).



I invited the SCARED Team to comeout and investigate.  It was a quite a weekend…  The documentary film they created climaxes in this room.  They captured an E.V.P. which they believed said, “Can you escape the circle?  The circle of fire?  Die.”  After they filmed the climax scene where they confront this ‘demon’ in the room the entire SCARED team left the building and waited outside the hotel until two in the morning for our return.  They looked completely freaked out.  Chris Mancuso, the skeptic of their team, claimed he was a changed man.

“Join the SCARED! Crew on their latest paranormal adventure. Spending over two nights at the hotel, the crew investigates the rumors and for the first time ever, comes out in agreement…Psychic, Skeptic and Scientist. Get ready to be SCARED!”  (Winner of a 2010 AEGIS Award in the Documentary category.)



Paranormal celebrity investigator John Zaffis of the National television show The Haunted Collector very much wanted one particular massive mural of Dylan’s he’d once seen for his Museum of the Paranormal in Connecticut.  Unfortunately, that mural too was burned by Jehovah’s Witnesses.  We contacted Dylan, who had long moved out and was living elsewhere, and he was gracious enough to come over.  Zaffis interviewed Dylan in this room for his show.


Room #22 of the Midway, as well as some of Dylan’s destroyed art, was incorporated into the new Three Pillars paranormal card game:


THE THREE PILLARS™ is a paranormal game of checks and balances where you race your opponent to collect evidence and close cases. In each round, there are three Case cards available to investigate. Each one represents a location and has its own unique game text and Evidence requirement. The example we’ll look at is one of the more difficult ones in the game – Sailor’s Snug Harbor.

To begin an investigation, you must assign one of your three Pillars here. Cases will have differing difficulty levels that determine how much evidence must be played. In order to close this case, you must play at least fifteen points worth of evidence cards as indicated in the top right hand corner. Beneath the number 15 you will see the number 9 (Fig. 2), this is the minimum number of evidence that must be played in order to leave this case Inconclusive and move on to the next case. Why would you leave a case Inconclusive? You never have to do so, however, there may be instances when you are stuck due to a Misfortune that you can’t combat at your current location. For whatever reason, leaving a case Inconclusive will allow you to play a remaining Pillar at the next case. It will also force you to dump your hand and redraw up to your card limit at the beginning of your next turn. Depending on the cards you hold in your current hand, a redraw can be a helpful. Or you may be losing valuable evidence to the discard pile. Either way, it will allow you to leave that Misfortune behind and start fresh at the location. But be warned, it comes at a price. A case leftInconclusive must be completed in order for that player to finish the game. If a case is closed on the first attempt, you will collect a valuable CASEBOOK CARD that will grant certain benefits, however, even if a case is left inconclusive, a player will NOT collect a CASEBOOK CARD once it is closed. The special game text for this case states that anytime LEVEL 4 or LEVEL 5 evidence is played, that player must draw an EVENT CARD. Be careful, EVENTS can work in your favor, or against


Lost Whispers by Brooke Haramija

Investigator Brooke Haramija wrote about her adventures here in the hotel and what turned up in this room in the collection of ghost stories book, Lost Whispers.


A WAY STATION FOR SPIRITS  -by Chef Thom Pulliam

I had a dream two nights before I was scratched on my knee..the dream started out were i was sitting in the bar of the Midway.  It was dark and this young women. I can only guess at her age, I think about 25 to maybe 28, walked up to me and said, “You know, Thom, you never have to be afraid here.”

And I said to her I wasn’t afraid.

Then she said, “That’s good because the Midway is a way station for spirits, and you will be ok….”

Then I woke up.

Two nights later I got the scratches on my knee …I was told it was a rune of protection from evil…  I woke up around 4 AM my leg was hurting. I thought it was a spider vane hurting till I rubbed my knee and felt scratches. I turned on the light and this was on my leg. So I snapped a picture of it. There was nothing around me that could have made this scratch.



So, it has all made for an interesting popular debate: if something supernatural or spiritually unique was indeed summoned by Dylan’s craft, or if the paintings themselves were summoned because something angelic or demonic was influencing Dylan to create them, or if a lot of people were simply delusional.  Or, if the conservative religious demonologists opportunists who used the room simply summoned worse energies by constantly pointing to the room and bringing attention to it as they built themselves up as they founnd evidence.  Or, if something from the nearby Dead Zone and old long gone Crumb Town found its way over into our building.  It is a bit of a mystery.

