I’ve spent many nights at the Super 8 – some locations are amazing, others can be seedy. It depends on the city and the manager, neighborhood, and environment. They are one of the world’s largest budget hotel chains – with motels throughout the United States, Canada, and China. They are part of the Wyndham Worldwide chain. The chain was started by Dennis Brown in 1972 alongside his partner Ron Rivett in 1973. They started renting rooms for $8.88/night which gave name to “Super 8”. The first motel was in Aberdeen South Dakota, hosting 60 rooms in 1974. It had a stucco exterior with an English Tudor style inspired by Rivett’s father-in-law who did stucco construction for a living, the remaining architecture was created by Rivett. Through the years they kept the English Tudor style as well as locating themselves near Holiday Inn’s as a marketing strategy. The first franchise was sold in 1976 in Gillette, Wyoming. They broke out of the Midwest in 1978 opening up in New York and Washington State. In 1976 they created a VIP club program which was later purchased by Hospitality Franchise Systems, then Cendant in 1993. This was dissolved in 2003 and replaced by TripRewards converting to Wyndham Rewards in 2008. By 2014 they had over 2,390 hotels. They opened their first hotel in China during 2004 in Beijing. They offer their guests standard amenities including free WiFi, a continental breakfast, hair dryers, coffee makers, laundry, and a lobby. Some locations have pools and meeting rooms, while some of the larger Super 8’s have restaurants.
Locations I’ve visited:
Lincoln City, Oregon: 3517 N, US-101, Lincoln City, OR 97367; (541) 996-9900. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. This location has a fabulous tourism placement across from a public beach. Its a rather small building and hotel with few rooms. Its less than a mile from the Chinook Winds casino. They have mini-fridges and microwaves in the room, coin laundry, free coffee, truck parking, and a small conference room. Its located along Highway 101.
Throughout New England are stories and legends of the paranormal that are rooted in physical evidence. We are all familiar with Salem and its witch stories. But what little many know is of Connecticut and Rhode Island’s Vampire persecutions. Connecticut and Rhode Island in the late 18th century was plagued by diseases that no one knew the cause of. Rumors and hysteria spread from Europe (just like with the Witch craze) came about to theorize that evil spirits were possessing the hearts of family members who recently passed away, causing them to rise from the grave at night to feed on the family members and neighbours, sucking the life force, drinking their blood, until that victim wasted away with consumption (tuberculosis). This led to a practice of concerned villagers going around, digging up graves, and searching for evidence of vampires. This was often seen as corpses that might not have decomposed, that might move, make sounds, have blood around the mouth, seem to have hair / nails / or teeth growth, lightening of skin or rejuvenation, etc. Upon finding such evidence, the vampire hunters would dismember and/or behead the corpse, remove the heart / lung / kidneys and burn the corpse. Sometimes the ash would be fed to victims suffering the mysterious disease in hopes it would cure the illness. This was more of the prescribed practice in North America while the stake through the heart was much more of a common European practice. In the 1990’s, numerous suspected graves of accused vampires were excavated and sent to the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C. for analysis. Most of them were returned with a determination that the culprit died of tuberculosis (consumption). Those suffering from consumption would often waste asway, but often periodically would have a large burst of energy and known for a powerful sex drive. This would leave some to suspect that such bursts would happen after said vampire fed. This made sense in comparison to European history that when a mysterious disease struck an entire family line, that superstition might settle in to make family members and neighbours believe that one of the recently deceased would be coming back and devouring the life force of the next family member until the entire family was gone.
Along route 138, nicknamed “The Vampire Highway”, in rural Connecticut, from Jewett City to Exeter is a corridor of folklore and legend that is home to some of North America’s most documented and research historical vampire stories. It is along this highway, through numerous villages and in the countryside that we have some of our best preserved evidence of early American Vampires. After some heavy rains in the early 1990’s, a few neighborhood kids in the area were sliding down a large sandbank of Geer’s Sand and Gravel Company that they spied numerous body parts and corpses that they passed as they slid down the slope. They notified the authorities who came to investigate the scene. As the coroner determined these were not recent murder victims but those of historic date, they called the next contact on the list when finding human remains. The State Archaeologist. Nick Bellantoni, from Connecticut’s Natural History Museum attended the scene. He determined the remains not to be those of Native Americans, but rather of white settlers. The first grave to be exhumed was that of a body with huge fieldstones piled atop it. Under the stones was the lid of a coffin that had etched in it the initials “J.B.” along with the date 1815. Excavation of the grave revealed a skeleton with a chest cavity caved in and dismembered. Many of the bones were arranged to form an “X” as in the Pirate-like “Skull and crossbones”. This struck the archaeologist as odd and initiated research. Analysis of the bone at the Washington D.C. National Museum of Health and Medicine (Smithsonian) determined that “JB” died of Tuberculosis or consumption. He was missing his front teeth. The analysis of the bones not only determined probably death by consumption, but also that he had a broken collarbone which was a sign he was also a hunchback giving more ammunition for those accusing him of being a vampire. It was determined he had lived with consumption as a wasting disease for a very long time. Everyone else buried nearby him had died rather quickly, most likely from TB. In the area, the practice of exhuming a grave of a community member believed of being a vampire was common practice in the 17th/18th centuries and usually resulted in dismemberment, scattering of bones, creating skull and crossbone patterns, burning of bones, etc. This was a practice done at this time to stop the vampire from rising from the grave at night to feed off the life source of community members who would then waste away with consumption. Since he took so long to die, he was believed to be that vampire. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, documentation from the 1800’s stated it was commonplace for residents to exhume bodies of the dead in search of the suspected vampire, when found, to dismember or decapitate, and perform an exorcism, burning of the bones, or arrangement of the bones in a proper methodology. Keys to finding such a vampire was blood around the mouth, rejuvenated skin or lack of decomposition, hair/nail/teeth growth, etc. A common practice (unknown in this case, but possible because of the caving in of the rib cage) is to remove the heart, lungs, and liver followed by the burning of the corpse. The stones were piled on top as a means to anchor the dead to its grave so it could not rise and attack the community. It was determined that this cemetery belong to the family named “Walton”. It was evident though that J.B. was not part of this family and his identity is unknown. His bones was eventually reburied (for the third time) in the First Congretational Church cemetery in Griswald, Connecticut. As with many of New England’s accused Witches, these vampires were most likely humans falsely accused of being vampires due to fear, hysteria, and lack of medical knowledge.
