The Skirvin Hotel

It seems Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Lakers is the latest NBA player who helps bolster the reputation of the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City as a haunted place by the infamous Effie, checking into a different hotel than his team in order to avoid messing with the ghost that has allegedly been haunting the place over the years.

Williams isn’t the first NBA player who has heard of Effie and decided he prefers to avoid her or has the belief in the supernatural hurt his stay in Oklahoma City. Eddie Curry of the New York Knicks (back in 2010) told a story of barely sleeping the entire night in the Skirvin because he kept thinking about the ghost. The Knicks blamed the loss on the ghost, although considering how bad they were at the time, just like the Lakers in 2015, ghost or no ghost, they were going to lose.

The Chicago Bulls, also in 2010, reported doors slamming shut on their own and of strange noises outside their rooms during the night. In June 2012, when the Miami Heat played the Thunder in the NBA Finals, the story of the Skirvin and Effie received some national attention. It’s not only NBA teams though. In the 2013 NCAA Women’s basketball tournament, the Baylor Lady Bears were shocked by Louisville in the regional semifinals. They were put up in the Skirvin as well.

The Skirvin hotel opened in 1911, and is named for its founder, William Balser “Bill” Skirvin, whose daughter, Perle Mesta, became the ambassador to Luxembourg under Harry Truman. It closed down in 1988 and was abandoned for most of the next 19 years, until it was renovated and re-opened as part of the Hilton chain of hotels in 2007.

Who is Effie? Well, according to the legend, she is a maid that had an affair with the hotel’s original owner, W. B. Skirvin, leading to pregnancy. To protect his reputation and avoid a scandal, Skivin locked her up on the 10th floor, which led to severe depression on her part, with Skirvin keeping her locked in and isolated from the world even after the birth of her child. She jumped to her death, killing herself and the baby, without the newspapers at the time.

In some versions of the legend, Effie was a woman of loose morals. Probably told by men and made to flourish by men, this version has led to several other suggesting they have been propositioned by a female voice while alone in their rooms. Others have mentioned a figure of a naked woman joining them in the shower. There has even been a claim of sexual assault by the entity. Hotel staff have also been part of the growing legend, over the years reporting objects being moved mysteriously and strange noises coming late at night.

Oklahoman reporters Steve Lackmeyer (who also co-wrote a book about the hotel) and Jason Kersey have a different version of events, saying Skirvin was a notorious womanizer and drunk, with the 10th floor known for gambling and other vices taking place there, but there is no real-life evidence corresponding to the “Effie” legend. Skirvin’s family does believe he had a longstanding affair with an employee, but she outlived him.

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