Only one large mural still exists of Dylan Fornoff’s in this room because it was painted on the actual wall.  A lot of guests still find it very disturbing.  Not that Dylan painted this particular mural to be this, but this has become the face of the ‘Visiting Phantom’ or “Room #22 Demon”:

For the record, this room does not have the same heavy energy it once seemed to throb with.  But there are still occasional stories from guests, and even ones I’ve experienced myself, which seem to ‘feel’ like the Phantom once felt.



Coming from a career in the media, I watched the wave of ghost hunters shows and conventions experience what I called a form of subject matter inflation.  The paranormal had become a huge hit…but audiences could only find ghosts and orbs fascinating for so many years.  The subject matter needed to expand.  For shows and conventions, something needed to upgrade to keep the gravy train going.

Enter demons.  Suddenly everyone was discovering and battling demons.  Room #22 of the Midway was of an instant appeal because of the rumors and we got endless calls requesting investigations.  I was pretty gracious about this and let a lot of strangers explore the place.  But there was so much attention focusing on this particular room that after a while I got sick of hearing about demons.  I personally have had zero interest in demons and demonology my entire life.  The Grand Midway Hotel too has been a beautiful social, culteral experiment celebrating the efforts of many artists from all walks of life creating all kind of beautiful works, many of them deeply deeply spiritual.  Yet all of that was being ignored and eclipsed to create fear-based material that really didn’t match the Midway’s agenda.  The hotel ended up in books and talks in seminars, even on a few national television shows, but not for the arts.  We were on the map in a world wide cable show about demons that even the Vatican had commented on!    For a subject matter that I had zero interest in it was getting a bit much.



Recently, Sarah Ireland changed the look of the room entirely.  It was a lot of work.  She did it all herself in the course of one crazed October month.  She upgraded it so much the room looks more modern and comfortable than any other room in the hotel.


July 15, 2014 Ouija Investigation -by Victoria Pinkas 

When we first walked in the room you can feel like something was there, it felt claustrophobic and like an elephant was sitting on your chest. We had 2 pieces of ghost hunting equipment, k2 meter and ghost meter pro, and was just taking pictures and playing around with the equipment and I suddenly felt like doing the Ouija board. We lit two candles and had the ghost meter pro next to it, note this piece of equipment does not go off easily, right next to the board.

First two that did the Ouija board was Alyssa and Tom. The beginning the needle on the equipment was at it’s normal state 0. We started to ask questions: is anyone here? Slider went to Yes. Equipment spiked then went back to normal.

What is your name? no.

I ask pat if he gets the feeling of your neck hairs standing up and right after I was done asking that the equipment went off.

Started to ask the questions, What is your age: no

Are you human: no  (the equipment started going to it’s full potential of reading something then goes down to 1/4th of the way).

What are you: spelt demon

What year is it? Spelt out 502U

Do you want us to stay: yes  (equipment starts going off at it’s full potential for a solid 2 minutes).

Are you going to harm us: no

Do you have the potential to harm us? Yes

If you get angry will you harm us: Yes  (After this question the meter stopped and went to the mid way point).

Alyssa started to feel aggravated so Patrick and I went to do the Ouija board. Is anyone here? Slider goes to yes.

Are you still the demon? Yes.

Are you going to harm any of us? No.

After those couple of questions we felt drained, dizzy, and a little bit light headed so we said goodbye on the board and put everything away.

-Investigators Victoria Pinkas, Alyssa Thomas, Patrick Lehman, and Tom Walker.


Sunday 7/13 … a Day at the Midway -by Mark Swindler

A gorgeous day!  The forecast must be wrong.  It’s not yet dusk.  Hotel is quiet.  Thom at work.  Joe Bob out.  Blair asleep.  I climb the stairs with supplies …  Shhhh … Tiptoe past Blair’s room …  ascend to the 3rd floor …  down the hall … last room on the left.  The open door welcomes me.  I find the lamp and switch it on.  As I turn toward the desk …  the light goes off!  Annoyed, I turn back and reach …  before I make contact …  it goes back on!  Startled, I step back.  I’m smothered in drapes …  blown from the open window.  I shrug them off.  I deposit my supplies and exit room.  Three steps down the hall and …  SLAM! The door closes behind me!  I almost jumped out of my skin!  “Is it me shivering?” – I wonder…  Whew! My phone is on vibrate.  Blair emerges awakened by it all.  The text from Joe Bob reads:  “Can you close my windows?” @7:13 am  We do just that.  My heart is beating.  I’m short of breath.  I can’t believe these last 3 minutes.  Wow! What a Thunderstorm outside!(ok, its 6:10 am but 7:13 fit the title better)