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Sitdown Sunday: This is the most haunted hotel in America

The very best of the week’s writing from around the web.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. The most haunted hotel in America

63428429_4c4c8b63a4_z Source: Flickr/Ted Ernst Sarvata

The spooky Menger Hotel is located on old Alamo grounds. It’s said to be the home of around 32 ghosts, with some guests having heard a ringing bell, seen flashing lights and felt skeletal hands touching them. Shudder!

(Narratively, approx 12 mins reading time)

Author Cassandra Carr also had an electrical experience during her stay for the same conference. “The lights went out while I was in the shower and it lasted for about fifteen seconds. I was sure it was one of my roommates, but they both denied it and I believe them. They’re good friends and wouldn’t do that to me.”

2. The Ermagherd girl

ermagherd Source: Hack A Day

If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you’ll have seen the ‘ermagherd girl’, clutching Goosebumps books and looking nerdy. Vanity Fair tracked her down, and told the story behind the viral image.

(Vanity Fair, approx 13 mins reading time)

It was a picture of Goldenberger when she was much younger, around 11 years old, wearing unfortunate pigtails, an ugly vest, and a grotesque expression: eyes wide, eyebrows pitched sharply skyward, chin drawn inward, mouth agape, and retainer-clad teeth bared like a hissing harpy or cat. In her hands, she proudly displayed three books from the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine, in their original 90s editions: Monster Blood IIIIt Came from Beneath the Sink!, and Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes.

3. Bob Beamon’s miracle jump

Bob_Beamon_1968 Source: Wikipedia

One of the most famous photos from the Olympics is one of Bob Beamon in 1968, making an amazing jump. But the story behind the picture is just as interesting – it wasn’t taken by a professional, but by an amateur photographer who was warned not to get Beamon “riled up”.

(Deadspin, approx 19 minutes reading time)

Operating without media credentials, Duffy found that in the relatively carefree days before the terrorist attack at the Munich Games, Mexico City was an unsupervised playground. Nutting lent Duffy her tracksuit top, and he sneaked into the Athletes’ Village with little problem, waving his camera at the guards as he walked alongside actual competitors.

4. The sinking of the Estonia

ESTONIA, FERRYBOT DISASTER An undated photo of the Estonian ferry 'Estonia' Source: AP/Press Association Images

When the luxurious Estonia ferry sank during a storm in the Baltic Sea, it led to the deaths of 850 people. This 2004 article looks at what happened on that fateful night.

(The Atlantic, approx mins reading time)

Such conditions were rare for the area, occurring only a few times every fall and winter, but for ferries of this size they were not considered to be severe. Surviving crew members later claimed that a special effort had been made on the car deck to lash the trucks down securely—exemplary behavior that, if it occurred, probably had more to do with concern about vehicle-damage claims than about the safety of the ship. No other preparations were made. The main worry was to arrive in Stockholm on time.

5. George Bell died alone 

shutterstock_169782836 Source: Shutterstock/DJTaylor

One of the most talked-about stories of the past week is this one, about a man who died alone in New York City. It doesn’t just look at George Bell’s life, but how his death affected the lives of the strangers who dealt with his passing.

(New York Times, approx mins reading time)

In discovering a death, you find a life story and perhaps meaning. Could anything in the map of George Bell’s existence have explained his lonely end? Possibly not. But it was true that George Bell died carrying some secrets. Secrets about how he lived and secrets about who mattered most to him. Those secrets would bring sorrow. At the same time, they would deliver rewards. Death does that. It closes doors but also opens them.

6. Call yourself a gamer?

Source: Fusion/YouTube

This video from Fusion’s Girl Gamers explores what it means to be a female gamer. Is ‘gamer’ a loaded term? And what’s it like to work in the industry?

(Fusion, 5 mins viewing time. Part 1 of a series)

… AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

Elliott_Smith Source: Wikipedia

12 years ago this week, musician Elliott Smith died. Afer his death at the age of just 34 came the questions: Did he take his own life? Or was he murdered? This Guardian article from 2004 looked into what was known.

(The Guardian, approx 13 mins reading time)

The cover of his second, eponymous solo album, released in 1995, features a grainy image of bodies falling from a high building. Another, 1996′s Either/Or, was named after a book by Kierkegaard, in which the philosopher posited that the aesthete would eventually find himself in a state of despair. As one tribute article wryly noted, you couldn’t say that Smith didn’t warn you.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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