Steve Burns owns cabin #138 in Winter Creek, former clubhouse of the old San Antonio Hiking Club…
A Ghost in the Piano Room
My first tale relates to the black and white image you see on the web page. It is from a negative which I exposed one day in August of 2002. I had brought a 35mm film camera and a tripod, with the idea of doing some timed exposures of the interior of some of the buildings at Camp Sturtevant. This image is of the “Piano Room” and was shot in the late afternoon. As you can see, sunlight is streaming through the window and there is a ghostly image in the corner near the piano. Light floods the floor and there is no shadow in the pool of light. I have no explanation for this phenomenon other than the building is very old and has its share of spirits.
My next story is a first person experience which occurred in March of 2004. Sometime in the previous year, Chris Kasten had set up sleeping quarters in the old storage room beneath the dining hall in the main lodge of Camp Sturtevant. It had become my lodging of choice when I would visit, and I thoroughly enjoy sleeping there to this day. If you are not familiar with the layout of the room and the dining hall, it is important to note that the row of tables along the east wall of the hall is directly above the small room below. The wooden floor is old and squeaky. I have occupied the room both when the camp was empty as well as when groups were in. Hearing people walk above was known to me; but this time it would be different?
I awoke Sunday morning around 6:00 and was dosing in and out when I heard the door of the dining hall open and foot steps walk straight through to the far wall, just above my head. They clicked-clacked much like a hard sole boot; stopped, turned and walked back towards the door. My first thought was that Kasten had awoken early, so I jumped up, pulled on my pants and hurried out thedoor. As I turned the corner towards the front of the hall I noticed that the curtains were drawn at the manager’s house, a sure sign that the Kasten’s were still in bed. As I approached the door, I saw that it was locked from the outside. As I peered through the window, I was reminded that the tables were directly above the ceiling of my room not allowing anyone to walk there. I then remembered: I had heard no squeaking associated with the footfalls.
When the Kasten’s awoke, I joined them for coffee and told them about my observations. Joan was taken aback and Chris told me that someone before me had heard footsteps as well. What spirit this might be I do not know. Could it be Bill Adams, who had said before his death, that if he could return to the canyon he would try make it up to Camp Sturtevant? Or is it the ghost of Wilber Sturtevant himself?
One thing is certain; the camp is old, and holds secrets that we may never know.