WAXAHACHIE

The Rogers Hotel as it sits on the downtown Waxahachie square dates back to 1913. Residents of the hotel, and even just ones around the city, have long claimed to have experienced "happenings" of paranormal nature inside the building.

In the present day, residents live in small lofts and businesses owners house their offices in the Rogers Hotel. The basement is in the midst of a remodel and The Dessert Shop recently opened off of the lobby.

While standing in the lobby of the Rogers, Neneh B., a resident of the hotel who asked that her last name not be printed in fear of believers of the supernatural would harass her about encounters, recalled a few of her brushes with the spooky.

Neneh signed the dotted line for her second-floor loft last October. The haunted stories she heard from friends and family were a “concern, but Neneh admitted she is — or at least was — not much of a believer of the paranormal.

She questioned if she was the longest living resident in the building, because “I am one of the few residents who has not left.”

“I’ve been living here for over a year, and I don’t feel uncomfortable. It’s just home to me," Neneh explained. "There were a couple of things where I was just like, ‘Hmmm, that was interesting. I don’t know why that happened there.”

From strangers and friends, Neneh heard the same three or four stories, as well as personal experiences from other residents.

She then had her first encounter just after her first few weeks of residency.

Neneh sat inside her loft in the middle of the day when she noticed the handle of the front door slowly turn to the right, then all the way to the left and back to its neutral position.

Understand, Neneh is a realist, often blaming bad electrical wiring for flickering lights and an old building for unusual noises. But she simply could not wrap her brain around a turning door handle.

“Now the significance of that is if it was just a spring — if the door handle was stuck on one side — it would have gone ‘wink.’ But it slowly went this way and slowly went this way," Neneh recalled.

Her first thought was that someone had begun to open the wrong door and then decided to move along. To make certain, Neneh quickly opened the door, stepped into the hallway and found — nothing.

“I didn’t hear the thumps of anyone running away. I said, ‘Hello,’ just in case. Nothing. I did not hear a peep,” she explained.

Neneh mentioned strangers at her doorstep are a regular occurrence with people in search for a business or wanting to explore the hotel.

A few months later, Neneh witnessed a second unexplainable occurrence.

One evening, a mysterious flashing light drew Neneh to her window.

“Up by the very, very top floor is a window and I could see they had a chandelier — on, off, on, off, on, off and it just kept doing that. I was like, ‘What on earth?’ And it kept doing that for a while.”

Even if a fabled little girl or uninviting cowboys roam the halls of the Rogers Hotel, Neneh is able to sleep at night. The non-believer justified if there were ghosts, they were somewhat friendly and did not put her life in danger.

She did admit the basement is terrifying to be in alone and she refuses to use the laundry room below the lobby. She has never had any issues with the elevator, even though sometimes the door will slide back and forth when not in use. She also noted, one time, the elevator was stuck between two floors but was unoccupied.

Doug Reid, who serves as the host of Waxahachie Haunted History Tours, tells many of these fanciful tales. He noted the two most common stories involve a cowboy and a little girl.

The more prominent story begins with a knock on a hotel door on the fourth floor of the Rogers Hotel. The building was vacant at the time outside of one maintenance man who stayed while he conducted repairs.

When the maintenance man opened the door, Reid said records claim a man dressed in “period clothing” stood on the other side — a cowboy.

The stranger motioned the maintenance man to the basement, “and the cowboy turns to him and says don’t come down here, evil things happen here.’ And the cowboy disappears.”

The maintenance man was found by the owner the next day, stunned and left the first chance he had.

The other story involves the little girl in the basement who allegedly fell in the spring-fed swimming pool and drowned. “She can be found in the basement or the lobby," Reid said. "She likes riding the elevators and turning off lights and the radio on and off.”

Reid added that people claim the basement of the Rogers Hotel is a vortex that attracts spirits and ghosts.

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450