The Ghost in the Regency

Position and Context

This story is placed after Weer drives Lois to Gold’s bookstore but before they go in the story to pick up Kate Boyne’s diary. Den’s Aunt Arabella reads it from a magazine while Den is spending Christmas at his grandfather’s house. After the story is concluded, Aunt Arabella reveals that she is the author, and asserts that it is entirely true.

The Story

The “Regency” is a new hotel in a large Eastern city that has reportedly been plagued with ghosts. The author checks in, with the intention of staying up all night and experiencing the reported supernatural phenomena for herself. At 11:00 pm the electricity is extinguished, as it is every night, and she lights candles. Some time after midnight, she hears a commotion outside the hotel, including several loud horns. Since her room overlooks a courtyard from which she cannot see the source of the noise, she explores the hallway and finds a window containing pebbled glass through which she sees many blurry lights in the street. In the morning, she asks the bellman whether there was any disturbance outside the hotel. She is told that all was quiet, with the only unusual occurrence being that a lady called the front desk during the night to complain that there were strange lights hovering in the air of her room. Upon investigation, it is discovered that this happened while the author was investigating the commotion, and that the room number was the author’s.


The Baths of Caracalla, said to have been the model for the lobby of the Regency, were in actuality the model for the waiting room in the original Penn Station in New York (demolished in 1964). The lobby of the Hotel Pennsylvania, across the street from Penn Station, was in turn designed to match that of Penn Station. The famed Hotel Pennsylvania opened in January 1919 (so it is indeed new when Arabella reads her story in December 1920), and was 21 or 22 stories high (so it indeed "towered fifteen stories or more over the surrounding buildings.") It does not quite match in all respects: the floor plan of the upper stories is not the simple rectangle described in Peace. However, it seems to match closely enough to conclude that "the Regency" is indeed intended to be the Hotel Pennsylvania.


The sounds heard and lights seen presumably are modern traffic noises and headlights (unimagined at the time), while the unaccountable hovering lights are the candles that Arabella lit, appearing to a modern traveler.

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