Paranormal investigation: Before fire razed it, Hotel Talisi famous for great fried chicken, ghosts | Arts & Culture
The Hotel Talisi burned to the ground in a highly publicized case of arson not long ago. City leaders in Tallassee have vowed to rebuild the beautiful old piece of our state history, which was one of the last remaining old-fashioned "downtown" hotels in an Alabama small town. The hotel, which was a favorite among Auburn fans who were visiting for football games, was known for its restaurant's legendary fried chicken -- and for a slew of stories about unexplained sightings, songs played on a ghostly piano, doors opening and closing, and a sense of dread and forboding in certain parts of the building.
Before the fire, Shawn Sellers, a Montgomery sensitive and founder of Southern Paranormal Researchers, conducted an investigation into the allegations of the supernatural happenings. He found evidence of some peculiar, disembodied "residual" hauntings, and perhaps one "intelligent" entity of a specific spirit.
It remains to be seen if the spirits will return when the hotel is rebuilt.
Here is Shawn's report:
My family was from Talisi and any time we were in town we would make trip there to eat and walk through the old hotel. It was always a special place for the citizens from Tallassee, especially the older generation. My uncle and his wife spent their honeymoon there and they would go every year for their anniversary up until cancer took his life several years ago.
The hotel was opened in 1928, with three floors, 72 rooms with baths and a restaurant/coffee shop. It was built by two brothers, Dan and Jacob Marion Woodall and they named it the Woodall Hotel. The original ground floor of the hotel building, in addition to the hotel lobby and coffee shop, once housed two adult clothing stores, a finance office, a variety store, a beauty shop and a children's clothing store.
After 1962, walls were removed and virtually all ground-floor space was consumed for what were the hotel’s massive dining areas, which seated about 400. In 1962, the Woodalls sold the hotel to Mr. & Mrs. Patterson, who changed the name to Hotel Talisi, using the original spelling of the Creek Indians who inhabited the village along the Tallapoosa River.
In 1991, the Pattersons sold Hotel Talisi to Bob Brown and Roger Gaither, who made renovations. They made changes to the kitchen, dining rooms and the overall hotel. When the hotel opened in 1928, the second floor contained 36 rooms, each with its own bath. Before the fire, the number of rooms was down to 19. The current owners were hoping to open the third floor as apartments.
The Hotel Talisi was known nationally and internationally. Word-of-mouth testimonials brought visitors from England, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Russia, Japan, Hong Kong (China), Iran, Canada, Mexico, Korea and other foreign countries. They liked the hospitality, inexpensive lodging, and the fine food at the Hotel Talisi.
Growing up I often heard of ghostly tales of the place the most popular was the Lavender Lady. Guests would hear the piano on the second floor playing in the middle of the night. When the guests would check to see who was playing so beautifully so late at night, there was no one there, only a strong scent of lavender.
Needless to say I was very excited when we were contacted to investigate the hotel. Among the phenomena reported: seeing shadow figures, unexplained noises, doors opening and closing, bad feelings in certain areas.
We interviewed numerous people from employees and guests who had personal experiences and gathered a great deal of anecdotes, but the only hard evidence we captured was One Class B EVP recorded in room 121.
There were a couple of other potential EVPs, but due to the fact that some rather loud (and apparently drunk) ladies had decided to camp out in the middle section of the second floor we had to dismiss those because the noise could have been made by the revelers. We tried to note on the recorder whenever we noticed outside noises, but the two other potential EVPs sounded too much like this other group to be submitted as evidence. Still, we were quite pleased to finally get a piece of solid evidence after our previous personal experiences but no evidence.
With three investigations under our belts at Hotel Talisi I think I can now say there is definitely a residual presence. We have experienced many of the phenomena reported by other people and it seems in line with a residual style haunt. However, some of our recent experiences, and especially the EVP, lead me to believe there is at least one intelligent presence in the Hotel Talisi as well. Who this person is we could not say we was hoping we might be able to determine that through further investigation since fire we may never know but I am confident in saying that Hotel Talisi was haunted.
Other investigations on WSFA.com:
Rawls Hotel, Enterprise: http://enterprise.wsfa.com/content/notes-paranormal-investigation-rawls-hotel-enterprise
Bear Creek Swamp, Autaugaville: http://prattville.wsfa.com/content/paranormal-investigation-bear-creek-swamp-near-prattvilles-definitely-creepy-it-haunted
And here's a heartfelt eulogy for the awesome Talisi fried chicken: http://www.deepfriedkudzu.com/2009/01/hotel-talisi-fried-chicken-we-bid-you.html