The Lady in Room 545

For each of the past 27 years there has been one guest at the Grove Park Inn Arts and Crafts Conference whom I have never been able to please.

She doesn’t attend any of the seminars, skips all of the Small Group Discussions, glides unseen through the antiques show, and never has once approached me, despite my constant attempts to contact her during the conference.

And she’s a bit of a prankster, banging on the wall of her room until the guest next door calls security, then hiding when they arrive; locking the bathroom from the inside, then disappearing; opening all of the fifth floor windows late at night when no one is around; or playing with the buttons on the elevator while the operator is trying to respond to a call from a guest.

When I mention this to the staff, they simply sigh and reply, “Yes, that’s our resident ghost. That’s the Pink Lady.”

No one knows anything about her, where she came from, when she first took up residence at the Grove Park Inn, or how she came to live — or die — here. Stories have been passed down from employee to employee, guest to guest, manager to manager: an invisible hand laid on someone’s arm, an image in a mirror that suddenly disappears, a small child who awakes and asks, “Where did the nice lady in the pink dress go?”

She’s never threatened anyone, never seemed upset, never broken anything.

In fact, she’s extremely shy, never speaking to anyone, avoiding crowds, and disappearing when paranormal paparazzi, hoping to snap an image of her, camp out in the hallway overnight.

But she is unmistakable, this young, attractive, blond beauty in a flowing pink gown.

Many times, as I have waited for an appointment or a meeting at the Grove Park Inn, I’ve sat in one of the soft leather chairs in the historic Palm Court, just a few feet away from room 545, and wondered if she would give me a glimpse of her, if she would dart along one of the upper interior balconies, if she would lean over and give me an impish smile before disappearing.

But she avoids me, knowing, perhaps, my reputation for sharing my experiences with anyone who will read one of my books or weekly columns.

But I keep wishing, keep watching, keep hoping that some day soon I will be able to say, “Yes, I saw the Pink Lady.”

Until next Monday,

Thanks for stopping by!


Top: One of the original Arts and Crafts rooms at the Grove Park Inn as it appeared in 1913.

Middle: The third floor Palm Court, also as it appeared in the early years, where the Pink Lady is seen the most often.

Editor’s Note: If you are interested in reading more about the Pink Lady, here are three books to consider: Haunted Asheville by Joshua Warren; Tales of the Grove Park Inn by Bruce Johnson; and a novel An Unexpected Guest also by Bruce Johnson (