Hollywood made claim that the film they produced in 2009 was based on the “true story” of the supernatural hauntings in a small Connecticut home at 208 Meriden Avenue, Southington, Connecticut; occupied by the Snedeker family from 1986-1988. The Snedekers moved into the house to be close to the UCONN hospital where their son was being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The family claimed to have experienced a demonic presence in the home. The house has been proved to have formerly been the Hallahan Funeral home for multiple decades before the property was purchased by Darrell Kern in the 1980’s. Carmen Snedeker claims they were never told that the house was formerly a funeral home. The landlords stated that the Snedekers were fully informed about the house’s history prior to it being rented. There were unfounded claims of seeing ghosts, terrifying visions, Carmen and Tammy claim to have been continuously raped by demons, and the husband claims to have been sodomized by a demon, lights reportedly turning on/off by themselves, mop water turning to blood, smell of decaying flesh, dishes putting themselves away, etc. Carmen Snedeker described the demons as: “One of the demons was very thin, with very high cheekbones, long black hair and pitch black eyes. Another had white hair and eyes, wore a pinstriped tuxedo, and his feet were constantly in motion. Also one had a very big smile that on each side touched his eyes, and he was very short.” [wikipedia article] UCONN oncologist claims the medication the son was on would have ‘no chance of him having hallucinations or delusions’. The Brothers, Philip and Bradley Snedeker actually both slept in the basement as it was the only room in the house that could accomodate the teens – they slept in the casket display room down the hall from the former embalming room. There is no ‘Jonah’ and no recorded seances conducted in the house. This was a fictional element added. The family did find old pictures of dead people, toe tags, head tag, and personal effects of the deceased in the house. The son did not see dead people with writings carved on them, this was added for the movie. There was no priest that came from the hospital. The niece Tammy claims the shower curtain incident did occur, just not how it is presented in the movie, and it happened to the mother, not the niece. Apparently the shower curtain wrapped around Carmen’s face so she couldn’t breathe and had to be rescued by Tammy. The real-life Philip Snedeker did attack his cousin Tammy and he was sent to a mental hospital for the incident for 45 days. There were no bodies ever found in the house. The house was not burned down. These were filmmaker’s additions. Philip’s cancer did go into remission and never resurfaced. He survived cancer, is a trucker with four children now. Paranormal investigations on the house was conducted by a pair of self-styled ‘demonologist/ghost hunters’, Ed and Lorraine Warren (who were involved with the Amityville story), as well as John Zaffis, who discovered mortuary equipment in the basement and a trap door in the master bedroom where the coffins were brought up at night with statement that chains hoisting could be heard until 1988. The investigators moved into the house for a few weeks and reported they were physically abused by unseen entities and experienced some of what the Snedekers claimed. They substantiated the claim that the house was infested with demons. They believed the former funeral workers were guilty of necrophilia. Lorraine claimed the house was exorcized by them with the Catholic Church in 1988 and no longer has any presences. Moments after the Mass and Exorcism in the house, the Warrens claimed that the huge tree in front of the house – broke into two and fell off the property. The current owner Susan Trotta-Smith, claim the house is not haunted and never was. They have been living in the house peacefully for 10+ years. In addition to the 2009 Hollywood blockbuster, there was a documentary done on the history of the houe in an episode of the A Haunting TV-series, called “A Haunting in Connecticut”. The Snedekers told their story on national television talk shows and a Discovery Channel television show. A book written by Ray Garton (hired by the Warrens to write the story) called “In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting” (1992) also told tales of the hauntings. There is complexity to stories told by the Snedekers that make many believe the tales to be false. Including some dialogue with the Warren’s that there were holes in the stories and they told Garton to make up some of the details to write a scary book. On April 27, 1999, Garton wrote in a post about the Warrens: “He told me not to worry, that the family was ‘crazy.’ I was shocked. He said, ‘All the people who come to us are crazy. You think *sane* people would come to us?’ He knew I’d written a lot of horror novels prior to that, so he told me to just make the story up using whatever details I could incorporate into the book, and make it scary.” Skeptics claim the story to be fallacy and fantasy. Investigator Joe Nickell reports in ‘Skeptical Inquirer’ (May/June) that the story was found ridiculous by the landlady and house owner. Typical paranormal investigation methods of documentation demonstrate that there is little to no proof of anything supernatural about the house. That is was the first time anyone reported anything unusual in the house. Current house owners are bombarded by hoards of photographers, curious gawkers, and paranormal enthusiasts coming to their home hoping to get a glimpse of the hell house. Carmen Reed (nee Snedeker) is now a spiritual advisor and plans to write more books on experiences with John Zaffis. The 2009 blockbuster grossed $55,389,516 on its opening weekend in the U.S. and $68,683,927 in the worldwide box office.