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Ballinger’s Olde Park Hotel to be featured on Travel Channel

Staff Writer
Runnels County Register
Ginny the doll is said to move her head and body with the help of the spirits. One investigator said that the doll may have been a favorite toy of a child. During an investigation the doll allegedly moved twice, without human assistance. At least 2 children of families that owned the hotel passed away.

Ballinger’s Olde Park Hotel has skyrocketed to the top of the paranormal world over the last few years. The hotel is reportedly haunted and has had paranormal investigators from Hollywood to the east coast and from overseas investigating the location.

Dan and Connie LaFave own the hotel and will be featured on the Season 2 premiere episode of “Uninvited Houseguest, Perimeter Breach and Asylum Attack.” The episode will air on the Travel Channel at 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 25. The episode will feature first responders and the paranormal activity that they encounter during their job.

Dan spoke about the meteoric rise of the hotel in the paranormal world, “We have now had this building for 4 years. It was known before for being very haunted, but it mainly was from people venturing into the building to buy antiques and other things over time. Once we bought the building and made it where people could actually rent it out on weekends in groups to stay overnight and explore things more, the many personal paranormal experiences just seemed to take off. It has spread like wild fire from the many personal ghostly paranormal experiences and encounters that people have here. They tell their friends/family about what happened to them, and then those friends/family come and have more paranormal experiences.

We do market the building as to advertising for our group weekend dates available to be booked and for paranormal related events, but it mainly is our guests who spread all the personal paranormal stories and encounters that occur here. We just share those stories with others.“

Connie also discussed the popularity of the hotel and the impact it has on their daily lives, “The hotel has become gradually more popular due to word of mouth, largely. As guests come, the word gets out about the activity and more people want to come check it out. Our regular guests continue to book out dates. We do market the hotel as well with special events including a larger array of guests from different places. Many producers, celebrities and casting agencies are now calling us for clips, interviews, and information. We are happy with the pace of things, but it has become increasingly difficult to juggle our regular lives and the operation of then hotel.”

Jack Obourne, son of legendary heavy metal singer Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, has started investigating the paranormal. Dan talked about Osbourne’s involvement, “We actually just met Jack Osbourne for now through video chat. For COVID reasons, they decided to do the show this way instead of physically coming to the building for now. From what I have seen of Jack, he does appear to have a real deep interest in the paranormal where he describes having experiences as a child and wanting to always go out to explore the paranormal world because of that. He truly enjoys what he does and has a passion for it. He, I believe, loves to have his parents (Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne) interact with him in discussing the paranormal. His father has also gone out with him a few times exploring the paranormal together. Their discussion show on Travel Channel is very interesting and funny at the same time. They are great people to watch and have a good laugh with as well. We do hope that Jack Osbourne does physically come to the hotel one day and do more regarding the paranormal here….. that is a good possibility. We would love to hang out in person to find out more about the paranormal happenings here that do appear to mix with past history regarding this building and the paranormal.

Connie says that they didn’t know who would be hosting the show until filming started, “I like to think we are the lucky ones hearing from Jack and the Ghost Brothers, and like anyone else, we are all still learning the field. We feel honored that the producers at Painless Productions contacted us and were floored when we realized jack Osborne and the Ghost Brothers were our hosts. They didn’t tell us that information until the moment we filmed live. We hope that he will remember us when he talks to his parents, because Dan and I are huge Ozzy fans.”

Dan says that the people who come to visit the hotel enjoy the community in Ballinger. He has written books on the paranormal and there could be another one coming, “The place does seem like it’s becoming a lot more well known and people are loving Ballinger as well when they come from all over the country to visit and explore here. I have thought, definitely, about writing another book that goes a lot deeper into things regarding the hotel, Ballinger, and West Texas. That is always a big possibility that it will happen once I find more time to write again.”

