In the very center of Windber Pennsylvania (USA), lies the 130-year-old Grand Midway Hotel; an imposing building that is home to film maker Blair Murphy, and the world’s Largest Ouija board.
The Grand Midway Hotel which still houses a few invite-only guests, is no longer in full operation - but it is receiving some ghostly attention for its new record title.
Built by Blair with the help of eight artists, including Brian Cano, James Bertolasio, Mark Portante, Mark Swindler, Nova Lox, Luke Hoffman, and Camille Zamboni, the massive supernatural game board rests on the flat roof of the hotel, and is visible from Google Maps.
“The hotel roof was this massive blank canvas just waiting for the perfect project to present itself,” said owner Murphy, “A Ouija world record roof was a perfect match for our place.”
Many wonder how one comes to own such a haunted location, which, prior to it being confirmed as setting an eerie new record title, was featured on several national television shows, the SyFY channel, research books, and paranormal investigations for its reported ghostly activity.
As it turns out, Blair, who now lives inside the building with his girlfriend and newborn daughter, happened to stumble on the property after opening an email.
“I've always looked at it like the hotel chose me. I was living in Los Angeles when an ad for the historic Pennsylvania hotel showed up in my email one day like a creepy spirit finger from the grave, tapping for my attention, saying 'buy me... move here... live here... this will be fantastic...' It has been one fantastic adventure,” says Blair.
The son of two funeral directors, Blair was used to being around death as a child; something that played a big part in his interest inthe numerous paranormal experiences that are said to regularly occur in his haunted home which boasts 32 rooms.
“The Grand Midway Hotel was an old coal mining hotel from the late 1880s,” explains Blair, “I could recall countless ghost encounter stories from folks who have stayed the night here. It's actually been a fascinating place to live. But then the paranormal buzzing sort of went silent for about two years.”
Inspiration for the super-sized board came as a direct result of the two year silence, after Blair and girlfriend Camille Zamboni decided to play with the Hasbro-created Ouija game to see if they could rile up any spirits.
According to the independent movie maker, the results were terrifying.
“Things flipped out throughout the hotel. Energies were swirling. Guests were getting completely freaked out,” says Blair, “it seemed to kick things up into an entire new level of paranormal activity. We were seeing floating people and hearing voices and even the hotel pets were flipping out and reacting to unseen forces. Our dreams were pretty wild. And it wasn't just us. Other longer-term hotel residents were saying ‘there is absolutely something going on here’ and having their own middle of the night weird encounters.”
It was then that Murphy knew, the only way to complete the haunted grandeur of the Grand Midway Hotel, was to construct a record-holding Ouija board, measuring 121.01 m² (1,302.54 ft²).
According to Blair and his team the most difficult part of creating the massive board was having to work around rainy weather conditions during the build, which muddied the silver surface and made its hand-painted letters run.
Based on the conveniently mysterious tone that the hotel radiates, the grounds have become a “secret base camp” for many artistic projects; specifically for feature films, novels, paintings, plays, recording music, and massive Halloween parties.
“It is an ongoing, romantic adventure,” said Blair, “It is also my very eccentric home.”
The new father and proud record holder is extremely pleased with his new Guinness World Records title, having been a fan of the annuals as a youngster.
“We all used to love to gaze at the Guinness Records Books as children! Who didn't!?”
Blair says he is now looking forward to the spring season so that he can use the board more liberally with the hotel’s guests, and would like to achieve another record title in the coming year.
Want to learn more spooky stories about the Grand Midway Hotel? Click here.