The LaFaves were asked how owning the hotel shapes their philosophy on life. Dan said that owning the hotel has brought new friendships and professional relationships, “It’s crazy to think, because we are very ordinary people. We have done different things as to careers and the military and now here we are…..the owners of a historic, very haunted building, that appears to be becoming a lot more popular due to everything paranormal that occurs to us and others here. It is hard to explain. When we bought this building, our sole purpose was to restore it historical wise and also share it with the public where they could experience things we were experiencing. We love visiting and getting to know everyone who comes here. We have forged great relationships from guests/friends who have come to enjoy the place. It just goes to show that anything can happen in life to a person…..even owning a historical, very haunted old building, that everyone seems to just love visiting.” Connie said that owning the hotel has changed her perspective, “Owning a haunted location changes your perspective on a daily basis. We kind of feel humbled by it because we only dreamed about such a feat and now we are living that life. As we learn more about the building and about the field, it continues to change our perspective about everything, including how important it is to spend quality time with each other and our family members.”

The hotel has had some of the most famous paranormal investigators in the world visit for investigations. Hollywood actor and parnormal investigator Chad Lindberg has visited a couple of times, as well as the Kling Brothers, Ghost Lab, and others from the Discovery Channel and Travel Channel. Dan said that the hotel is becoming a go-to destination for experienced and novice paranormal investigators, alike, “We have had quite a few people from paranormal television here, including Chad Lindberg (Ghost Stalkers/Fast & Furious), Richel Stratton & Brian Murray (Ghost Hunters/A&E), and the Kling Brothers (Ghost Lab/Discovery). Now we will have Jack Osbourne, the Ghost Brothers, and others looking into the Olde Park Hotel more on the NEW show. Many teams and people visiting cannot wait to bring others here to experience what they have experienced. Not too long ago, a mother and daughter sleeping in one of our upstairs bedrooms, both awoke to find a young woman in her twenties standing in a nightgown at the foot of their bed looking at them. She was a beautiful, blonde woman with blue eyes and she vanished when they gasped in shock. She seemed to be surprised that they could see her standing there. They said she looked as real as a solid person would.” Connie said that there are always new people coming in, “There are many new groups and new recruits streaming their way into the building. It’s a great place to indoctrinate new hunters and a great place to share. I think people come here because we try to make it comfortable and give them the things we always wanted when we did investigations with our group.”

Even after owning the hotel for 4 years, the LaFaves say that the spirits still hold surprises for them, “They are always surprising us both. Most people never hear about most of the things that occur to us. Just this weekend, I walked into the hotel after unlocking the front door, like I always do. I walked into the darkness of the next room to start turning on lights and it felt like someone touched my face really hard with their hand, like a hand swiping me hard across my face. That really made me jump and turn on the light real quick to look. There was nothing there. This weekend Connie also had a frightening experience that occurred to her Saturday night in the darkness of our bedroom. She said that she got up in the dark to go to the bathroom like she normally does. She said that something like a figure in the darkness came at her. It rushed at her real fast, making her startle and jump. She messaged me at home saying it (the experience) really shook her up. She turned on the light and there was no one there. She ended up sleeping with the light on. The guests this weekend also had all kinds of paranormal experiences happening to them. Sleeping with the light on here is not uncommon for our guests. They (spirits) have been turning on lights, water faucets, and air conditioners while we are not there. That is the disturbing part of owning a haunted building, the bills.” Connie spoke about her encounter, “Yes, literally yesterday I felt something creep behind me on the way to the bathroom in my room at the hotel. I turned around in fright thinking it was on top of me. When I turned the light on there was nothing there, but I could feel it. I think the longer we are there, the more interaction from the ghosts we are getting!”

Connie spoke about another experience she had at the hotel recently, “Besides the fright I got only yesterday in the room, we recently had huge booms resonating through the hotel floor two nights in a row. We thought it odd and wrote it off the first night. The second night we realized it had nothing to do with the group or anything else. It literally sounded like bodies being dropped on the floor. We never know what to expect -doors slamming, spurs on the floor, voices in the hall, or objects broken and thrown in the hallways.”

If you go to the hotel, it’s recommended that you take some sort of voice recorder (you don’t always need a special device to pick up ghostly comments), a camera and a good bit of courage, because even if you don’t believe in ghostly beings, you might change your mind by the time the night is over.

You can find The Haunted Olde Park Hotel on Facebook. It is located at 107 S. 6th street. Contact the Lafave’s at (325) 718-2662 to make reservations. The hotel is open for special events and by reservation for private groups.

An area of the 2nd floor of the Olde Park Hotel where numerous visitors and paranormal investigators claim to have had paranormal experiences.